SEATTLE, Washington, March 9, 2015 – The Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF) today announced nearly $1 million in Matching grants to two Washington-based companies to promote translation of promising treatments for devastating medical conditions from the laboratory to the commercial marketplace. Each award must be matched at least 1:1 by other funding sources. These grants complete the evaluation of applications under the first cycle of LSDF’s 2014-2015 granting programs. (See Backgrounder Information.)

“These awards – the first Matching grants that we’ve made to for-profit entities – provide further validation that LSDF dollars can attract additional private funding for innovative projects that have the power to benefit our early-stage companies, our economy, and the health of our residents,” said LSDF executive director John DesRosier.

Epigenetics Pharma (principal investigator Richard Daifuku) will validate the efficacy and safety of a novel cancer drug as a precursor to clinical trials. LSDF will provide up to $490,700, which is enabling the company to raise at least an equal amount from a venture fund.

M3 Biotechnology, Inc. (principal investigator Leen Kawas) will receive up to $500,000 from LSDF to scale up production of a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease, assess its toxicity, and prepare for clinical trial initiation. The LSDF award is being matched by funds from a seed round of financing.

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.

“We are excited to make additional investments in promising potential solutions for cancer and neurological disorders, which represent areas of research and development strength in Washington state,” stated LSDF board chair Carol Dahl.