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.

HSSA Announces Board Vacancy for Spokane County Appointment

The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County has announced a vacancy on its nine-person Board of Directors. This position will be appointed by the Spokane County Board of Commissioners, Spokane, Washington. The County as its own application process at https://www.spokanecounty.org/1184/Health-Sciences-Services-Authority-HSSAat which candidates will apply.

The HSSA Board seeks individuals to fill these vacancies preferably with professional life/health sciences experiences in the private sector and/or academia. Experience successfully starting and operating health/life science businesses is preferred, but not mandatory. The HSSA Board meets quarterly.

HSSA Board members serve four-year terms and this term will be from August 1, 2019 through July 31, 2023. When the term expires there is an opportunity to serve additional terms.

HSSA has invested approximately $5.7 million to date in research and infrastructure in Spokane County. It also has invested about $2.6 million in its annual “Access to Care” grants to promote public health. It has created hundreds of direct/indirect jobs, assisted bringing to Spokane millions of dollars of extramural grant funding, and over $100 million in total economic activity. HSSA was recently reauthorized by the Washington Legislature for 15 years, and Governor Jay Inslee approved the legislation.

Questions about this Board vacancy may be directed to the Executive Director at 509.474.0798 or susan@hssaspokane.org.

HSSA Announces Board Vacancy for Gubernatorial Appointment


SPOKANE, Wash. – The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County has announced one vacancy on its nine-person Board of Directors. This position will be appointed by the Governor of the State of Washington. The Governor’s Office has its own application process at https://www.governor.wa.gov/boards-commissionsat which candidates will apply.

The HSSA Board seeks individuals to fill these vacancies preferably with professional life/health sciences experiences in the private sector and/or academia. Experience successfully starting and operating health/life science businesses is preferred, but not mandatory. The HSSA Board meets quarterly.

HSSA Board members serve four-year terms and this term will be from August 1, 2019 through July 31, 2023. When the term expires there is an opportunity to serve additional terms.

HSSA has invested approximately $5.7 million to date in research and infrastructure in Spokane County. It also has invested about $2.6 million in its annual “Access to Care” grants to promote public health. It has created hundreds of direct/indirect jobs, assisted bringing to Spokane millions of dollars of extramural grant funding, and over $100 million in total economic activity. HSSA was recently reauthorized by the Washington Legislature for 15 years, and Governor Jay Inslee approved the legislation.

Questions about this Board vacancy may be directed to the Executive Director at 509.474.0798 or susan@hssaspokane.org. Interested candidates must apply directly to the Governor’s Office and to Boards and Commission.

HSSA Announces Special Board Meeting Friday, July 12th

HSSA's Board will hold a Special Board Meeting Friday, July 12th at its office at 421 W. Riverside Avenue, Suite 661, at 7:30 AM. There will be one subject on the agenda for this meeting, and that is the discussion of certain payback language for inclusion in its Grant Award Agreement. The public is welcome.

Legislature Grants HSSA 15-Year Extension

What exciting news to receive (even if it was 1:09 AM Sunday morning), but our bill to extend HSSA another 15 years passed the 2019 Washington State Legislature. What an accomplishment for our team! We spent quite a bit of time this session in Olympia urging the passage of our bill, and particular thanks to Nancy Isserlis, Dave Vachon, and Frank Velazquez for delivering our message at hearings and/or directly to legislators. Apparently, the third time is the charm as this was our third attempt to get traction for passage, and we were able to do so with our legislative leadership. Our message about HSSA's return on its investment in the region of over $100 million in economic activity to date and hundreds of well-paying jobs, certainly helped elicit support.

We want to especially thank Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-3) who nurtured out bill through the Senate, bill sponsor Senator Jeff Holy (R-6) who spoke at hearings in favor of the bill in both the Senate and House, Representatives Mike Voltz (R-6) and Timm Ormsby (D-3) for co-sponsoring the House version of our bill, and Representative Marcus Riccelli (D-3) who in his leadership role in the House made sure our bill moved expeditiously through the House and made sure late last week it was pulled from Committee to the Floor for the final vote. All of these leaders played critical roles at critical times during tthe process and deserve our sincere thanks. If you are able to do so, please reach out and thank them for their continued support through to the finish.

