Springs bioscience companies land federal funding

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Two Colorado Springs bioscience companies were awarded federal funding to help expand operations.

Aqueous Biomedical, Inc., and Pyxant Labs, Inc., were among 102 projects throughout the state that received more than $23 million from the Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project program.

The program, which was rolled into the health care legislation, is designed to provide tax credits and grants to small bioscience firms that demonstrate significant potential to produce cost-saving therapies, bolster employment and increase U.S. competitiveness in the burgeoning industry.

“Our mission is to try and advance modern medicine, and that’s why the legislation was introduced,” said Jerrod Langley, Controller for Pyxant. “I don’t think any large corporations got a piece of it.  It was really intended to stimulate job growth and help smaller businesses expand their capabilities.”

Holli Baumunk, president and CEO of the Colorado BioScience Association said Colorado ranked in the top ten of all states applying for credits and grants under the initiative.

“This was a unique program in which $1 billion was allocated for start-up companies in the bioscience industry to help encourage innovation, advance technology and help ensure the U.S. remains competitive in this industry,” she said.

For Pyxant, Langley said the funds allow the company to broaden its capabilities and continue to reach out to pharmaceutical companies.

“We’re in this to help people and this allows us to go to our clients and say, ‘Our lab can do this for you,’” he said.  “It helps us get to the next step in business development.”

Baumunk said the majority of start-up companies in the bioscience industry struggle to find funding due to the high cost of research and development, and a majority operate with less than six months of cash on hand.

“It’s a difficult industry to survive in, and given the economic struggles over the last two years, funding bioscience research has become even more difficult,” she said.  “We expect these awards will lead to the production of new lifesaving therapies and medical technologies, which will impact patients and companies for years to come.”