May 18, 2021

WE-REACH Invests in Three Biomedical Innovations for Treatment Of Skin, Sepsis, & Kidney

Seattle, WA (May 18, 2021)—The Washington Entrepreneurial Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (WE-REACH) is pleased to announce investments in three new awards to expedite early-stage product development for promising biomedical innovations. The three awards are intended to reduce skin injury from wound dressing, to treat COVID-19 induced viral sepsis, and to treat kidney disease.

We congratulate the following recipients of the awards and their teams:

Drs. Seibel, Lazarovits, Ueda, & Freedman

Drs. Seibel, Lazarovits, Ueda, & Freedman

Eric Seibel, PhD and his multidisciplinary team from UW and Seattle Children’s Hospital is re-inventing high adhesion medical tape with UnTape. The goal is to reduce Medical Adhesive-Related Skin Injury (MARSI) without compromising on secure attachment to the skin, until it is time for rapid, painless removal.

George Ueda, PhD and James Lazarovits, PhD plan to develop a new class of therapeutic protein-based nanoparticles. WE-REACH will fund the first application of this platform technology to regenerate the cells lining blood vessels, which break down during severe infection and lead to lethal conditions such as acute respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis. With limited treatment options available, there is a major need for targeted therapies that treat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Benjamin Freedman, PhD and the MiniKidney team plan to develop a novel therapeutic strategy for polycystic kidney disease, which affects millions and has no known cure. With this award they will utilize human mini-organs, that re-create the disease in a petri dish, to rapidly advance lead compounds into the clinic.

All three projects have received invaluable input from experts at the NIH, Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, third-party payers, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, as well as an entrepreneurial committee of local experts in the Seattle area.

The next round of WE-REACH projects will begin in Fall 2021.


WE-REACH is an NIH-designated entrepreneurial product innovation hub for the Pacific Northwest. WE-REACH is supported by public-private partnerships accelerating the transformation of biomedical discoveries into innovative products intended to improve patient care, access, and health. Learn more at https://www.washington.edu/we-reach/.

Partners and contributors to WE-REACH include:

In addition to providing funding, CoMotion helps with sourcing, selecting, and ongoing guidance of the project teams. CoMotion partners with the UW community on their innovation journey, providing tools, connections, and acumen to transform ideas into economic and societal impact. Learn more at https://comotion.uw.edu/.

The Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) is dedicated to speeding scientific discovery to clinical practice for the benefit of communities throughout Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho and beyond. ITHS promotes this mission by fostering innovative research, cultivating multi-disciplinary research partnerships, and ensuring a pipeline of next generation researchers through educational and career development programs. Learn more at iths.org.

The Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington School of Medicine is creating a new world of synthetic proteins to address 21st-century challenges in medicine, energy, and technology. Learn more about our research at ipd.uw.edu.

The University of Washington School of Pharmacy: https://sop.washington.edu.

WE-REACH is supported by NIH Grant 1 U01 HL152401-01.