The N.C. Biotechnology Center said today that it has made $100,000 in low-interest loans to help two companies spun out of local universities develop their products.
Agile Sciences, founded in 2007 by N.C. State University professors Christian Melander and John Cavanagh, received $50,000 to develop non-toxic organic compounds that can disperse colonies of microorganisms called biofilms, according to the Biotech Center. Biofilms are up to 10,000 times more resistant to antibiotics than free-floating bacteria, making such infections hard to treat.
What's more, billions of dollars of crops are lost annually because of biofilms. Agricultural companies need surface coatings and cleansing products to effectively disperse biofilms, the Biotech Center said.
NeuroScience Pharmaceuticals received the other Biotech loan. The company, led by Gabriel Cipau, is trying to commercialize brain-disorder therapies developed at Duke University. They show potential to treat conditions including anxiety, depression and epilepsy. The company is about to begin Phase II clinical testing of its lead product, Pregnenolone, for the treatment of schizophrenia.
"These loans help young companies through critical early business development activities so they can be better positioned to secure outside funding or partnering," Yonnie Butler, business development director at the Biotech Center, wrote in a statement.