Located in the Triad, Kepley BioSystems began as a startup at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN/NC A&T and UNCG). Professor Christopher Kepley, Dr. Anthony Dellinger, and lead inventor Terry E. Brady, decided to develop a replacement for forage fish used as bait in crab and lobster traps. Baiting with the perishable forage fish requires refrigeration on boats and depletes an essential link in the oceanic food chain. The team invented OrganoBait, which is a low-cost, non-perishable, non-toxic, and highly effective man-made bait using natural compounds.
Anthony Dellinger approached the Triad Service Center of the SBTDC in mid-2014 in hopes of receiving assistance with a SBIR Phase I proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF), which was ultimately successful. In addition to Technology Commercialization Services, KBI has worked with other SBTDC programs in the Triad, such as General Business and International Business Development. Through such assistance and their own hard work, KBI has made the following achievements since 2014:
- Recipient of even (7) state and federal grants totaling $1.3MM, including a $750,000 Phase II from NSF
- Participant in the 2016 International Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Kunshan, China (Duke Kunshan Univerisity). KBI was one of 50 NC companies which were the guests of the China Association of Science and Technology
- One of 70 finalists in the Hello Tomorrow Challenge in Paris, France, which is the premier event for showcasing and celebrating new science and technology enterprises with global commercialization potential. KBI was one of ten companies in the Food and Agriculture category
- Subject of an Associated Press (AP) article titled, “Goodbye, herring? Biotech bait gives lobstermen alternative”. The article was printed by the Boston Herald, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.
- Subject of other articles in several publications, such as Scientific American.
- Selectee for the NSF “Showcase: Making a Difference.” KBI was selected from a pool of 400 SBIR/STTR grant recipients to be highlighted on the NSF website.
KBI also participated in the SBTDC Law Extern Program involving assistance with intellectual property for a separate product.
As with many companies in this relative early phase, KBI continues to look for funding to complete field testing and build a facility to increase production from present levels to 4,000 pieces of bait per hour, making it a key player in the bait market.
For more information, go to http://kepleybiosystems.com