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NMSU-based NM FAST program to host business funding accelerator

New Mexico State University’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, Arrowhead Center, is partnering with another regional economic development hub to help medical innovators secure federal funding to help bring their ideas to market.


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Arrowhead Center’s New Mexico Federal and State Technology Partnership Program will be working with the Accelerating Solutions for Commercialization and Entrepreneurial Development Hub to host a National Institutes of Health-focused Arrowhead Center SBIR Accelerator, designed to help participants apply for NIH SBIR/STTR funding. (Courtesy photo)

Arrowhead Center’s New Mexico Federal and State Technology Partnership Program, or NM FAST, will work with the Accelerating Solutions for Commercialization and Entrepreneurial Development (ASCEND) Hub to host a National Institutes of Health-focused Arrowhead Center SBIR Accelerator, designed to help participants apply for NIH SBIR/STTR funding.

The ASCEND Hub is a Regional Technology Transfer Accelerator Hub to support biomedical entrepreneurship in Western states, including Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming. The goal of the program is to move scientific results from academia toward commercialization through innovation and commercialization of basic medical science.

Drawing on the resources and expertise of NM FAST, this accelerator will work with the ASCEND Hub to help participants identify and apply for an NIH SBIR/STTR grant by implementing a guided track of support from registration to submission. By the conclusion of the cohort, participants will develop a complete proposal package they can submit for the September 2020 grant deadline.

“The ASCEND Hub was created to give researchers the tools and strategies for biomedical innovations that could lead to commercialization,” said Eric Prossnitz, professor and chief of the Division of Molecular Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of New Mexico Health Science Center. “SBIR/STTR funding from the NIH is a critical step in the commercialization of technologies and the creation and success of startup companies. The Western IDeA States have historically received less SBIR/STTR funding, but programs like the Arrowhead Center SBIR Accelerator can reverse that trend.”

Prossnitz is also an academic principal investigator with the ASCEND Hub.

For SBIR/STTR grants, the NIH looks for small businesses and innovative research that focuses on the causes, diagnosis, prevention and cure of human diseases, the processes of human growth and development, the biological effects of environmental contaminants, the understanding of mental, addictive and physical disorders, and in directing programs for the collection, dissemination and exchange of information in medicine and health.

NM FAST’s Arrowhead Center SBIR Accelerator is designed to specifically aid first-time applicants of SBIR/STTR grants. This program has been modeled after Arrowhead Center’s popular sprint accelerator programs to ensure real-time guidance for small businesses preparing their proposals. ACSA’s timeline is strategically designed to coincide with grant proposal deadlines and ensure that participants have access to assistance throughout the entire proposal preparation process.

Participants meet online weekly as a group to develop their proposal packages. The final weeks allow hands-on support from NM FAST to ensure successful proposal submission.

“Arrowhead Center and the NM FAST program are excited to facilitate an NIH-focused ACSA cohort,” said Dana Catron, SBIR program director at Arrowhead. “Navigating the proposal process for a federal grant or contract is complex, and this program was designed to provide hands-on assistance from start to finish. We are looking forward to broadening the reach of NM FAST services to institutions within the ASCEND network.”

The cohort will learn from program managers and industry experts in subjects like selecting a relevant topic area, preparing an accurate budget, navigating the required forms for submission, and creating a complete proposal package. Each week focuses on a different aspect of proposal preparation and creation, with an end-goal of submitting a complete proposal package prior to the September 2020 deadline. ACSA participants will also receive micro-grant funding, access to a suite of SBIR/STTR tools and resources, and a professional proposal review.

“NMSU is excited to offer SBIR programming to support universities in the regional and West Coast areas create best practices and early-stage funding opportunities for commercial innovations in the health and bioscience fields,” said Luis Vazquez, Regents professor and associate vice president for Research and Graduate Studies. “We strongly believe that we can advance broader impacts both regionally and nationally with this programming.”

The 12-week program will run from June 22 to Sept. 4. NM FAST is currently accepting applications until May 29.

For more information, please visit http://ascendhub.org.