Dear Members and Friends,
The last few weeks brought some good news and striking illustrations of progress for individual researchers and companies, and our statewide ecosystem. I wanted to make sure you saw them.
CIT announced a host of CRCF awards for Commercialization, Matching and SBIR/STTR Matching programs, including many in the biomedical space. The awards reflected good activity from all corners of the state and across our universities and illustrate the key role CIT plays in nurturing the ecosystem.
Earlier this week dozens of posters on issues and opportunities in drug discovery were presented by companies and university researchers as part of the two-day Virginia Drug DiscoveryRx Symposium at GMU’s Founders Hall, Arlington. This is the third year in a row VaDDC has produced a statewide conference bringing together academic and industry R&D around drug discovery (2016 focusing on the Brain and 2017 focusing on Cancer). Plans are already underway for next year. One topic was the rise of collaborative mechanisms and funders within academia and public science funding agencies, and across universities and industries nationally and in Virginia.
A great piece of news for the state was the NCATS (National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences) renewal of the five-year Clinical and Translation Science Award to VCU. For VCU and the other 50 NCATS-funded CTSAs, innovation and collaboration outside the host institution, as well as within host institution, are keys to success. This and other CTSAs provide important opportunities academic researchers and companies to advance their innovations.
Finally, the Virginia Catalyst (VBHRC) continues executing as well as strategizing. This month it announced a new and exciting collaborative award under its original grant program and made steady progress toward its goal of building shared infrastructure of collaborative resources and research infrastructure tools statewide for university and industry. Plus, through a lot of grass roots effort the Virginia Catalyst has organized dozens of voluntary interest groups of researchers around special topic areas within neuroscience. These groups are having initial conference calls and meetings to share their work and interests with one another, with an eye to identifying new opportunities for collaboration, leading to enhanced capabilities and greater funding.