Public Release: 

Life Sciences Discovery Fund announces proof of concept awards, inaugural matching grants

Life Sciences Discovery Fund

SEATTLE, Washington, December 15, 2014 -- The Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF) today announced $1.2 million in Proof of Concept grants to Washington-based organizations to foster the advancement of promising health-related technologies to commercial products. Also announced were two commercialization-focused awards, totaling $600,000, through a new funding program requiring external cash matching. (See Backgrounder Information for a list of all new grants.)

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 five Proof of Concept grants focus on new therapies for cancer, diabetic macular edema, hepatitis B, and severe epilepsy, as well as technology to help surgeons accurately locate non-palpable breast tumors during lumpectomy procedures.

"It's very rewarding for our board to help our state's innovators address urgent health-care challenges through our Proof of Concept granting program," said board chair Carol Dahl. "Notably, this latest set of awardees is developing new products to tackle major causes of suffering and death in Washington."

LSDF executive director John DesRosier further noted that "our new Matching grants program allows us to stretch state dollars further and multiply the impact of each LSDF dollar by requiring co-investment from other sources."

"We have been gratified by the interest in the Matching grants program, the quality of proposals received, and the eagerness of investors, donors, and major companies to partner with our applicants."

The first cohort of Matching grants centers on development of a new oral drug for celiac disease and an innovative software solution that enables patient-specific treatment during continuous cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

LSDF is now accepting pre-proposals from Washington for-profit and non-profit organizations for the second cycle of 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.

Backgrounder Information


For information on LSDF and recent awards, see

2014-2015 Matching Grants

Ingrid Pultz, University of Washington, $250,000
Project Title: In Vivo Assessment of an Oral Therapeutic for Celiac Disease
Objective: To assess the efficacy, safety, and optimal dosing of an oral enzyme therapy for celiac disease

Thomas Rea, University of Washington, $350,000
Project Title: Transforming the Paradigm of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Resuscitation: Patient-Specific Treatment Through Innovative Technology
Objective: To create an innovative software solution that enables patient-specific treatment during continuous cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

2014-2015 Proof of Concept Grants

Edward Clark, University of Washington, $250,000
Project Title: Therapeutic Vaccine of Hepatitis B Virus Infection and Disease
Objective: To synthesize and test a new vaccine for treating chronic hepatitis B infection

Raimondo D'Ambrosio, University of Washington, $250,000
Project Title: Prosthesis for the Treatment of Focal Epilepsy
Objective: To conduct first-in-human testing of a brain cooling device intended to prevent seizures

Iain Duncan, NeuMedics, Inc., $215,000
Project Title: Evaluation of NM108 on Prevention of Visual Acuity Loss and Retinal Inflammation and in a Rat Model of Diabetes
Objective: To assess the effects of a novel drug on vision and inflammation in a preclinical model of diabetic macular edema

Darrell Fisher, Washington State University, $250,000
Project Title: Optimized Injectable Radiogels for High-dose Therapy of Non-resectable Solid Tumors
Objective: To test efficacy and safety of a novel technology for delivering high-dose radiation to solid cancers that cannot be removed surgically

Barbara Tarasevich, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, $250,000
Project Title: Injectable, Thermoreversible Polymers for the Localization of Non-palpable Breast Cancers
Objective: To test the safety and in vivo performance of a novel technology for improving surgical excision of small breast tumors

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