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Grant Dollars and Entrepreneurial Services Help Develop Life Sciences Companies

By Stacia Rasmussen, PMP
Health & Life Sciences Business Development Manager, Greater Spokane Inc.

Stacia Rassmusen

In May of 2019, Greater Spokane Inc (GSI) was awarded $100,000 from the WA Department of Commerce Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness to provide supportive services to benefit small businesses in Washington State within the life sciences and health IT sectors.

Two cohorts running a year each for two years served seven small businesses. These businesses were reimbursed an average of $8,700 for supportive services as they progressed through their startup journey. You may recognize the name of some of these organizations, as they have become successful both locally and nationally.

In addition, half of these organizations received additional entrepreneurial support from SP3NW, a regional start-up hub working at all WSU campuses to launch life science companies. Also helping them translate their innovations into products that will transform health care and improve people’s lives.

Recent updates on these companies include:

Medcurity received the SILVER Award in 2021 for Best High-Tech Firm from Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living, was highlighted in BusinessWire, GeekWire, and The Journal of Business showcasing their foundational products, newly released features, and raising of additional seed funding.

Photon Biosciences received over $765,000 in grants from Health Sciences & Services Authority of Spokane to reshape the field of bacterial contamination detection in platelets for transfusion. They were also one of the Top 100 Startups selected to exhibit at the 2020 Startup Grind’s Global Conference in Silicon Valley.

S2 Media stepped up during COVID to source all viral transport media components of US origin including raw materials, container/closure systems, and manufacturing equipment to ensure that their supply chain was not interrupted, but also supported other US businesses, many of which are also small businesses – just like theirs.

Appiture Biotechnologies was featured in a GeekWire Health Tech Podcast sharing an in-depth explanation of the science behind their innovative detection technology of identifying a unique reaction to light in the pupils of people on the autism spectrum to complement the subjective determination of behavior markers. They will continue to work over the next three years on the development of a handheld device and related software.

Chemosense Therapeutics over the last couple of years has presented an abstract at the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASC) Meeting, received an Early Investigator Research Award from the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), was awarded a Technology Transfer Grant from both the Washington Research Foundation and WSU’s Office of Commercialization GAP, presented at the 2019 American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia and received the AACR-June L. Biedler Scholar-in-Training Award for an outstanding research abstract.

Amend Health is not only well on its way to becoming a successful business, but grounds itself in the community by supporting the Gonzaga University Senior Design Projects in Computer Science.  Co-Founder Andrew Richards was recently featured on the Making Healthcare Podcast sharing his entrepreneurial story and is participating in the strategic growth round of funding of Grief Coach, one of many Amend Health partners, who also won Grand Prize in Ollive’s “Hack for Health” Developer contest.

Crimson Medical Solutions‘ recent highlights include partnering with CoMedical for sales and distribution of their IV Manager product, continuing manufacturing with GlobalTech Plastics, and engaging a professor at the WSU nursing school to design methods for a simulation efficacy study that will allow them to apply to the NSF and other entities for grant funding.

As you can see, some of these startup companies have generated revenue already, while others are still in the research, approval stages, and startup stages. Regardless, these entrepreneurs have persevered the recent two years of economic challenges, and continue to grow and positively impact our region’s economy in more ways than just financial. Our community is so very proud of them and GSI is excited to continue to support them in any way possible.

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