We are going to celebrate this passage with a reception/party with everyone from legislators to community leaders who supported our effort. and to lobbyists whose organizations volunteered their help to us on a day-to-day basis in session. They were Becky Bogard representing Life Science Washington and Jim Hedrick representing Greater Spokane Incorported. Others representing Avista, Spokane County, University of Washington, Washington State University and the University District were also supportive during the session, signing in at hearings in favor of our bills (we ran parallel bills in both the House and Senate) or testfiying. More details to follow.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support of HSSA’s important mission in our community and region.

Life Science Spokane Networking Event Enjoys Great Turnout

A second Life Science Spokane Networking Event had another great turnout of academicians, researchers, business people and students hosted Oct. 11th at Greater Spokane Incorporated. About 100 attended the evening event and simply got to know one another over free food and beverages. Co-hosts were Life Science Washington, GSI's Vision 2030 and yours truly, HSSA.

Overhead among the many conversations were a couple from Georgia who moved to Camas, WA a year or two ago and came a day early for a weekend in Spokane just to attend this event. They were or are involved in the pharmaceutical industry and they really like it here. Could be future Spokanites!

WSU said it now has over $30 million in extramural grant funding that is, frankly, new dollars percolating in our community economy. They suggested HSSA gets credit for this investment. Thank you, WSU!

Very exciting progress at Iasis Molecular Sciences, too, as it seeks additional funding. This is going to be a big hit one day for the founder and for Spokane, but already has been generating great jobs and research training with a local payroll.

Finally, the folks from Jubilent Hollister Stier love our open forum at these events, nothing planned other than meeting one another. It has encouraged Jubilient to become more engaged in our community.

HSSA Announces 2019 $300,000 "Access to Care" Grant Competition

“Tom” had visited the three Hospital Emergency Department in the city of Spokane 176 times last year and as a result was referred to the “Hot Spotters” program, according to Stephen Miller, Volunteers of America adult services director. "The Hot Spotters program (funded by a grant from Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County) works with over utilizers of our emergency services and connects them to the appropriate care for the health issues they are dealing with. As a result of Hot Spotters and its collaboration with over twenty other agencies, Tom has only visited the emergency room four times in 2018 and all for legitimate health concerns. Multiply that 176 visits by the average cost of an ER visit, and you get a sense of the phenomenal amount of money and ER resources that are being saved by this innovative program. Hot Spotters connects people like Tom to primary care doctor, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, housing and numerous other services," said Miller.

“It happens much too often in our community and across the nation, said Miller.

We simply could not keep up with the caseload we experience without the assistance of the HSSA and the cost to the community would continue to rise,” Miller recently said. “If not in emergency costs at our hospitals, then in jail costs.”

One of the most cost effective programs HSSA funds is the Spokane Prescription Assistance Network that has provided more than $17 million in donated prescribed pharmaceuticals to those who otherwise cannot afford their medications, for a 28 to 1 return on investment, says Kelly Armstrong, SPAN Executive Director.

The Health Sciences & Services Authority (HSSA)of Spokane County is announcing that its annual “Access to Care”grant competition to non-profit and other organizations is open for its 2019 grants. This grant seeks applicants who provide innovative health service delivery and increased access to health care to at risk populations.

The HSSA RFP #14 2019 – Access to Care grant will award up to $300,000 for one or more grants that durably increase the efficiency of health service delivery and that increases access to health care for at risk populations in Spokane County.

Last year, HSSA funded $380,000 to five recipients through its annual “Access to Care” grant, including Volunteers of America mentioned above. Also receiving HSSA grants in 2018 were Catholic Charites/Empire Health Foundation for the “Rising Strong” family-centered treatment and housing project. Partners with Families and Children, the Providence dental program for equipment to serve low income patients, and Spokane Prescription Assistance also were funded.

“HSSA’s mission includes increasing access to health care through innovative and collaborative health care delivery in Spokane County, as well as to improve the capacity of the Spokane region to contribute to advances in health sciences research,” said Nancy L. Isserlis, HSSA Board Chair.

