SPOKANE, Wash.– Washington State University (WSU) Health Sciences today announced the launch of Spinout Space in Spokane (sp³nw), a new life sciences incubator that will launch start-up companies. As part of this launch, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation confirmed its support for sp3nw with a $250,000 grant, allowing sp3nw to begin incubating WSU research and innovation into biotech, pharma, diagnostics, and medical device companies, while also connecting regional entrepreneurs with WSU faculty expertise.
“There is a long-unmet need in the state of Washington for an entity like sp3nw to identify, support, incubate and accelerate early-stage life science and health care companies,” said Glenn Prestwich, WSU President’s Distinguished Professor, and director of sp3nw. “With Bank of America’s support and commitment to creating economic advancement across the state, sp3nw can now begin to spin out companies from WSU technologies, while also connecting emerging life sciences companies to WSU researchers and experts.”
With its extensive networks of affiliates and mentors, sp3nw offers something truly unique to WSU and community bio-entrepreneurs. The collaborative program makes it easier to commercialize discovery and invention. The resulting products will catalyze global health care innovation, while also driving economic opportunity and job growth in the region.
sp3nw, its partners and supporters join a growing movement to apply life sciences beyond the laboratory. Organizations are coming together to bring life-saving and life-enhancing products to market faster and at a reduced cost. The resulting products will catalyze global health care innovation, drive economic growth, and create high-value jobs.
The grant provided by Bank of America is intended to advance economic mobility by supporting nonprofit organizations serving education and workforce, community development and basic needs. In addition to funding from Bank of America’s $1 billion, four-year initiative, year to date, the bank has deployed more than $830,000 to 32 local organizations across Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho to address basic community and health needs.
“The health and humanitarian crisis brought on by the coronavirus illustrates the importance of health care innovation. This grant represents our confidence in sp3nw’s mission to provide vital support for local entrepreneurs and researchers bringing life-changing technologies to market,” said Kurt Walsdorf, Bank of America Spokane and Idaho market president. “At Bank of America, we believe this innovative incubator model will help foster economic growth that further anchors Eastern Washington’s prominence in our state’s fast-growing health care industry while creating sustainable, local, high-wage jobs in the Inland Northwest.”
This project ties to the foundational land-grant mission of WSU and its health sciences campus, where service to the community is bolstered by students’ access to life-changing education and research. These future physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and researchers then bring the benefits of innovation to the health care needs of the citizens of Washington.
“Bank of America’s generosity and support are enhancing quality of life and economic vitality, while also aligning with our efforts to foster learning, inquiry, and public service,” said Daryll DeWald, WSU Health Sciences vice president and chancellor. “We’re excited about others following in Bank of America’s footsteps and coming forward in our shared pursuit to support education and research that results in broad societal impact.”
Additional sp3nw funding will allow the incubator to address critical entrepreneurial gaps throughout the state of Washington and in the sector. 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.
Also, through sp3nw, entrepreneurs have access to office and lab space adjacent to the WSU Health Sciences Spokane campus. The building currently known as Ignite NW will soon transform to sp3nw in brand and purpose. Satellite sp3nw sites are also forthcoming on WSU’s other campuses in Washington (Pullman, Vancouver, Tri-Cities, and Everett). sp3nw also boasts cooperative MOUs with Boise State University, University of Montana, University of Idaho, and North Idaho College to broaden the outreach and impact of WSU technology in the region.
Concluded Prestwich, “Together with the university and partners such as Bank of America, we can help reduce the complexities that arise when going from the bench to business to product. It’s a paradigm that we see transforming the industry in the greater Spokane region, the Inland Northwest and beyond.”