Over $1 million in grants awarded to 9 Kentucky companies to support high-paying jobs, tech development – Louisville Business First

Growth of high-tech businesses in Kentucky has shown no sign of slowing down, and the state is doing its part to ensure it is keeping up with the demand. Thanks in large part to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Matching Funds Program, entrepreneurs, innovators and technology companies are building momentum in the commonwealth.
This month, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the latest round of SBIR-STTR award winners as nine innovative Kentucky companies will receive over $1 million in state matching grants to support high-paying jobs and further grow the state’s technology sector.
The $1,072,404 in grants are part of the commonwealth’s nationally recognized SBIR-STTR Matching Funds Program. The funds will match, in part, $7.45 million in federal grants the businesses will collectively receive.
“The only way to ensure Kentucky remains at the forefront of innovation is to heavily invest in the resources that these tech companies need to grow,” said Gov. Beshear. “The SBIR-STTR Matching Funds Program provides incredible opportunities for innovative startup tech companies throughout the commonwealth to succeed and create well-paying jobs. Creating an economy of the future starts with the actions we take today, and I am thrilled to see all that these companies can achieve here in the commonwealth.”
The nine Kentucky-based businesses awarded matching funds are using technology to advance multiple fields, from health care and lithium-ion battery technology to environmentally friendly hydrogen production. Recipient companies include:
Bioptics Technology LLC (Lexington): Bioptics Technology is developing a revolutionary noncontact optical brain imager for noninvasive imaging of cerebral blood flow and resting-state functional connectivity across distinct regions of the brain in small animals. The global small animal imaging market size is estimated to reach $3.5 billion by 2029, driven by growing demand and adoption of preclinical, multimodal and optical imaging systems.*
Faradine Systems (Lexington): Faradine Systems, in partnership with goTenna, seeks to develop a device to serve as a team awareness kit/tactical assault kit meshed networked node. This solution will enable warfighters to create rapidly configurable signaling devices to extend situational awareness and visual/data communications through overt and covert light devices on the complex battlefields of tomorrow.
Degranin Therapeutics LLC (Louisville): Degranin Therapeutics is an early-stage Kentucky business formed to translate academic research performed at the University of Louisville into a commercially successful drug that saves lives and reduces health care costs. Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a rapidly developing, life-threatening lung disease occurring in 200,000 to 250,000 hospitalized patients in the U.S. each year, with an average cost of $70,000 per patient and a 30% to 40% mortality rate.* There are no drugs currently approved that alter the severity or mortality of the disease.
DesiCorp Inc. (Louisville): DesiCorp is working to help advanced biomanufacturing plants so in the event of mass contamination cells or large-scale cell death, the cell lines or other bioprocesses can be quickly restored to an operational system. DesiCorp’s freeze-dried cell lines will help prevent costly downtime within plants and labs to recultivate or completely regrow their cell lines.
FetalLife LLC (Louisville): FetalLife is creating a myFetalTronics system for telehealth and usability in an at-home setting for expectant mothers. The system monitors contractions and fetal heartbeat while the platform provides online medical services and resources.
Hexalayer LLC (Louisville): Hexalayer is focused on development and commercialization of next-generation, high-performance lithium-ion battery technology. The company’s next project incorporates a powder for the roll-roll anode manufacturing process. Hexalayer’s solution for powerful batteries will have a significant worldwide impact on the energy density of current and emerging Li-ion batteries in both consumer and military markets.
Pascal Tags Inc. (Louisville): Pascal Tags is focused on continued development and optimization of their chipless inventory tag. The technology uses a resonator to enable a magnetic field to be created when in the environment of radiofrequency waves. The tags offer a radiofrequency identification functionality with an extremely cost-effective tag. The tags have many unique applications of being durable, as the tags can be directly printed and embedded into a product, to act as a universal serial number for the life of a product.
PCC Hydrogen Inc. (Louisville): PCC Hydrogen (PCCH2) has developed a patented process to produce net negative CO2 green hydrogen by reforming ethanol fuel. The company will develop applications for the hydrogen produced through its novel production process. PCCH2 has identified battery electric vehicle (BEV) recharging stations as an attractive application for PCCH2’s hydrogen product. Given the dynamic growth of BEV’s, there is an urgent need to expand the number of Level 3 fast-charging resources for Kentucky drivers. PCCH2’s net negative CO2 green hydrogen, when coupled with a fuel cell, can cost-effectively deliver environmentally friendly Level 3 charging power to prospective customers. Since those chargers are independent of the grid, deployment can be accelerated.
The-Corps (Locating from California): The-Corps’ TRL 7 Acclimate technology system combats heat stress and heat illness by providing smart, active cooling to the user coupled with hydration that is compatible with donned gear configurations. This enables the user to train harder, perform better and fight longer. Acclimates’ dual-use technology is at the forefront of the human capital sustainment and human performance enhancement revolution for troop and athlete endurance training, meeting both U.S. Department of Defense and commercial sector needs.
Kentucky’s SBIR/STTR program, overseen by KY Innovation, provides critical non-dilutive capital for promising early-stage tech companies by matching all or part of federal SBIR/STTR awards received by Kentucky-based businesses or companies committed to relocating to the state.
Angelika Fath-Goodin, cofounder of Lepidext, which received SBIR/STTR funding in 2021, noted the advantages that the program provided to her company.
“We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the matching funds program, which allowed us to not only expand our research but also to identify potential investors and collaborators,” said Fath-Goodin. “Furthermore, funds from the matching funds program helped to strengthen our patent position.”
To date, Kentucky SBIR/STTR-awarded companies have leveraged the state’s matching program to receive $4.70 in federal or private capital for every $1 in state funds. These businesses also have created more than 731 well-paying jobs, 88% of which have annual salaries over $50,000. Match recipients have 235 patents and generated more than $56.9 million in sales and licensing revenue. Kentucky has made 319 match awards to 152 unique companies since the program’s inception, leveraging $158.5 million in federal funding coming into the state.
More information on Kentucky’s SBIR/STTR Matching Funds Program and awarded companies awarded is available at kyinnovation.com/sbir.
*According to Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development
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