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K-INBRE & BioKansas - Supporting regional research collaboration

Posted By BioKansas, Thursday, January 11, 2018

This weekend kicks off the start of the research competition season in Kansas – on Saturday, nearly 350 undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral researchers from across the region will gather at the Sheraton in Overland Park, Kansas, for the Annual Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Symposium.  K-INBRE is a federally funded program designed to strengthen our region’s pipeline of scientists and researchers by promoting the development, coordination and sharing of research resources and expertise.  In layman’s terms, it means there is going to be a gaggle of amazingly brilliant students and professors gathered to talk about the amazing research they’re doing here in Kansas, and the resources and expertise that is available for collaboration. 

Students researchers from 10 regional universities will be on hand at the Symposium on Saturday, and will provide two minute summaries of their research to judges throughout the afternoon poster session. Judges will be looking to identify the students with the best project, poster and presentation.  As an organization that strives to bridge the gap between industry and education, BioKansas is proud to support K-INBRE by providing industry STEM professionals to help judge and by providing funds for the winning students.  We also mix things up a bit by adding an additional component to the scoring rubric: commercialization.  We will also be looking for the best and brightest researchers the K-INBRE schools have to offer, but, in addition, we are also looking for those students who have taken the next step in the research process.  Students who have an eye toward the business of science, and are working to solve a problem or generate a product.  For these students, the projects weren’t just about understanding how things work (though that type of research IS important), but about leveraging that understanding to innovate and create something that can change the world.

We’ve seen some amazingly talented students grow up right here in our own backyards. From developing a new method of diagnosing Parkinson’s Disease using simple facial recognition software to creating new ways to prevent infections in joint replacements, Kansas can claim its stake at the forefront of innovation.  Registration is closed for K-INBRE this weekend, but we invite you to attend future research competitions, including others that we support such as the Capitol Graduate Research Summit, the Kansas Science & Engineering Fair and the Greater Kansas City Science & Engineering Fair, to catch a glimpse of the future of biotech and to see for yourself the incredible students and researchers being trained in Kansas and the surrounding region.

Tags:  BioGENEius  Connect  Education  Entrepreneurship  Training 

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Supply chain lessons learned from this hurricane season

Posted By Journal of Healthcare Contracting, Friday, October 13, 2017

Repertoire/JHC Editor Mark Thill on Oct. 4 spoke with Scott Nelson, senior vice president of supply chain, North America, Cardinal Health; and Mike Wallin, operations manager, Penske Logistics. (Penske provides trucks and drivers for Cardinal Health’s medical segment, and helps optimize hospital delivery routes.) Here are notes from the Q&A with Scott Nelson. Click here for Penske Logistics storm stories and photos.

Thill: Any lessons learned to share with supply chain colleagues?

Nelson: Plan early and involve your customers and key business partners in that process. Look beyond what could come up as an immediate need during the situation itself and plan for multiple contingencies. Without the joint planning I described earlier between Cardinal, Penske and the providers we serve, this story would have had a very different ending.

Communicate realistic expectations with your customers. We were committed to being fully operational as quickly as possible; however we set a clear foundation that it would not be “business as usual” and there would be challenges with inbound freight and outbound volume surges from the backlog. That candor and opportunity to jointly prioritize actions to achieve stabilization built a stronger relationship with our partners.

Lastly, take care of your employees first and they will make sure that the customer is taken care of. The Penske drivers were rock stars throughout this ordeal. They were so willing to put their personal challenges aside and safety in question so our customers would get what they need.

READ THE ENTIRE STORY AT JHCOnline HERE......

Want to hear more about these topics?  Join us next week at our 2nd Annual Life Science & Healthcare Supply Chain Summit.  

Tags:  Connect  Education  Supply Chain 

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Celebrating Regional Innovation with the University of Kansas

Posted By BioKansas, Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Innovation.  It’s one of the calling cards of our industry, and one of the most exciting aspects of the work we do at BioKansas.  We work with the researchers, students and entrepreneurs around the region who are creating, developing and commercializing the latest treatments and technologies. These advances often have the potential to make a dramatic impact by increasing treatment options and improving the quality of life for patients.  One of the primary local sources for innovation in Kansas are the universities across the region, and next week on October 10th, the University of Kansas is hosting an event focused on the most exciting innovations that professors and students are spinning out of KU and KUMC. 

