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WBBA Newsletter Article [Commercialization Corner] [Spring 2013] [03/14/13]
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The Life Science Innovator
A WBBA Publication

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WBBA Industry Working Groups

Connect with your peers to meet the unique challenges your Organization faces.

HR Group
(Open to WBBA Core & Institution Member HR professionals, no service providers)

You are invited to join over 50 of your HR colleagues from WBBA member companies, as we network, share ideas and exchange information about the challenges and issues we encounter while working in the biotechnology and biomedical fields. The Human Resources Group offers a variety of ways to connect with your colleagues. This is an excellent way to learn up-to-date information from professionals within our industry. You do not need to have an HR title in order to attend these meetings; you simply need to perform the human resources function for your company.

Join the group!

Clean Science Group
(Open to any WBBA member interested in clean science and sustainability)

The goal of the WBBA Clean Science Group is to have a variety of representatives of the region's life science community dialoguing about solutions to minimize the impact of our scientific pursuits on the region. We also want to educate each other on the systems that are currently available to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and the associated costs of such systems. Biotech is an industry reliant on sterile, one-use products to ensure high quality research. This process generates a lot of waste. Is biotech doing everything it can to reduce waste, and increase recycling? Are we sacrificing the health of our planet for the health of people? Is there a way to create science that is clean and healthy for both the planet and for the people we are trying to heal? Are you interested in dialoguing about creating clean science? If so, then join the WBBA Clean Science Group on LinkedIn. We would like to have participation from various groups in the lab including facilities, operations, and lab managers. Together, we can help heal people, progress science and have a healthy place to live.

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Supply Chain Group
(Open to WBBA Core & Institution Member Supply Chain/Purchasing professionals, no service providers)

This group offers supply chain, purchasing, and sourcing professionals an opportunity to network and discuss the challenges they face and share best practices. If interested, please contact Blythe Price at

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Facilities/Engineering Group
(Open to WBBA Core & Institution Member Facilities/Engineering professionals, no service providers)

This group offers Facilities and Engineering professionals an opportunity to network and discuss the challenges they face and share best practices. If interested, please contact Blythe Price at

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Commercialization Corner

Making your innovation our business.
WBBA Commercialization by the Numbers

Non-Dilutive Capital
Seed and Early Stage Capital
Sponsor Commercialization Programs and Events
Salal Credit Union



More than 180 new life science startup companies and entrepreneurs have utilized WBBA’s pro bono Commercialization Consulting since we began offering the service in 2009.  We’ve been keeping track of their progress with emails, phone calls and follow-up surveys.  If you or someone from your organization came in to WBBA for a consult with Dick Haidduck (March 2009-May 2010), Stewart Parker (May 2010-March 2011) or Chris Porter (March 2011-present) and have not yet filled out our survey, please do so today.

Based on the responses so far (n=130), the data demonstrate that life science startups in Washington state are making solid progress:

  • About 80% of the companies are still in operation
  • Over half have raised working capital and hired employees
  • These companies currently employ over 300 FTEs, and have raised about $200 million in dilutive and non-dilutive capital

Do you want to schedule a pro bono consultation with our Commercialization Team? We have created a Commercialization Resource Packet that includes a detailed Bio-Entrepreneur Startup Kit.  The highlight of this kit is a Map to Financing that outlines the sources of capital available to life science startup companies, and explains the characteristics of successful fundees at each stage of fundraising.  All groups that utilize our consulting program receive the Resource Packet and Kit.  Contact to set up a meeting.  WBBA members are eligible for unlimited consulting, non-members can take advantage of an initial pro bono consult.

Are you a service provider who wants to connect with early stage companies and entrepreneurs like these?  Sponsor our consultation services and get instant exposure to up to 100 early stage life science companies. WBBA’s Commercialization Consulting program is generously supported by Frommer Lawrence & Haug LLP and the Life Sciences Discovery Fund.

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Looking for Grant Money?

The Grant Opportunities page at is an invaluable resource for any life science company seeking non-dilutive funding. We feature a number of new opportunities in the Grant Spotlight section of the page, as well as a list of Grant Making Organizations on the right hand side of the page.  Get the most up-to-date information about grantors such as NSF, LSDF, NIH and more.

This quarter, we are highlighting the Health Sciences & Services Authority of Spokane County.  You can read about HSSA’s grant programs here, which are dedicated to promoting bioscience-based economic development and advancing new therapies to promote public health.

