Hesperos, Inc. Awarded $2 Million Phase II SBIR Grant to Commercialize Body-on-a-Chip Technology and Reduce the Cost and Time of Drug Development

Orlando, Fla. – Long sought goals in drug and product development have been to eliminate or greatly reduce the need for animal testing as well as reduce the time and cost of getting products to market.   A University of Central Florida spinout company – Hesperos – is achieving those goals.

Hesperos, a pioneer in creating Body-on-a-Chip technology, recently announced they have been awarded a $2 million Direct-to-Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).

The grant will support development of advanced manufacturing techniques to scale Hesperos’ platform to commercial level capacity enabling a vast number of concurrent tests on multiple organs simulated in the Body-on-a-Chip platform.

“Achieving commercial scale laboratory quality results will substantially reduce the need for the use of animals in the testing phases of drug and product development as well as greatly reduce the time and cost incurred, “stated said Michael Schuler, Ph.D., CEO/President of Hesperos, Inc.

Only 1 in 10 drugs that enter human clinical trials actually end up being approved for use because of adverse effects or lack of efficacy in the human body.  Earlier and less expensive identification of those problems is critical to speeding up the development process and reducing the cost of drugs for the consumer.

Hesperos co-founder, Dr. James J. Hickman of the UCF NanoScience Technology Center and co-inventor of the technology stated, “We will offer testing on our platform as a service to pharmaceutical companies analyzing potential drug candidates and other companies developing products requiring toxicity tests.”

Hickman has received funding for his work at UCF from several commercial partners including L’Oreal.  The importance of the work was highlighted in a paper published in the February 2016 issue of Nature Scientific Reports titled “Multi-organ toxicity demonstration in a functional human in vitro system composed of four organs”.

Hesperos is a client of the UCF Business Incubation Program in the Central Florida Research Park in east Orange County.

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For more information contact:

Nathaniel Post, Hesperos, Inc. 3259 Progress Drive, Orlando, FL 32826; 505-690-5536 nate@hesperosinc.com

Carol Ann Dykes, Site Manager, UCF Business Incubator, 407-207-7426, carolann.dykes@ucf.edu;

Larry Vershel or Beth Payan, Larry Vershel Communications, 407-644-4142 or LvershelCo@aol.com  

About Hesperos, Inc.

Hesperos, Inc, utilizes advanced nano and bio technology to provide a range of toxicology services for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries utilizing their Body-on-a-Chip platform with over 50 patents licensed in support of this effort.  For more information, visit: www.hesperosinc.com .

About the UCF Business Incubation Program:

The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program is a community resource that provides early-stage companies with the tools, training and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth / impact enterprises.   Since 1999, this award-winning program has helped hundreds of local startup companies reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources.

With seven facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Corridor, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia Counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs.  Participating companies sustain more than 3,600 local jobs and have had a total impact of $1.51B on regional sales and $2.48B on regional economic output.  During the last fiscal year, the program has returned $7.95 for every $1.00 invested in the program.   For more information, visit www.incubator.ucf.edu.