The Celebration of Innovation: A Startup Showcase is a half day event highlighting the most promising early stage faculty and student startups at KU.  Guests will hear from entrepreneurial KU alumni from VML and bloom, and from the researchers and entrepreneurs pushing to develop new vaccines, medical devices and diagnostics.  Among those companies that will be featured are:

hoCFD– Founded to develop, market and sell a highly accurate/efficient computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software named hoMusic (High-Order MUlti-physics SImulation Code). Comparing with existing commercial CFD software, hoMusic can deliver more accurate turbulent flow computations using large eddy simulation (LES) in much shorter turnaround time.

Hafion– Whooping cough (pertussis), a once presumed conquered disease, is re-emerging because the current vaccine is losing effectiveness. The currently-used acellular vaccine (aP) only stops symptoms and protection is short-lived. Hafion is developing a pertussis vaccine which prevents infection, not just the symptoms. The formulation is a simple, 3-4 component vaccine requiring a single administration.

Evoke Medical – Established to translate and commercialize platform technology developed by Drs. Lisa Friis and Paul Arnold, Evoke Medical is working to research & develop osteoinductive piezoelectric medical devices in order to improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and streamline the clinical episode of care with the singular goal of improving humanity’s quality of life. Evoke leverages the human body’s mechanical biofeedback system to design disruptive “smart implants” that heal bone using natural bone forming pathways.

Digital Nanogenetics – An early stage start-up developing an automated, portable single biomolecule sequencing technology, called exonuclease time-of-flight (or X-TOF™), which employs a sequencing by subtraction strategy unique to the commercial sequencing industry while providing superior read-length and base call accuracy at a very high speed.

Exodus Biosciences – Exodus is working to develop a blood-based biomarker test for Multiple Sclerosis that will pioneer an accessible diagnostic, enabling the identification and treatment of disease to occur earlier than ever before.

Immediately following the Showcase, KU Innovation and Collaboration (KUIC) and BioKansas will host the Inventor’s Networking Reception where attendees can network with the innovative student and faculty entrepreneurs.  The annual Baxendale Innovation Award and the Best Student Pitch Award will also be given at the reception.  We know we’ll be in attendance, looking for the next big groundbreaking technology, and we hope you are able to join us in Lawrence on October 10th for this exciting event.  For more information and to register for the Celebration of Innovation, please visit http://kuic.ku.edu/celebration-innovation-registration.

Tags:  Connect  Entrepreneurship 

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A Story of David and Goliath, Bio Sciences-style

Posted By Nancy Zurbuchen, Thursday, September 28, 2017
Updated: Thursday, September 28, 2017

At one time or another, most startup founders face frustration and road blocks, seemingly coming at them from all sides.  An unsupportive family member, being turned down for investment or a loan, unable to find qualified employees.  This is normal stuff, and entrepreneurs get creative at finding other ways to make it work.

However, sometimes entrepreneurial progress is stopped cold by federal government regulation, and this is especially true for the highly regulated bioscience sector. What’s a small bio start-up to do against a big bureaucracy? Complain to anyone who will listen? Call your Senator? Hire an attorney, for heaven’s sake? What you should absolutely do is contact the Office of Advocacy -- and that’s me, your new Region 7 Small Business Advocate.

Our sole purpose is to look out for the interests of startup companies, entrepreneurs, and small business. The Office of Advocacy employs a group of really sharp, engaged attorneys who are specialists in all of the regulatory areas, such as intellectual property, employment issues, OSHA regulations, food and drug, safety, international commerce, etc. They work directly with legislators and government agency employees who are writing new laws / rules / regulations, to help ensure that its effect on small business is taken into consideration to avoid unintended consequences. Advocacy also works to change existing regulations that are over burdensome to small business.

Think of the Office of Advocacy as a resource; we also have decades of small business research data that might be helpful to your bio start-up.

-Nancy Zurbuchen, Small Business Advocate, Region 7 (MO, KS, IA, NE)
Small Business Administration (SBA) // Office of Advocacy 
www.sba.gov/advocacy
nancy.zurbuchen@sba.gov
(314) 539-6615


Nancy and the regional SBA Office of Advocacy recently hosted a regulatory roundtable in Overland Park to help identify specific regulatory barriers to small business growth.  She'll be featured in Kansas City again on October 10th, when she will participate as a panelist at our Women in Science & Entrepreneurship event.  Click here for more information and to register.

