Allele Dx, Iasis Molecular & Photon Bioscience receive funding this summer

HSSA's Board has been busy, granting almost $875,000 to three local health science research firms over the summer of 2019. Here is an introduction to these companies.

Allele Diagnostics, Inc. Marcelo Morales, President & CEO

HSSA has matched a federal SBIR Phase I grant to Allele Diagnostics by providing $222,840 for the development of rapid genetic testing of congenital heart defects. This funding followed a small HSSA grant that allowed Allele to receive professional grant-writing support from for its submission to NIH for the larger grant HSSA recently matched. Rapid results are important for medical management of congenital heart defects diagnosis and treatment that helps guide surgical decisions. This test will be intended for patients with a congenital heart defect either diagnosed prenatally or at birth when a rapid genetic diagnosis is important. The first phase funding will allow the project to be completed in the fall of 2019, improve the robustness of the verification study by adding additional sample and experiments, and start the process of commercialization and marketing. Allele is already working on a submitting a SBIR Phase II grant application by early September, which the HSSA funding allows. Otherwise the next opportunity to apply would be in April 2020. Allele’s research and commercialization will continue in Spokane.

Iasis Molecular Sciences David J. Vachon, Ph.D, Founder

Iasis Molecular Sciences received a grant of $500,000 from HSSA ‘s SBIR matching grant program that matches a grant from the Congressional Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) for the development of a next generation catheter. This award targets catheter-associated urinary tract infections, the most prevalent of the health care-associated infections (HAIs). Iasis Molecular Sciences have evolved to address the HAI problem from a systems standpoint, and in the process become an infection-prevention and control materials solution company. The proposed research has the potential to improve outcomes for both military and civilian populations while reducing costs. The focus is to ensure that surfaces inside and around patients are free of, or able to fend off microorganisms that can cause infection. In the U.S., it is estimated that 1 in 25 hospitalized patients will contract a healthcare-associated infection. More research, clinical trials and funding will be required to take these products to market, Vachon said, before commercialization may occur.

Photon Biosciences, LLC James Brozik, Co-Founder, CTO, ChulHee Kang, Co-Founder, CTO, Chandima Bandaranayaka, CEO

Photon Biosciences, a startup company from Pullman, has moved to Spokane with the help of HSSA. Photon’s scientists have been researching and developing a non-photobleaching and non-photoblinking luminescent probe for disease detection and biomolecular imaging. Its phosphorescent probe is named RECAL®.

HSSA has provided $150,000 in funds that match a federal grant Photon Biosciences recently received that established a laboratory in the Spokane University District. The company is nearing commercialization, and its product has the potential to supplant much of the fluorescent protein, organic chromophore and quantum dot-based technologies that currently dominate the market and will enable many tasks that are currently not possible or practical. Biochemistry, biophysics, food safety, medical diagnostics and homeland security are some potential areas of application. Photon Biosciences has identified likely partners and sublicensees for development of the technology, and plans are to manufacture and sell products from Spokane.