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NCI Offers $10M for SBIR Bridge Awards

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Cancer Institute will pump $10 million in 2010 into Small Business Innovation Research Bridge Awards, which it will use to fund development of cancer diagnostics, therapies, and imaging technologies.

This funding program is used to help small businesses make their way through the funding gap referred to as the "valley of death" between the end of SBIR Phase II funding and later financing rounds that are necessary to move a product or service on toward the market.

NCI said on Tuesday that this new award opportunity will fund as many as ten small business projects. The most recent Bridge Awards averaged around $3 million, and went to fund Lpath Therapeutics; OptaSonics; Guided Therapeutics; Gamma Medica-Ideas; Altor BioScience; and Koning Corporation.

NCI said that the Bridge Awards are "a cutting-edge new model" enabling investors and NCI to "share in the investment risk in order to accelerate the most promising small business innovations to commercialization."

The Scan

Coral Genome Leads to Alternative Amino Acid Pathway Found in Other Non-Model Animals

An alternative cysteine biosynthesis pathway unearthed in the Acropora loripes genome subsequently turned up in sequences from non-mammalian, -nematode, or -arthropod animals, researchers report in Science Advances.

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.