OEDIT grants over $3 million to Colorado bioscience organizations

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) today announced grantees for the Commercialization Infrastructure grants under the Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant Program (BDEGP). A total of $3,135,000 was awarded to support key industry infrastructure that facilitates drug discovery and lifts new bio-tech, life-science businesses off the ground.

"Congratulations to our deserving grantees who provide critical services to the bioscience industry and the state," said Sonya Guram, program manager at OEDIT. "The organizations provide key assets that we want to make solid for the long-term."

Grantees:
* The Colorado Institute for Drug, Device and Diagnostic Development: $1,350,000
* Colorado Center for Drug Discovery: $750,000
* The Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado: $410,248
* The BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado: $624,752

Commercialization Infrastructure grants support joint efforts of industry and academia to create resources that are essential to industry growth. BDEG Commercialization Infrastructure funds have funded four organizations over a number of years. Two new organizations, The Colorado Institute for Drug, Device and Diagnostic Development and The Colorado Center for Drug Discovery, were started to address needs identified by the industry. The BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado and the School of Pharmacy at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have developed Core Facilities that offer new critical technologies to advance drug discoveries. Grantees identify and manage technologies, and support collaboration to bring necessary expertise together to advance novel Colorado biotechnologies to commercialization.

The Colorado Center for Drug Discovery (C2D2), based at Colorado State University, is a resource to faculty at Colorado research universities, bringing biology and chemistry faculty together to use chemical libraries, computational resources, bioinformatics, cheminformatics, database support, virtual high throughput screening, and Computer Aided Drug Design to pharmacologically validate drug candidates with patent-protected chemical matter and innovative therapeutics for unmet medical needs. C2D2 supports several inter-institutional projects with funding and resources. C2D2 offers compounds to investigators through its screening library and medicinal chemistry services that are critical in the drug discovery process.

The Colorado Institute for Drug, Device and Diagnostic Development (CID4) is managing life science discoveries from Colorado research institutions and Colorado start-ups and early-stage businesses with the goal of creating bioscience jobs in Colorado. Grant funds support operations and the development and management of life-science discoveries. The CID4 has seven early-stage companies under its guidance supporting their operational development and attracting additional investment to meet their needs.

The BioFrontiers Institute is a state-of-the art research and education facility that links the basic sciences, engineering, clinical practice, and industry at the University of Colorado's Boulder campus to support breakthrough developments in areas such as engineering human tissues, RNA enzyme and aptamer-based pharmaceutical, biorefining, and genetics. Grant funds support equipment, resources and personnel costs to develop the core facilities of the institute. With grant support, the institute has developed one of the largest repositories of shRNAs in the world at the Functional Genomics Facility. Colorado companies partner with the institute to improve their products. Ventria, a Fort Collins based pharma-biologics company, has used mass spectrometry services to detect oxidation in recombinant protein samples manufactures for human terapeutics. OPX Biotechnologies based in Boulder utilizes mass spectrometry to detect levels of intracellular metabolytes in biofuel molecule samples. Longmont-based Avery Brewing Co. has partnered with the Next-Generation DNA Sequencing Facility to develop an early-detection test for yeast cross-contamination to reduce waste and inefficiencies in their production process.

The University of Colorado Skagg's School of Pharmacy at Anschutz developed an HTS/HCS (high throughput/content screening) Core Facility for drug discovery. This resource has been utilized by more than 100 researchers and companies advancing the science and helping to secure intellectual property.

The BDEGP was created by the Colorado Legislature to foster development of the bioscience industry in the state by providing gap funding to move novel technologies founded in Colorado research institutions down the commercialization path. The BDEGP encompasses three distinct grant programs: Proof of Concept, Early Stage Company, and Commercialization Infrastructure.