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This article was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on August 11, 1999. All rights reserved.

Research Awards from NJCST

High tech companies typically bleed money at such a

high rate that small government grants don’t help much. But help in

getting equipment, if offered at the right time, can keep a research

project alive.

Several Princeton research and development companies will benefit

from R&D Excellence awards just made by the New Jersey Commission

on Science and Technology (NJCST). The commission received 29 short

proposals and invited nine full proposals before choosing six winners.

Of these six, totaling $1.83 million, three will directly affect

researchers

here.

"We want to bring state of the art equipment to the academic

centers

in New Jersey," says John V. Tesoriero, executive director

of the commission. The program aims to seed the development of

critical

technology areas in which New Jersey can become a world leader. For

information on how to qualify for grants from the NJCST, either R&D

Excellence awards or Technology Transfer awards — call

609-984-1671

or E-mail: njcst@scitech.state.nj.us).

For one of the R&D Excellence grants, investigators from the

orthodontics

department of the Robert Wood Johnson University of Medicine and

Dentistry

are working with scientists from Integra LifeSciences Inc. and Therics

Inc. Their project, the Program for Engineered Cellular Response,

is getting $250,000 to do proof-of-concept studies.

"We funded part of the program to encourage research in dentistry

and liked the fact that it was an academic and industry collaboration

for dental prosthetics," says Tesoriero. These studies will focus

on what he calls "cost-effective treatment alternatives to restore

form and function by replacing tissue lost to aging, trauma, and

disease,

as well as creating form and function in developmental defects."

Neither company had announced it was doing orthodontics research,

but both are unusually capable of contributing to this field. Therics

uses three-dimensional printing technology, licensed from MIT, for

innovative pharmaceuticals and tissue engineering

(http://www.therics.com).

Therics started out at Trenton Business and Technology Center (U.S.

1, August 14, 1996) and now has 42 employees on Campus Drive, where

it maintains a pilot plant and research and engineering offices. Last

April Tredegar Corporation, a Virginia-based holding company, bought

out the other investors, so that Therics is now a subsidiary of

Tredegar.

Integra LifeSciences has nearly 175 employees on Morgan Lane; it

trades

on NASDAQ as IART (http://www.integra-ls.com. Founded in

1989, the firm develops and manufactures BioSmart absorbable

materials-based

products that aim to control the behavior of cells within a patient’s

body to regenerate. Integra’s Artificial Skin is the first in a series

of products being developed to regenerate body tissues (such as

articular

cartilage and peripheral nerves) that usually do not regenerate

themselves.

Gene research is another focus of NJCST for its R&D Excellence Grants.

Companies working in the genomics area tap into an Affymetrix Gene

Chip system to speed up gene screening by a factor of 10 to 100. The

Center for Applied Genomics at the University Science Park in Newark

will receive $300,000 to help pay for an Affymetrix system, to be

shared by NJIT, Public Health Research Institute, and the UMDNJ New

Jersey Medical School. Call David S. Perlin at 973-972-1295

for information.

Also $50,000 will go to a Rutgers facility in New Brunswick for a

similar gene screening system to be used by such organizations as

the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the Center for Biotechnology and

Medicine, the Child Health Institute, and the Howard Hughes Institute.

"We hope supporting these devices will jump start New Jersey’s

effort," says Tesoriero. "The R&D Excellence program gives

us the flexibility to identify and encourage the most promising

research

ideas."

Other R&D Excellence awards included the following:

New mathematical theory in sheet forming processes.

Investigators

from Rutgers will receive $110,000 for two years to test crush

resistance

and strength for new doubly periodic folded (DPF) configurations.

Center for Embedded System-on-a-Chip Design. This

collaboration

between Princeton and Rutgers universities and the New Jersey

Institute

of Technology will receive $500,000 the first year and lesser amounts

for the next four years.

Software Engineering for Distributed Computing and

Networking

gets $500,000 for five years. Stevens, Rutgers, NJIT, and Lucent are

involved.

Cytogenetics Program for Shellfish Breeding Biotechnology,

awards $177,000 for five years to Rutgers, Biosphere Inc., Atlantic

Capes Fisheries, and the Haskins Shellfish Research Laboratory to

help breed oysters and clams.

A different NJCST award program, this one for monies that go directly

to an individual company, is for technology transfer — projects

with a good chance of commercial success. Applications will be taken

through early October for the next quarterly round of Technology

Transfer

funding, for amounts from $50,000 to $250,000. Projects that qualify

can be completed in 12 months or less, and projects with other outside

investors take priority.

Eligible companies will have fewer than 500 employees and be located

in New Jersey or be willing to move to New Jersey. They are supposed

to stay in New Jersey for at least five years after the funding ends.

They should be conducting product or process development in a market

area that is likely to succeed by stimulating economic growth and

creating jobs.

Unlike the R&D Excellence grants, Technology Transfer funds are not

gifts. Recipients must match state dollars, and — if their

technologies

are successful — they must pay royalties to the state. But the

funds do not represent venture capital, so recipients do not give

up any equity. Nor do the recipients go into debt, because the monies

are not an actual loan. No interest is levied, and the money does

not have to be paid back if the technology is not successful.


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