A company using technology developed at Kansas University is among several regional firms to secure investments Tuesday morning from the Kansas Bioscience Authority.
KC BioMediX, which moved from De Soto to Shawnee earlier this year, will receive an equity investment of $400,000 to commercialize technologies developed at KU to help teach infants born prematurely how to eat, the authority's board of directors decided.
The company's NTrainer System, which received approval from the FDA earlier this year, is a combination of equipment and computer software to help premature babies who experience problems feeding orally. The system is designed to help such babies gain strength and grow.
The latest award for KC BioMedIx comes after the company received a $150,000 investment from the authority last year, and is part of a $4 million round of company financing.
The authority's board of directors approved the investment and several others during the organization's annual meeting Tuesday in Overland Park:
¢ $200,000 to VasoGenix Pharmaceuticals, in Lenexa, for development of a controlled release drug treatment for heart failure. The company is completing pre-clinical studies of a treatment that could both help patients and reduce re-hospitalization costs by $6 billion per year. The company plans to match the authority's award with private investment.
¢ a $3.75 million convertible note as part of a $7.5 million financing plan for Ventria Bioscience, in Junction City, to expand operations, including the addition of jobs and additional production capacity. The money will help the company prepare for the commercial launch of its pediatric health product, designed to shorten the duration of acute childhood diarrhea. The company's patented ExpressTec technology uses rice to produce protein-based products for human health and nutrition.
¢ $500,000 for MGP Ingredients, in Atchison, to develop and further commercialize bio-based, biodegradable resins as environmentally sensitive replacements for plastics. Such resins can be used for products such as disposable cutlery, DVD cases and bottle caps. The project is expected to create 54 jobs, with $9.9 million in capital investment to build production capacity in Onaga.
"By supporting the growth of companies large and small, established and new, in Kansas' areas of particular bioscience expertise, we help create a sustainable and vibrant industry that can continue tackling global challenges," said Tom Thornton, the authority's president, in a statement.
Also during the annual meeting, board members re-elected directors Sandra Lawrence, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Children's Mercy Hospitals & Clinics, as chairwoman; Bill Sanford, chairman of Symark LLC, as vice chairman; and Ed McKechnie, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Watco Companies, as secretary and treasurer.
The Kansas Bioscience Authority is a $581 million initiative created by the Kansas Economic Growth Act of 2004 to expand the state's research capacity and bioscience clusters; support the growth of bioscience startups; and stimulate bioscience business expansion and attraction.
To finance the authority's efforts, the state takes the increase in state withholding taxes of workers in the bioscience sector and sends the money to the authority, which in turn awards grants, makes investments and otherwise offers economic incentives to generate more bioscience jobs, advances and investments.