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VBHRC Awards Over $2 Million to Fund Bioscience Research Initiatives

Wednesday, October 14, 2015  
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The Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (VBHRC/“the catalyst”) has awarded $2.23 million in grants to five collaborative bioscience commercialization projects between Virginia’s research universities and private companies. These awards are being matched by federal grants and/or direct industry contribution at an amount in excess of $5 million. Round four of funding is intended to catalyze the development and commercialization of life science projects that address major unmet needs for improving human health, while also contributing to Virginia’s economic growth.

“This represents our fourth round of funding and helps to cement Virginia as a leading biosciences collaborative research state,” said Mike Grisham, CEO, VBHRC/“the catalyst.” “We issued our inaugural round of funding in April of 2014 to four project teams for a total of $1.25 million. Since that time, those four projects have received almost $30 million in follow on funding from subsequent capital raises, government grants and contracts, and have created 45 jobs in Virginia to date. This success highlights the overall impact that those programs have, not only on Virginia, but the biosciences industry at large.”

The five winning projects for this current round of funding include:

Project Focus: Anti-inflammatory Therapeutics
Company: BioTherapeutics, Inc. (Blacksburg, VA)
University collaborators: Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University
Funding amount: $400,000

Project Focus: Brain Cancer Therapeutics
Company: FirstString Research, Inc. (Roanoke, VA and Mount Pleasant, SC)
University collaborators: Virginia Tech and University of Virginia
Funding amount: $290,000

Project Focus: Diagnostics for Lyme Disease
Company: Ceres Nanosciences, Inc. (Manassas, VA)
University collaborators: George Mason University and Virginia Tech
Funding amount: $500,000

Project Focus: Tissue Engineering
Company: Embody LLC (Vienna, VA)
University collaborators: Old Dominion University and Eastern Virginia Medical School
Funding amount: $643,500

Project Focus: Pharmaceutical Engineering
Company: BrightSpec, Inc. (Charlottesville, VA)
University collaborators: University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University
Funding amount: $400,000

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