A partnership 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.

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.

Funded by a three-year, $10 million grant through Connecticut’s Bioscience Innovation Fund, the program is designed to increase the speed in which new biotech companies are launched in Connecticut.