Olathe — Members of the Kansas Bioscience Authority approved $6 million in new investments on Monday, including a grant to recruit a new cancer researcher to Kansas University and a $1.6 million grant for a Lawrence pharmaceutical company.
The KU Cancer Center received a $1.1 million grant through the KBA’s Rising Star program that will allow the center to recruit Raymond Perez as director of Phase I Clinical Trials.
Perez will serve as the leader of a new facility made possible by the money raised as part of the Johnson County Education Research Triangle sales tax, said Roy Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center.
“It’s a great example of being able to leverage that revenue stream coming in from Johnson County,” Jensen said.
Perez has served as an associate professor of medicine and pharmacology and toxicology at Dartmouth Medical School, and was co-director of the Phase I Clinical Trials Program at Dartmouth’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center, an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center.
Bill Sanford, vice chairman of the KBA’s investment committee, said Perez’s hiring would bring five full-time jobs to KU, along with $4.3 million in research dollars.
The recommendations for funding on Monday had already been approved by the authority’s investment committee.
Also on Monday, Lawrence-based Deciphera Pharmaceuticals was awarded $1.6 million in grant funding, allowing the company to work with three other Kansas companies to advance its drug development programs.
Sanford said that the project was a direct result of an earlier KBA investment into Deciphera’s activities.
The funding would support Deciphera’s research and development activity on its research into cancer drugs, Sanford said.
The board approved a $400,000 investment that would be made available to an animal health company with a headquarters outside the U.S. that is looking for a location in the United States.
KBA board members did not name the company.
Sanford said that Kansas was in competition with other locations to attract the company. The company would only receive the money if it chose to build in Kansas, he said.
The company could potentially attract 36 Kansas jobs, with an average salary of $72,556, Sanford said.
The KBA board also briefly discussed an ongoing audit into its finances being conducted by BKD LLC. David Vranicar, interim president and CEO of the authority, said the KBA was continuing to cooperate fully with the auditors.
Board President John Carlin said he hoped the audit results would be released by October.