George Ueda and James Lazarovits awarded WRF translational funding

The Washington Entrepreneurial Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (WE-REACH) has announced investments in three new awards, including one to researches at the Institute for Protein Design, to expedite early-stage product development for promising biomedical innovations. The three awards are intended to reduce skin injury from wound dressing, to treat COVID-19 induced viral sepsis, and to treat kidney disease.

The recipients include George Ueda, PhD, and James Lazarovits, PhD, of the IPD who are working to develop a new class of therapeutic protein-based nanoparticles. WE-REACH will fund the first application of this platform technology to regenerate the cells lining blood vessels, which break down during severe infection and lead to lethal conditions such as acute respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis. With limited treatment options available, there is a major need for targeted therapies that treat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Other recipients include Eric Seibel, PhD and his multidisciplinary team from UW and Seattle Children’s Hospital is reinventing high adhesion medical tape with UnTape. The goal is to reduce Medical AdhesiveRelated Skin Injury (MARSI) without compromising on secure attachment to the skin, until it is time for rapid, painless removal.

Benjamin Freedman, PhD and the MiniKidney team plan to develop a novel therapeutic strategy for polycystic kidney disease, which affects millions and has no known cure. With this award they will utilize human mini-organs, that re-create the disease in a petri dish, to rapidly advance lead compounds into the clinic.

All three projects have received invaluable input from experts at the NIH, Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, third-party payers, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, as well as an entrepreneurial committee of local experts in the Seattle area.

The next round of WE-REACH projects will begin in Fall 2021.

WE-REACH is an NIH-designated entrepreneurial product innovation hub for the Pacific Northwest. WE-REACH is supported by public-private partnerships accelerating the transformation of biomedical discoveries into innovative products intended to improve patient care, access, and health. Learn more at

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