KBA exec begins exclusive Kauffman Fellows program

General published Wed, 2015-07-01 15:57

A long time ago, Keith Harrington set his sights on getting into venture capital. He's just a little bit closer to not only doing it, but doing it better, with the help of a two-year educational fellowship.

Harrington, a managing director of the Kansas Bioscience Authority, made the list of 41 fellows for this year's program. The Kauffman Fellowship Program is an attempt to connect people like Harrington with their backgrounds as investors to global leaders to learn and improve their venture capital efforts.

"Now that we're very clearly in the venture capital market, I wanted to be really good at it," Harrington said, referring to the KBA, which changed its mission several years ago. "I continued to want to be really good at it. I wanted to surrounded myself by the best and learn not only the mechanics, but the art."

The fellowship, which is in its 20th year, originally was created as part of the Kauffman Foundation but was spun off in 2002. Fellows get extensive and accelerated preparation for leadership in the venture capital industry through a specialized executive curriculum and senior mentorship while working in a venture capital firm.

Harrington, who is the only fellow from the Kansas City area, said the first workshop was in June. He realized then, while talking about struggles that he experiences in the venture capital world in the Midwest, that are problems certainly aren't unique.

"What I found really interesting is outside of Silicon Valley there's a lot of commonality about the story I told about Kansas City being a growing ecosystem with lack of capital but no lack of entrepreneurial ideas and energy," he said. "That's a fairly common theme. There are a lot of people around the U.S. and world who have that common story."

He is serving his fellowship at KBA under the mentorship of KBA CEO Duane Cantrell.

- by Ashley Jost, Kansas City Business Journal

Link to KCBJ article: http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2015/07/01/kba-keith-harrington-kauffman-fellowship.html?ana=e_du_pub&s=article_du&ed=2015-07-01&u=g0qEvL7QPYSy7u1B7D1yAJqrYda&t=1435783223


Green Dot CEO is one of "50 Kansans You Should Know"

Agribusiness published Mon, 2015-06-22 10:36

Mark Remmert, CEO Green Dot,  Cottonwood Falls, is named as one of "50 Kansans You Should Know" in the June 2015 issue of Ingram's magazine:

"A company called Green Dot is putting Cottonwood Falls on the innovation map, thanks to the work of CEO Mark Remmert, a 30-year veteran with the Dow Chemical Co.

Green Dot is expanding the frontiers of bioplastics, with a goal of seizing from the hydrocarbon chain the promise of a cleaner future. “I believe the next century will be powered by tremendous growth in biologically derived materials—food, fuel, materials, and pharma,” says Remmert. “After all, if you cannot grow it, then it is not sustainable. I thought there was no better place to locate a company seeking to develop bio-based alter-natives to petroleum-based chemicals than in my home state of Kansas.”

He grew up in Olathe, and his family’s occasional trips through the Flint Hills would, eventually, pay dividends for Cottonwood Falls and Chase County. “We have been able to find exceptionally talented people in the rural communities,” Remmert says, and he also credits the Kansas Bioscience Authority with being instrumental in Green Dot’s success"

Read the full article:








Lockett Honored as Nonprofit CFO of the Year

General published Fri, 2015-06-05 10:31

Financial executives are instrumental to the success of their company but are not always celebrated. To recognize the unsung position, the Kansas City Business Journal's 2015 CFO of the Year recipients were honored today.  KBA CFO & COO, Kevin Lockett, was named 2015 CFO of the Year in the Nonprofits category. Congratulations Kevin!




Flow Forward Closes $1.3 Million of Additional Series A Financing

Human Health published Tue, 2015-05-26 10:53

 OLATHE, Kan. - May 18, 2015 - Flow Forward Medical Inc. (Flow Forward), an early-stage company focused on improving outcomes for hemodialysis patients through the rapid creation of high-quality vascular access sites, today announced that it has closed a $1.3 million round of additional Series A financing, led by existing investor, the Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA). Flow Forward previously raised $4.4 million in Series A funding, bringing the total in equity funding raised to date to approximately $5.7 million. Series A proceeds will be used to continue the development of Flow Forward's Arteriovenous Fistula Eligibility (AFE) System™, a small, minimally invasive blood pump system designed for temporary use to rapidly dilate peripheral veins through flow-mediated vascular remodeling prior to arteriovenous fistula (AVF) surgery.


Flow Forward also announced today that it will receive a $225,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The SBIR funding will be used to test peripheral vein dilation with the AFE System prior to AVF creation in a nonclinical model.


"Many of the two million patients on hemodialysis worldwide who undergo conventional surgical AVF creation each year experience vascular access site failure, which is associated with increased morbidity. With its AFE System, Flow Forward is addressing issues known to contribute to AVF failure," said Tom Krol, Managing Director at KBA and a member of Flow Forward's board of directors. "In early studies conducted in a challenging nonclinical model, the company has shown much more rapid vein dilation, large increases in blood flow and a significant reduction in vein wall scarring, when compared with conventional AVF creation. We believe that the AFE System has the potential to drive broad increases in AVF eligibility as well as large reductions in AVF failure."


