SEATTLE, Washington, April 9, 2012— The Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF) today announced nearly $450,000 in awards to three Washington non-profit organizations to foster commercial translation of new health and health-care products.
Two of the grants focus on infectious disease. Dr. Philip Fleckman at the University of Washington will assess the effectiveness of a novel material for reducing infections associated with kidney dialysis catheters. Dr. Timothy Rose at Seattle Children's Research Institute will develop a test to detect common respiratory infections in outpatient or point-of-care settings.
The third grant, to Dr. Darrell Fisher at Battelle, Pacific Northwest Division, will test an innovative technology for delivering high-dose radiation to solid tumors that cannot be removed surgically.
These awards were made in the second round of the 2011 commercialization grant competition, which aims to accelerate the movement of promising technologies from Washington's non-profit research laboratories into the commercial marketplace to improve health, promote economic growth, and enhance life sciences competitiveness statewide.
"LSDF is pleased to support this new cohort of awards, which is taking diverse approaches to improving health and health care in Washington – from preventing potentially serious complications in individuals with end-stage renal disease, to accelerating the diagnosis of respiratory diseases that are particularly dangerous for children and the elderly, to developing new treatments for cancer patients who may have few other options," stated LSDF executive director Lee Huntsman.
John DesRosier, LSDF director of programs, explained that the three grant awards seek to validate technologies having the potential to become new products. "Our grants will support the collection of critical 'proof of concept' data that the corporate partners need to accelerate commercialization."
The awards were chosen from the 13 proposals reviewed in the competition. National experts recruited by the American Association for the Advancement of Science evaluated the scientific and technical merit of the projects, while a panel of commercialization experts assessed each project's commercial potential and possible health and economic benefits. The LSDF Board of Trustees made the final award selections.
"The board was particularly pleased that each of the new grants involves collaboration with a Washington-based company, which not only increases the likelihood of successful commercialization and market entry but also enhances the potential for significant economic returns to the state," noted board chair Lura Powell.
Funding for commercialization grant awards comes from Washington's allocation of payments under the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement of 1998, revenues arising from multi-state litigation with tobacco product manufacturers.
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