Colorado awards nearly $3 million to support innovation through Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program

DENVER — Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) today announced the first round of grantees of the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program. A total of $2,908,883 was awarded for both Proof-of-Concept and Early Stage Capital and Retention Grants to support key industries.

Advanced industries are prime drivers of the United States and Colorado economy, comprised of engineering and R&D intensive companies that deliver products and services in industries ranging from aerospace to medical devices. Colorado’s advanced industry strategy was developed as part of the Colorado Blueprint launched in 2011.

“The growth in advanced industries in Colorado is adding jobs and having statewide impact on our economy,” Hickenlooper said. “Today’s grant announcement demonstrates the state’s continued support of innovation and growth in these sectors.”

Proof-of-Concept grants are open to Colorado research universities, federal labs located in Colorado and other private, nonprofit and for-profit labs with valid technology transfer offices. Proof-of-Concept Grants are for Pre-Commercialization Research and Commercialization Preparation.

Proof-of-Concept grantees: 

  • National Jewish Health, Denver: KneeTap™: $85,000

  • Colorado School of Mines, Golden: Multi-functional coatings to enable advanced optoelectronics: $150,000

  • Colorado School of Mines, Golden: Develop advanced rail steels for use in heavy haul applications $150,000 

National Jewish Health researchers developed the KneeTap™ which is used to facilitate the aspiration of fluid from or injection of medication into the joint space. Ultimately, the research team plans to develop a family of devices will be developed for the various joints as well as new devices based on the same manufacturing process and materials. It is estimated that more than 5 million joint taps are performed annually at a cost of more than $1 billion.

Colorado School of Mines is working to develop low cost solutions to produce low-e coatings, transparent electrical conductors, optical coatings and moisture barriers on polymer substrates. Successful processes developed at the batch scale at CSM will be transferred to ITN Energy Systems for scale up and further commercialization.

Colorado School of Mines is working to develop advanced rail steels containing copper with enhanced head hardness and wear resistance for use in Heavy Haul applications. Industrial material with varying copper alloying levels has been produced by EVRAZ Pueblo. Grant funds will be used for a test plan to study these materials in detail and evaluate the strength, hardness, fracture toughness, fatigue crack growth rate, microstructure and wear performance of the as-produced material.

Early Stage Capital and Retention Grant funding is used to fund companies using technologies developed in proof of concept grants and other early stage start-ups that have created viable products that meet a market need and that can be created or manufactured in Colorado and exported globally. These grants should enhance the commercialization of advanced industry products or services in Colorado.

Early Stage Capital and Retention grantees:

  • dbMEDx, Littleton: $249,000

  • Lightning Hybrids, Loveland: $500,000

  • Membrane Protective Technologies Inc., Fort Collins: $125,000

  • Solid Power LLC., Louisville: $250,000

  • Steelhead Composites, Golden: $500,000

  • Prieto Battery Inc., Fort Collins: $150,000

  • Sundolier Inc., Boulder: $499,883

  • VetDC Inc., Fort Collins: $250,000

dbMEDx is developing the Benchmark Bladder System (BBS), which is a fully-automated, wireless, hand-held, non-invasive scanner capable of measuring the volume of a patient’s urinary bladder. The BBS represents a major breakthrough in terms of ease-of-use and simplicity for users. 

Lightning Hybrids produces a hydraulic launch assist that bolts on to the drivetrain of a vehicle and converts it to a hybrid. This system works together with the existing vehicle drivetrain to provide fuel efficiency savings and emission reductions.

Membrane Protective Technologies Inc. -- GameteGuard Technologies is a blend of organic plant extracts containing antioxidants, membrane and DNA protectants, added in a proprietary manner to semen used in artificial insemination, which improves artificial insemination pregnancy rates 10-30 percent.

Solid Power LLC is a spin-out company from the University of Colorado established in 2011. Solid Power is developing advanced rechargeable batteries for applications including aerospace, electric vehicles, utility grid storage and consumer electronics. They have support from the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy’s ARPA-E and Missile Defense Agency. 

Steelhead Composites is an advanced manufacturing company based in Golden, dedicated to best-in-class capabilities in high pressure vessel design, metal forming and filament winding for the automotive industry. Steelhead will use the grant funding to accelerate and expand our product offering to light-weight vessels for alternative fuels.

Prieto Battery Inc. is a private company founded in 2009 by Dr. Amy Prieto and several members of her academic team. It is a spin out of Colorado State University’s Clean Energy Supercluster and backed by private investors. All research, development, and prototyping is located in Fort Collins. Prieto Battery is working on the advancement of a prototype of a copper antimonide (Cu2Sb) based three-dimensional (3D) porous negative electrode for use in lithium-ion batteries.

Sundolier Inc. provides core daylighting to large open spaces directly below the roof line or deep in the core as well as two floor daylighting solutions. It offers active indirect daylight delivery systems and net zero hybrid lighting systems (daylight, electric light, control and renewable PV power).

VetDC Inc. developed VDC-1101, a novel drug in development to treat canine lymphoma, one of the most common and deadly cancers affecting dogs and cats today. VDC-1101 has a compelling efficacy, safety and convenience profile and is moving rapidly towards regulatory submission with the FDA in early 2014.

The Advanced Industries Accelerator Programs (HB 13-1001, HB 13-1193) were created in 2013 to promote growth and sustainability in these industries by driving innovation, accelerating commercialization, encouraging public-private partnerships, increasing access to early stage capital and creating a strong infrastructure that increases the state’s capacity to be globally competitive. Grants are awarded after a thorough process including written applications, in person pitches, and multi-stage review meetings with industry, finance and technology reviewers.

Colorado’s advanced industries include: Aerospace, Advanced Manufacturing, Bioscience, Electronics, Energy, Infrastructure Engineering, and Technology and Information.

The second round of applications are now being accepted and are due on Jan. 2, 2014. 

For more information, visit www.advancecolorado.com/aiprograms

 

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