Durham, NC – June 11, 2007 – NC IDEA has recently awarded $215,000 in “proof of concept” grants to five early-stage companies throughout North Carolina in the spring cycle of its bi-annual grant program.

These awards are the third cycle of the grant program. Since its inception in early 2006, this program has seen over 200 applications and awarded approximately $600,000 to sixteen companies in North Carolina. NC IDEA targets companies who need help crossing the chasm between initial product development and venture capital funding.

The grant funds are distributed to those companies that have not received venture capital funding. The grants, which are up to $50,000 per recipient, support business plan research and development, reduce risk of early failure, and advance projects to the point of self-sustainability when suitable for private equity investors.

Companies receiving grant funds are:

A-B-Sea Research – Raleigh-based company that has developed easily deployed “undersea satellites” (“U-lites”) to provide precise GPS-based navigation underwater, long-distance message relay, and oceanographic sensor data relay.

AP Solutions – research based at N.C. State University to devise an environmentally friendly, quick, effective, and nondestructive method to remove paint from plastic and carbon fiber composite surfaces.

Beecoz – Raleigh-based company that has combined a blog-based publishing platform, flexible networking controls and a simple address verification process to make it safe and easy for people to dynamically create neighborhood networks while maintaining security and privacy.

CytexTherapeutics – research based at Duke University in Durham, N.C. to develop a tissue engineered, biocompatible cartilage replacement as a first line surgical therapy for the treatment of hip osteoarthritis (OA)

Oncoscope – research based at Duke University to develop an optical biopsy system which would enable physicians to scan epithelial tissue in vivo and detect signs of early cancer.