The mission of Washington Research Foundation (WRF) is to advance innovation in the life sciences and enabling technologies in Washington state. WRF has supported early-stage innovation in the past through its phased Technology Commercialization Grant Program, which bridges the gap between discovery research and commercial investment in novel technologies developed at Washington state research institutions.
WRF recognizes that for some innovations in the pharmaceutical and biotech space, the amount of funding required to de-risk an early-stage innovation might exceed what we have previously been able to offer through the Technology Commercialization program. Therefore, WRF is announcing a one-time call for proposals to support late-stage preclinical development and first-in-human clinical trials of therapeutics, including gene and cell therapies, as well as small-molecule or protein-based drugs. Funding is intended for novel innovations whose intellectual property is owned and managed by a Washington state research institution.
Under this program, WRF will act only as the funding agency and will not be the sponsor of any of the clinical studies. The institution receiving the award is expected to be responsible for conducting and managing all aspects of the clinical study.
Applicants must be employees at a Washington state nonprofit research institution. All awards will be made to the institution as WRF does not directly fund individuals or companies through its grant programs
Intellectual property must be owned and managed by a Washington state research institution. Projects where IP has been licensed or is otherwise encumbered will not be eligible for funding
Clinical studies must be for a first-in-human trial for a novel innovation. Studies that involve repurposing or comparing products that are approved by any regulatory authority in any country are not eligible for funding
Preclinical studies for therapeutics must be at a stage where a reasonable outcome is filing an IND
Earlier stage projects may apply through WRF’s existing Technology Commercialization Grant program
Matching funds will be required
Indirect costs are not allowed. It is the policy of the Washington Research Foundation not to pay any indirect costs on any award. WRF reviews the budget in each proposal to determine whether the direct costs being requested are appropriate.
Any IND-enabling activities necessary for the filing of an IND to initiate a clinical trial for a therapeutic
All activities necessary for the set-up, conduct and completion of a Phase 0 or Phase 1 clinical trial
Indirect costs are not allowed and all funds requested must be for project-related costs
Award amount and duration
Applicants may request up to $2 million in funding
There is no fixed limit on the duration of the project, but the project period must be appropriate for the work proposed
After funding has been approved, awards will be made to the applicant’s host institution upon executing an agreement between WRF and the institution
Matching fund requirement
WRF expects that successful applications will include matching funds, either from other grant funding, philanthropic funding or institutional support
There is no set requirement on the total amount of matching funds, but the matching funds should be sufficient to meet the total project costs
Application process and review
Submission of pre-proposal
Prospective applicants are required to submit a brief pre-proposal that will enable WRF to ascertain whether their project is appropriate for this program. The pre-proposal must be submitted through our website by 11:59 p.m. (Pacific) on December 1, 2023. Application forms will be emailed to successful candidates within two weeks of receiving the pre-proposal. Applicants may submit their pre-proposals before the deadline if they wish their pre-proposals to be reviewed earlier.
Prospective applicants are also welcome to contact WRF to discuss their projects prior to submitting a pre-proposal.
Full application submission
Completed applications must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59 p.m. (Pacific) on February 26, 2024 along with all supporting documents.
Applications will be reviewed by WRF staff and independent external experts. Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:
Scientific merit and unmet clinical need
Strength of previous data (preclinical studies of efficacy and safety)
Potential for impact to patients
Need for WRF funding and ability to show matching funds to complete the project
Commercialization potential and ability to attract further funding to reach a commercialization endpoint
Strength and credibility of project team in being able to successfully complete the project. For clinical studies, this includes potential for recruiting study participants