Life Science Washington Institute (LSWI), a Life Science Washington affiliate focused on supporting early-stage companies and entrepreneurs in Washington state, today announced two new grant programs, the SBIR/STTR Matching Fund and Washington Competes, to expand the pipeline of diverse and early-stage companies located throughout Washington.
The new grants were unveiled at Life Science Washington’s annual East West Life Science Summit in Spokane as part of a larger discussion among medical innovators about the challenges startups and entrepreneurs face in serving rural and underserved populations.
“Founding, funding and building a life science company is never an easy task, and it’s even harder for companies located outside the nation’s top research and financing hubs,” said Marc Cummings, President and CEO of Life Science Washington. “These grants will help empower and equip a diverse group of life science entrepreneurs to access additional funding and mentorship to expand the medical breakthroughs that Washington is known for to more communities across our state.”
Each grant program can award up to $25,000 to Washington-based life science companies that are developing technologies that will improve the health and wellbeing of Washington citizens. The new grants are made possible through a partnership between the Commerce Department and LSWI to redeploy money that was returned to the state’s Life Science Discovery Fund.
“The Spokane community has world-class universities and hospitals focused on delivering healthcare to rural and underserved communities,” State Representative and House Health Care and Wellness Committee Chair Marcus Riccelli said. “These grants will help our local researchers and entrepreneurs turn their ideas into companies that deliver healthcare solutions that improve people’s lives.”
The SBIR/STTR Matching Fund program will focus on supporting companies outside of King County, where SBIR/STTR awards have been less common. The Washington Competes program will be open to all Washington-based life science companies but will prioritize companies outside of King County, as well as companies that are women-owned or socially or economically disadvantaged.
“LSWI is proud to introduce these grant programs as part of our ongoing commitment to supporting the next generation of life sciences innovators,” said Richard Giersch, LSWI executive director. “The life sciences industry has the power to transform patient lives with new medications, medical devices and diagnostics, while also supporting communities through jobs and tax revenues. These grants will be a catalyst for that change. We look forward to using these two new programs to expand our work with life science companies and communities across the state.”
Along with these new grants, LSWI will continue its Washington Innovation Network (WIN) and Commercialization Support programs. The WIN program, which provides mentorship and assistance, has graduated 42 companies that have gone on to raise over $1.14 billion in follow-on financing. The Commercialization Support Program ensures life science entrepreneurs and early-stage companies have access to the mentoring and resources they require to start and grow in Washington state. By providing access to resources such as a nationwide partnering network, free consultants, mentors, grant writing workshops and networking events, companies have a guide to ensure success, work with other emerging companies and secure funding opportunities.
Each new grant program will have an information session when the full solicitation is released on June 23, 2023. For more information, visit https://lifesciencewa.org/events/lsw-institute-grant-program-information-sessions/.