Wilmington-Based Biotech Receives STTR Award to Develop Marine Toxin Bioassays
SeaTox Research Inc, a biotech startup located in Wilmington, NC, has recently received an STTR award from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to develop bioassays for marine toxins. SeaTox Research Inc. was formed in 2013 and is located at the new CREST research park at UNC Wilmington’s Center for Marine Science. The company will be developing novel detection assays for marine neurotoxins implicated in paralytic and amnesic shellfish poisoning. Rapid, inexpensive, user-friendly detection methods are necessary to ensure the safety of the seafood supply, and to allow rapid reopening of commercial fisheries when the threat of toxins has passed. SeaTox Research Inc., in partnership with UNC Wilmington, will develop bioassays that can be used to replace more tedious methods, as well as being able to rapidly screen samples for toxicity.
A few of the most important tips for success that the SBTDC shared with SeaTox Research were to maintain close contact with the Program Officer (PO) during the application and award process. The PO is an invaluable resource for the inside scoop on how the SBIR/STTR process works with the selected agency. They can provide guidance on the application process and can help translate responses from reviewers so as to better address their concerns upon resubmission. When writing a proposal, information that may seem obvious may not always be clear to a reader. Because of this, utilizing additional people including the PO as additional editors for the proposal, especially those not closely associated with your field, can help catch those areas that may need clarification. Finally, marketing information is very important for these particular grants. It is not enough to simply state how the product is better or less expensive to the currently available alternatives. Showing specific market need for the product is essential for success.
SeaTox Research, Inc. felt that the SBTDC was very helpful during the application process. In particular, SBIR/STTR workshops allow grant applicants to hear directly from program managers on what is important in proposals, in addition to tips from other attendees on how to be successful.
For further information on SeaTox Research contact Dr. Jennifer McCall at (704) 458-4169.