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. 

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 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.

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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.