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Company Uses SBA's Small Business Innovation Research Program to Grow

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Brief description of the business: Formed in October 2003 in Pennsylvania, Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. relocated to Kentucky in January 2008 where it has since established itself as a leading gene editing company. The company differentiates itself from competitors by “offering unique gene editing technology, strong intellectual property and advanced technical capabilities.” Transposagen products and services include off-the-shelf gene editing reagents, custom cell line engineering and custom animal model creation. The company has provided off-the-shelf and custom genetically modified rats, mice and cell lines to many of the premier scientific companies and institutions around the world. Transposagen’s team of experts understands the challenges of biomedical research, and works one-on-one with customers to ensure delivery of the best models and reagents to fit their exact needs.

In November 2014, Transposagen entered a major research collaboration and worldwide license agreement with Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen) to develop allogeneic Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cells (CAR-T). To date, CAR-T therapies have shown promise in early human clinical trials for the treatment of blood cancers, and allogeneic CAR-Ts have potential use as off-the-shelf cancer treatments without the need of matching donor with recipient. This research project, in collaboration with Janssen, will be led by Poseida Therapeutics, Inc., (Poseida) a newly developed spin off company of Transposagen launched in early 2015. In addition to Poseida, Transposagen has also launched Hera BioLabs, a toxicology and genetic testing company. Transposagen continues to grow and recently expanded its headquarters by building additional state-of-the-art cell culture space that triples its capacity to innovate custom cell models.

Transposagen actively promotes interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in various ways, and was highlighted by Second Lady of the U.S., Dr. Jill Biden in February 2012 during her “Community College to Career” tour at Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) in Lexington, KY, for its involvement with BCTC.  Three years later, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet highlighted Transposagen for exemplary use of SBIR grants towards exceptional business growth and innovation to kick-off the 2015 Federal SBIR/STTR Road tour in Louisville KY. Additionally, the company is partnering with University of Kentucky in their “Partnering with Research, Industries to Develop (STEM) Educators for College and Career Readiness” program, which develops STEM educators by fostering relationships with scientists and providing hands-on experience in research labs.

SBA Assistance: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) helps Americans to start, grow and succeed with their own companies. Key to accomplishing the SBA’s goals are two programs: the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR). Through these competitive programs, SBA ensures that the nation’s high-tech, innovative small businesses are a significant part of the federal government’s research and development (R&D) efforts.

These programs have helped tens thousands of small businesses over the years. SBA recognizes the cream of the crop, companies and individuals across the country that have used their SBIR/STTR funds to advance technological innovation and stimulate economic growth, with its Tibbetts Awards.

Named after Roland Tibbetts, who was instrumental in developing the SBIR program, the Tibbetts Awards are presented annually to those who are beacons of promise and models of excellence in high technology. Winners are selected based on the economic impact of their technological innovation and the extent to which that innovation served federal R&D needs, encouraged diverse participation, and increased the commercialization of federal research. Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. received a Tibbetts Award in 2015 for its participation in the SBIR Phase I and II award programs.

Number of employees: 30

Community Involvement: Transposagen works closely with academic and non-profit institutes through research collaborations and career opportunities.

Learn more about SBA’s loan programs, free counseling services and other small business programs at, your lender, and your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), SCORE Chapter or Women’s Business Center.

Company Name: 
Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.
535 West Second Street, Suite 10, Lexington, KY 40508