Ben Franklin to Invest $342,547 in PA Technology Companies


Source: Marketwire

BETHLEHEM, PA -- (Marketwire) -- 06/05/12 -- The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) board approved the investment of $342,547 in regional companies. BFTP/NEP is an award-winning, state-funded economic development organization that links early-stage technology firms and established manufacturers with experts, universities, funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation.

Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 15,479 new jobs and retain 21,459 existing jobs, to start 429 new companies, and to develop 1,127 new products and processes. Ben Franklin has returned $3.50 to Pennsylvania for every $1.00 invested in the program.

BFTP/NEP will invest in early-stage technology firms:

ArioTech, Bethlehem - $50,000
Customize and deploy a new type of information-sharing platform for hospital-discharged chronically ill patients and their care providers, and pilot the technology in three major hospitals. Released patients will better able to adhere to medication regimens and manage symptoms. They will more efficiently communicate with their providers about important physiological information including blood sugar, blood pressure, and pulse oximetry. This will help hospitals lower costs and improve patient experiences and health outcomes.

BioSample Solutions LLC, Bethlehem - $70,000
Complete development and begin commercialization of the BioCookie™, a proprietary sample preparation technique for application in DNA and RNA extraction technology. BioSample manufactures DNA and RNA extraction kits for lab tests on blood and saliva. These new tests will allow for the development of increasingly sophisticated drugs and more personalized medicine regimes. Sample preparation will be greatly simplified and accomplished at twice the speed of the current methodology.

Sunstream Earth, Allentown - $110,000
Complete construction and testing of a prototype of a new type of solar-powered thermal generator for electricity production. This technology will allow electricity to be produced on-site utilizing only ambient solar heat, without the need for connection to the power grid. The generator requires a much smaller footprint and is more efficient than conventional solar-generation technologies.

BFTP/NEP will invest in established manufacturers.

Alpha Packaging, Bethlehem - $48,000
With Lehigh University, implement practices and install equipment to reduce energy consumption by 20% at this manufacturer of plastic bottles and jars primarily for the nutritional, pharmaceutical, personal care, houseware, consumer chemical, and food and beverage markets. The plastic container industry is highly competitive both domestically and internationally, and controlling energy costs is essential to maintaining competitive advantage.

EcoTech Marine LLC, Bethlehem - $25,000
With Lehigh University, improve supply chain processes through modifications to an existing Enterprise Resource Planning system, and plan for expansion into a larger space. EcoTech's patented VorTech propeller pump is located outside of hobby reef aquariums, providing better heat control and flow. EcoTech has enjoyed outstanding sales with the pump. Its new Radion LED lighting unit improves aquarium growth, coverage, and energy efficiency, and provides a customizable spectral output.

Highwood USA, LLC, Tamaqua - $14,547
With Pennsylvania College of Technology, improve heat resistance and impact strength of styrenic plastic, a material used in the production of synthetic wood. Highwood manufactures and markets a line of extruded synthetic wood products for fencing, decks and docks, outdoor furniture, spa cabinets, walkways, and railings. The synthetic wood products markets are growing, and these material improvements will allow the company to attract a greater market share.

Vigon International, East Stroudsburg - $25,000
With Lehigh University's Enterprise Systems Center, automate the batch record management system and the work order information system at this manufacturer and supplier of high-quality flavor and fragrance ingredients. By improving these systems at Vigon, the company will be able to increase its market share and add new capabilities to its operation.

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