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Success Stories

The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs are an important source of early-stage technology financing for small businesses. The NCI SBIR & STTR Programs foster research and development for anticancer agents, biomarkers, informatics, medical devices, nanotechnology, proteomics, pharmacodynamics, and many other biotechnologies and programs designed to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer.

Click on the links below to learn more about how NCI SBIR & STTR Programs have helped small businesses and how successful SBIR & STTR applicants are using their funding awards to advance cancer research.

Morphormics, Inc.
Morphormics, Inc., an imaging software company founded by University of North Carolina researchers, brought its software product MxStructure from prototype to marketed product with the support of NCI SBIR grants. MxStructure uses auto-segmentation to help physicians better focus radiation treatment and minimize exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. The company's 2012 acquisition by radiation oncology company Accuray, Inc., solidifies the role that MxStructure will play in radiation planning and therapy.
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Guided Therapeutics
Guided Therapeutics, based in Georgia, has developed LuViva, a non-invasive medical device designed to instantly detect cervical disease in a point-of-care setting. The company successfully moved from concept to prototype to product with awards from the NCI SBIR program, including a $2.5 million Bridge Award.
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Stellar Biotechnologies
Stellar Biotechnologies, based in Port Hueneme, California, has been awarded more than $4 million in funding from SBIR to develop a technology platform of safe and effective carriers for therapeutic vaccines based on hemocyanin from the keyhole limpet (KLH), a protein that effectively stimulates the immune system response in humans.
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Altor BioScience Corporation
Altor BioScience Corporation, a Florida-based biopharmaceutical company, having already received millions in SBIR grant funding, was able to use $3 million in funding from the NCI Bridge Award to support clinical development of ALT-801, an immunotherapeutic for treatment of p53-positive cancers.
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Advanced Cell Diagnostics
Advanced Cell Diagnostics (ACD), based in Silicon Valley, utilized the SBIR Phase I Grant funding to prove the feasibility of single RNA molecule detection in situ, increase the size of the company by over 80%, and complete the development of its RNAscope™ technology. As a result ACD is also furthering the progress of its cell-and tissue-based diagnostic tests for personalized medicine focusing on cancer.
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AntiCancer, the San Diego-based biotechnology company, was awarded Phase I and II SBIR grants and contracts that have led to the commercialization of three cancer research tools: MetaMouse®, AngioMouse®, and OncoBrite®.
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Naviscan, a medical device company based in San Diego, used Phase I and II SBIR funding to bring improved breast cancer imaging technology through the stages of prototype building, clinical trials, and definitive post-marketing trials. The PEM Flex® PET Scanner now allows physicians to visualize breast tumors about the size of a grain of rice.
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NovaRx, a biopharmaceutical company based in San Diego, has used SBIR funding since 2002 to successfully transition its vaccine platform technology from early research in immunogenicity to clinical trials that have shown promising results in non-small-cell lung cancer and other disease areas.
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Share Your Company's Success Story
The NCI SBIR Development Center is interested in learning more about how SBIR & STTR funding is helping your company to achieve its cancer research goals and business objectives. Please click here to fill out a 'Share Your Story' form, and let us know about any developments with your NCI SBIR- or STTR-funded projects. If you have any questions, please contact your Program Director or the NCI SBIR Development Center at

SBIR & STTR Companies Highlighted in NCI FY2013 Plan and Budget Proposal
The National Cancer Institute released the FY2013 budget plan narrative, highlighting achievements in cancer research to show how the nation is working together to control cancer and its effects. The FY2013 plan includes details about NCI SBIR-supported companies that are leveraging NCI funding to accelerate cancer research and improve care. Acoustic MedSystems, Advanced Cell Diagnostics, and Epic Sciences were among the companies highlighted in the plan. The narrative also features "Companies to Watch" that are currently making significant progress in their NCI-funded projects. This includes Omniox, Inc., Etubics Corporation, Eutropics Pharmaceuticals, Presage Biosciences, Firefly BioWorks, Inc., Metabolomx, Thermedical, Inc., Gamma Medica, Inc., and eMedonline. Read more.

Recovery Act Funding Helps SBIR & STTR Companies Further Innovations
In addition to SBIR & STTR funding, some small businesses were eligible for supplementary funding through NCI's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) program. Companies such as Columbus NanoWorks and BioFortis are developing exciting new technologies in many different areas, all to benefit people affected by cancer. Columbus NanoWorks creates custom magnetic nanoparticle reagents for cancer detection, while BioFortis has developed a technology platform to improve the management of translational and clinical research programs. These grants have proven important for the momentum of funded companies, enabling them to retain staff, create new jobs, and further develop potentially life-saving cancer technologies. Read more.

SBIR Phase IIB Bridge Awards Provide Support for the Next Development Stage
The NCI has developed an innovative funding opportunity called the SBIR Phase IIB Bridge Award, which is designed to support the next stage of development for promising NIH-supported SBIR Phase II projects in areas of cancer therapeutics, imaging technologies, interventional devices or diagnostics and prognostics. The purpose of this award is to address the funding gap known as the "Valley of Death" between the end of the SBIR Phase II award and the subsequent round of financing needed to advance a product or service toward commercialization. To achieve this goal, the Bridge Award funding opportunity is specifically designed to incentivize partnerships between NIH's SBIR Phase II awardees and third-party investors and/or strategic partners.

Read more about the Bridge Award and the technologies being developed.