Earlier today, the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory and Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced up to $500,000 in awards to innovative startup research under their fifth annual “Technology in Space” competition held in partnership with the MassChallenge (Boston) startup accelerator. Two award-receiving companies, Kernal Biologics and MicroQuin, represent three studies that now will have the opportunity to leverage the microgravity environment onboard the ISS National Lab to drive product development and innovation toward addressing sizable opportunities to improve millions of lives on Earth.
In total, through their MassChallenge partnership, the ISS National Lab and Boeing have now allocated more than $2.5 million in funding to 14 companies over the last 5 years. Many of these past awardees have already launched investigations, including research on advanced prosthetics from RasLabs and a recent cancer therapy payload from Angiex, both small businesses based in Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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The 2018 recipients of the “Technology in Space” award include:
Kernal Biologics, Inc. is a startup developing cancer immunotherapies that use messenger RNA (mRNA, a naturally occurring biological molecule). These mRNA-based drugs may be capable of not only killing cancer cells but also differentiating between cancer cells and healthy cells (termed “oncoselective”). The company’s study receiving the grant leverages microgravity to screen oncoselective messenger RNAs for leukemia immunotherapy.
MicroQuin is a startup developing therapies that target cancerous cells to induce rapid cell death with minimal to no toxicity and immunogenicity. The company’s product comprises two technologies: (1) a delivery platform, Cell Penetrating Peptide (CPP), and (2) a protein-based drug called MQ001. The two MicroQuin spaceflight studies receiving grants under this year’s “Technology in Space” program focus on crystallization of a protein that is biologically important in tumor formation and cancer survival and the development and study of complex 3D models of human breast and prostate tumors.
We thank Boeing and MassChallenge for the continued successful partnership, and we thank all the competition participants!
To learn more about ISS National Lab involvement in space-focused investment community, please visit: https://www.issnationallab.org/investment/