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Kansas Invests Millions in Innovations to Improve Human Health and Launches Three National Bioscience Programs at BIO'08

SAN DIEGO, June 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Kansas researchers and companies excel in the human health biosciences, and $3.7 million in new Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA) investments in that sector will support cutting-edge innovations for the treatment of cancer, HIV, and osteoporosis, as well as in pharmaceutical development.

"Kansas has tremendous human-health research capabilities and strong corporate clustering, and we're using those strengths to address critical national and international health challenges," said KBA president Tom Thornton. "Our state's investments in highprospect companies and research projects are getting results."

The authority's new industrial investments include the following:

-- Lenexa, Kan.-based TVAX Biomedical will receive $187,622 for a clinical trial of a unique cancer treatment that uses a patient's own immune cells to fight the disease.

-- OsteoGeneX of Kansas City, Kan., will receive $375,000 for the further development of a groundbreaking treatment to stop the advance of osteoporosis and related bone disorders. This grant, which is a partial match of a $995,000 federal NIH/NIAMS Small Business Innovation Research grant, is OsteoGeneX's second award from the KBA, following a $130,000 grant last year that resulted in the identification of several bone-building small molecules.

-- ImmunoGenetix Therapeutics, Inc., Lenexa, Kan., is eligible for a $420,000 convertible note to support the development of its therapeutic vaccine for HIV designed to inhibit viral replication by enhancing antibody and cellular immune response. The KBA investment will help the company secure an equal amount of funds from other sources.

-- Vince and Associates Clinical Research, Overland Park, Kan., has been awarded $200,000 to expand its pharmaceutical clinical research trials capacity to meet significant increases in the demand for clinical studies. The company is making a capital investment of over $1 million, doubling its floor space with a dedicated 50-bed clinical research facility for Phase I trials, and hiring 38 full- and part-time employees over the next three years.

National programs

At the Bio International Convention in San Diego, the KBA also kicked off its new Collaborative Cancer Research Initiative, which launches with $2.5 million in funding for cancer researchers across the country who partner with Kansas researchers on projects that leverage the state's expertise and facilities.

The initiative will enhance cancer research excellence in Kansas -- and nationally -- by introducing investigators to the state's research facilities and strong expertise in drug discovery, delivery, and development. Academic, federal, and non-profit researchers are invited to collaborate with Kansas scientists at the University of Kansas Cancer Center and elsewhere to perform cancer research not possible at their home institutions.

Ray Smilor, executive director of the Beyster Institute at the Rady School of Management at the University of California at San Diego and a KBA director, said entrepreneurs looking for bioscience opportunities should look in Kansas.

"Investors are finding tremendous opportunities for growth in Kansas," Smilor said. "It's not just the state's great cancer research or clinical trials capabilities -- Kansas is building world-class strength in the human health sector by tackling global problems."

Two other programs first announced in Kansas in recent months also made their national debut at BIO'08.

The $2.5 million Collaborative Biosecurity Research Initiative builds on the state's existing strength in the animal health sector and seeks to bring together researchers nationwide to create products that protect Americans from animal-borne diseases that could harm the food supply, disrupt the national agriculture economy, or infect humans.

The Biosecurity Research Institute Training and Education Program at Kansas State University is going national with specialized training programs to keep research laboratories safe and secure -- so Americans can continue enjoying the benefits of world-class research to combat infectious diseases.

With $1.5 million in KBA funding, the training and education program will help meet the unprecedented demand for biosafety and biocontainment training that has emerged as bioscience research and industry have grown significantly in recent years.

"Our researchers and businesses are making significant bioscience breakthroughs in critical areas such as human health and animal health," Thornton said. "And whether we're helping people fight disease or protecting America's dinner table, we want to work with others across the country to ensure the best results possible."

About the KBA

The Kansas Bioscience Authority is a $581-million initiative created by the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2004 to expand the state's world-class research capacity and bioscience clusters; support the growth of bioscience startups; and stimulate bioscience business expansion and attraction.

SOURCE The Kansas Bioscience Authority
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