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Bits of Business | Keystone Nano to make big difference

Nano to make big difference

Keystone Nano, based in State College, was recently awarded a Small Business Innovation Research contract from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to apply its NanoJacket technology to create a novel cellular messaging therapy for influenza.

NanoJackets, according to a company press release, are nano-materials designed as smart and stealthy delivery systems for a range of medicines.

“The siRNA NanoJacket platform is widely applicable to many different diseases,” research leader Mylissa Parette said. “We are excited to extend this technology to infectious diseases through this project with NIAID.”

Influenza causes annual epidemics that infect up to 10 percent of adults and 30 percent of children worldwide, according to the company. Pandemics have also been caused by highly virulent influenza strains, including the 1918 pandemic during which 50 million people died.

Influenza tends to develop resistance and remains widespread with substantial impacts on global health and productiveness despite vaccination programs and therapies.

“This contract provides an important opportunity to combat a serious illness in a very novel way, and we are excited about the prospects,” Keystone Nano CEO Jeff Davidson added.

Keystone will work with a new partner, the Chicago-based IIT Research Institute, on the project. David Boltz will lead IITRI’s team of scientists to test the efficacy and safety of the anti-influenza siRNA NanoJackets developed during the project.

Open for business

A regional engineering company recently opened its sixth office.

Entech Engineering, based in Reading, announced that it opened a satellite office at 1524 W. College Ave., Suite 206.

“State College was strategically selected for an office location, so we could better service some nearby long-standing municipal clients as well as continue to grow our clientele in the region by helping clients make more informed decisions as they invest in their buildings and infrastructure,” Entech Vice President Robert Weir said. “Technology has greatly improved our ability to meet and interact with clients online, but there is still no true substitute for face-to-face meetings. Having staff nearby will increase the efficiency and frequency of these meetings.”

Michael Daschbach, who is a former principal of the company, will serve as the office manager for State College. The company employs about 100 people who serve customers in the municipal, higher education, manufacturing and natural gas markets.

Speeding up

Windstream Communications recently accepted about $13 million from the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund to expand and support broadband to about 70,000 rural customers in Pennsylvania, including 405 businesses and homes in Centre County.

The CAF support will enable Windstream to deliver broadband at speeds of at least 10 megabits per second for downloads and one Mbps uploads.

“Windstream’s decision to accept support from the Connect America Fund will greatly benefit its rural customers by expanding robust broadband in their communities,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a release. “The Connect America Fund is delivering on its promise of ensuring that all Americans have access to the opportunities provided by modern broadband service, no matter where they live.”

The FCC’s latest Broadband Progress Report said nearly 1 in 3 rural Americans lack access to 10/1 broadband, compared to 1 in 100 urban Americans, and the CAF is designed to close the rural-urban digital divide.

Open house in Bellefonte

Richard Foust opened Centre Audiology & Hearing Aids in May.

He wants to celebrate his first few months in business with an open house, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, at 252 Match Factory Place.

Visitors can sign up for a free hearing screening at the open house and then be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card. There will be snacks, giveaways and other specials.

Foust, who retired for a short period, told the Centre Daily Times in April that he decided to open the office to keep him busy.

“I was retired, but I didn’t like it,” Foust said. “My wife and I moved close to State College to retire, and I tried. I just didn’t have enough hobbies to keep me busy, so I’m going back to work. That will be my new hobby. I like to help people.”

New site for Ben Franklin

There’s a new web site for Ben Franklin Technology Partners.

It was built by Altitude Marketing, an integrated marketing agency serving technology-oriented B2B companies.

The site for BFTC, a provider of early stage funding and business support services to emerging technology-based companies, integrates smart information architecture with modern technology.

“Altitude started working with BFTP in 2004 — the organization was actually our first client — and they have been a great partners in the years since,” Altitude Marketing president Andrew Stanten said in a statement. “Launching a new website for BFTP | CNP that’s accessible across all devices is just the latest chapter in the Altitude/Ben Franklin Technology Partners relationship. We are proud to have helped the organization reflect its mission in an updated, seamless and intuitive way with up-to-date aesthetics and design.”