2 Lowcountry biomedical startups get matching grants from SCRA

Two Lowcountry biomedical startups have received matching grants from the S.C. Research Authority after joining the agency’s SC Launch program.

Neuroene Therapeutics, a Charleston company working on a new epilepsy treatment, and Reify LLC, a Mount Pleasant 3D printing company that’s making parts for prosthetics, each received about $50,000. Both companies were also accepted into the Launch initiaitve, the agency said said Wednesday.

Sherine Chan, chief operating officer of Neuroene, said her company is the result of research she’s been conducting with James Chou at the Medical University of South Carolina. The pair has identified a compound similar to Vitamin K that may be able to reduce seizures for some epilepsy patients. The compound has shown early promise on tests with fish and rats.

The SCRA funds match a grant from the National Institutes of Health, Chan said, and they’ll mostly be used to pay for the company’s first hire, its chief scientific officer. The company hopes to continue tweaking its compound and eventually conduct human clinical trials.

“From here on out, we feel very confident that we can get our company off the ground,” Chan said. “It takes a long time to develop a compound that’s actually going to go into humans. So it could several years, but we’re confident that we can do it.”

Meantime, the 3D printing company Reify is focusing its efforts on prosthetics, making custom sockets — the part that fits around an amputee’s leg, said Barry Hand, president. The company plans to spin off the prosthetic business, which it’s calling Extremiti3D.

Hand said he hopes the company’s sockets will be commercially available early next year, and he plans to use the SCRA funding to conduct market research and keep developing its technology.

The company previously received a Small Business Innovation Research contract from the Department of Defense.

“We started looking into it and realized the need and started looking at the numbers and realized that we could really do a lot to help people and make a viable business out of it,” Hand said.

Reach Thad Moore at 843-937-5703 or on Twitter @thadmoore.