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Space research institute awards funding to promising medical products

HOUSTON (July 26, 2012) Two small U.S. companies are the recipients of the 2012 Space Medicine and Related Technologies Commercialization Assistance Program (SMARTCAP) award. ACell, Inc., of Columbia, Md., and Enterade USA LLC of Newberry, Fla., each received a $100,000 SMARTCAP award to help in moving their health care products toward commercialization as they address unmet health needs in space and on Earth. SMARTCAP is a new competitive program launched by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute's (NSBRI) Industry Forum.

ACell and Enterade will use the awards to address wound healing and the effects of radiation exposure in space, respectively.

"By developing new unique solutions for medical care in space, we are also making an impact on health care on Earth," said Dr. Dorit Donoviel, NSBRI deputy chief scientist and Industry Forum lead. "NSBRI's mission is to ensure astronaut health and use the knowledge and technologies developed for humans in space to improve life on Earth. The NSBRI Industry Forum engages the private sector in providing solutions for human spaceflight. Because the bar is set high for medical care in space, technologies developed for space generally possess unique features that translate to a competitive commercial advantage in Earth markets."

ACell has utilized its proprietary extracellular matrix (ECM) technology to manufacture dressings trademarked as MatriStem to improve wound healing. With the SMARTCAP award, ACell will develop a new gel formulation that is more appropriate for spaceflight and also expand the applications of the product on Earth.

"ACell appreciates the opportunity provided by SMARTCAP, which will enable us to advance our platform technology and develop the next-generation wound-healing device used to aid humans in space as well as patients here on Earth," said Rodney Bosley, ACell president.

The startup company Enterade has developed a specially formulated drink that rehydrates patients and lowers the gastrointestinal side effects during radiation therapy. Through SMARTCAP, Enterade will test the product for efficacy in protecting against the gastrointestinal effects resulting from the type of radiation exposure astronauts are likely to experience during spaceflight.

Enterade in-licensed the rights to commercialize the product last November from the University of Florida. David L. Day, director of the Office of Technology Licensing, said that the university is pleased that Enterade and the researchers in the university's radiation oncology laboratories earned the SMARTCAP award.

"We believe in the product's potential to alleviate suffering and discomfort for both patients and potentially astronauts, and we appreciate the opportunity given Enterade by NSBRI to further the drink's development," he said.

Contact: Brad Thomas
National Space Biomedical Research Institute

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