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Biomedical innovations win WE-REACH go-to-market awards

Seattle, WA (July 14, 2020)—The Washington Entrepreneurial Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (WE-REACH) is pleased to announce its first awards to facilitate early-stage product development for two biomedical innovations. WE-REACH invests up to $200,000 per awarded project. Funding comes from the NIH with matching support from our partners at the Institute of Translational Health Sciences, CoMotion, the Institute for Protein Design, the UW School of Pharmacy, and the UW Office of Research.

The first award is with Stephanie Berger, PhD, a Translational Investigator at the Institute for Protein Design, who is developing a novel peptide to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease. She intends to block an inflammatory cytokine receptor called IL-23R with an oral, locally active peptide, thus providing a safe, convenient, and cost-effective therapy for a disease with few good treatments.

The second award supports Christopher Allan, MD, Associate Professor of Orthopedics at the University of Washington, who is designing a healing glove for patients with burns, wounds, infections, and other traumas to their hands. The device uses negative pressure wound therapy to accelerate recovery.

“We’re excited to help these two innovations on their developmental path toward breaking into the marketplace,” said Dr. Rodney Ho, the executive director of WE-REACH. “In addition to funding, WE-REACH provides value-added product development, regulatory strategy, intellectual property protection, market analysis, and follow-on grant development to help ensure the success of these potentially life-changing technologies.”

Both projects have been reviewed by experts at the NIH, Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, third-party payers, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, as well as an entrepreneurial committee of local experts in the Seattle area.

WE-REACH has received an additional 26 project applications, of which 7 have been selected for consideration of further support.

The call for our next round of projects will be in Fall of 2020.

WE-REACH is an NIH supported network of public-private partnerships accelerating the translation of biomedical discoveries into commercially viable products to improve patient care and enhance health.


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WE-REACH is supported by NIH Grant 1 U01 HL152401-01.