April 19, 2012 in ATDC News

Startup Chronicles: Axion BioSystems

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In the past four years, Axion BioSystems has successfully won four government grants totaling $3.1 million and raised approximately the same amount through investors – funds that have allowed the company to develop cutting-edge, proprietary neural interfacing technologies.

Those achievements have not gone unnoticed. The ATDC Select member has been named one of the winners of the 2012 Tibbetts Award, given out by the U.S. Small Business Administration to honor outstanding companies who have participated in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and shown significant success in driving innovation and creating new jobs.

“Our team has been successful in applying for and being awarded grants that are aligned with our product development strategy,” said Tom O’Brien, Axion’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The ‘Tibbie’ awards are given to companies that take federal funds and actually create something with it, and we’ve created a valuable device that meets a growing need in the life science instrumentation market. We’ve done what we said we were going to do, so this is a wonderful way to be honored for those efforts.”

Founded in 2008 by O’Brien and Dr. James Ross, Axion BioSystems specializes in neural interfacing technologies that can be widely applied to the research, clinical and drug discovery markets. The startup came about when Ross, then a graduate student at Georgia Tech, applied for and received an SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health that helped pave the way for the company’s product development.

Axion’s proprietary technology measures brain waves and heart beats using high throughput culture plates – an industry first. While current development is focused on pharmaceutical drug screening, ongoing research and product development will result in devices for the medical industry, said O’Brien.

With more than 20 full- and part-time employees now on the roster, Axion leaders are looking to the future – one they hope will bring continued growth and product commercialization. The startup is already on the way to meeting one significant growth milestone: Axion is one of eight member companies graduating from ATDC next month. O’Brien said the accelerator has provided Axion with invaluable resources over the years, including the use of lab space, networking and mentorship.

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