LSU HSCNO Spin-Out Awarded $1.9M in STTR Fast Track Funding


New Orleans, LA – The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a $1.9 million Fast-Track Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to South Rampart Pharma. The New Orleans life science company is developing a new class of non-opioid medicines to relieve pain and reduce fever discovered at and licensed from LSU Health New Orleans, its formal collaborating research institution.

The grant will fund late-stage, pre-clinical development of the new analgesic/antipyretic and will also support continued collaboration with LSU Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence on pain mechanisms. A paper describing the patented new drug was recently published in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

 “The safe treatment of acute and chronic pain is one of the most prevalent and costly public health issues worldwide,” said Hernan Bazan, MD, DFSVS, FACS, CEO and co-founder of South Rampart Pharma, and Professor of Surgery at the Ochsner Clinic, who is the Principal Investigator of the grant. “Current medications are either highly addictive or cause harm to the liver or kidney with overuse.”

“This startup company represents the clinical translational application of LSU Health New Orleans’ discoveries, and this grant funding will help us advance the development of one of our lead drugs that as a non-narcotic, has no abuse potential, and lacks the liver and kidney toxicity associated with over-the-counter analgesics,” said Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, scientific co-founder of South Rampart Pharma, and Director of LSU Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence.

 According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the burden of pain in the United States is astounding.  More than 100 million Americans have pain that persists for weeks to years.  The financial toll of this epidemic costs $560 billion to $635 billion per year. Pain is ultimately a challenge for family, friends, and health care providers who must give support to the individual suffering from the physical as well as the emotional consequences of pain.

The NIH says the Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) and STTR programs are an integral source of capital for early-stage U.S. small businesses that are creating innovative technologies to improve health. These programs help small businesses break into the federal research and development (R&D) arena, create lifesaving technologies, and stimulate economic growth. The NIH STTR program is similar to the NIH SBIR program but requires that the small business formally collaborates with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. The NIH Fast-Track application process expedites award decisions and funding of SBIR and STTR Phase II applications for scientifically meritorious projects that have a high potential for commercialization. In 2019, there were only 19 Competing NIH STTR fast-track Commercialization grants awarded in the U.S. In the past decade, there have been no grants of this type awarded to institutions in the state of Louisiana.

Dr. Robert Naismith, co-founder of the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, who has founded several life science companies, said, “The discovery by South Rampart Pharma of a potentially safer new chemical entity for the treatment of pain has the potential to be a major clinical advance. The underlying science clearly speaks to a unique mechanism of action, which is recognized by the critical support of the NIH and the NINDS fast-track designation.”

“Both acute and chronic pain affects hundreds of millions of people around the world. Current pain medications often have side-effects that may be serious, especially in elderly individuals affected by chronic illnesses. The development of new safe analgesics is mandatory in particular for these patients. I am excited to learn of the development of a new class of non-opioid drugs developed by SRP, which has recently won NIH support,” said Prof. Pierluigi Nicotera, MD, PhD, and Founding Director of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn, Germany.

“Pain is a serious problem for many people in the world and the possibility for a novel, safe, effective and non-addictive treatment is of high importance,” said Dr. Marianne Schultzberg, Professor of Neurobiology at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.




About LSU Health New Orleans:

LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans educates Louisiana’s health care professionals. The state’s flagship health sciences university, LSU Health New Orleans includes a School of Medicine with branch campuses in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, the state’s only School of Dentistry, Louisiana’s only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSU Health New Orleans faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research in a number of areas in a worldwide arena, the LSU Health New Orleans research enterprise generates jobs and enormous economic impact. LSU Health New Orleans faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment, or cure disease. To learn more, visit,, or

About South Rampart Pharma (SRP):

SRP is committed to improving the lives of people suffering from acute, chronic, or neuropathic pain by a new non-opioid pain medication. SRP’s proprietary compounds are effective in reducing both pain and fever in pre-clinical studies without liver and kidney toxicity that are associated with current common over the counter analgesics. SRP is working with top medicinal chemists across the United States and in Spain at clinical and academic research centers to develop oral and intravenous formulations (

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MAJOR NEWS: NOBIC wins $1.5M EDA Award

New Orleans BioInnovation Center Awarded $1.5 Million Grant from U.S. EDA

Incubator anticipates creating or retaining 650 jobs and attracting $75 million in private capital

NEW ORLEANS (Sep. 17, 2020) — The New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC) has won a $1.5 million award through the United States Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Build to Scale (B2S) Venture Challenge which seeks to support entrepreneurship and accelerate company growth in communities, regions, or a combination of regions. In an effort to accommodate an increase in research and development activity and adapt to the new challenges facing the South Louisiana region, NOBIC will use these funds to strengthen the competitiveness of the bio-industry through new technology development and increase the number of full-time job opportunities in innovation-based ventures in the state.

