Dr. Nao Gamo Testifies at the Maryland State Senate on the SBIR Technical Assistance Program

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For Immediate Release

Baltimore MD | March 4, 2020

Maryland Development Center affiliate Dr. Nao J. Gamo PhD testified Tuesday before the Maryland State Senate on the national SBIR Technical Assistance Program. Dr. Gamo is the co-founder and CEO of NeuroSonics Medical, an MDC client company. NeuroSonics recently received an STTR Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation in partnership with the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Gamo spoke about the importance of technical assistance programs to new technology-based companies like hers, and to the need for additional state participation in supporting SBIR-funded companies. 

NeuroSonics is developing a novel, patented focused ultrasound device that will provide a minimally invasive alternative to cranial flap resections to remove large and complex brain tumors, including cases considered inoperable with current surgical techniques. Cranial flap resections for larger tumors involve removing a large portion of the skull, with increased risk of uncontrolled bleeding and infections and prolonged post-operative recovery. Reducing invasiveness with a smaller incision would mitigate these risks, which is especially important when removing tumors that are deep in the brain.

In addition to its recent NSF STTR grant, the NeuroSonics team participated in the NSF National I-Corps Program, interviewing well over 100 potential customers for its products and services. The NSF I-Corps and SBIR programs are closely affiliated. Participants in I-Corps have better success rates in the SBIR program. NSF SBIR grantees also participate in the Beat-the-Odds Boot Camp program that is a mini-version of I-Corps.

“The Federal SBIR program is vital to small technology companies as a source of seed funding. The US Government and States like Maryland are the ultimate high risk investors, taking chances on new companies with new, risky ideas that could have substantial impact. Two MDC clients, NeuroSonics and Pneumico, both received NSF SBIR/STTR grants when they had just one employee. NSF rightly refers to its SBIR program as ‘America’s Seed Fund’. MDC client companies have won over $11M in SBIR awards from federal agencies, including NSF, NIH, DARPA, and the US Army. ” said Dr. Gil Blankenship, co-founder and CEO of MDC.

About Maryland Development Center

The Maryland Development Center is a startup studio created to commercialize intellectual property developed in Maryland’s rich research enterprises. Since its founding MDC has explored dozens of technologies, created 7 companies, and filed numerous patents. Maryland has the largest federal research budget in the United States; MDC was created to help realize some of the commercial value of the extraordinary research programs at the State’s great universities and laboratories. 

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