Four promising technologies are one step closer to the marketplace thanks to funding from the University City Science Center’s QED Proof-of-Concept Program. Life science and health IT researchers from Drexel University, Temple University and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, received a total of $600,000 through the QED program to develop a potential drug therapy for Lou Gehrig’s disease; validate a new therapeutic compound for pancreatic cancer; develop software to analyze EEG readings and guide diagnosis; and improve communications skills of health care professionals.
The four projects were selected from a pool of 65 submissions from 14 universities in the Greater Philadelphia region. For each project, half of the awarded funding is provided by the Science Center, and the balance comes in the form of a match from the researcher’s university.
Additionally, for the first time, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) is funding a portion of the awards for the projects at universities in Philadelphia, through Startup PHL.
The QED Program, the nation’s first multi-institutional proof-of-concept program for life science technologies, bridges the “valley of death” – the gap between research grants and commercial seed investment, by awarding grants to life science and digital health technologies with high potential in the healthcare industry.
Altogether, since its inception in 2009, QED has awarded $3.6 million to 20 projects. Five projects have progressed to the point where the relevant technologies have been licensed. Together, these five projects have attracted more than $9 million in follow-on funding.
“QED is shining a light on Greater Philadelphia’s innovation community and demonstrating our region’s potential and power as a technology commercialization hub,” says Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA, President and CEO of the Science Center. “We’ve found that by offering funding, business advice and guidance to exit, we can speed the progress of commercialization and help researchers succeed – or fail – faster.”
“We are excited to contribute to the growing vibrancy of the Philadelphia innovation sector by funding cutting-edge life science and digital health technologies through our investment in the Science Center’s QED program as part of the Startup PHL initiative,” says John Grady, President of PIDC, “Through Startup PHL, PIDC is increasing the availability of seed-stage capital and making Philadelphia a great environment to launch and grow new businesses.”
QED Round 6 Awardees:
- Dr. Christof Daetwyler of Drexel University College of Medicine, who is developing an online system to improve the communication skills of healthcare professionals using practice, assessment, and feedback. This project in the digital health track received business guidance from QED advisors Shawn Bridy and Aaron Moskowitz and will receive a total award of $100,000.
- Dr. Joseph Picone of Temple University, who is working on EEG reporting software that automatically analyzes readings and guides diagnosis. This project in the digital health track received business guidance from QED advisors Sina Adibi and Robert Solomon and will receive a total award of $100,000.
- Dr. Samuel Gunderson of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, who is validating a new therapeutic compound for pancreatic cancer, one of the most difficult to treat. This project in the life sciences track received business guidance from QED advisors Joseph Messina and Kevin O’Neill and will receive a total award of $200,000. This is Dr. Gunderson’s second QED award.
- Dr. Benjamin Blass of Temple University, who leads a program that is developing a potential drug therapy for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease as it’s popularly known. This project in the life sciences track received business guidance from QED Advisors Bozena Korczak and Don Skerritt and will receive a total award of $200,000.