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Life Sciences Fund Recast to Support Commercialization Ecosystem

Xconomy Seattle — 

With the $2 million it has remaining, Washington state’s Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF) is planning grants to support organizations that help entrepreneurs bring ideas and innovations to market.

Earlier this summer, the state Legislature defunded the LSDF, which had helped support early stage life sciences research and commercialization efforts for the last decade. After expenses to wind down existing grant commitments, the LSDF had $2 million remaining.

The LSDF Board of Trustees is putting that money toward a grant competition meant to strengthen the commercialization ecosystem in the state.

For example, the LSDF previously provided grant money to the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association for an entrepreneur mentoring program. LSDF executive director John DesRosier says programs that help companies find federal grant funding or other non-dilutive capital might also qualify for the 2016 Life Sciences Ecosystem grant competition.

“Basically anything that helps entrepreneurs navigate the complicated pathway from idea to private investment to market,” DesRosier says via e-mail. “We’ve asked folks to identify key gaps within the commercialization ecosystem and to tell us how they plan to fill those gaps. We’re open to hearing new, creative ideas in this regard.”

The goal, DesRosier says, is to maintain the momentum built up over the last five to seven years behind commercialization of life sciences technologies in the state.

Washington organizations, including for-profit entities, can apply. The LSDF will provide more information during a webcast on Thursday at 11 a.m. Pre-proposals are due Sept. 21. Grant awards will be made in early February 2016.