“Since the BioInnovation Center opened its doors in 2011 and the BioFund began investing in 2012, we have seen significant growth within the biotech industry in Louisiana,” said Executive Director (interim) of the BioInnovation Center and Managing Director of the New Orleans BioFund Kris Khalil. “However, that momentum had stalled due to a lack of robust wrap-around support services for researchers seeking to commercialize novel technologies. We are thrilled to be receiving this highly competitive award to accelerate not only our state’s technology commercialization activities, but also the specialized job growth in new industries that we so desperately need. We look forward to partnering with those in our region who wish to improve health outcomes via integrating advanced technology and novel treatments into our health systems.”

NOBIC’s enhanced commercialization program will help regional innovators apply for non-dilutive funding, de-risk their technologies, gain exposure, and connect with key stakeholders. To accomplish this, NOBIC plans to: Partner with local health systems to establish a streamlined pathway for entrepreneurs to attain contracts for pilot projects; create a workforce development program to engage regional students and connect startups with qualified prospective employees; and provide fundraising, grant writing, and wrap-around support.

“By providing Louisiana-based biotech companies with these customized commercialization services, such as assistance with local tax incentive programs and technology assessments, coupled with premier facilities and a comprehensive support network, NOBIC’s efforts are not only dramatically enhancing economic development here in the state, but also improving health outcomes globally,” said Patrick Norton, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Tulane University and chair of NOBIC’s Board of Directors. “The Center will thus be able to expand its impact beyond the 350 innovators who have already received specialized support to create new high-growth businesses such as Advano, Axosim, Fluence Analytics, and more that have emerged from Tulane and other local institutions.”

“Over the last decade, the healthcare industry has become a much greater focus for regional stakeholders, as Louisiana entrepreneurs have formed more than 300 new biotech and healthcare companies,” said Dean of LSU Health New Orleans and Vice-Chair of NOBIC’s Board of Directors, Dr. Steve Nelson. “Louisiana universities have been driving the growth of the life science industry by supporting start-ups emerging from our research labs, and with this funding NOBIC will be able to further bolster this growth.”

“This award will provide an exceptional advantage for NOBIC as they continue to establish their position as a leading biotech hub,” said Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development, Don Pierson, CEcD. “Our partnership approach to commercializing new technologies in the healthcare and life science arena for strategic technology-based economic development is based on innovation and leveraging our substantial anchor institutions and the tremendous intellectual capacity here. LED is proud to continue to support NOBIC’s efforts which will build and diversify the region’s economy with new jobs in the high-paying health sciences sector, and ultimately build a more resilient Louisiana.”

“This award will go a long way for Louisiana as we work to empower our state’s innovators to create successful biotech businesses,” said Dr. Reynold Verret, president of Xavier University. “This new workforce development program will further prepare students in the state to step directly into roles within our life science entrepreneurial ecosystem. Xavier looks forward to partnering with NOBIC on this timely and important project.” Through this award and subsequent advancement of Louisiana’s innovation-centric economy, NOBIC anticipates catalyzed job growth and enhanced global competitiveness – creating or retaining 650 jobs and attracting $75 million in private capital through the award period.

For more information on NOBIC, visit


About New Orleans BioInnovation Center :

The New Orleans BioInnovation Center (“NOBIC”) is a non-profit business incubator focused on advancing life science entrepreneurship and technology commercialization in Louisiana. The mission of NOBIC is to create a successful biotech ecosystem by providing emerging companies with customized commercialization services, premier facilities, and a comprehensive support network. Through relationships with research institutions, economic development organizations, and industry stakeholders, NOBIC helps its clients de-risk novel technologies, attract funding, and improve global health outcomes. For more information, visit

PRESS RELEASE: ReactWell Receives U.S. Department of Energy Funding

Louisiana Company Receives U.S. Department of Energy Funding

LTTO Client Secures Award to Advance an Integrated Carbon Dioxide Capture and Conversion to Ethanol Technology

A Louisiana Technology Transfer Office (LTTO) client company, ReactWell, L.L.C., based out of New Orleans, announced it has secured a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for $1,500,000 along with its Tennessee partner, Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The purpose of the grant is to fund an integrated process for direct air capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) and convert it, through a single-step process, into ethanol.

