The Kansas Bioscience Authority Board of Directors has approved $3.3 million in new investments in the human health, animal health and biomaterials sectors.
Under the KBA's Rising Star program, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, will receive $612,502 over eight years, matching funds from KU, to support the retention of Michael Detamore, PhD. Detamore is an associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering whom the university identifies as one if its "top mid-career researchers in the biomaterials focus area." The grant will be used in part to provide $1 million in new equipment over the next five years.
Spinal Simplicity LLC, Lenexa, will receive $600,000 under the Direct Equity program. The company is dedicated to the creation of minimally invasive devices for complex spinal problems and has three products in its product pipeline.
Kansas City-based Aratana Therapeutics, which focuses on developing new medicines for unmet needs in companion animal health, will receive up to $1.33 million over two years under the R&D Voucher program. The grant will support the chemistry, manufacturing and control work, and clinical research needed as two of Aratana's compounds move toward submission for regulatory approval. Aratana helped attract Argenta, a New Zealand-based company, and AlcheraBio, a New Jersey-based company, to Kansas. Argenta opened a research and development facility in Lawrence and AlcheraBio opened an office in Kansas City in order to work with Aratana.
The Center for Animal Health Innovation, Olathe, one of four Centers of Innovation, will receive $350,000 to fund operations through the rest of fiscal 2012 and early fiscal 2013. Initially funded in March 2011, CAHI focuses on identifying and developing innovative animal health technologies that will result in new products for the animal health industry.
Aptakon, Kansas City, will receive $74,996 under the Matching Grant program, matching a Small Business Innovation Research award from the National Cancer Institute. Aptakon will use the grants to develop a way to identify cancer cells more simply and effectively than traditional methods.
Three Proof of Concept investments also were announced:
CAFO's Best Waste Solutions, Wamego, will receive $72,398 to help advance its swine solid waste separator and activator system toward commercialization.
ASP Medical, a Kansas City company focused on bringing novel surgical devices to market, will receive $74,900 to develop a prototype and evaluate the market for a device used in open-heart surgery. Venture Accelerator tenant Epic Medical Concepts and Innovations (EMCI) will develop the prototype for ASP Medical.
Mencuro Therapeutics, Lawrence, will receive $190,803 to design and test chemical compounds that may relieve pain without many of the negative side effects typical of pain killers such as morphine.