Archive for Thursday, March 17, 2011

Strong research helps 2 KU startup companies sell

Drug, assessment businesses bought

March 17, 2011


Two startup companies that began at Kansas University have been sold.

Lawrence-based Computerized Assessments and Learning LLC has been acquired by Educational Testing Service of Princeton, N.J., one of the leaders in the field of college placement tests and other standardized assessments.

Lenexa-based CyDex Pharmaceuticals Inc. has been sold to Ligand Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company in La Jolla, Calif., specializing in drug discovery and development.

Julie Goonewardene, associate vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship, said the acquisitions demonstrated the value of research done at KU.

“When these companies go out to acquire, they’re looking across the country and across the world,” she said. “I think this is important and significant and part of our mission to do world-class research.”

Generally, when these sales occur, KU benefits financially in a small way because they retain a bit of equity in the companies, Goonewardene said.

That’s because of KU’s investment into the research and facilities.

The companies did not disclose financial details of the deals.

CyDex was founded to commercialize drug formulation technologies developed by scientists at KU’s Higuchi Biosciences Center.

“This transaction marks the beginning of a new chapter in CyDex’s history,” said CyDex co-founder Val Stella, university distinguished professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at KU, in a statement. “CyDex will continue delivering pharmaceutical products that improve the quality of life for patients in Kansas and around the world, and we’re proud that the CyDex story began in labs at KU.”

CAL, formed by KU researchers John Poggio, Abel Leon and Douglas Glasnapp, has helped develop online assessment programs. The system is used in several states, including Kansas, Idaho, Alaska, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Washington and South Carolina.

The two companies joined ProQuest Pharmaceuticals, Xenotech and Veatros as KU startups acquired by other companies since December 2004. The university has 22 such startups operating today, either on their own or as subsidiaries of other companies.

Goonewardene said she hoped that the sales would generate some more momentum for new potential acquisition.

“These things tend to build on one another,” she said.


PugnaciousJayhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

Glad to see that the pain has finally come to an end for CyDex's first round investors.

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