ReactWell is grateful to announce that it is the recipient of a grant from the Department of Energy for $1,500,000 with its partner, Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The purpose of the grant is to fund an integrated process for direct air capture of CO2 Carbon Miner™ and H2O and convert it, through a single-step process catalyzed by Carbon Nanospikes™, into an ethanol product called Voltanol®.

In 2018, Reactwell licensed a novel technology: a catalyst, using copper and Carbon Nanospikes™, that uses a single-step reaction to turn carbon dioxide and water into ethanol. Since then, Reactwell has focused on refining the process, and increasing efficiency, as a predicate to commercialization. The process has been led by Reactwell’s founder and chief technology officer, Brandon Iglesias, and its chief scientist, Yang Song.

The grant’s purpose is to enable Reactwell and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to further refine the process, increasing the process’ total efficiency from air capture and conversion to final product, ethanol. Oak Ridge Laboratory is one of the numerous federal R&D labs run by the DOE across the U.S. Reactwell’s mission for 2020 is to begin deploying the carbon nanospike based Chem Chip® commercially, including uses for both individual consumers and commercial businesses. Individual uses include generating ethanol from components sourced in the air for hand sanitizer – imagine a sanitizing dispenser that captures carbon dioxide and water from the air and converts them to ethanol, so it literally never runs out, an Endless Sanitizer™.

Commercial uses include carbon capture and energy storage at significantly higher energy densities than battery grid-scale storage. The process can benefit any carbon-producing industry. The end result, ethanol, can be used as a fuel, energy storage or for sanitization purposes. Furthermore, utilities will find the ethanol can be used as, in effect, a grid-scale battery storage solution, enabling renewable resources like wind and solar to create ethanol when they have excess capacity, then combust the ethanol or route it through fuel cells for energy production when the grid capacity is lacking generation.

“We are thankful that the Department of Energy has recognized the potential for this technology,” said Reactwell’s founder and chief technology officer, Brandon Iglesias. “We look forward to continued commercialization work with Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and at our location in Louisiana to further refine the catalyst and begin putting it into use to benefit Americans.”

Iglesias also noted that Reactwell’s focus aligns closely with Louisiana Governor John Bell Edwards’ recent Executive Order to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  “We hope to be able to work closely with the Governor’s Task Force to help achieve these very worthwhile goals,” added Iglesias.

Roy Keller, Director of Technology Transfer for LTTO explained the importance of maintaining a proactive working partnership for tech transfer with federal labs like Oak Ridge.  “We are constantly seeking ways to leverage our federal labs across the U.S. to form collaborative partnerships with Louisiana companies and with our state’s colleges and universities.”

For over a decade, Reactwell has received assistance from LTTO, including a recent Louisiana Phase 0 Program award $2,000 to support the company’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) proposal to compete for funding from the National Science Foundation for research and development on innovative chemical technologies.  The LTTO is designated by the state of Louisiana (Governor’s Office) as the official state entity responsible for providing support, training, and other assistance for the SBIR-STTR Program in Louisiana.


ReactWell is a tenant and client of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC) – a nonprofit business incubator focused on advancing life science entrepreneurship and technology commercialization in Louisiana and long-time resource partner to LTTO for support to the SBIR-STTR program in the state. In 2011 Reactwell moved into NOBIC and won a Tulane University Business Plan competition.

“We could not have the success achieved to-date in driving the state towards a culture of innovation without stakeholders like NOBIC,” observed Vic Johnson, a senior staff member at LTTO and manager of LTTO offices at the NASA Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Iglesias further noted that“The ability for ReactWell to scale and commercialize this technology here in Louisiana has been greatly influenced by the presence and support of the BioInnovation Center”.

The organization also completed the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Program at LSU which offers a 6-week training program providing critical market/commercialization evaluations on innovative technologies and a customer discovery grant in the amount of $3,000.

The Louisiana Technology Transfer Office, located at the Louisiana Business & Technology Center, LSU Innovation Park and at the NASA John C. Stennis Space Center, MS, is under the LSU Office of Research & Economic Development.