A parPRImageDrawingtnership between Yale University and the University of Connecticut (UConn) has selected the first projects that will spur creation of new biotechnology companies in Connecticut.

Funded by Connecticut Innovations, the Program in Innovative Therapeutics for Connecticut’s Health – or PITCH – will help translate research into private investment in new commercial ventures. The program is led by Craig Crews, Executive Director of Yale’s Center for Molecular Discovery, and Dennis Wright of UConn.

“We were delighted to see such enthusiastic interest in this new program from the research community, and are excited to move forward with the projects that have become part of the PITCH portfolio, said Dr. Dennis Wright, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at UConn. “The diversity of therapeutic areas and drug modalities in these projects highlights the robust research environment at the University of Connecticut, and we look forward to new opportunities to engage faculty from UConn and beyond who have a strong interest in drug discovery and development.”

Selected by an independent Board comprising leaders in the pharmaceutical industry, founders of start-up companies and investment prospectors, the first 12 projects to receive funding represent cutting-edge research that will test new approaches to treat cancer, liver disease, bacterial and viral infections, and inflammatory conditions. Projects at UConn and Yale will draw on the collective strengths of both institutions, building on basic laboratory science to generate prototype drugs for development into new medicines.

The PITCH initiative creates collaborative links among Connecticut’s college institutions, and encourages the commercialization of research coming out of the universities. Funded by a three-year, $10 million grant through Connecticut’s Bioscience Innovation Fund, the program is designed to increase the speed with which new biotech companies are launched in Connecticut.

For more information about the projects being funded and the PITCH program, visit the program website [http://pitch.yale.edu/pitch-projects].