Public Release: 

Celiac-safe wheat and preemie pain detection among new LSDF awards

Life Sciences Discovery Fund

SEATTLE (May 21, 2015) -- Celiac disease-safe wheat, premature infant pain detection, and new medicines to fight flu and cancer are among the ideas to receive $2.9 million in funding from Washington's Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF).

The 10 new commercialization awards are part of LSDF's $100 million portfolio, which features an impressive 7-to-1 ROI statewide--including $510 million in new funding, over $67 million in health-care cost savings, support of over 3,500 jobs, and hundreds of lives saved.

"Our track record shows that LSDF grants help commercialize major medical breakthroughs and attract private funding from external investors," says LSDF executive director John DesRosier. "These new awards help move promising treatments and diagnostics more quickly from the lab bench to patients in need."

The award recipients and topic areas include:

  • Celiac-safe wheat: a special variety of wheat for breads, pasta, and other foods that people with celiac disease can eat safely (Washington State University)
  • Pain detection device for premature babies: a device to better identify pain in premature babies to permit earlier intervention (Washington State University)
  • Flu drug: a novel protein that can be used to both treat and prevent flu (University of Washington)
  • Cancer drug: a new therapy to treat colorectal cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US (Stella Therapeutics)
  • Trauma care: a device to assess bleeding risk more rapidly in trauma patients (Stasys Medical Corporation)
  • Macular degeneration therapy: a non-invasive device to treat an eye disease that affects millions of aging Americans (LumiThera, Inc.)
  • Transfusion medicine: a more rapid method of blood testing before transfusion to reduce errors and ensure prompt treatment (Bloodworks Northwest)
  • MRI contrast agent: a tool to improve medical image quality and diagnosis of serious medical conditions (Nova TheraNostics LLC)
  • ZipClip: a surgical clip to better control gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding during endoscopy procedures (EndoGear LLC)
  • Infectious disease drug discovery program: an innovative research facility to develop new drugs to fight TB and other life-threatening infectious diseases (Infectious Disease Research Institute)

"Washington has the winning combination: extraordinary intellectual capital focused on improving health, plus LSDF, the catalyst that spurs that capital to succeed commercially," says Carol Dahl, chair of the LSDF Board of Trustees. "Each of these projects has the potential to develop into products and businesses that improve countless lives."


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. Funding 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 LSDF Board of Trustees selects grant recipients following review of proposals for scientific and technical merit, commercial potential, and health and economic benefits to Washington.

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