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Bioscience & Technology Business Center at KU Med Center officially opens

By KHI NEWS SERVICE | September 27, 2011

The Bioscience & Technology Business Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center today officially opened its doors with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The newly remodeled $6 million space is designed to boost commercialization of KU research.

"The BTBC at KUMC is a unique business incubator that further positions us to drive innovation, entrepreneurship, and the commercialization of university research in Kansas," said KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. "The end result will be new companies and new jobs that grow our regional economy and new discoveries that improve our quality of life."

The facility has 30,000 square feet of office, lab and common meeting space, and was built on the KUMC campus to lure companies interested in collaborating with KU researchers. Three companies with 11 total employees began using the BTBC this spring — Aptakon, OsteoGeneX and Orbis Biosciences. The BTBC at KUMC can accommodate about 33 people, or up to 11 businesses.

KU officials said the building's design makes expansion of any or all of the businesses possible, through movable and removable walls and equipment.

Orbis CEO Maria Stecklein Flynn spoke at today's ribbon cutting.

"When Orbis began in 2008, our address was actually on the Missouri side of the state line. When we asked ourselves what kind of company we wanted to be and what opportunities we wanted to seize, it became apparent that Kansas was creating the right environment for a company like Orbis to thrive," Stecklein Flynn said.

"We took advantage of the Kansas Biosciences Authority support and guidance, the PIPELINE program mentoring, the Kansas Angel Tax Credits and the BTBC at KUMC, which has everything we need right here in one place," she said.

The BTBC at KUMC is the third facility in KU's incubator system — the BTBC Main Facility and the BTBC Expansion Facility were opened at the same time last summer. Those facilities — at a combined 39,000 square feet — are about two-thirds full.

The BTBC at KUMC facility is in the renovated Breidenthal Hall, which was built in the 1950s. The U.S. Department of Commerce contributed nearly $3 million, the Kansas Bioscience Authority provided $2 million and KU provided $1 million.

More about the companies currently at the BTBC at KUMC:

Orbis Biosciences — Specializes in controlled-release delivery technology, performing research and development for multiple pharmaceutical, food and consumer product companies.

OsteoGeneX — Developing a first-in-class drug that will build new bone for fracture repair and osteoporosis.

Aptakon Inc. — A research-stage company that plans to develop, market and sell antibody substitutes as research tools.