SEATTLE, Washington, April 21, 2014 -- Five for-profit and non-profit organizations in Washington will receive a total of $1.25 million in Proof of Concept grants to accelerate maturation of promising health-related technologies from ideas into commercial products, the Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF) announced today. Also announced was a $300,000 Entrepreneur Mentoring Program grant to the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association (WBBA) to launch a statewide advisory network to train the next generation of entrepreneurs and help early-stage companies achieve commercialization success.
The LSDF Board of Trustees made the Proof of Concept award selections following review of proposals for scientific and technical merit, commercial potential, and health and economic benefits to Washington.
The new Proof of Concept grants aim to improve the treatment of age-related macular degeneration, leukemia, and Parkinson's disease; help people quit smoking permanently; and develop a new tool to increase biomedical research productivity.
"LSDF created the Proof of Concept granting program to nurture the vitality and competitiveness of Washington's life sciences innovation community and help convert its 'intellectual capital' into tangible products that enhance the economic and physical health of our communities," stated John DesRosier, LSDF executive director. "By helping grantees advance their innovations from the lab into the commercial marketplace, these new awards are anticipated to improve both quality and quantity of life for individuals living with debilitating medical conditions and tobacco addiction."
"LSDF further recognizes that, although support of research and development (R&D) through Proof of Concept grants is essential, guidance from seasoned entrepreneurs can also accelerate commercialization success. To be most effective, this assistance must go beyond one-time consultation and be provided over an extended period of time. The WBBA's Entrepreneur Mentoring Program grant is an essential complement to our R&D funding programs," explained Carol Dahl, LSDF board chair.
Mentoring program grant proposals were evaluated by a panel of experienced entrepreneurs and mentors based on their potential to significantly enhance the commercialization activities of aspiring entrepreneurs statewide, prior experience in mentoring, and ability to sustain the program beyond the LSDF grant period. The board made the award selection.
Up to $1.5 million in awards in the final cycle of the 2013-2014 Proof of Concept granting program will be announced in August. LSDF expects to announce its 2014-2015 granting programs in May. For more details, please visit the LSDF website at http://www.
Funding for the new grants 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.
The Life Sciences Discovery Fund, a Washington state agency established in May 2005, makes grant investments in innovative life sciences research and development to benefit Washington and its citizens.
LIFE SCIENCES DISCOVERY FUND AWARDS - APRIL 2014
For information on LSDF and recent awards, see http://www.
2013-2014 Proof of Concept Grants
Karol Bomsztyk, University of Washington, $250,000
Project Title: PIXUL-ChIP: Platform for High Throughput Epigenetic Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) Assays
Objective: To develop a tool for rapid sample preparation for ChIP assays, which are used to elucidate the biology of major diseases and inform development of drugs to treat those diseases
Jeffrey Chamberlain, Zwitter Technology, $250,000
Project Title: Preclinical Evaluation of a Long-circulating and Non-immunogenic Drug for the Treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
Objective: To conduct preclinical testing of a new leukemia treatment anticipated to have greater efficacy than current drugs
Leen Kawas, M3 Biotechnology, Inc., $250,000
Project Title: Assessment of a Small Molecule Hepatocyte Growth Factor Mimetic for the Treatment of Parkinson's Disease
Objective: To validate the effectiveness and safety of a novel treatment for Parkinson's disease in preparation for clinical testing
Jo Masterson, 2Morrow, Inc., $250,000
Project Title: Convert Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) Study App into a Full Mobile Delivered Smoking Cessation Program
Objective: To refine and optimize a smartphone-based program to help individuals quit smoking
Clark Tedford, LumiThera, Inc., $250,000
Project Title: The Use of LLLT to Treat Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Objective: To build and test a device that may delay progression of the dry form of age-related macular degeneration
Entrepreneur Mentoring Program Grant
Christiana DelloRusso, Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association, $300,000
Program Title: Washington Innovation Network (WIN) for Life Sciences
Objective: To establish a program that matches life sciences entrepreneurs with a trusted group of experienced mentors for guidance and skill development