In this issue...
Would you like to be involved in the WBBA’s educational programming for the year? If so, join us on the WBBA Program Committee! The committee meets monthly to discuss and refine the programming the WBBA brings you each year. You just have to be a member to participate. Contact Darcy Jacobson for more information.
Did you know...
WBBA HAS MOVED!
We've moved to 1551 Eastlake Avenue East in Seattle – a new hub for life sciences innovation, collaboration, and networking.
Research grants can provide crucial, non-dilutive capital to early stage companies for experiments, data generation, external validation and de-risking of the science and technology being developed. Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are a commonly mentioned resource for businesses attempting to secure grant funding. However, some new opportunities for for-profit entities have been announced recently- we highlight them below.
Center for Medicare & Medicaid Health Care Innovation Challenge- letters of intent due Monday!
The Health Care Innovation Challenge will award up $1 billion in grants to applicants who will implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP, particularly those with the highest health care needs.
State of Washington Department of Commerce- Export Voucher Program
Export Washington is a program developed by the State of Washington Department of Commerce to increase the number of small business concerns (SBC) which export, as well as to increase the value of goods and services currently being exported by SBCs. The program is funded in part through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant program.
SMARTCAP- Space Medicine and Related Technologies Commercialization Assistance Program
The National Space Biomedical Research Institue (NSBRI) is a non-profit science institute that works closely with NASA's Human Research Program. NSBRI's mission is to fund research and technology development to enable safe and productive space flight. NSBRI has launched a new program called SMARTCAP that awards $100,000 to small companies. There are no strings to this award other than to successfully perform the work laid out in the proposal and give credit in publications to NSBRI as the funding agency.
Breakout Labs- Funding independent scientists and early-stage companies to develop their most radical ideas
Breakout Labs is the Thiel Foundation’s newest program. Breakout Labs is attempting to reshape the way early-stage science is funded, so that independent researchers and early-stage companies can advance their most radical ideas. Venture capital firms want research that can be quickly brought to market, and federal funding offers little room for risky, unproven ideas. Breakout Labs is jumping into this funding gap to energize innovative research. Breakout Labs is not a typical foundation grant—it is a new, revolving funding model where successful projects fund the next generation of audacious scientific exploration.
Washington Health Sciences & Services Authority (HSSA) Grant Competitions
In early November the HSSA Board of Directors announced three grant competitions for health sciences research in Spokane County totaling $10 million. The program is called the Health Sciences Research and Strategic Investment Plan (SIP). SIP is a collaborative effort between HSSA and the Empire Health Foundation.
Life Science Discovery Fund (LSDF) New Corporate Grant Competition
LSDF is preparing to launch a new program to help young companies better position themselves for equity funding. With details to be announced in January 2012, the competition will support proof of concept and prototyping activities in Washington companies developing products to improve health and health care. LSDF anticipates that the outcomes from grant-supported work will lower commercialization risk and enhance the probability of investment funding. Release of the Request for Proposals is scheduled for early January and you can register for an information session to be held statewide in January.
The Washington Partners Program (WPP)- Accelerating Health Care Discovery
The Washington Partners Program (WPP) is designed to accelerate academic and commercial research and to improve healthcare outcomes in the state of Washington. Funded by the Life Sciences Discovery Fund, the program features active genomics collaborations between Sage Bionetworks scientists and select Washington biomedical research teams. Analytical efforts at Sage Bionetworks are provided at no-cost to partners. The goal is to rapidly achieve partner research and development goals by leveraging the analytical expertise of Sage Bionetworks' researchers.
WPP projects leverage Sage Bionetworks' cutting edge knowledge and computational disease models to support partners’ research and development analysis and decision-making. Our analytical capabilities are designed to address targeted biomedical questions including the identification, analysis and prioritization of:
VENTURE INVESTORS & STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS
In 2011, the WBBA’s Venture Investment and Partnering (VIP) Forum was an important vehicle for more than 45 WBBA-member companies and research groups to gain meaningful face time with corporate venture groups and multi-national strategic partners. During VIP Forums, investors and strategic partners travel to Seattle to provide an open seminar and networking session for the life science community, and participate in a customized, day-long schedule of one-on-one meetings with the region’s most promising life science companies, entrepreneurs, researchers and emerging companies, who are pre-selected during an application process. In 2011, the WBBA hosted five VIP Forums with BioWa Inc., a division of Japanese pharmaceutical firm Kyowa Hakko Kirin, Johnson & Johnson’s Corporate Office of Science & Technology (COSAT), Takeda Ventures, Merck’s Global Health Innovation Group, and Bayer Healthcare.
One member company that has taken full advantage of this program is CompleGen, an early stage biopharmaceutical company that is applying a proprietary system to discover novel, biologically active chemicals for a broad range of therapeutic targets. CompleGen applied to and was selected to present to two of the five visiting VIPs in 2011, and is looking to make more connections in 2012. Pauline Gee, VP of Business Development at CompleGen said,
The next VIP Forum is scheduled with Bristol-Myers Squibb on January 12-13, 2012. We encourage all interested individuals and organizations to register for the plenary session Bristol-Myers Squibb Corporate Overview & Partnering. There is no cost to attend this event.
2011 VIP Forums were generously supported by Cooley LLP and the Life Sciences Discovery Fund. If your organization is interested in sponsoring the 2012 VIP Forum, information can be found in the WBBA’s 2012 Sponsorship Prospectus.
Keep a watch out for announcements from the W Fund- a new, local opportunity for venture capital investment. The $25 million investment fund is slated to begin looking at opportunities in February 2012.
WINGS, The Washington Medical Technology Angel Network is a joint initiative of WBBA and the medical technology community. WINGS’s mission is to close the gap in early stage funding to accelerate the translation of medical technology innovation from the lab bench to patients. WINGS Angels are responsible for the infusion of more than $3M of angel capital into seven Washington companies. WINGS held its final Investor Meeting of 2011 with company presentations from Magnolia Medical Technologies and Epsilon Imaging, as well as company updates from PhysioSonics, Cardiac Insight, Nexgenia and Cadence Biomedical.
We are offering an exciting, new win-win opportunity for service providers to gain visibility and connection with Washington’s early stage life science companies, and for early stage companies and entrepreneurs to obtain crucial, initial services for no cost. Through the first three quarters of 2011, the WBBA Commercialization Team met with 55 unique companies seeking guidance on matters relating to company formation, intellectual property, capital sources, research studies and clinical trials, product design, development and manufacturing, regulatory strategy, accounting/finance, and management.
In 2012, the WBBA will create a Commercialization Assistance Packet that will be handed to all groups that utilize our consulting program. In this packet will be Commercialization Consulting sponsoring company one-pagers describing areas of expertise, and the offer of at least two hours of pro bono services.
We envision that 60-75 early stage life science companies will receive this packet, creating an instant connection to service provider offerings. For more information on this valuable opportunity, see the WBBA’s 2012 Sponsorship Prospectus.
If you are a life science researcher, entrepreneur or company in need of pro bono consulting services and the Commercialization Assistance Packet, see the Resources section below for more information.
Pro Bono Consulting