By Ramona du Houx

February 28, 2010

The Maine Technology Institute (MTI) approved recommendations for Development Awards to seven Maine companies pioneering innovations in six targeted technology areas. This 25th round of Development Awards totaled $2,159,258 and leveraged over $4.8 million in additional investment to the companies from other sources.

“MTI’s Development Awards are direct investments in companies that are pioneering Maine’s future through their technology innovations,” explained Betsy Biemann, President of MTI. “These awardees are companies doing exceptional work on the front lines of managing the costs and risks of new product research and development that will enable them to grow and remain competitive in the global marketplace. As we support them in their aspirations, we help usher in a better economy for Maine. With every round of Development Awards we make, we see the promise of Maine’s future.”

MTI Development Awards of up to $500,000 are offered three times a year on a competitive basis to support early activities for product development, commercialization, technology transfer and business planning and development.

Each award requires a minimum 1:1 dollar match consisting of actual cash, salaries, staff time or equipment and in-kind contributions directly attributable to the proposed project.

The application deadline for the next round of awards is June 7, 2010.

MTI encourages technology start-ups, existing businesses and institutions to apply and offers support to interested companies on the application process. Workshops for companies interested in applying for Development Awards are being offered on March 31 and April 1 in Gardiner and Portland.

Award Recipients:

Aquaculture and Marine Technology

Sea and Reef Aquaculture, LLC, located in Orono will use its Development Award to conduct research for the commercialization of marine ornamental fish. Specific research will focus on transitioning brood stockfish production from synthetic saltwater to natural seawater and to adapt re-circulating technology for the intensive culture of fish food for marine ornamental fish.
Award: $200,000 Match: $454,208


Pondera Pharmaceuticals, Inc, located in Pownal, will use its Development Award to complete the trial design and to secure University of New England School of Pharmacy (UNE-COP) Institution Review Board (IRB) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of their patent-pending combination of ultra-low-dose drugs to enhance the pain relieving qualities of the body’s own pain relievers, known as endorphins. With these drugs, moderate to severe pain can be treated from within the patient’s own body rather than by flooding it with narcotic opioid drugs that have notorious side effects and risks of abuse.
Award: $50,000 Match: $50,000

Composite Manufacturing

Harbor Technologies, LLC, located in Brunswick, will use its Development Award to commercialize a new hybrid-composite bridge system that combines the durability and flexibility of a composite stay-in-place form with the low-cost and functional advantages of concrete and steel. The result is a bridge system that exploits the extended service life inherent in composite materials while still providing a product that is cost-competitive with conventional bridge materials.
Award: $405,498 Match: $556, 664

Kenway Corporation, located in Augusta, will use their Development Award to further develop their Temperature Control Molding (TCM) process with specific application to shaped tooling. Early phases of the research will refine the technology on flat tooling and distribute this technology to (10) Maine composites companies and institutions, providing these organizations with a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.
Award: $500,000 Match: $1,185,460

Environmental Technology

ORPC Maine, LLC, located in Portland, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Portland-based Ocean Renewable Power Company, LLC, will use its Development Award to accelerate production of OCGen™ model for tidal energy from a pre-commercial phase to commercial production, in the process boosting Maine’s traditional industries as well as its emerging technologies.
Award: $285,000 Match: $1,784,535

Information Technology

Kepware Technologies, located in Portland, will use their Development Award to expand their market to other major hardware manufacturers with the design of their first non-Windows OPC (OLE for Process Control) product. Both Mitsubishi and National Instruments are interested in Kepware’s capabilities to “embed” the Kepware control device into their operating systems. With this Award, Kepware will hire six students from the University of Maine’s Electrical Engineering program.
Award: $500,000 Match: $525,000

Precision Manufacturing

mWave Industries, LLC, located in Windham, will use its Development Award to design, test and commercialize a parabolic microwave antenna product line including a prototype design, onsite design review, design for manufacturing and commercialization and sales and marketing efforts.
Award: $221,510 Match: $281,123