Tags:  Advocacy  Connect  Education  Entrepreneurship 

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Supply Chain: Sprout Solutions - The answer to new FSMA regulations

Posted By Casey Chasteen - Sprout Solutions, Friday, September 22, 2017

As we approach our 2nd Annual Life Science & Healthcare Supply Chain Summit on October 17th, we wanted to highlight a few companies and organizations that will be in attendance and presenting on current trends, challenges and opportunities in life science, agricultural and healthcare supply chains.  Sprout Solutions is one of those companies, and has developed technology to help companies comply with requirements for the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.  We'll hear from CEO Gretchen Henry during the Supply Chain Summit.  Read below for a glimpse into Sprout Solutions, and get REGISTERED to attend the Supply Chain Summit to hear more.

Sprout Solutions - The answer to new FSMA regulations

At Sprout Solutions, our mission is to help you advance agriculture through technology.
 
We’ve developed a customizable software solution for both feed mills and commodity traders – one that helps you gain Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification and creates transparency in the production and delivery of animal feed.

Our two products, CommodiTrade and Milling Station, provide mills and merchandisers with accurate, Web-based tools and systems to ensure the food they produce is not only safe, but traceable – from the farmer to the end user.


This full-service solution eliminates the need for your own IT and gives you the freedom to access the product anywhere, from a computer, tablet or your mobile device.

Long-term objectives

Efficient farm management and resource efficiency – Fewer farmers have to produce more for a growing population. Technology can have a significant impact in streamlining processes for feed mills and commodity traders.

Traceability – People want to know what is in their food and where it comes from, requiring tools that manage, monitor, trace and report food safety and product quality.

Optimize daily processes – Feed mills and farmers no longer have to notify milling operations on manufacturing requirements and recipe usage. We take care of daily logistics, automatically generating bill of lading and batching documentation.

Interested in learning more? I would love to connect and talk more about your experience and potential technology solutions that can help your business become more efficient, more agile and more profitable.

Feel free to reach out to me directly or visit our website to set up a time for a free demo.
 
Thanks for your time,
Casey Chasteen
Business Development Manager, Sprout Solutions

Tags:  Connect  Education  Entrepreneurship  Supply Chain 

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Topeka Science and Technology Park Task Force

Posted By BioKansas & GoTopeka, Monday, August 14, 2017
The BioKansas network stretches across the region, from St. Louis to western Kansas.  While a majority of our members are located in the Kansas City metropolitan region, one of the most interesting aspects of our role in the community is hearing about (and spreading the word about) all of the great initiatives and programs being developed in communities outside of KC.  One such community is Topeka, which boasts of major life science and healthcare organizations (Hill's Pet Nutrition and Stormont Vail Health, among others), and a number of active and engaged community leaders.  These leaders, along with community groups like GOTopeka and the Topeka Chamber of Commerce, recognize the opportunity for the city and are coming together to raise awareness of the opportunities in animal health, workforce development and entrepreneurship.  We hope you'll join us in Topeka on Thursday at the Q3 BioKansas Board Meeting & Networking Reception, where you'll have a chance to hear from these community leaders on the local efforts to raise the profile of Topeka through a number of initiatives.  You can register online for free HERE.  
-Dennis Ridenour, President & CEO, BioKansas

Given the ever-expanding Animal Health Corridor, the development and expansion of the Kansas State University north campus (adjacent to NBAF facility), along with the development of the University of Kansas west campus, there is an obvious gap (Topeka) in the expansion and growth of the corridor from Kansas City to Manhattan.

A group of business and community leaders, along with the Topeka Chamber of Commerce, have begun the process of determining how Topeka can/should participate in the continued and future growth of the Animal Health Corridor along with emerging opportunities in AgTech and Translational Health in the region. To that end:

  • A Task Force has been formed
  • Visits to proximate communities in the Corridor and adjacent communities to access and understand the economic benefit of an entrepreneurial incubator environment
  • Have hired a consulting firm to do a feasibility study and development plan to determine
  • Areas of opportunity
  • Resources required (financial, city, county, private sector)
  • Location options (possibly in conjunction with a broader re-development initiative)

While the precise nature of the opportunities and focus are still to be determined (i.e. Fintech, AgTech, logistics, etc.), it seems abundantly clear that the biosciences should/will be an area of focus.

