News Release

Mousensor, LLC receives NSF SBIR to decode the human sense of smell

Grant and Award Announcement

The City University of New York

NEW YORK, NY, 08/30/17 - MOUSENSOR, LLC has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $225,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on decoding the human sense of smell.

MouSensor, LLC is an early-stage biotech company that engineers super sniffer mice to build a human-nose-on-a-chip based on fundamental research performed at the Feinstein lab for Neurogenetics at Hunter College, The City University of New York (CUNY). The company's bold vision is to detect, discover and digitize every single smell on this planet -ranging from the fragrances in a perfumer's palette to the Chardonnay in your wine cellar. The company's first target market is the $1.5B Fragrance & Flavor R&D pipeline by providing an objective assay to engineer scents in a rational and streamlined way. By providing a prediction model of how a molecule will smell, Mousensor, LLC enables Fragrance Houses to increase their competitive advantage through the development of unique and sustainable products.

With support of the Michael J Fox Foundation, the company is also employing the MouSensor technology to develop a Parkinson's specific-nose-on-a-chip. Finding a biomarker for (early-stage) Parkinson's disease (PD) is the biggest need in the field right now; a PD nose-on-a-chip has potential applications in patient stratification, treatment monitoring and ultimately as a companion diagnostic.

CUNY has an extensive protection of the background intellectual property, which forms the basis for the MouSensor platform technology. "I have been working with the company from the beginning and is excited that they are in the process of acquiring an exclusive license from CUNY that will further aid in leveraging the technology to the fullest," says Neeti Mitra, Senior Manager, CUNY Technology Commercialization Office

"The National Science Foundation supports small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts," said Barry Johnson, Director of the NSF's Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships. "We hope that this seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology."

"Basically we aim to leverage the human sense of smell which has been fine-tuned through millions of years of evolution and integrate it with state-of-the art silicon chip technology to fully digitize the sense of smell, much like the RGB code for vision," says Dr. Charlotte D'Hulst, co-developer of the platform and CEO of the company.


Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $225,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $750,000). Small businesses with Phase II grants are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.

NSF accepts Phase I proposals from small businesses twice annually in June and December. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program undergo a rigorous merit-based review process.

To learn more about the NSF SBIR/STTR program, visit:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awards nearly $190 million annually to startups and small businesses through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. The non-dilutive grants support research and development (R&D) across almost all areas of science and technology helping companies de-risk technology for commercial success. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $7 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

The City University of New York is the nation's leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, and additional professional schools. The University serves nearly 275,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adults, continuing and professional education students.

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