Gov. Steve Beshear was on UofL’s Belknap Campus March 19 to award the matching grants to 17 Kentucky companies, including Advanced Genomic Technologies (AGT) LLC, Regenerex and NaugaNeedles LLC, all based in Louisville.
AGT’s founder and CEO is Eugenia Wang, the director of UofL’s Gheens Center on Aging. Suzanne Ildstad, founder and chief scientific officer of Regenerex, is director of UofL’s Institute for Cellular Therapeutics. The CEO of NaugaNeedles is Mehdi Yazdanpanah, who holds a PhD from UofL.
All three companies already have received a federal Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer grant. Kentucky’s program matches all or part of the federal dollars with state money. The program also awards grants to out-of-state high tech companies as a way of luring them to Kentucky.
UofL President James Ramsey called the three UofL-related companies “prime examples of the outstanding research our faculty and graduates are doing. They’re key components in UofL’s mandate of becoming a premier, nationally recognized metropolitan research institution.”
Regenerex is working on a way to let kidney transplant patients avoid anti-rejection medications, while NaugaNeedles is developing specialized probes to use in scanning probe microscopy, a technique that forms an image of a specimen by mechanically moving a probe across its surface.
“Without Kentucky’s matching grant (AGT) couldn’t pursue therapeutic research for Alzheimer’s disease,” Wang said.
The companies are “working on amazing new technologies that will improve the lives of people around the world as well as create jobs in Kentucky,” Beshear said at the news conference announcing the awards.
The news conference announcing the grants took place in the auditorium of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering’s Ernst Hall. After the announcement, Beshear and other attendees toured the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research.