Legislation designed to help spur economic growth in high technology industries only became law this July, but it has already resulted in a new Connecticut medical device company receiving $40,000 in state financing to help it move a new product closer to market.
The company, LambdaVision Inc. of Farmington, was able to take advantage of the state’s Pre-Seed economic assistance program, which provides start-up companies with critical resources to turn new technology into products.
LambdaVision, created by the University of Connecticut Research and Development Corp., is developing a protein-based retinal implant intended to restore sight to patients blinded by degeneration in the outer retina.
The core technology was developed by Robert Birge, Ph.D., a UConn professor of biological and physical chemistry who, along with students in his lab, founded LambdaVision in 2009.
The Pre-Seed fund provides loans of up to $150,000 to Connecticut-based start-ups and early-stage technology companies.
Funding may be used for a wide range of startup expenses such as accounting, legal, intellectual property development, technology and prototype development, business plan development, technology assessments, market analyses, market entry strategy development, and hiring advisors and employees.
The Pre-Seed program requires matching funding from an outside source in order to qualify.
Pre-Seed funds are awarded by Connecticut Innovations, which is the state’s economic development arm overseeing the program.
The program expanded under SB 1173, a bill introduced by State Rep. Gregory Haddad (D-Mansfield, Chaplin), who serves as Vice-chair of the Commerce Committee.
Now, the program allows businesses that started from university research to include the early expenses (such as patent and prototype development) provided by universities as the required match.
CEO of LambdaVision, Nicole Wagner, said the Pre-Seed funds will help keep the company’s project moving forward.
The company will be able to begin “critical proof-of-concept studies in collaboration with the Center for Innovative Visual Rehabilitation at the Boston VA Medical Center,” Wagner said.
In a statement released today (Oct. 4) Rep. Haddad said, “The idea of this legislation is to help develop and encourage new hi-tech start-up companies created from research conducted at UConn, and I’m glad to see it is already paying dividends.”
UConn is also currently developing plans for a multi-million dollar technology park on the Storrs-Mansfield campus.
“This is all about encouraging more working partnerships between business and the university, which is important for sustaining future economic growth in the region,” Rep. Haddad said.
Director of the UConn Technology Incubation Program, Rita Zangari, said LamdaVision is a good example of UConn’s contribution to the state’s economic growth.
“LambdaVision actually provides a great example of how university and State partnerships fuel new technology companies,” she said.
“The company was first formed by the UConn R&D Corp; its initial funding came from the university’s Prototype Fund which helps with product development; a student was tapped as the CEO of this faculty startup by R&D Corp; and the Business School’s Innovation Accelerator – which was developed with state funds just five years ago – provided a team of MBA students to flesh out the business plan for the company,” Zangari explained.
Posted Oct. 4, 2011
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