Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals wins SBIR grant

Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals wins SBIR grant
Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Lincoln-based medical imaging products company, has received a $150,000 Small Business Innovative Research grant from the National Science Foundation to aid product development and commercialization. 

Ground Fluor is a startup company based on University of Nebraska-Lincoln research by Stephen DiMagno, a UNL chemistry professor and the company’s co-founder. The SBIR program stimulates commercial application of NSF-supported research results. Funding will enable the company to develop and provide its novel materials for the preparation of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging agents for the diagnosis and management of cancer and neurodegenerative disease.

The principal investigator on the grant, Kiel Neumann, recently received his doctorate in chemistry from UNL. Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals, co-founded by DiMagno and Boston-based physician, scientist and attorney Allan Green, has licensed the intellectual property for the rapid, high purity, high yielding production of Fluorine-18 PET agents from NUtech Ventures, the nonprofit organization responsible for building partnerships between the University of Nebraska and the private sector.

Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals' technology can provide new and existing experimental agents for performing PET imaging, which is a leading diagnostic method in oncology and neuroscience.

“This new chemistry can be used to increase the efficiency and reduce production costs per dose for many existing PET agents, such as the new amyloid imaging agents used as an adjunct in the clinical evaluation of cognitive decline,” DiMagno said. “We believe this technology can also be used to make new PET agents that will assist drug companies in their efforts to develop new therapeutic drugs.”

Prem S. Paul, vice chancellor for research and economic development at UNL, praised Ground Fluor’s early success. “Achieving early SBIR funding is a good success indicator for this rapidly growing company. As a UNL spinoff and startup with strong roots in Nebraska, we are naturally very proud of Ground Fluor and Drs. DiMagno and Neumann," Paul said.

Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals was formed after receiving an inaugural NSF Innovation Corps, or I-Corps, grant in late 2011. The grant provided the team access to national experts on technology startups and additional training in the latest concepts in entrepreneurial management.

Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals will house its research and development facility in Lincoln, Neb. The company will also have offices in Cambridge, Mass.

About Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals
Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a development-stage company focused on the development, manufacture and sale of novel chemical products used in the preparation of Fluorine-18 (F-18) positron emission tomography (PET) imaging agents. The company partners with other groups in academia and the research pharmaceutical community to provide research and development assistance for the preparation of F-18 PET compounds and for licensing of its proprietary technology. More information is available at www.gfpharma.com. For further information, please contact Dr. Allan Green, Ground Fluor Pharmaceuticals Inc. at amgreen@gfpharma.com.