Commission also issues Request for Applications for four funding programs for July 13, 2023 deadline
COLUMBIA, Md. (May 9, 2023) —The Maryland Stem Cell Research (MSCRF) Commission is pleased to announce over $14.1 million in grant awards to promote innovative research that will strengthen and advance stem cell treatments and technologies in Maryland. This is the largest amount awarded to Maryland-based institutions and companies since 2010 and was made possible as a result of increased funding from the State. This is also the first time that the Commission awarded funding to Maryland-based companies under MSCRF’s new Manufacturing Assistance Program, established to boost cell therapy manufacturing capabilities in the State.
39 scientists from Maryland-based research institutions and companies will be receiving awards from this round of funding to advance research addressing an array of medical conditions, including cancer, eye, heart, bone, blood, digestive, and central nervous system diseases. Awardees include academic scientists from Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, University of Maryland, College Park, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Lieber Institute for Brain Development, Hugo W. Moser Research Institute at Kennedy Krieger and The Geneva Foundation. From the commercial sector, awardees include Vita Therapeutics, Inc., Theradaptive, Inc., Caring Cross, Inc., RoosterBio, Inc. and Reprocell U.S.A., Inc.
Awardees submitted proposals to the Commission in response to its Request for Applications (RFAs) for its second round of funding in fiscal year 2023. Earlier this fiscal year, the Commission awarded an additional $4.2 million in research grants.
“We remain committed to supporting the researchers and companies in Maryland to advance stem cell research and ultimately improve the lives of patients suffering from a wide range of diseases and conditions,” said Diane Hoffmann, chair of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission. “With the new Manufacturing Assistance Program, we hope to accelerate the development and delivery of stem cell therapies in a timely and cost-effective manner, and to attract and retain an advanced manufacturing work force in the region.”
Dr. Ruchika Nijhara, the new executive director of MSCRF added, “We believe that the funds for manufacturing assistance, which approach $1,000,000 per project, will enable our stem cell businesses to overcome manufacturing challenges they face in today’s economy and give Maryland a competitive advantage.”
With the support of Governor Wes Moore and the Maryland General Assembly, MSCRF has a current budget of $20.5 million for fiscal year 2024. The Commission has also issued RFAs for its first-round of 2024 funding in hopes of continuing to accelerating cutting-edge research and cures through the various programs of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF). All applications are due by July 13, 2023.
“The MSCRF team is dedicated to supporting advances in stem cell research and will be delighted to work with stem cell researchers and/or businesses in this round of funding and answer any questions related to the RFAs”, said Nijhara.
The second round of MSCRF awards for the 2023 fiscal year include the following:
- Launch: These awards are to encourage new and new-to-the-field faculty to bring innovative research and technology to the regenerative medicine field. Totaling $2,098,743, the Launch Award recipients are Dr. Jennifer Erwin from the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, Dr. Christina Nemeth Mertz from the Hugo W. Moser Research Institute at Kennedy Krieger, Dr. Alexander Ksendzovsky from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Dr. Daniel Lobo from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Dr. Roopa Biswas from The Geneva Foundation/Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, and Dr. Sangmoo Jeong from Johns Hopkins University.
- Commercialization: These awards are for Maryland-based start-up companies to develop new human stem cell-based products. Totaling $773,657, the Commercialization Award recipients are Vita Therapeutics (Dr. Peter Andersen) and Reprocell USA, Inc. (Dr. Gila Idelman).
- Discovery: These awards fund innovative ideas to develop novel human stem cell-based technologies and cures. Totaling $6,206,748, the Discovery Award recipients include: Drs. Jeff Bulte, Chulan Kwon, Linda Resar, Alan Friedman, Aaron James, Warren Grayson, Norman Haughey, Hee Cheol Cho, Kenneth Boheler, Nicholas Maragakis, Hari Easwaran Lena Smirnova, Gabsang Lee, and Hyesoo Kim from Johns Hopkins University; Drs. Curt Civin, Maged Harraz; and Ricardo Feldman from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and Dr. Steven Jay from the University of Maryland, College Park.
- Post-Doctoral Fellowship: These awards support exceptional post-doctoral fellows conducting research in Maryland. Totaling $1,170,000, the Postdoctoral Fellowship Award recipients include: Drs. Manisha Kumari, Shuya Li, Zanshe Thompson, Milton Roy, Mansoureh Barzegar, and Sean Murphy from Johns Hopkins University; Drs. Alejandra Romero Morales and Arthur Feltrin from the Lieber Institute for Brain Development; and Dr. Audra Kramer from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
- Manufacturing Assistance: These awards provide company support for manufacturing stem cell therapy products in Maryland. Totaling $3,866,550, the Manufacturing Assistance Award recipients are Vita Therapeutics (Douglas Falk), RoosterBio, Inc. (Dr. Jon Rowley), Theradaptive, Inc. (Dr. Luis Alvarez) and Caring Cross, Inc. (Dr. Boro Dropulic).
More information about all current MSCRF awardees is available at https://www.mscrf.org/awardees.
About the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission
The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission is focused on identifying and fostering cutting-edge research and innovation in the field of regenerative medicine in Maryland. Our Accelerating Cures initiative comprises programs that help transition human stem cell-based technologies from the bench to the bedside as well as mechanisms to build and grow stem cell companies in Maryland. Visit us at www.mscrf.org to learn more about our funding opportunities.
TEDCO, the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, enhances economic empowerment growth through the fostering of an inclusive entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem. TEDCO identifies, invests in, and helps grow technology and life science-based companies in Maryland. Learn more at www.tedcomd.com.
Ruchika Nijhara, PhD, MBA, Executive Director, MSCRF, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tammi Thomas, Chief Development & Marketing Officer, TEDCO, email@example.com