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Space Institute Funds Medical Product Commercialization

Earth From Space (NASA/JPL)


National Space Biomedical Research Institute in Houston will support the commercialization of two health care products made by small U.S. companies. The awards of $100,000 each were made by the institute’s Space Medicine and Related Technologies Commercialization Assistance Program (SMARTCAP) to ACell Inc., of Columbia, Maryland and Enterade USA of Newberry, Florida.

SMARTCAP provides seed funding to companies developing products that can address unmet health and performance needs in space and on Earth. The program, started by the institute’s Industry Forum, looks for solutions that are of value in space, which tend to be small, power-efficient, non-invasive, and easy for a non-specialist to use in a resource-constrained environment.

Awards by SMARTCAP consist of direct funding and requires recipients to raise matching funds from a non-federal source. The institute says the program aims to position the selected technologies for follow-on support from investors, potential industry partners, or other sources of funding. Recipient companies must be based in the U.S. and have 500 or fewer employees.

ACell Inc. has developed an extracellular matrix technology used in its MatriStem dressings to improve the healing of acute wounds, chronic wounds, and various surgical procedures. With the SMARTCAP award, ACell will develop a new gel formulation of the product that is more appropriate for spaceflight and expands the uses of the product on Earth.

Enterade USA is a start-up company that licensed research from the University of Florida’s radiation oncology laboratories. The company has developed a specially formulated drink that rehydrates patients and lowers their gastrointestinal side effects during radiation therapy. With the SMARTCAP award, Enterade will test the drink for its ability to protect against gastrointestinal effects from radiation exposure experienced by astronauts during spaceflight.

National Space Biomedical Research Institute is a consortium of institutions, funded by NASA, studying the health risks related to long-duration spaceflight and developing the medical technologies needed for long missions. The institute’s Industry Forum encourages commercialization of supported products and research.

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