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Washington State Awards $15M to Sage, Hutch, U Wash

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Washington State's Life Sciences Discovery Fund has awarded $15 million to Sage Bionetworks, the University of Washington, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The Seattle-based funding branch of the Washington State government said that the collaborative research initiatives will enhance the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other major diseases.

Sage Bionetworks, a non-profit research organization focused on creating open-access disease-modeling tools, will use its $5 million grant to develop a computing infrastructure to deliver scalable network data models and analyses to collaborators. Sage will also use the funding to create the Washington Partners Program, which will engage academic and biotechnology communities in systems biology research.

Thomas Matula, a physics and engineering researcher at the University of Washington, will use his $5 million grant to develop, translate, and commercialize new ultrasound techniques for use in molecular imaging and therapy.

Using ultrasound tools in combination with advanced molecular approaches could enable clinicians to target specific molecules in tissues for more precise imaging and for drug delivery. This award will also create the Washington Molecular Imaging and Therapy Center, which will develop and commercialize these new ultrasound tools.

Fred Hutchinson researcher Peggy Porter will use her $5 million award to develop a biospecimen collection and distribution system that links regional investigators with specimens. Porter’s lab will host the Consortium Biospecimen Program, which will include a cross-institution informatics platform and standardized practices for transferring materials and managing intellectual property.

This program will use resources already funded by LSDF, including the Phase 1 Clinical Trials Program and the Northwest Institute of Genetic Medicine. The consortium includes the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the University of Washington, and Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Institute.

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