Here are key dates related to HSSA RFP #14 2019 “Access to Care”Grant applicant proposals for funding:

RFP posted date: August 30, 2018

Letter of intent due by 12 noon: September 28, 2018

Final Proposal due by 4 pm: October 25, 2018

Awards announcement: November 30, 2018

Applicants should submit a letter of intent (LOI) on the HSSA website at www.hssaspokane.orgunder the Grants tab and Access to Care. HSSA will acknowledge receipt and for those Applicants who meet HSSA criteria, HSSA will provide a link for the Applicant to use to submit a full proposal. This should expedite the process. HSSA also will coordinate directly with the applicants, if necessary. If the LOI is selected, a full proposal would be due via the HSSA website by 4 pm on October 25, 2018. In addition to the normal requirements of applicants, past recipients should reference in the current proposal the major outcomes in past HSSA grants.

HSSA’s grant competition helps to meet one of its strategic goals to increase access to health services in Spokane County for at risk populations, and represents a fund of about 15 percent of annual revenues designated for this purpose.

“To date we have awarded $2 million in this category, providing resources to those organizations in our County who do the important work with people who otherwise would not receive health care services or would seek these services from the area’s emergency rooms and other expensive options,” Isserlis said. “Some end up incarcerated at taxpayers’ expense, so one of HSSA’s intents is to decrease costs while improving health care services,” Isserlis said.

HSSA’s other strategic initiative is to increase local health sciences researchand the infrastructure that supports it, and designates 75 percent of its revenues for that purpose. In the latter case, the research grants are open year-roundfor proposals at any time, and HSSA has invested $5 million to date in health science research grants.

Together with its Access to Care grants, the organization estimates that it has created a total of 450 jobs and $70 million in total economic activity. This includes approximately $20 million in extramural federal grant funding to Spokane. More information about all HSSA grants may be found at www.hssaspokane.org.


4 Local Health Sciences Companies Receive HSSA Grant-Writing Support

Here are four companies to whom HSSA has recently granted up to $5,000 for consulting on writing SBIR/STTR grants.

  • Preveal Technologies — Dr. Bob Hager, PI - seeks STTR grant for a tablet-based neurofeedback system to improve cognitive function and will use a hardware/software package that will allow an individual to exercise and strength working memory
  • Allele Diagnostics - Scott Sulpizio, Director of R&D - seeks SBIR grant to develop novel genetic test for the rapid diagnosis of sexual development (DSD)
  • Monte Carlo Medical Technologies LLC — Diego Vidal, CEO and Paula Eboli, MD and neurosurgeon - seeks SBIR grant to research and develop its deigned endovascular devices with flourless technology, EB catheters and wires, to reduce x-ray exposure to patients and health care professionals
  • Glucose Revival - Kris Maynard - seeks grant to further research applications and treatments for diabetes, including his medical alert necklace that contains the best available gel to quickly raise blood sugar levels

Our process is such that interested small businesses in need of a federal SBIR or STTR grant in the health sciences may apply online at www.hssaspokane.org by filling out an application at this site. After consideration by key members of the Board, we then agree to provide the small grant or not, and inform the applicant. We provide the names and contact information of the three consultants with whom we work, all of whom have professional experience with NIH or other agencies. The applicant choses with whom he or she will work. The consultant bills HSSA directly for the time spent helping with a grantee’s grant proposal. Fairly simple.

Gordon, Potyk to Serve on HSSA's Board

The Health Sciences & Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County recently announced the appointments of two new Board Members to its nine-person board. The two were appointed to four-year terms.

The Board of Spokane County Commissioners has appointed Scott Gordon, Ph.D. Eastern Washington University (EWU) Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs to the HSSA Board.

Spokane Mayor David Condon has appointed Darryl Potyk, M.D., University of Washington (UW) and Gonzaga University (GU) Regional Health Partnership Director of Medical Education, to HSSA’s Board.

Dr. Gordon received his doctorate degree from the University of Tennessee. At EWU he is responsible for overseeing all academic programs and academic administration. This includes all health and allied health programs. He moved to the region last year for the EWU position after having served for more than 20 years at University of Southern Indiana where he had experience with similar boards and initiatives. He is involved locally with the GSI’s Vision 2030 initiative.

Dr. Potyk received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and his medical degree from the University of Southern California (USC) Medical school. He is a practicing physician with nearly 25 years of experience in graduate medical education (residencies) as well as medical student education. He serves as an Associate Dean for the University of Washington in Spokane. He was tapped to lead the new partnership between the UW Medical School and Gonzaga University last year.