SPOKANE, Wash. – Washington State University Health Sciences and its life sciences incubator, Spinout Space in Spokane (sp3nw), announced today a $750,000 award as part of the Economic Development Administration’s Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge.

The SPRINT Challenge was launched to harness America’s entrepreneurial potential to address the economic, health, and safety risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic through entrepreneurship and innovation.

Sp3nw’s proposal was chosen for its unique framework to create a flexible infrastructure for resilient entrepreneurship, referred to as FIRE, which consists of support programs that spur regional economic development in eastern Washington and North Idaho.

“We are thrilled to be chosen as a recipient in the Department of Commerce/Economic Development Administration’s competitive SPRINT challenge. This validates the sp3nw program and its delivery of innovative life science to the region,” said Glenn Prestwich, who is both the principal investigator for the project and the director for sp3nw.

Continued Prestwich, “Our proposal was unique in that it matches startups in the area with executive advisors and interns to help expedite go-to-market actions. The project will provide wrap-around services to startups including marketing, bookkeeping and business research. As we talk to life sciences entrepreneurs, these are often the services they lack capacity to carry out.”

Additionally, FIRE will establish a directory of funding opportunities, assess regional funding gaps, and train local investment groups to develop funding for early-stage businesses. The project also targets pharmaceutical manufacturing and technician certification in urban and rural areas in the Inland Northwest in order to create a growing and sustainable workforce, which is important for economic development.

“The Biden Administration applauds the SPRINT Challenge awardees’ efforts to pivot to help their communities through difficult times quickly,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “American entrepreneurship and innovation will help our country through this coronavirus pandemic and build it back better, stronger, and more resilient.”

Sp3nw was started in 2020 in order to incubate WSU research and innovation into biotech, pharma, diagnostics, and medical device companies, while also connecting regional entrepreneurs with WSU faculty expertise.

SPRINT funding for the FIRE project aligns with the incubator’s mission to identify, support, incubate and accelerate early-stage life science and health care companies. The products and innovations these companies ultimately produce will help the global health care community address challenges related to pandemics like COVID-19.

Said WSU Health Sciences’ Vice President, Daryll DeWald, “The SPRINT Challenge award validates that sp3nw project and teams are laser-focused on using innovation to help overcome challenges caused by the pandemic. It is awe-inspiring to learn about all the products from sp3nw companies that directly align with SPRINT Challenge’s mission and goals.”

Examples of sp3nw projects related to Covid-19 include:

  • Intravenous line organizing devices of Crimson Medical
  • Mental health improvements offered by HART3S
  • SniffAlert technology for Covid positivity detection
  • Decision-making algorithms to improve patient compliance and provider communications from Managed Health Connections
  • And many more…

Incubator leaders are currently seeking additional funding from investors to allow its experts to further address critical entrepreneurial gaps throughout the state of Washington. The incubator affords opportunity for innovators to engage with nearly three dozen affiliated consultants, investor groups and service providers, as well as a mentor network comprised of nearly two dozen experienced entrepreneurs. Assistance offered to entrepreneurs includes grant preparation and submission, operational and intellectual property support, and legal and marketing services.

For those interested in being an sp3nw service partner or mentor, entrepreneur, or investor, visit sp3nw.org.

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