No. 214: Health is hot, what the French are up to and Crayola needs your help

It’s Tuesday again: Hope it’s a good one. Welcome new readers Sara, KC and Beth and all those others who go by numbers. Happy to have you aboard. You can send story ideas, tips, news releases, birthdays, criticisms and corrections to

Long Island’s Healthiest Companies: A new Innovate LI program recognizes local firms that promote workplace health and employee wellness. Nominations being accepted here now and mark your calendars for Sept. 13.

But first, this: The big news buried in last week’s budget continuation deal is that it adds $2 billion to National Institutes of Health funding instead of the $1.2 billion haircut proposed by the Trump administration.

That’s just for the rest of the current fiscal year and the president’s team is proposing almost $6 billion in fresh cuts for FY 2018, but it’s a life saver for Alzheimer’s research, former Vice President Joe Biden’s moonshot cancer initiative and a major brain-mapping effort.

The top beneficiary is the just-launching Precision Medicine Initiative, a 10-year effort to gather the medical data of 1 million agreeable Americans. The program is now in line for up to $230 million for its “beta batch” of 35,000 volunteers.

(I know what you’re thinking: My, those are expensive volunteers.)

The initiative hopes to significantly increase health care’s understanding of women and minorities, who heretofore have been lumped in with European-heritage white guys. At first, participants will answer personal health and history surveys and submit blood and urine samples. Whole genome sequencing and daily data from wearable devices would follow, at a projected cost of $400 million annually.

Outside the health arena, NASA received the biggest boost in the continuation funding, with an increase of almost 2 percent. Department of Energy funding for the giant fusion research accelerator being built in France, however, was slashed.

Live from Albany: The state has announced winners of the inaugural New York State Game Dev Challenge, which doled out $75,000 in prizes to young, really bright developers who are not from Long Island.

Also: The governor announced $87 million in grants for clean water initiatives, including a few bucks to combat nitrogen in Long Island waters.

Don’t forget: EisnerAmper’s Pivotal happening, today at The Space in Westbury.

Roadies take a stand: Christopher and Gregory Montalbano suffer Sawks hype and white chowder to get serious facetime at BIOMEDevice Boston. Well worth it.

The Debrief: We sit with SBU engineering professor Imin Kao, who directs the university’s Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence and in January succeeded Jeffrey Saelens as executive director of the SBU-anchored Manufacturing and Technology Resource Consortium. Lots going on there.

Charge on: Minnesota credit card magnate T. Denny Sanford gave $5 million to fund an expansion of LIU’s entrepreneur program.

Coming later today: Craft Beer Week essentials. Check

About our sponsor: Farrell Fritz, a full-service law firm with 15 practice groups, advises startups on entity formation, founder and shareholder agreements, funding, executive compensation and benefits, licensing and technology transfer, mergers and acquisitions and other strategic transactions. The firm’s blog, New York Venture Hub, discusses legal and business issues facing entrepreneurs and investors.

Ever wonder: Why no one ever figured out a way to turn plastic back into petroleum? A British guy named Adrian Griffiths says he has.

Holy owned subsidiary: The Vatican has its own startup accelerator. (Now if they can just make that loaves and fishes thing scalable.)

Slinking home: The Air Force’s secretive X-37B spacecraft, which has been orbiting Earth for two years on a mission about which the Pentagon remains mum, landed Sunday at Cape Canaveral. The sonic boom could be heard as far away as Tampa.

Missed a newsletter? Many are archived here.

Michigan Watch: The Wolverine State has created a $1 million fund to “de-risk” university spinoffs that might later qualify for state funding. Student/staff startups can qualify for up to $40,000 a pop.

Pot docs: The state’s official list of physicians who agreed to be named as being part of the medical marijuana program, by county.

Not exactly related: The annual NYC pot parade was held over the weekend. Some revelers carried a 52-foot inflatable joint.

Toasting history: More details on the Women’s Collaborative June 28 suffrage celebration, Cocktails and Conversation, are here. (Spoiler: Kathy Hochul’s coming.)

The rest of the Innovate calendar: Is here.

Viva la EU! Recently funded French companies that are probably pretty happy Marine Le Pen was not elected on Sunday:

+ Lille-based Xee delivers performance and safety info to an app using data from your car’s diagnostic port. Also summons a friend to change your flat. $13.2 million from Bridgestone, Total and others.

+ The NaturaBuy platform offers deals on hunting and fishing equipment, and more, from a Chantilly HQ. Also some interesting vintage handguns. $11.3 million from NextStage.

+ Paris-based Vivet Therapeutics landed $39.3 million in a Series A for its gene therapy programs that target inherited metabolic diseases. Investment led by Novartis Venture Fund and Columbus Venture Partners, with participation from Roche Venture.

Finally: Crayola is looking for a name for its new blue crayon, which takes its hue from a pigment recently discovered by researchers at Oregon State University. It replaces the recently retired dandelion color. Enter here by June 2. Cash prizes! (Can’t believe they dumped dandelion.)

Might we say: There’s really no such thing as “free” news. Please support great firms like Farrell Fritz.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading this far.