Ten business start-up projects ranging from a complex new medical-test device to a tougher industrial pallet will get $1.2 million in federal money, SIRTI directors announced Wednesday.
Spokane’s Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute chose the projects after a seven-month review of more than 50 proposals.
They include ideas from one-person companies and advanced science projects coordinated by some of the region’s largest firms, such as Washington Water Power Co.
Panels of professors, business leaders and product experts reviewed the proposals and recommended the final 10 for approval.
The money is the first awarded by SIRTI from $15 million it received in 1994 from the federal government.
Spokane’s DevTec Inc. will get the largest grant, $195,000, to create a device designed to measure heart and blood information quickly and cheaply.
The smallest grant - $40,000 - will go to a four-partner team planning a computer network for quick-data transfers from labs to doctors.
That team includes Medical Services Corp. of Eastern Washington, Pathology Associates, Cortex Medical Management Systems of Seattle and Eastern Washington University.
The amounts announced are totals handed out over two years in most cases. If ongoing projects don’t meet guidelines, the money will not continue, SIRTI Executive Director Lyle Anderson said.
Keith Adkins, a Spokane inventor, will get about $50,000 to produce a heavy-gauge plastic pallet which he says will be cheaper to build and easier to repair than wooden pallets.
A former Kaiser Aluminum plant worker, the 35-year-old Adkins has designed an all-plastic, 12-piece pallet he says is lighter and can last 40 times longer than wooden pallets.
“I wouldn’t have the money on my own to make a complete business or marketing plan,” said Adkins.
The money also will help produce a better prototype to be used in tests this year, said Adkins, whose small company, ASAP, makes commercial packaging.
The other awards are for: A new chemical to be used in reducing oral infections for cancer patients; about $50,000 to BioGlobe Technologies of Spokane.
Creation of a system to analyze small chemical samples, either for archaeologists or forensic scientists; about $85,000 to Test 21, a new group of biotechnology companies in Spokane and Cheney.
Design of a faster, more integrated computer software program used by doctors and laboratories; about $93,000 to Wismer Martin Inc. of Spokane.
An improved vacuum system for creating holographic images; about $150,000 to New Light Industries of Spokane.
A new product-sealing system using special-optics holographs; about $151,000, also to New Light Industries.
Diagnostic equipment to work with a water disinfectant system designed by Phoenix Treatment Systems of Spokane; about $182,000 to professors from the University of Idaho and Gonzaga University.
A test-scale power-generating system that creates hydrogen from methane in natural gas; about $79,000 to Washington Water Power Co., Washington State University and the Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
If all 10 projects prove successful, they could generate more than 200 jobs and more than $100 million in sales, said Anderson.
Money recipients sign agreements giving about 2 percent of total new-product revenue to SIRTI.
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