The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors has recently invested more than $450,000 in early-stage firms.

Recipients of the latest round of funding include advanced life sciences firms, high-tech manufacturers and more.

The Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners network has returned $3.50 to the state treasury for every $1 invested in the program.

Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 15,479 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 21,459 existing jobs, to start 429 new companies, and to develop 1,127 new products and processes. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania owns and manages Ben Franklin TechVentures®, an award-winning business incubator/post-incubator facility on Lehigh University’s campus in Bethlehem at which it is headquartered. BFTP/NEP also manages the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center in Bloomsburg. The Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners network has returned $3.50 to the state treasury for every $1 invested in the program.

ArioTech, Bethlehem, Northampton County

Ben Franklin Investment: $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 northeastern U.S. hospitals. Released patients will better able to adhere to their medication regimens, manage their symptoms, and learn more about their diseases. They will more efficiently communicate with their care providers about important physiological information including blood sugar, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, and others. This will help hospitals lower costs and improve patient experiences and health outcomes.

BioSample Solutions LLC, Bethlehem, Northampton County

Ben Franklin Investment: $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 laboratory 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.

Cernostics, Inc., Danville, Montour County

Ben Franklin Investment: $55,000

Validate a diagnostic and prognostic test that predicts the risk of developing esophageal cancer in patients with Barrett’s Esophagus. The test employs a “spatial systems biology approach” to anatomic pathological testing, in contrast with the current pathology testing that is a largely manual and subjective process. Cernostics will continue further development of this molecular diagnostic test with biopsy specimens and clinical data from Geisinger Health System, Danville, in order to select and refine biomarkers and complete software development. Additional clinical validation studies will lead to commercialization of the test via Cernostics’ clinical reference laboratory.

EggZackBen Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County

Ben Franklin Investment: $30,000

Refine a strategy for assembling a strategic partner network to help EggZack market and sell its software as a service (SaaS) solution to a much larger base of customers. The patent-pending SaaS platform requires only a single entry to update a client’s website and other marketing functions, broadcasting the information immediately to more than 20 types of media, including social media such as the company website and blog, email, local media, and publications. Such tools are needed by small- to medium-sized retailers, restaurants, and other companies to promote themselves more effectively and profitably. The service can also serve as a value-add to the members and clients of organizations, franchises, and creative marketing agencies.

Sunstream Earth, Allentown, Lehigh County

Ben Franklin Investment: $110,000

Complete construction and testing of a prototype of a new type of solar-powered thermal generator for electricity production. This new 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.

Taylored Building Solutions, LLC, Taylor, Lackawanna County

Ben Franklin Investment: $60,000

Complete a computer program to manage the financial function of this manufacturer of high-end modular homes and components for traditional stick-built homes. With this investment, the company will also implement novel marketing and sales strategies.

Viddler, Inc., Bethlehem, Northampton County

Ben Franklin Investment: $33,000

Continue enhancing Viddler’s selling and marketing activities to extend its positioning as the leading small- to mid-sized business on-line video solutions provider worldwide. Viddler’s video solutions enable better customer retention, learning, engagement, and profitability for clients. The company delivers complete on-line video management, monetization, distribution, and visibility on the leading devices.

XiGo Nanotools, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County

Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000

Organize manufacturing policies and procedures to prepare for expanded sales at this manufacturer of Acorn Area. The Acorn Area is a patented, shoebox-size device that rapidly measures the wetted surface area of nano-particles using magnetic resonance imaging technology. Nano-particles are minute; they typically have diameters that are 1/1,000th the diameter of a human hair. Measuring the wetted surface area of nano-particle directly relates to product performance in many industrial applications including energy, electronics, ceramics, and pharmaceuticals. Nanoparticle properties are key predictors of material performance, and currently there are no efficient methods to measure wetted nano-particle surface area.