SBIR/STTR Match Program Update

WBBA is happy to announce the inaugural class of SBIR/STTR Match Programcompanies and interns. This program, made possible by the generous support of the Herbert B. Jones Foundation, matches current graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with emerging companies that need assistance developing, writing and submitting an SBIR or STTR grant.  The WBBA supports a paid internship and grants guidance for the students/postdocs with their matched company. 

Corengi, a Health IT company that has developed an online platform for patients to enroll in clinical trials, was matched with Nnaemeka Opara, a graduate student in the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics at the University of Washington. Iasis Molecular Sciences, a pharmaceutical and medical device company developing infection control solutions, was matched with Renuka Ramanathan, a Bioengineering graduate student at the University of Washington. Impel NeuroPharma, a medical device company creating a drug delivery system for bypassing the blood-brain barrier, was matched with Jim Kirk, a Bioengineering graduate student at the University of Washington. Congratulations once again to these companies and interns, and thank you to everyone who applied.  Keep an eye out for program updates and future calls for applications.

Event Recap: Non-Dilutive Funding: Finding It, Getting It, and Using It Strategically to Move Your Company Forward

On March 6, nearly 120 industry professionals attended the WBBA event Non-Dilutive Funding: Finding It, Getting It, and Using It Strategically to Move Your Company Forward.  The program featured a keynote from the NIH's Stephanie Fertig, as well as three esteemed panels of granting authorities, successful grantees and organizations that support the path to life science commercialization.  Part II of our Life Science Funding series will be held at LSINW 2013.

After the program, Ms. Fertig, representing the Small Business Program at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), met one-on-one with 12 WBBA-member organizations.

Life Sciences Discovery Fund Update

LSDF is now accepting pre-proposals from Washington for-profit and non-profit organizations for the following types of grants:

  • Proof of Concept grants (up to $250,000 per award) to enhance the commercial viability of intellectual property developed by non-profit organizations or enhance the competitiveness of early-stage companies for private equity investment. This grant mechanism combines the Commercialization and PreCede mechanisms offered in prior years.
  • Opportunity grants (up to $1.4 million per award) to fund extraordinary research and development proposals having the ability to significantly leverage LSDF dollars against those from other sources.

LSDF is implementing a new submission and review process for 2012-2013:

  • Year-round application submission.
  • Monthly pre-proposal reviews (including a presentation and interview for Proof of Concept applicants).
  • Quarterly proposal reviews and awards by the LSDF Board of Trustees.

All applicants must submit a pre-proposal to be considered for a grant. Only a subset of pre-proposals will be invited to submit a proposal. Up to $7,000,000 is available for award through June 2013, with no specific allocations or quotas by grant type (Proof of Concept vs. Opportunity) or applicant organization type (for-profit vs. non-profit). As awards are made, the remaining balance of funds will be available here.


WINGS Angels Continue to Invest in Washington’s Med Tech Startups

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. Since the inception of WINGS, 37 companies have been selected to present at twelve Investor Meetings from 148 deals screened. To date, WINGS is responsible for over $5 million of investment in ten Washington med tech companies. That represents about a quarter of $20 million raised by these ten companies in the past three years.

WINGS held its first Investor Meeting of 2013 on February 12th with three company presentations from LightScan Technologies, Materna Medical and Ventec Life Systems, and an update from WINGS company Viket Corp.

The WINGS network is looking forward to its next meeting on May 15th. Emerging medical technology companies are encouraged to apply to present. To be considered for the next round of screening, apply by the April 9, 2013 deadline for the May investor meeting. For more information on how to apply to present, to become a WINGS investor or to sponsor WINGS, visit or email WINGS Project Manager Brady Ryan at or WINGS Managing Director Christiana DelloRusso at

WINGS thanks the generous support of its sponsors: WBBA, Perkins Coie, WRF Capital, University of Washington Center for Commercialization, Silicon Valley Bank, SonoSite, Stratos, Varitrex, Philips, Physio-Control, JP Morgan, the Coulter Foundation at the University of Washington, and The Rainier Club.

LSINW for Entrepreneuers: present Your Idea to 1,000 Life Science Professionals

Last year, Life Science Innovation Northwest (LSINW) brought together nearly 1,000 life science entrepreneurs, executives, investors, strategic partners and service providers.  This year, put your company, organization or idea on display as a Poster Presenter or Podium Presenter.

Poster Presenters are early stage entrepreneurs who display a poster at LSINW in the very popular and busy “Poster Alley” during both days of the conference. Last year’s Poster Presenters found the experience  and connections invaluable, and loved the opportunity to tell their story to more than 800 conference attendees. Applicants should be early stage (pre-dilutive capital). Applications open March 25 and are due May 17.  Keep an eye out for application announcements!