Flow Forward also announced today the appointment of Kurt Dasse, PhD, to its board of directors. Dasse has spent nearly three decades conducting cardiovascular research and developing products to treat heart, lung and kidney diseases. He is currently President and CEO of GeNO LLC, a biopharmaceutical company developing next-generation delivery systems for inhaled nitric oxide, a pharmacologic blood vessel dilator. He was previously President and CEO of Levitronix LLC, a developer and manufacturer of rotary blood pump systems for cardiopulmonary support that was acquired by Thoratec Corporation in 2011.


"I am pleased to have additional financial resources from KBA and the NIH's SBIR program to accelerate the development of the AFE System. I also welcome Kurt to our Board. His decades of industry experience and deep domain experience in cardiovascular biology and physiology will be invaluable as we work to realize our goal of providing physicians more and better options when creating vascular access sites for hemodialysis patients," said F. Nicholas Franano, MD, President and CEO of Flow Forward.










Prommune Selects Kansas location

Animal Health published Wed, 2015-05-13 10:25

The KC Animal Health Corridor announced that Prommune, an animal vaccine research and development company, will locate its global commercial operations within the Kansas City region.

Prommune will initially operate from temporary office space at 9393 West 110th St., Overland Park, Kansas, and plans to hire approximately six employees within the next three years. The company selected the Corridor due to its unsurpassed logistics, manufacturing and talent pool.

Read the Corridor's blog post here.


Traverse Biosciences Executes Agreement with Aratana for Periodontal Disease in Dogs and Cats

Animal Health published Wed, 2015-05-06 09:26

Stony Brook, NY; May 4, 2015: Traverse Biosciences announced today that it has executed a $250,000 cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with Kansas-based Aratana Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:PETX) to advance the development of TRB-N0224 for the treatment and control of periodontal disease in companion animals, including dogs and cats. 

The funds provided by Aratana under the CRADA will be used by Traverse Biosciences primarily to conduct a proof-of-concept (POC) efficacy study to evaluate TRB-N0224, a proprietary chemically-modified curcumin, in an accepted animal model of canine periodontal disease. Canine periodontal disease affects approximately 80% of dogs by age three, with the highest incidence in smaller breeds and older animals. Periodontal disease in dogs, of which there are approximately 83 million pets in the U.S. alone, leads to serious oral health complications, and can impair liver, kidney, cardiac and metabolic function. Traverse Biosciences also intends to conduct pilot pharmacokinetic, pre-formulation and preliminary safety studies during the term of the agreement.

Mr. Joseph Scaduto, Founder and CEO of Traverse Biosciences, stated, “The global animal health market is rapidly expanding, and this growth represents a significant business opportunity for companies developing innovative products that address unmet needs in veterinary medicine. We are very fortunate and excited to engage with Aratana Therapeutics to accelerate the commercialization of TRB-N0224 for the treatment and control of periodontal disease in companion animals.”

Dr. Steven St. Peter, Founder, President and CEO of Aratana Therapeutics, commented, “We are pleased to initiate this strategic partnership with Traverse Biosciences given the opportunity that TRB-N0224 represents as a potential therapeutic for periodontal disease in dogs and cats.  Aratana is committed to providing veterinarians with new therapies that are deeply rooted in science, and which are specifically made for pets.  Our pipeline currently consists of more than 18 therapies to treat a variety of diseases affecting companion animals. TRB-N0224 would be the first product to treat an oral health condition.”


Read the full announcement here.



Lockett named KCBJ 2015 CFO of the Year - nonprofits

General published Fri, 2015-04-17 16:31

Financial executives are instrumental to the success of their company but are not always celebrated.  To recognize the unsung position, the Kansas City Business Journal's 2015 CFO of the Year were announced today.

KBA CFO & COO, Kevin Lockett, was named 2015 KCBJ CFO of the Year in the nonprofit category.  Congratulations Kevin!



Integrated Animal Health to locate global HQ in Kansas

Animal Health published Mon, 2015-04-13 14:13

Following a February announcement that it would locate its North American and commercial operations in the KC Animal Health Corridor, Australia-based Integrated Animal Health (IAH) announced today it will now locate its global headquarters at the Bioscience & Technology Business Center (BTBC) in Lawrence, Kansas. IAH will initially lease 700 sq. ft. at the BTBC at the University of Kansas, with options to expand as the company grows. The company expects to hire 51 employees over the next several years.

Read the story here.



Proteon founder Franano links InvestMidwest's past and future

Human Health published Fri, 2015-04-03 11:03

- by Rob Roberts, Kansas City Business Journal.

Dr. Nick Franano, the breakfast speaker at the 16th-annual InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum on Thursday, recalled presenting at the forum in 2003.

