The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission (Commission) approved funding for 29 awards for a total of $8,533,987. These awards will be distributed between 6 different research institutes and 6 companies and will address over 20 different diseases and conditions.
“The high level of work that our stem cell researchers and companies are performing is a testament to Maryland’s status as a national leader in the life sciences industry,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Our administration’s commitment to this and other lifesaving therapies is in line with the Commission’s work to accelerate the path to develop cures for all.”
Established by the Governor and the Maryland General Assembly through the Maryland Stem Cell Research Act of 2006, the MSCRF promotes State-funded stem cell research and cures through grants to both public and private entities in Maryland.
“The awards announced here are the first in our new Accelerating Cure initiative. They represent some of the most advanced regenerative medicine projects that are being undertaken!” said Rabbi Avram Reisner, chair of the Commission. “These awardees, which include several clinical trials, are at the leading edge of medical innovation and exemplify the purpose and mission of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF).”
Both the Commission and the MSCRF are administered by TEDCO, the go-to source for entrepreneurial support and guidance for start-ups and early-stage companies engaged in bringing innovative ideas to market.
“To date, more than $139 million has been committed to over 400 projects through our stem cell programs,” stated John Wasilisin, TEDCO president and chief operating officer. “With the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act which includes an accelerated path at the FDA for regenerative medicine therapies, the timing couldn’t be better for Maryland stem cell researchers and companies to get their solutions to the patient. Our MSCRF Accelerating Cures Initiative helps them do precisely that!”
This year’s MSCRF awards include:
- 2 Clinical: This award is designed for clinical stem cell researchers from organizations that wish to conduct clinical trials in Maryland using human stem cells to advance medical therapies. Totaling $1,500,000, the clinical award recipients are Gurdyal Kalsi of TissueGene, Inc. and Joshua Hare of Longeveron, LLC.
- 4 Commercialization: These awards assist with the creation of start-up companies or new technologies developed in Maryland-based companies. Totaling $1,198,960, the commercialization award recipients are Madhusudan Peshwa of MaxCyte, Inc.; Chengkang Zhang of Propagenix, Inc.; William Rust of Seraxis, Inc.; and Ha Nam Nguyen of 3Dnamics, Inc.
- 3 Validation: These grant awards foster the transition of promising stem cell technologies having significant commercial potential from universities and research labs to the commercial sector. Totaling $690,000, this year’s validation awards are presented to Sunjay Kaushal of University of Maryland – Baltimore; Yunqing Li of Hugo W. Moser Research Institute at Kennedy Krieger.; and Sharon Gerecht of The Johns Hopkins University.
- 12 Discovery: These awards fund new innovative research ideas in the stem cell field without preliminary data. Totaling $4,105,027, the discovery award recipients included eight researchers from The Johns Hopkins University (Jeff Bulte, Assaf Gilad, David Kass, Linda Resar, Linzhao Cheng, Piotr Walczak, Aaron James, and Gabsang Lee); one researcher from University of Maryland – Baltimore (Ivy Dick). Grants were also awarded to Mingyao Ying of Hugo W. Moser Research Institute at Kennedy Krieger, Inc., Michael Nestor of The Hussman Institute for Autism; and Brady Maher of Lieber Institute for Brain Development.
- 8 Post-Doctoral Fellowship: This award supports exceptional post-doctoral fellows who wish to conduct research in academia or in industry in Maryland. Each fellowship will be up to $65,000 per year, for up to two years. Totaling $1,040,000, award recipients include two from the University of Maryland – College Park (Marco Santoro and Josephine Lembong) and six from The Johns Hopkins University (Nikhil Panicker, Dongwon Kim, Qin Bian, Congshan Sun, Zhao Wei, and Aline Thomas).
“The Commission also approved beginning a facilitated roundtable discussion group for the new Post-Doctoral Fellowships Awardees in order to build camaraderie and help them establish a strong foundation in translational regenerative medicine and boost future commercialization of their ideas and innovations”, stated Dan Gincel, TEDCO vice president of University Partnerships and MSCRF executive director. “The Commission further approved a second round of applications for the Validation and Commercialization Programs in mid-July, with awards announced as early as September.”
All MSCRF-funded research must be conducted in Maryland and must involve human stem cells. For more details about the fund and the recent reward recipients, visit http://www.mscrf.org/content/awardees/2017Awardees.php.
About the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission
The Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF) was established by the State of Maryland under the Maryland Stem Cell Research Act of 2006 to promote State-funded stem cell research and cures through grants and loans to public and private entities in the State. Administered by The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), the MSCRF is overseen by an independent Commission that sets policy and develops criteria, standards and requirements for applications to the Fund. For more information about the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund, please visit www.mscrf.org.