Virginia Tech joins with universities, bioscience companies to address health care needs

With funding from Virginia Catalyst, also known as the Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corp., Virginia Tech is engaged in three collaborative bioscience projects to address unmet health care needs in Virginia, according to Michael Friedlander, vice president for health sciences and technology at Virginia Tech.

The Catalyst awards, which range from $350,000 to $800,000, support joint research projects between industry and Virginia universities that have the potential to significantly improve human health and create high value jobs in the commonwealth.

“All three projects are related to biomedical research and development,” said Friedlander, who is also the executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC. “Each project tackles a different aspect of medical science, including RNA-based precision medicine for lupus disease management, treatment of high-dose ionizing radiation, and a hybrid alpha-pseudovirus platform to develop the next generation of vaccines.”

Virginia Tech will collaborate with the University of Virginia on two of the three projects and with George Mason University on the third project.

“We are excited to continue our mission of supporting collaborations and fostering economic growth in Virginia’s life sciences, enabling the commonwealth to compete on a national and global scale,” Mike Grisham, CEO of Virginia Catalyst, said in a news release. “The critical mass achieved by these collaborations provides Virginia with competitive advantages over other states and has resulted in significant outside capital being invested to finance the commercialization of Virginia’s innovations and create significant high-paying jobs for the commonwealth.”

The projects include

  • A hybrid alpha-pseudovirus, multi-viral nasal vaccine platform
    Company: Virongy Biosciences, Manassas
    University collaborators: George Mason University and Virginia Tech, Kylene Kehn-Hall, professor, biomedical sciences and pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
    Funding amount: $500,000
  • A novel platform for treatment of high dose Iionizing radiation
    Company: The Tiny Cargo Co., a Roanoke-based spinoff of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute with postdoctoral associate and Chief Scientific Officer Spencer Marsh
    University collaborators: University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, Marsh and Rob Gourdie, professor,  Fralin Biomedical Research Institute
    Funding amount: $350,000
  • RNA based precision medicine for lupus disease management
    Company: AMPEL BioSolutions LLC, Charlottesville
    University collaborators: University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, Xin Luo, associate professor, Chris Reilly, adjunct research associate professor, biomedical sciences and pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
    Funding amount: $800,000

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