Press Release

CASIS and The Boeing Company Partner and Award $500,000 in Grants Through MassChallenge

By SpaceRef Editor
October 29, 2015
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The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and The Boeing Company (Boeing) awarded two research companies financial support through the MassChallenge Startup Accelerator. This marks the second consecutive year CASIS and Boeing collaborated on the “Technology in Space” prize through MassChallenge. CASIS is the nonprofit organization responsible for managing and promoting research onboard the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory. Boeing is the ISS sustaining engineering contractor responsible for the successful integration of vehicle and payload hardware and software for the orbiting laboratory. The combined grant prize for this collaboration is $500,000 and will provide the two awarded companies seed funding and assist with hardware costs for flight to the ISS National Lab.

MassChallenge is the largest-ever startup accelerator and the first to support high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs without taking any equity. Its four-month accelerator program offers world-class mentorship, free office space, $1 million in cash awards, and up to $10 million through in-kind support. To date, the 617 MassChallenge alumni have raised over $1.1 billion in funding, generated $520 million in revenue and created 6,500 jobs.

Below is an overview of the projects awarded:
LaunchPad Medical is an early-stage medical device company that was established to commercialize Tetranite™, a synthetic bone adhesive that can adhere to both bone and metal within minutes to provide immediate load-bearing strength. The goal of this investigation is to explore the ability of the Tetranite™ synthetic bone adhesive to accelerate bone repair when combined with stem cells. Microgravity affects the process of stem cell growth and bone healing and therefore could provide answers for more effective treatment of osteoporotic patients.

Biorasis, Inc. is a privately held company committed to developing a wireless, needle-implantable (0.5 x 0.5 x 5 mm) biosensor platform for real time, continuous metabolite monitoring. The goal of the Biorasis investigation is to improve the accuracy of medically implantable glucose biosensors (Glucowizzard™) for use primarily in day-to-day diabetes management. Slow glucose transport from the capillary to the sensing site of the biosensor creates response delays that can reach up to 20 minutes. This delay can be detrimental in achieving tight glycemic control, which has been linked to serious secondary diabetes complications. The ISS National Lab is a unique platform to perform this experiment, as the absence of microgravity will allow for a more simplistic test environment to monitor the role of diffusion in glucose transport and potentially improve the accuracy of the sensor (Glucowizzard™), which will provide a more reliable product for the diabetic community.

This year’s winning flight projects selected for awards through the MassChallenge Startup Accelerator had to incorporate science or technology initiatives that would effectively utilize and benefit from ISS National Lab capabilities. CASIS will continue to work with additional MassChallenge proposers from the “Technology in Space” prize to build on their ideas and potentially turn them into flight-ready projects.

Final award of any grant money is contingent upon acceptance of legal terms and conditions between recipient, CASIS and Boeing.

To learn more about the MassChallenge Startup Accelerator, visit: http://masschallenge.org/accelerator

SpaceRef staff editor.