Pharmaceutical Company Receives SBA PPP Loans & Research Grants

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  • Estimates show that developing a single prescription drug that gains market approval cost $2.6 billion. The further a drug goes into this process, from R&D to clinical trials to manufacturing, the more costly this financial roadblock becomes. 
  • Kentucky-based Bexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the development and commercialization of innovative cures for cancer. Although it has been a challenge, the Bexion team will not give up on what is perhaps life-changing and sought-after cancer treatments.


  • Bexion received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health in 2009. The U.S. Small Business Administration, which helps Americans start, grow, expand and recover their businesses, administers the SBIR and its  sister program, Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR).
  • Through these competitive award programs, SBA ensures that the nation’s high-tech, innovative, small businesses are a significant part of the federal government’s research and development efforts. 
  • The SBIR-STTR grant programs have helped over 10,000 small businesses through the years. SBA recognizes the cream of the crop—those 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.
  • In 2015, Bexion Pharmaceuticals received a prestigious Tibbetts Award for its participation in the SBIR Phase I and II award programs.
  • When COVID-19 struck in 2020, Bexion was impacted like every other firm in the country. The company took advantage of the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), forgivable loans to keep employees on the payroll. Bexion received its initial PPP loan in April 2020 and a PPP Second Draw loan in early 2021. 


  • Since 2009, Bexion has leveraged SBIR grants to help pay for the costly process of drug development and clinical trials specially targeted for brain tumors. In 2013, Bexion received a prestigious SBIR Bridge Award for $3 million.
  • One unexpected opportunity for Bexion was being located in Kentucky, one of a very few states that has a matching funds program. The Kentucky SBIR/STTR  Matching Funds Program, available through Cabinet for Economic Development, provides matching funds for Phase I and Phase II grants.
  • For Bexion, this dollar-for-dollar match was invaluable. “We received matching funds from Kentucky just three weeks after we received the SBIR Phase I grant,” stated Dr. Takigiku. 
  • After receiving multiple SBIR awards, Bexion has gone on to attract millions of dollars in private investment capital and state funding.
  • The company received funding from the Kentucky Enterprise Fund (KEF), a state-sponsored, venture capital-like fund that invests in Kentucky-based seed and early state technology companies.  
  • Dr. Takigiku proudly accepted the 2015 SBA Tibbetts Award for excellence in SBIR/STTR and attributes the program for the success of Bexion thus far.
  • “Bexion is an example of why the SBIR/STTR program exists,” said Robert Coffey, SBA Kentucky District Director. “Without this program, small businesses would be severely challenged in obtaining funding for such cutting-edge research.
  • District Director Coffey continued, “And the PPP loans that Bexion received in the middle of a pandemic provided a life-line at a crucial time.” 
This article does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the SBA of any opinions, products, or services of any private individual or entity.