The nation’s largest autism organization is launching a secondary entity with an eye toward bringing everything from medical innovations to apps for those on the spectrum to market.
Officials at Autism Speaks said this week that they are creating a new nonprofit known as Delivering Scientific Innovation for Autism, or DELSIA. The spinoff, which will be led by some of the organization’s existing staffers, will not raise any money of its own, but will rely exclusively on grants from Autism Speaks to fund promising new innovations.
DELSIA will work with outside entities including biotech startups, academic-industry incubators, entrepreneurs and small businesses to provide seed money to develop new products and services for public use, Autism Speaks officials indicated. In return, the nonprofit will arrange to receive royalties in cases where new innovations are commercially successful so that profits can be used to fund further investment.
“There is an urgent need for autism therapies, medications and devices now, and we are committed to leading both the research and the developments that will benefit the thousands of people who struggle with autism every day,” said Geraldine Dawson, Autism Speaks’ chief science officer who will chair DELSIA’s board of managers, in a statement. “Autism Speaks has funded important research that holds great promise for delivering more effective ways to diagnose and treat autism and it’s crucial that we apply what we are learning in the lab to real world solutions that can improve the lives of people living with autism today.”
The new nonprofit will serve a similar purpose to business entities created by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, both of which have proved successful at spurring the development of new treatments, Autism Speaks officials said.