A Nassau Street-based healthcare startup is among the small businesses that are benefiting from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s new New Jersey Entrepreneur Support Program.
The program, designed to support innovative companies impacted by COVID-19, provides a guarantee to support repayment of up to 80 percent of an eligible investor loan, not to exceed $200,000 per company.
Ricovr Healthcare Inc., the Princeton-based company, received $200,000 in investments supported by the program. The startup has developed biosensor technology for use in saliva-based diagnostic testing.
In April the company announced that it had received $1.1 million in seed funding led by San Francisco-based HALLEY Venture Partners. Ricovr’s product is intended for rapid drug testing specifically for THC — the psychoactive component of cannabis products — and could be used by law enforcement and employers in addition to medical professionals.
In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the company is also exploring applications of its technology to rapid, saliva-based antigen testing to facilitate quick diagnosis of COVID-19.
Ricovr was founded in 2018 by Himanshu Bhatia, who earned his medical degree in India and also holds a master’s from the University of Texas Health Science Center and an MBA from the University of Rochester, and Piyush Sadana, a serial entrepreneur with an MBA from Columbia University.
Ricovr Healthcare Inc., 252 Nassau Street, Princeton 08542. Himanshu Bhatia, founder and CEO. www.ricovr.com.
Several early-stage companies in the Princeton region were among the 14 who received funding through the New Jersey Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Support programs last month.
The program administered by the state Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology gave $25,000 matching grants to companies that have received funding through the federal SBIR and STTR programs.
Six area companies received grants.
Bright Cloud International, based in North Brunswick, is working on rehabilitation therapies for patients with strokes, dementia, or traumatic brain injuries using virtual reality and custom games.
The Rutgers University spinoff is based at the Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies on Route 1. Visit www.brightcloudinc.com.
Cascade Biotechnology, based on Deer Park Drive in Monmouth Junction, is developing therapeutics for a range of diseases of the central and peripheral nervous systems by taking advantage of the body’s innate complement system, a group of 30 proteins that work to fight off infections. Visit www.cascadebiotechnology.com.
GreenBlu, founded in 2016, specializes in energy-efficient water desalination technology. Its patented technology, known as Vapor Adsorption Distillation with Energy Recycling, uses solar power as an alternative to the high electricity demands of other desalination systems.
The system also works to create purified water without creating waste in the form of liquid discharge and allows for the recovery of biochemicals and minerals.
GreenBlu is based at 1800 East State Street in Hamilton. Visit www.greenblu.co.
Plumeria Therapeutics, based in West Windsor, is working on novel, non-opioid therapeutics for pain, especially that caused by diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
Plainsboro-based Twinleaf LLC is led by a pair of Princeton PhDs working on sensor technology. Its breakthrough product, microSAM, is a total field optical magnetometer whose small size and low power use enable a range of new applications.
The company is led by Thomas W. Kornack, chief scientist, and his wife, company president Elizabeth Foley. Both earned PhDs in plasma physics in 2005. They founded Twinleaf in 2007. Visit www.twinleaf.com.
Witherspoon Street-based Viocare Inc. is a technology company focused on nutrition-based software solutions for improving health and wellness. Founded by Rick Weiss in 1993, its products include VioScreen dietary analysis software, the NutraScreen computer-based nutrition questionnaire, and ProNutra software for feeding studies. Visit www.viocare.com.