Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: November 18, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky, | Yes&: A.J. Guenther,, (703) 823-1600 ext. 2130

Governor Northam Announces Life Science, Cancer Research Advancing in Virginia with $3.3 Million ‘Catalyst’ Awards

Six collaborations to address major unmet healthcare needs, drive economic growth in Virginia

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that non-profit corporation Virginia Catalyst has awarded $3.3 million in grants to six innovative life science and bioscience collaborations.

The grants fund projects that:

  • Have the potential to significantly improve human health and create high-value jobs,
  • Accelerate the commercialization of inventions and discoveries at Virginia universities, and
  • Strengthen Virginia’s competitive advantage in life sciences research.

“As a pediatric neurologist, I recognize that better treatments for cancer start with advancements in life science research,” said Governor Northam. “Virginia Catalyst is driving this progress, strengthening scientific collaboration, and enabling the Commonwealth to compete on a national scale. Virginia has deployed $70 million in grants that leveraged another $650 million in follow-on funding to accelerate science and technology-based research, development, and commercialization.”

This is Virginia Catalyst’s 10th round of funding. It has awarded 43 grants totaling $20 million, resulting in over $34 million in matching funds and an additional $163 million in follow-on funding since 2013.

Virginia Catalyst, formerly known as Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (VBHRC), is funded by the General Assembly, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech, Eastern Virginia Medical School, George Mason University, Old Dominion University, and William & Mary.

“This grant program requires ‘skin in the game,’ because award recipients must find industry partners willing to invest matching funds for their projects,” said Mike Grisham, CEO of Virginia Catalyst. “This brings investment capital here to finance commercialization of Virginia’s innovations. It’s all about advancing life science and creating high-paying jobs across the Commonwealth.”

Grants were awarded to the following projects:

Microsystem for label-free separation and recovery of tumor-associated cells from biopsies for precision medicine

  • Company: CytoRecovery, Inc. (Blacksburg)
  • Collaborators: Virginia Tech and University of Virginia
  • Amount: $400,000

Commercializing a novel treatment for metastatic cancers

  • Company: InterLeukin Combinatorial Therapies, Inc. (Richmond)
  • Collaborators: Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Virginia
  • Amount: $700,000

Design & Implement of green, enzymatic biofungicides for pre- & post-harvest crop protection

  • Company: Lytos Technologies, LLC (Charlottesville)
  • Collaborators: University of Virginia and Virginia Tech
  • Amount: $500,000

Protein painting of PD-1/PD-L1 for the discovery of new immune checkpoint inhibitors for the treatment of lung cancer and brain metastasis

  • Company: Monet Pharmaceuticals (Nokesville)
  • Collaborators: George Mason University and Virginia Tech
  • Amount: $400,000

Automated 3D spinal navigation system for bedside lumbar puncture procedures

  • Company: RIVANNA (Charlottesville)
  • Collaborators: University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Amount: $800,000

Development of an applicator & training simulator for a gel patch for nonsurgical eardrum repair

  • Company: Tympanogen (Richmond)
  • Collaborators: Eastern Virginia Medical School and Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Amount: $500,000

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