NIH awards Maine Company, RockStep Solutions, $1.5M to develop new software system for biomedical research

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH/NIGMS), has awarded RockStep Solutions, a Maine company, two years of funding totaling $1.5M to develop next generation software for biomedical research laboratories.


RockStep Solutions was founded by a team of researchers and engineers, formerly of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor: Director of Technology, Abigail Ames, Director of Product Development, Carrie LeDuc, and CEO Chuck Donnelly.


The company currently has a commercial product called Climb, which was developed with support from the Maine Technology Institute. This NIH award enables RockStep to build new Climb functionality based on proof of concept work completed with support from an NIH/NIGMS SBIR Phase I grant. The new innovations for Climb were inspired by the team’s years of experience working with advanced computer technologies in the fields of biomedical research.


The goal of the Phase II funding is to create a next generation information system that will transform how research workflows are conducted. According to RockStep’s CEO, Chuck Donnelly, in the last 30 years, there has been remarkably little change in the fundamental design of information systems for research.  In addition, approximately 70% of research labs still use spreadsheets or homegrown systems to manage their research data, leaving much room for modernization and improvement.


This award will fund several new high-tech jobs in Maine, including two new software engineering and system testing positions. The company has offices at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor and on Franklin Street in Portland.  New positions will be filled with the best candidates at either location.


RockStep is a member of the Microsoft BizSpark Plus program, which provides technology infrastructure and support for promising startups. RockStep is also supported by the Maine Technology Institute and continues to work closely with both organizations.


For more information about RockStep Solutions, please visit their website at The grant discussed in this press release was provided by The National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44GM112206.