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Pitt-owned life science incubator LifeX received $1 million from Pennsylvania

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LifeX, a life science incubator established by the University of Pittsburgh, will receive a $1 million grant from a Pennsylvania program that aims to attract and encourage early-stage financing for businesses in the state.

“LifeX and the University of Pittsburgh have developed a tremendous partnership with a goal of providing early-stage funding for Western Pennsylvania life science companies,” said Pennsylvania Senate Majority Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne. “I [am] pleased to provide state funding to help them in their mission, which aligns perfectly with the goals of the Angel Investment Venture Capital Program and the efforts to grow businesses in and attract businesses to Pennsylvania.”

Crafted by Sen. Browne in coordination with the governor’s office and the Office of the Budget, the Angel Investment Venture Capital Program targets businesses with high potential for growth that could encourage job creation in Pennsylvania — and make investments in research and development, technology transfers or the application of new technologies.

“This funding, which instantly strengthens LifeX’s capacity to seed new companies and innovations, advances the state’s efforts to become a leading life sciences hub,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “To Gov. Wolf, Sen. Pat Browne and all the leaders in Harrisburg who are working to put the right pieces in place to transform Pennsylvania into a powerful life sciences engine: Thank you. We are grateful for this funding and excited for the opportunities ahead.”

The grant involves two LifeX entities, both of which are owned by the University of Pittsburgh and are designed to work together to increase the likelihood of success for companies in their portfolio.

LifeX Holdings aims to mitigate the risks involved with commercializing and growing early stage companies by providing resources and guidance, while LifeX Ventures provides early stage funding for transformational life science startups in Western Pennsylvania. LifeX Ventures also provides startup experts from across the country who offer guidance on a wide range of matters, including product development, business operations, governance, investment planning, legal support and strategic marketing.

“LifeX’s expertise as an extension of a portfolio company’s team will now be further enhanced by allowing LifeX to assist with providing the necessary early-stage risk capital these young companies require to achieve commercial success — one of the main missing pieces in our ecosystem’s growth,” said Jerry Vardzel, president and CEO of LifeX.

LifeX Ventures is currently guiding nine companies in their portfolio through the startup process, and its first commitment of capital was to MindTrace, an artificial intelligence company developing software to support neurosurgeons.

LifeX Holdings was one of six angel investors to receive a grant through the $5 million Angel Investment Venture Capital Program, which will support twelve business ventures, including LifeX Ventures.