Leen H. Kawas, who came to the U.S. from Jordan to get her PhD and stayed to become chief scientist and now CEO of an innovative biotech company, M3 Biotechnology Inc., the start-up company she guides, are among five groups to receive grants from Washington’s Life Sciences Discovery Fund.
M3 and Kawas were among recipients of the $250,000 grants from the fund that are just now prepared to head to commercialization from academia, M3 having completed animal trials in the lab at Washington State University and now ready to move toward clinical testing.
The Life Science Discovery Fund (LSDF) was established in 2005 with Washington’s share of the tobacco settlement money and is aimed at making investments in innovative life sciences research and development.
The young Biotech where Kawas became CEO late last year has developed a drug that could reverse the course of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, and Alzheimers.
It was those accomplishments and related involvements that led to Kawas’ selection to guide the firm as it prepares to move from the labs to toxicity trials that are the first step in ultimate FDA approval for clinical trials.
And a week earlier, she was among those honored at an Experience Excellence Awards Banquet at WSU for one of her 2013 patents.
For Kawas, the challenge of raising initial investment capital for her start-up company while overcoming the array of obstacles facing a 29-year-old Middle Eastern female are more than offset by the successes she has been able to achieve, capped by the LSDF grant announced this week.
And she says a key part of the satisfactions in her recognitions guiding M3 relate to the hope that her successes will serve to inspire other entrepreneurs, particularly female entrepreneurs, from the Middle East.
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