University of Missouri - Columbia.
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Posted 02.02.06

Blunt Applauds Investments in MU Research

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Today, Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt visited the University of Missouri-Columbia to recognize the value of investments in University of Missouri-Columbia research. These investments include Blunt's Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative, which will funnel $2 million into the Life Sciences Incubator; a $750,000 investment from Allied Minds, a company specializing in research investments; and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce's Centennial Investors, a group that will bridge the gap between researchers and investors.

The incubator will house 10 to 14 companies. The companies will be founded based on research findings at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The companies will stay at the incubator for about three years before leaving to expand their businesses.

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"Mizzou is attracting unprecedented levels of research funding which in turn are leading to new discoveries," MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said. "Many of these discoveries are in the life sciences fields -- discoveries that could lead to new treatments for diseases or create a better quality of life for Missourians. Surrounding communities and counties benefit directly by the jobs that will be developed through the incubator; the state will benefit by the addition of spin-off businesses."

After all funds have been raised, construction of the incubator will take about one year, according to Jake Halliday, project leader of the incubation project. The University will own the 52,000 square feet facility, and the incubator program will be operated by MIC, an independent, non-profit organization. Halliday anticipates that more than 1,700 jobs could be created and millions of dollars in private investment funds will be attracted to the area because of the incubator.

"Allied Minds, a company specializing in funding early stage technology, recently made a major investment in the results of MU research," said Tom Sharpe, director of the Office of Technology and Special Projects. "This allows us to create a new company based on the work of our researchers and is just one example of a recent investment in MU research that could lead to life-saving technology for Missouri citizens."

The signing of a memo of understanding allows the University to license the technology to Allied Minds. In exchange, MU will gain equity in the newly formed company and royalties on sales when the product becomes commercially available. As the first step, Allied Minds will sponsor research at Mizzou to validate original findings by Ed Sauter, professor of surgical oncology, and co-collaborators Tom Quinn, professor of biochemistry, and Sue Deutscher, associate professor of biochemistry at MU.

"Governor Blunt recognizes that the incubator will be an enormous asset to Missouri," UM System President Elson S. Floyd said. "It will stimulate Missouri's economy by spawning new firms and strengthening existing ones. It will create good-paying jobs and bolster Missouri's reputation in the scientific and business communities."

"We are very grateful to have this level of investment by the state into University research that will contribute to the health of the local and statewide economy," said Teresa Maledy, chair of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and president of Commerce Bank.

The Columbia Chamber of Commerce has just approved an initiative known as Centennial Investors. According to the Chamber of Commerce, the name refers to the Chamber's 100 years of service and the importance of investing time and money into the region's future. The role of the Centennial Investors will be to act as a catalyst, matching entrepreneurs with investment capital, recruiting investors and mentors, and leveraging relationships in the business community at the University and within the government to provide support.

"Groups such as the Centennial Investors are vital to the economic livelihood of Columbia and the state," MU Provost Brian Foster said. "It's vital that we form these public-private partnerships in order to ensure that important discoveries find their way to the marketplace where they can support economic development and enhance Missourians' quality of life."



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