Birmingham biotech company that helps other startups gain SBIR funding gets Alabama Launchpad assistance

Dr. Erik Schwiebert, founder of DiscoveryBioMed, Inc., is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs gain non-dilutive federal funding through the U.S. Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program.

Dr. Erik Schwiebert is founder of DiscoveryBioMed, which won Alabama Launchpad Phase 0 assistance

Dr. Erik Schwiebert is founder of DiscoveryBioMed, which won Alabama Launchpad Phase 0 assistance

The UAB-derived life sciences and biotech company has won 12 SBIR grants to propel its drug discovery efforts during its 9-year history. The Birmingham-based company most recently landed dual SBIR awards granted by the National Institutes of Health.

The SBIR/STTR grants are highly competitive and are designed to fund small businesses to develop innovative, high-risk technologies with the goal of increasing private sector commercialization into the marketplace.

In turn, DiscoveryBioMed has passed along valuable information to other Alabama small companies, including Blondin BioScience, Soluble Therapeutics, Endomimetics and other more nascent companies, to boost those startups chances of landing NIH funding as well. Click here to read about Blondin BioScience’s SBIR success story.

“We are all doing good work and gaining on it,” said Schwiebert, DBM’s CEO and Chief Science Officer.

So, Alabama Launchpad was glad to help DiscoveryBioMed as it pursues a new SBIR submission by awarding the company a $5,000 grant through the Alabama (SBIR/STTR) Support Program’s Phase 0 Awards financial assistance to fund preliminary data.

That $5,000 award was perfect to test the company’s lead drug in diseased lung cells for lung diseases that are different than the original disease of interest, Schwiebert said.

He said DBM purchased normal and diseased human lung cells from commercial vendors for critical lead profiling experiments with this funding.

Schwiebert noted the preliminary data looks promising, and DBM has submitted its latest SBIR application with this Phase 0 assistance.

Now in its second year, the Alabama (SBIR/STTR) Support Program assists Alabama’s entrepreneurs and innovators in securing the non-dilutive federal funding that will help them develop and research the technology they hope to eventually take to market.  Alabama Launchpad has awarded $55,000 in grants to help 11 businesses.

The program, along with the popular Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition, is one of the many ways that Alabama Launchpad is helping companies start, stay and grow in the state.

DiscoveryBioMed was among the early competitors in the very  first Launchpad competition. Though the company was a semi-finalist and did not win funding, valuable lessons were learned to help in its launch, according to Schwiebert.

Schwiebert is an advocate of making sure startups are aware of Alabama Launchpad programs, including the SBIR assistance, whether for preliminary data or accounting compliance.

“This is useful for established companies with a track record of SBIR funding that wish to try something new or pivot an existing R&D program in a new direction,” Schwiebert said. “The financial bookkeeping assistance award type is also helpful to new companies that do not yet have those mechanisms in place.”

Interested in learning more about the SBIR program and application process? Visit the Alabama Launchpad website  or contact Mary Hope Garmon at 205-943-4727 or email  mgarmon@edpa.org.