Public Release: 

Life Sciences Discovery Fund makes grants to commercialize promising technologies

The Life Sciences Discovery Fund announces Proof of Concept grants to promote the translation of health-related technologies from the lab to the marketplace

Life Sciences Discovery Fund

SEATTLE, Washington, August 29, 2014 -- The Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF) today announced nearly $750,000 in Proof of Concept grants to Washington state for-profit and non-profit organizations to promote translation of health-related technologies from the laboratory to the commercial marketplace. Also announced was nearly $56,000 in supplemental funding to an existing grant to increase the commercial potential of a drug to protect hearing in patients taking certain antibiotics. (See Backgrounder Information.)

The LSDF Board of Trustees selected the awardees following review of proposals for scientific and technical merit, commercial potential, and health and economic benefits to Washington.

The three new Proof of Concept awards will advance the development of products to improve lupus treatment and to permit at-home monitoring of lung function for individuals with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other lung conditions. Funding also will support validation of novel cell separations technology for cancer immunotherapy and other medical and research applications.

"We are excited to make additional investments in the areas of autoimmune disorders and cancer and to expand our grant-making reach into lung disease management," said John DesRosier, LSDF executive director.

Board chair Carol Dahl concurred, noting that "LSDF is pleased to support the burgeoning field of mobile health technology, which represents a powerful tool for improving the overall quality and cost-effectiveness of our health-care system."

Additionally, the grant supplement of $55,990 to the University of Washington (principal investigator Edwin Rubel) will fund critical preclinical studies of a drug that appears to prevent the hearing loss associated with certain commonly used antibiotics.

LSDF is now accepting pre-proposals from Washington for-profit and non-profit organizations for the 2014-2015 Matching and Proof of Concept granting programs. The next pre-proposal submission deadline for both programs is January 7, 2015. For more details, please visit the LSDF website at, email, or call 206-456-9577.

Funding for the new 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.


For information on LSDF and recent awards, see

2013-2014 Proof of Concept Grants

Keith Elkon, University of Washington, $250,000
Project Title: Targeted Therapy to Inhibit cGAS stimulated Type I IFN Production
Objective: To synthesize and test new drugs for treating systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

Shwetak Patel, University of Washington, $250,000
Project Title: SPIROSMART: Novel Smart-Phone Ambulatory Spirometry
Objective: To finalize development and conduct clinical testing of a mobile app for monitoring lung function and progression of obstructive lung diseases

Thomas Schulte, Nexgenia, Inc., $249,900
Project Title: Development of Conjugate-able Temperature-Responsive Magnetic Nanoparticles
Objective: To develop and validate technology for increasing the speed and efficiency of cell separations for cancer immunotherapy and other applications

Proof of Concept Grant Award Supplement
Edwin Rubel, University of Washington, $55,990
Project Title: Development of Therapeutic Drugs to Prevent Hearing Loss
Objective: To conduct additional preclinical testing of a drug to protect hearing when particular antibiotics are used

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