Podium Presenters are more advanced executives seeking investment or partnership, and will have the opportunity to give an oral presentation to attendees in one of three presentation tracks during the conference.  These Podium Presentations put you at the forefront of LSINW and give you the opportunity to reach a group of attendees specifically interested in your area of expertise.  Applications are due May 3.

For more information about Poster Presentations, click here or contact Poster Chair Sarah Nowakowski.  For more information on Podium Presentations, click here or contact Associate Director of Events Darcy Jacobson.


VIP Forum Updates: Bristol-Myers Squibb Makes it Two in a Row

During WBBA’s Venture Investment and Partnering (VIP) Forums, venture investors and multi-national strategic partners (VIPs) travel to Seattle to participate in two related events.  First, the VIP gives an overview of their firm at a Plenary Session and Networking Reception open to the life science community.  Second, the VIP participates in a customized, day-long schedule of 1:1 meetings with the region’s most promising life science companies, entrepreneurs and researchers who are pre-selected during an application process.  Since this program began in 2009, more than 100 local companies and research groups have met 1:1 with visiting VIPs, and multiple discussions are ongoing.     

Most recently, we welcomed global business development leadership from Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) back to Seattle on January 10 for their second VIP Forum in two years. BMS is a global biopharma company focused on discovering, developing and delivering innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS.  Representatives from BMS’s Cardiovascular, Metabolics, Neuroscience, and Oncology Search, Evaluation, and Diligence teams met with eight local companies and research groups. At the Plenary Session, Dr. Martin Birkhofer, VP of Search, Evaluation and Diligence, gave a presentation on BMS’s approach to partnering, and also explained some exciting new areas of interest for BMS.  More information on each specific area is available here, and selected slides are available here.

2013 will continue to be a busy year for VIP Forums.  We are confirming dates with a number of interested VIPs who cover a wide range of interests, including neurological disorders, autoimmune diseases, oncology, endocrinology, Health IT, medical devices, regenerative medicine and much more.  Keep an eye out for announcements of upcoming dates and VIP Forums!

VIP Forums are generously supported by Cooley LLP, PWC, and Knobbe Martens. If your organization is interested in sponsoring VIP Forums in 2013, information can be found in the WBBA’s Sponsorship Prospectus.


Sponsor the WBBA’s Commercialization Programs

In 2012, the Commercialization Team provided consulting services to 85 new emerging life science companies, entrepreneurs and research groups. To date, the program has supported more than 180 life science startups as they sought advice on matters relating to company formation, intellectual property, capital sources, investor pitches, research studies and clinical trials, product design, development and manufacturing, regulatory strategy, accounting/finance and management. Often these companies are in the very early stages of formation and development, and thus have no website or public presence.

We are offering service providers with expertise in these areas a unique opportunity to connect with these early stage companies that we support.  This exciting, win-win program offers service providers visibility and connection with these early stage life science companies, and at the same time, provides the startups and entrepreneurs with some crucial, initial services and information for no cost. 

The Commercialization Resource Packet and Bio-Entrepreneur Startup Kit are valuable resources for the companies we see.  All groups that utilize our consulting program receive the Resource Packet and Kit, and your company can be featured in the Packet as a sponsor of the Consulting program. Your company one-pager will describe your area of expertise, service offerings and the offer of at least two hours of initial pro bono services.  

We envision that more than 100 early stage life science companies will receive this packet, creating an instant connection to your unique services. For more information on this valuable opportunity, see the Commercialization Consulting Sponsorship, or contact Vice President of Commercialization Christiana DelloRusso. We’d like to thank and welcome the newest Commercialization Consulting Sponsors, Frommer Lawrence & Haug LLP and Life Sciences Discovery FundFLH is a specialized law firm focused on helping life sciences companies develop their regulatory strategies to meet FDA approval requirements for innovative biologics, drugs and medical devices.  LSDF is a granting agency that supports innovative research and development in Washington state to promote life sciences competitiveness, enhance economic vitality, and improve health and health care.

Sponsor the Commercialization Resource WIKI website

This integrated resource for life science entrepreneurs and companies in Washington State provides prominent, year-long visibility to a multitude of audiences.  New expanded content reflects the results of a grant project funded by the Washington State Department of Commerce in partnership with the UW Center for Commercialization and the Washington Global Health Alliance. More information about the opportunity to Sponsor this important resource for entrepreneuers can be found online.

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