Phase Inc., part of Cornelius business incubator, lands NIH grant

Jeff Schultz, co-founder Phase

Jan. 25. Phase Inc., which is operating out of the First Turn Innovations business incubator in Cornelius, has received a grant from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) to collaborate on 3D printing of medical devices.

The grant will open new doors to bio-innovation, said Jeff Schultz, co-founder of Phase and co-founder of First Turn Innovations.

Phase is partnering with Virginia Tech on the project that will further the use of micro-fluidics, which are test tubes of the digital age and can facilitate the development of next-generation therapeutics and diagnostic breakthroughs using “organ-on-a-chip” models.

Phase technology allows for the fabrication of micro-fluidic devices that are multilayered and have features such as electrodes and gels embedded into the devices.

“We look forward to leveraging this grant to further develop our technology to expand the capabilities of creating micro-fluidics in ways that are not possible with existing 3D printing or conventional manufacturing technologies,” Schultz said.

The size of the Small Business Innovation Research grant was not disclosed.


Having diagnostic or electrical devices embedded into 3D printed micro-fluidic devices has the potential to change the way bio-med tools are created, according to Rafael Davalos, a professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics in the Virginia Tech–Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.

Business incubator in Cornelius

First Turn Innovations’ co-founder is Kevin Mahl, an engineer by training, real estate developer and CEO of Cornelius-based Champion Tire & Wheel.

Kevin Mahl

First Turn is an engineering and hardware business incubator where entrepreneurs have access to capital and seasoned investors who can help commercialize ideas. The incubator taps into the network of investors and innovators in the Lake Norman region.

“It is a community where ideas come to life through the collaborative efforts of a highly skilled pool of human capital,” Mahl said.


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