Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced Thursday that EndoCole LLC, a medical device company in Santa Barbara, has been awarded a $144,150 grant from the National Cancer Institute’s Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR).

EndoCole is developing a medical device intended to reduce the complexity and time required to perform colonoscopies advancing the goals of improving diagnosis and treatment of cancer as well as getting new medical devices to the marketplace.

“This award is great news for EndoCole,” Capps said. “This project is such a great example of how funding innovative ideas has a ripple effect on our society — it’s helping get a new technology to market and improving the screening and detection process for colon cancer. It’s truly a win-win.”

Jeff Vasek, CEO of EndoCole, stated, “The SBIR program was designed to foster early stage innovative technology with significant commercial potential. We felt that our technology met these criteria and are very grateful to the staff and outside experts at the National Cancer Institute for reviewing our proposal and recognizing these aspects in EndoCole’s technology.”

EndoCole’s efforts could make colonoscope insertion faster and safer with much less discomfort for the patient. Given that more than 20 million colonoscopies are performed each year in the United States and even more worldwide, this could provide broad benefit in the practice and costs associated with colon cancer prevention.

Capps has been a longtime supporter of the SBIR program. In 2011, she collaborated with a bipartisan group of her colleagues to push for the reauthorization of the SBIR program.

To highlight the importance of the program for the Central Coast during that time period, she visited Toyon Research Corporation in Goleta, a recipient of several SBIR awards, Other companies participating in the roundtable discussion included, Anasys Instruments, Frontier Technology Inc., LaunchPoint Technologies, Soraa Inc., Wyatt Technology and Transphorm, Inc., all of which have received SBIR awards.

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.