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April 6, 2007 at 10:40 AM

Researchers flock to Life Sciences Fund grants

From biotech reporter Kirsten Orsini-Meinhard:

The Life Sciences Discovery Fund has received letters of intent from about 100 Washington researchers who will apply for a shot at about $6 million in private grant money.

Researchers, from 26 different organizations, will have to submit a detailed plan on how they would use the grant money to an outside panel of judges. Judges will make recommendations in September on the award recipients. The Board of Trustees of the Life Sciences Discovery Fund will make the ultimate decision.

Proposed projects will focus on diseases ranging from cancer to asthma and tuberculosis. This is the Life Sciences Discovery Fund’s first grant competition and was open to non-profit research and health care organizations in Washington. For-profit companies could partner with non-profits if they wanted to participate.

The state-run agency plans to award grants twice a year in the future, using the $350 million in tobacco settlement bonus money that was the reason for its inception by the state legislature in 2005.

Because the first round of settlement payments won’t arrive until next year, the $6 million in available grant money for this competition is expected to come from five different donors — ” the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Amgen, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Microsoft and Regence BlueShield.

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