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Breakout Labs Makes First Early-Stage Science Company Grants

Money stack (Andrew Magill/Flickr)Breakout Labs, a revolving investment fund in San Francisco that aims to support early-stage enterprises developing radical new technologies, announced its first six grants yesterday. The fund is backed by the Thiel Foundation, established by entrepreneur Peter Thiel, a founder of online payments service PayPal and an early investor in Facebook.

All of the recipient companies are early start-ups and developing platform technologies that can have a broad impact, but may lack an immediate commercial payback. The companies receiving Breakout Labs grants, each of $350,000, include:

3Scan, in San Francisco, developing a process of 3-D digital imaging of brain tissue, using knife edge scanning microscope technology researched at Texas A&M University that promises to be faster and less expensive than current methods.

– Arigos Biomedical, in Mountain View, California, that Breakout Labs says is developing ways of cooling organs for long-term storage, which in combination with other advances in tissue engineering and stem cell therapies, could lead to making banked organs available to patients needing a transplant.

Immusoft, in Seattle, a biotechnology company developing a process for programming a patient’s immune cells to produce broadly neutralizing antibodies, developed in labs at California Institute of Technology.

Inspirotec, in Chicago, devising a simple and inexpensive technology for monitoring air samples in public spaces for pandemics and epidemics, airports and stadiums for bioterrorism agents, and homes for allergens.

Longevity Biotech, in Philadelphia, that Breakout Labs says is creating a new class of artificial protein therapies called hybridtides, targeted biologic-like molecules that are resistant to breakdown by natural digestive enzymes.

Positron Dynamics, in Mountain View, California, developing the first mobile positron scanner for non-destructive detection of defects. A positron is the antimatter counterpart of an electron, and has the same mass as an electron but an opposite charge and magnetic moment.

Breakout Labs uses a revolving fund model, where recipients may retain full intellectual property (IP) rights to their technologies, but assign a royalty stream or opt for a small investment in their companies. Another option for funded companies is to assign IP rights to Breakout Labs in exchange for a substantial royalty stream from future revenues.

Read more: Fund to Back Independent, Early Stage Science Companies

Photo: Andrew Magill/Flickr

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