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SPARK | REACH Accelerates Nine New Projects Toward Commercial Success

Incoming cohort represents a range of technologies, from cellular therapeutics to vaccinations to radioactive foil therapy

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What You Need To Know

The SPARK | REACH program focuses on developing technologies that address unmet medical needs, bridging the “translational gap” between the lab bench and the patient.

The SPARK | REACH program welcomes its newest cohort of fellows, who will join the existing fellows from cohort four funded in 2021. The SPARK program, established in Colorado in 2018, assists University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus faculty and researchers in the process of translating their discoveries into products that will improve patients’ lives.

In 2020, the program was recognized by the National Institutes of Health as one of five REACH Hubs (Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub) across the country. This prestigious award provides the Hub with $4 million over four years to support translational projects toward product development, as well as educational initiatives. It also allows the Hub to be embedded in a national network of innovation hubs, to ensure the program is run on national gold standards.

SPARK Program highlights

of previous awardees


$6.2 million – Invested in SPARK teams

$20.1 million – Follow-on funding raised by SPARK teams

42 projects in five cohorts

12 commercialization webinars per year

65+ business mentors

18 new startups created

The incoming cohort of SPARK projects represents a diversity of technologies, from cellulartherapeutics to vaccinations to radioactive foil therapy. All have demonstrated proof of concept and are ready to start their journey on the commercialization pathway, getting one step closer to impacting patient care. Cohort four fellows are approaching their one-year anniversary. They have reached key milestones including securing external investment, preparing for pre-investigational new drug application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and validating animal studies.

SPARK is now accepting letters of intent from applicants interested in joining the next cohort. Full applications will be invited following review of the letter of intent; due-date for applications is Sept. 28, 2022. Please see the SPARK | REACH website to learn more about the application process and ways you can get support in preparing the application.

SPARK Colorado is modeled after the Stanford University SPARK Program established in 2006 by Professor Daria Mochly-Rosen, PhD, as a cost-effective model to advance biomedical discoveries into treatments for patients.

The program focuses on technologies that address unmet medical needs, bridging the “translational gap” between the lab bench and the patient. In addition to SPARK’s open RFP/funding, the program welcomes all innovation enthusiasts to participate in its education programming.

Guest contributor: Claire McDonald of CU Innovations.

Topics: Innovation