Washington Research Foundation Announces $12.5M Grant to Support Early Career Scientists Developing Novel Therapeutics at Seattle Children's Research Institute

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The largest single-program grant in the Foundation’s 40-year history will help launch new Invent at Seattle Children’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program

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With the focus on generating breakthrough treatments specifically for children, along with the diversity, equity and inclusion that are at the core of the program, Seattle Children’s is poised to blaze a trail for other research institutions to follow.

Washington Research Foundation (WRF) today announced its largest single-program grant in its 40-year history, a $12.5 million dollar award to support the launch of the Invent at Seattle Children’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program at Seattle Children’s Research Institute (SCRI). The new program, a combined $45-million-dollar, multi-year commitment, will train early-career scientists who have historically been underrepresented in biotech to spur the development of novel therapeutics for childhood diseases.

“We are proud to support this new groundbreaking program that fills a significant unmet need in developing treatments for pediatric diseases and champions diverse up-and-coming scientists,” said Sue Coliton, interim CEO at WRF. “It aligns directly with our mission of both investing in people and innovation.”

The Invent at Seattle Children’s program will support 50 postdoctoral scholars over the next five years to research cellular, gene or protein therapeutics for childhood conditions like cancer, sickle cell disease, immune diseases, and more. Scholars will work in SCRI mentor labs or other local research institutions, and uniquely, will also be paired with a clinical and biotech mentor.

“We want to create an on-ramp to the biotech sector for people who have traditionally not had that opportunity,” said Jim Olson, M.D., Ph.D., program director of the Invent at Seattle Children’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program. “The goal is to improve the lives of pediatric patients while educating the next generation of scientists in therapeutic discovery.”

Washington Research Foundation supports postdoctoral fellowships, student programs and a wide range of translational research projects to promote scientific development that can lead to meaningful, applicable results.

“We are confident that our support for the Invent at Seattle Children’s program will be catalytic for the development of pediatric-focused therapeutics,” said Meher Antia, Ph.D., director of grant programs at WRF. “With the focus on generating breakthrough treatments specifically for children, along with the diversity, equity and inclusion that are at the core of the program, Seattle Children’s is poised to blaze a trail for other research institutions to follow.”

Since 1993, Washington Research Foundation has awarded more than 1,200 grants exceeding $131 million to nonprofit research institutions in Washington state.

To learn more about the Invent at Seattle Children’s program, visit http://www.seattlechildrens.org/invent.

To learn more about Washington Research Foundation and its grantmaking, visit http://www.wrfseattle.org.

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About Washington Research Foundation:

Washington Research Foundation (WRF) supports research and scholarship in Washington state, with a focus on life sciences and enabling technologies. WRF was founded in 1981 to assist universities and other nonprofit research institutions in Washington with the commercialization and licensing of their technologies. WRF is one of the foremost technology transfer and grant-making organizations in the nation, having earned more than $445 million in licensing revenue for the University of Washington and providing over $131 million in grants to the state's research institutions to date.

WRF Capital, a reserve pool of funds for investing in early-stage Washington state companies, has backed 117 local startups since 1996. Returns from these investments support the Foundation’s mission.

For additional information, please visit https://www.wrfseattle.org/.

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Meher Antia, Ph.D.
@wrfseattle
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