Like the biotech industry itself, Franano has come a long way since presenting that year for his then company, Proteon Therapeutics Inc. And, he said Thursday, the future is bright for other biotech companies that are able to raise enough venture capital to advance discoveries through successful clinical trials.

In the fourth quarter of 2014 alone, he said, more than $2 billion was invested in private U.S. biotech startups.

From January 2013 through February 2015, Franano added, 121 U.S. biotech firms completed IPOs, with 2014 generating the most biotech IPOs in history.

Franano attributed the rise in IPOs, in part, to the 2012 passage of the federal Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS, Act. Among other things, the act allows startups designated as "emerging growth companies" to test the IPO waters confidentially by getting investor and Securities and Exchange Commission feedback before filing public registration documents.

Franano knows about IPOs and bright futures. When he first pitched at InvestMidwest in 2003, he was founder and CEO of Proteon Therapeutics, then a 2-year-old Kansas City company that had raised about $5 million to develop a drug Franano discovered during a residency at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.


Read the full Kansas City Business Journal article here.

- photo credit: Rob Roberts



AAD announces three new board members

Animal Health published Thu, 2015-03-26 16:30

Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD) has recently added three individuals to its board of directors, following the recent close of its $15 million Series C round of equity financing. Bob Shapiro, managing director of Cultivian Sandbox Ventures; Tony Simpson, managing director of Kansas Bioscience Authority; and Dennis Dougherty, managing general partner of Intersouth Partners joined the board of directors to guide AAD, a developer of rapid on-farm diagnostic technologies.  


AAD provides diagnostics that detect disease early and accurately, empowering livestock producers to make real-time management decisions that increase productivity, prevent losses, improve animal welfare and protect the food supply. AAD developed and launched QScout® MLD (milk leukocyte differential) test for early detection of subclinical mastitis in dairy cows, along with QScout® Farm Lab which reads QScout MLD and other rapid, on-farm tests in development.


“We are fortunate to augment our board with these visionary leaders,” says AAD CEO Joy Parr Drach. “Each brings distinct and deep experience in developing innovative agricultural and life sciences companies.”


Shapiro, whose Illinois-based Cultivian Sandbox Ventures invests in emerging technologies that address agriculture’s biggest challenges, says AAD fits well into their mission as investors as it offers advanced technologies that help livestock producers manage their animals better and run more efficiently as a business.


“What’s most important about AAD technology is it provides early diagnosis of disease, and therefore better prospects for treatment,” continues Shapiro, former Monsanto CEO. “As with human diagnostics, we want early indications so we can treat diseases more efficiently and minimize their damage. Applying these advanced technologies to the health of animals raised to provide nutrition to humans is of great importance to livestock producers in this country and around the word, and to all of us as consumers.”


Shapiro is the co-founder and managing director of Sandbox Industries, a venture capital firm that partners with Cultivian Sandbox for investments in food and agriculture technology. He is the former chairman of Pharmacia, chairman and CEO of Monsanto, and chairman and CEO of The NutraSweet Company. He previously served as vice president and general counsel of G.D. Searle & Company and General Instrument Corporation. Prior to this, he practiced law in New York City and was a professor of law at Northeastern University in Boston and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Simpson spent nine years with POET, where he started two major green-field ethanol plants and led equity drives, refinancings and expansion efforts for these facilities. Before that, he held positions at ADM in trading and plant operations management. He also served as general manager for ED&F Man’s ethanol operations in the United States, leading asset management and business development efforts. Simpson serves on the selection committee for the Animal Health Investment Forum, chairs the selection committee for the ag, food and bioenergy tract for InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum, and is a member of Global AgTech Investors Network.


Dougherty founded Intersouth Partners in 1985 and led investments in ag companies like Athenix and Paradigm Genetics. Previously, Dougherty was an office managing partner and head of the high growth business practice for Touche Ross & Co. Dougherty is active in the venture industry, having served on the National Venture Capital Association board of directors and Kauffman Fellows Program steering committee. He was a mentor for two classes of Kauffman Fellows, and served on the North Carolina State University Seed Fund board and Governor’s Biotechnology Steering Committee. He was a founder of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and chair of its first Venture Conference.

They join AAD board members Steve Weinstein, managing director of the Novartis Venture Fund; Ben Shelton, DVM, owner of Rocky Creek Dairy and Rocky Creek Veterinary Service; Joy Parr Drach, AAD president and CEO; and chairman of the board Randall Marcuson.   

About Advanced Animal Diagnostics

Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD), Durham, N.C., provides livestock producers with diagnostics that improve profitability and empower more precise care of animals so they live healthier, more productive lives. AAD is committed to researching, developing and commercializing the industry’s most reliable, on-farm diagnostic tests, such as QScout MLD test for early detection of subclinical mastitis in dairy cows. With its diagnostic offerings, the company aims to empower real-time management decisions that increase productivity, prevent losses, improve animal welfare and protect the food supply. For more information, visit www.QScoutLab.com.