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COLUMBIA - Two MU researchers received $600,000 in grants Thursday from the new University of Missouri System Enterprise Investment Program. The new program has $2.8 million to invest in start-up companies, with no single project receiving more than $500,000.

System officials said they were looking for early-stage, high-tech start-up companies working to commercialize technologies that originated on a campus of the University of Missouri system.  With the university's investment, private investors have became interested in one project and have given money.

"If we would step into the ring, and put some skin in the game. We could attract other seed funding groups and get them the right amount of money. So they can grow their company, create jobs, and grow the Mid-Missouri economy." said Mark Nichols, vice president of research and economic development.

HLB Horizons got $400,000 to use a new process developed at MU to manufacture a chemical compound used in semi-conductors and rechargeable batteries.  The compound also could have medical and military applications according to the president Mark Lee.

"Our plan for this money is to move from the laboratory scale to the pilot plant scale. So this year we are going to demonstrate production at the pound scale. We are moving from the ounce scale to the pound scale. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it is." said Lee.

Lee said he hopes to move to a larger factory after a year.

EternoGen was the other company chosen out of the field of 16 for the grant.  It received $200,000 and created a longer-lasting "skin-filler" for cosmetic needs.

Both companies exist only in MU laboratories at this point.

The next application process is from March 1 to May 31 and more information can be found on EIP's website.