Fayetteville-based medical device startup Lapovations LLC announced Monday (June 7) receiving a $100,000 grant from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. The startup was awarded the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II Matching Grant.
The program provides the matching grant to the $1 million SBIR Phase II grant Lapovations received from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in September 2020. The matching grant money is expected to create and retain high-wage and high-skill jobs, encourage small businesses in Arkansas to use federally-funded research programs, increase the amount of SBIR money invested in Arkansas businesses and support the retention and growth of companies in the state, according to a news release.
The Phase II grant money will be used for the continued development of Lapovations’ flagship product, AbGrab, a surgical assist device that allows laparoscopic surgeons to lift the abdominal wall more reliably and less invasively at the start of laparoscopic procedures.
“This funding will help us accelerate our go-to-market efforts to launch AbGrab in the U.S.,” said Jared Greer, co-founder and CEO of Lapovations. “We are excited and grateful for the continued support from the AEDC.”
Lapovations previously received a $50,000 SBIR Phase I Matching Grant from the AEDC after receiving a $225,000 SBIR Phase I grant from NSF in early 2019. The grant money was used for research and development. The matching funds from the new grant will help to fill gaps on ancillary clinical research and commercialization initiatives that are important to support the startup’s growth.
Lapovations also was approved for the Research and Development Tax Credit program by the AEDC. The program offers income tax credits equal to 33% of qualified research and development expenses per year for up to five years. Tax credits under the program can be carried forward for nine years and may offset up to 100% of a business’s tax liability in a year.
“The programs offered to Arkansas-based companies through the AEDC are critical to our success as a startup and as we graduate into a growing, thriving business,” Greer said. “Their efforts are helping us innovate and improve the standard of care for laparoscopy.”
In February, Lapovations became registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recorded the first U.S. sale of its AbGrab product. Work to bring the product to market started in mid-2016 after Dr. Chris Taylor, a laparoscopic surgeon from Harrison, approached Greer about the idea for the product.