Life Sciences Discovery Fund makes grants to commercialize health-related technologies

December 17, 2012

SEATTLE, Washington, December 14, 2012 -- The Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF) today announced over $1 million in five awards to support commercial development of new health and health-care products within both the non-profit and for-profit sectors in Washington.

Two of the five new grants were made under the 2012 Commercialization grant competition and focus on promising diagnostic technologies developed in the state's non-profit research organizations. Gerard Cangelosi of the University of Washington will develop and evaluate a rapid test to detect health care-associated infections. Nathan Sniadecki of the University of Washington will create a prototype device to assess risk of internal bleeding in trauma patients.

Two awards were made under the 2012-2013 Proof of Concept granting program to help position early-stage Washington companies for private equity investment. Epoch Medical Innovations, Inc. (principal investigator Michael Ballas) will develop a system that improves the fit and comfort of prosthetic legs by automatically adjusting to volume changes in the residual limb. Crux Medical Innovations (principal investigator Bob Clements) will create a prototype device to enhance quality, yield, and speed of gastrointestinal biopsy collection, with the ultimate aim of improving disease diagnosis.

The fifth award provides additional funding to advance commercialization of technology developed through one of LSDF's previous grants. Daniel Chiu of the University of Washington has created an assay that would allow doctors to detect signs of cancer recurrence early to improve survival. The new funding will support validation of novel technology to further increase the test's sensitivity and better position the team to commercialize the product in Washington.

"We are pleased to use our funding to not only improve the diagnosis and treatment of serious medical conditions, but also catalyze the flow of dollars into our state and promote the development of Washington's life sciences corporate community," stated LSDF executive director John DesRosier.

The LSDF Board of Trustees made the final award selections following review of grant proposals for scientific and technical merit, commercial potential, and possible health and economic benefits.

Lura Powell, chair of the Board of Trustees, explained the rationale behind LSDF's strategy of funding research and development at both non-profit and for-profit organizations. "This coordinated approach serves to push promising discoveries out of our first-rate research institutions and into companies, and also help those companies thrive in Washington so that our state can reap the economic and health benefits associated with commercialization."
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LSDF is currently accepting pre-proposals from Washington for-profit and non-profit organizations for both Proof of Concept and Opportunity grants. Up to $6.5 million is available for award through June 2013. For more details, please visit the LSDF website at http://www.lsdfa.org/, email programs@lsdfa.org, 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.

Life Sciences Discovery Fund

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