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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

Exciting New Companies at NJIT’s Small Biz Incubator Get 100K in Grants

The New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology has awarded almost $100,000 as part of its SBIR bridge grant program to two start-up companies based in NJIT’s high technology business incubator. Applechem Inc. and Lenterra, located in NJIT’s Enterprise Development Center (EDC), each received Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) bridge grants.

“The Center works hard to help young inventors wend their way through the grant application process,” said Judith Sheft, NJIT Associate Vice President Technology Development.  “And when success comes their way, we’re thrilled.”  EDC also helps  companies develop linkages to university faculty collaborators. Som Mitra, PhD, professor and chair of NJIT’s Department of Chemistry, collaborated to expand the application of Lenterra’s technologies.

Lenterra was awarded $50,000 to develop innovative sensor and analyzer technologies for applications in analytical instrumentation, industrial processing, aerospace, environmental metrology, and biomedicine. 

“Our current focus is on two proprietary sensor technologies,” said CEO Valery Sheverev. “We are looking at a microplasma-based technology for gas identification and a fiber-optical sensor technology for industrial and environmental metrologies.   Ultimately, manufacturers will use these technologies to control industrial processes with much higher precision than is possible now. 

Since 2005, NASA and the National Science Foundation have provided support.  Sheverev was a professor of physics at Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia.  He started Lenterra in 2003, with an idea to commercialize analytical technology based on Penning ionization electron spectroscopy.   Penning ionization is a chemical process based on the work of a notable Dutch physicist Frans Michel Penning (1894-1953) who among other things created scientific instruments still bearing his name.

Applechem Inc. will receive a $49,000 Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) bridge grant to continue commercializing a range of NatureVgelTM prototypes to market to the cosmetic and toiletry industry and explore new applications for use in other fields. 

Applechem CEO Samuel Lin, PhD, of Paramus, founded the company in 2003 to develop, manufacture, and market proprietary specialty materials to the global cosmetic and toiletry market. 

For this project, Applechem worked with the US Department of Agriculture to develop a patent-pending technology to convert natural, renewable vegetable oils with advanced polymers into NatureVgelTM gels, a unique material with gel and elastomer properties.  “This project has two goals,” said Lin. “They are to develop and promote new value-added applications of US-produced vegetable oils and to replace petroleum-sourced materials with bio-based and renewable sourced materials.” 

NatureVgelTM can be used to control the rheology, enhance the texture, touch, feel, and active delivery for personal care lotions and creams, along with personal cleansing products like shower gel and for hair.  “The material is so new,” added Lin. “It can even be used for clear gel candles!  We feel that our NatureVgel has great potential for many creative applications across many different industries.”

The purpose of the SBIR Bridge Grant program is to increase the success and maximize the growth of small New Jersey companies in moving from an early to later phases of their projects.

NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, enrolls approximately 10,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 120 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report's 2012 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.