EDC’s Small Business Loan Fund gives $625,000 to four RI companies

The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation announced today that it has closed $625,000 in loans to four Rhode Island companies through the EDC’s Small Business Loan Fund.

“These loans are tangible evidence that EDC is working hard to meet our commitment to assist the existing businesses of Rhode Island,” said EDC Executive Director Michael McMahon. “We will continue to use every resource at our disposal, including the SBLF – to help local businesses deal with the pressing demands of growing and expanding their businesses and creating jobs in Rhode Island.”

The businesses receiving SBLF funds are:

Providence-based BX Technologies, Inc., a full service Internet hosting and Web development company, received $250,000. BX Technologies was originally incorporated as bx.com in 1995. Its services range from hosting business websites to developing and designing e-commerce and content management systems for mid-market companies. The company moved to Rhode Island from Needham as part of the state’s “mass-exodus.com” project in 2000 and is currently located in Davol Square. BX will use the SBLF money to consolidate equipment leases saving the company over $30,000 per month.

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Lincoln-based Nephros Therapeutics, Inc. – a venture funded, clinical stage cellular therapy company dedicated to the design, development and commercialization of human cell replacement systems – also received $250,000. Nephros is a biotechnology company whose mission is to treat severe organ failure with novel bio-replacement therapies. Nephros Therapeutics’ initial product is Renal Bio-replacement Therapy (RBT(tm)), designed to treat Acute Renal Failure (ARF) patients in the intensive care unit by providing vital physiological functions as transitional support to enable recovery. With promising data from preclinical and early human clinical studies, the company plans to initiate Phase II clinical trials for the RBT(tm) in 2003. The company has gathered all of the requisite management, clinical, regulatory, manufacturing and business development skills and resources for commercialization, and is channeling them toward bringing RBT(tm) to market as expeditiously as possible. In 2002, Nephros leased the former CytoTherapeutics manufacturing facility in Lincoln, RI that now houses their corporate headquarters, product and process development and clinical and regulatory affairs departments. The company also maintains a research and development operation in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Twenty jobs are expected to be added in RI as a result of this loan.

Verdant Technologies, Inc. of East Providence received $75,000. Since its commercial launch in the spring of 2002, Verdant has quickly established itself as a leader in the development and supply of environmentally sound products and processes for companies that manufacture $10 billion dollars annually in composite/fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) parts and finished goods for the automotive, aerospace, marine, rail, container, commercial infrastructure and other industries. With the aid of a $157,000 loan from the Slater Center for Marine and Environmental Technologies, Verdant moved to Rhode Island and shifted focus to developing and patenting proprietary resin and fiber technologies to meet emerging needs of the wider FRP market. The Company hopes to close long-term, multi-million dollar contracts with several Fortune 500 companies, including a large†automotive body panel manufacturer and a global wind energy turbine blade producer, who have engaged Verdant to assist with conversion to cleaner, more efficient production using its products and process technologies by the end of this year. The SBLF funds will be primarily used for permanent working capital, research and development and production activities related to those prospective contracts. Verdant was able to immediately hire two additional employees after receiving the SBLF commitment and expects to hire four more employees by year-end 2003.

Madison Cutting Tools, Inc. of Pawtucket received $50,000. Madison primarily manufactures hole processing cutting tools to a broad number of industrial customers. Most of the sales are in the US but Madison also exports close to 10 percent of its sales volume to a number of customers in Europe and Asia. The company is in the process of entering two new areas of business, one to supply burnishing tools and the second to establish Madison as a sub-contract manufacturer of parts and components. Madison currently has an opportunity to become a sub contractor for a large, local manufacturer of construction equipment but needs additional working capital in order to service this opportunity. The SBLF funds would be used for this purpose. The company currently employs 24 people and anticipates further hiring this year.

For more information about the SBLF, interested parties can contact RIEDC’s Financial Services Division at 401-222-2601 or go to www.riedc.com.