In conjunction with the efforts of the Science and Technology Task Force, an Entrepreneurial Task Force (ETF - similar to Wichita) has also been formed and has begun to map the local resources available for start-up efforts.

Additionally, Mid-America Angels has opened a satellite effort in Topeka, and a small seed fund also has been established to begin to lay the foundation for the necessary early capital critical for attracting and retaining entrepreneurial efforts.

While still in the early stages of exploration and determination, there is a great deal of energy around this initiative.

-Duane Cantrell, CEO, Fulcrum Global Capital and Co-Chair of the Topeka Science and Technology Park Task Force

 

Tags:  Connect  Education  Entrepreneurship  Workforce Development 

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Building a Better Benefits Package

Posted By Connie Jabara, Employee Benefit Professionals, Monday, July 31, 2017

BioKansas members are a very diverse assortment of organizations from across the region, from single person startups all the way to enterprise size multinationals.  One of the primary roles we play within the community is to facilitate connections between relevant industry groups.  This may include connecting organizations to 1) potential future employees 2) potential collaborators 3) potential funding sources or even to 4) knowledgeable and effective service providers who can help our members navigate certain aspects of their businesses.  This Thursday, we are hosting one of these providers, Employee Benefit Professionals, for a Lunch & Learn on how to develop a benefits package that can help you recruit (and retain) productive employees.  We hope you’ll consider joining us for lunch and a great presentation on the ever-changing world of employee benefits. 
-From Dennis Ridenour, CEO of BioKansas


As a business owner, you know that your employees are crucial to your success.  You appreciate your employees and the work they do for you.  When people feel appreciated they are happier, and happy employees tend to be productive employees.  As a business owner, you also understand the effort, stress, time and money that goes into finding, hiring and training a new employee.  What if you could offer benefits that show your employees how valuable they are to your organization and how much you appreciate their hard work, thereby reducing employee turnover and increasing employee satisfaction? 

It is estimated that 78% of employees base their job decision on the benefits package. At Employee Benefit Professionals, we help you build a benefits package that not only helps you recruit new talent, but keep the talent you have happy and healthy!  In addition to health insurance, dental and vision, you can also offer other benefits similar to large corporations without breaking your bank account.  Benefits such as life insurance, legal protection, critical illness, accident insurance, and even pet insurance can be offered at no cost to you!

Join us for an interactive presentation on August 3rd to learn about how we help our clients build custom benefit packages unique to their business’ and their employees’ needs!  We can work with companies who have 1 employee or 1000 employees.  You provide the awesome career, we will help you discover benefits that will help you keep your employees happy, healthy and productive!  Click HERE for more information and to register.
-From Connie Jabara, Independent Life and Health Insurance Broker at Employee Benefit Professionals

Tags:  Benefits  Connect  Education 

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BIO2017 Recap: BioGENEius and Beyond

Posted By BioKansas, Friday, July 14, 2017

Last month, the BioKansas team traveled to San Diego for the BIO2017, one of the largest gatherings of biotechnology and pharmaceutical professionals in the world.  This year, the convention hosted more than 16,000 attendees from more than 70 countries.  In the past, BioKansas has taken large delegations to the event, hosted two story pavilions and brought in local and national celebrities as guests and guest speakers.  While our presence over the past three years has been dramatically toned down, the connections we make and the impacts we make continue to be significant. 
One of the most amazing things to happen to the Kansas delegation at BIO2017 was that Erin Smith, our Kansas BioGENEius from Shawnee Mission West, won the International BioGENEius Challenge.  We’ve enjoyed having Erin as a consistent presence in the Kansas BioGENEius competition over the past three years: she was runner up as a freshman and won here sophomore and junior years.  Her project this year, titled “A Novel, Telemedicine Diagnostic Tool for Parkinson's Disease: The Use of Digital Action Units Generated by Spontaneous and Posed Facial Expressions”, involves the use of facial recognition software and algorithms to diagnose Parkinson’s Disease using facial metrics that Erin identified and measured.  Erin winning the International Competition is truly amazing and a testament to the strength of high school research in the Shawnee Mission School District, in Kansas City and across the region.  Erin is continuing to do amazing things; she is currently in Boston attending a six week summer program at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT).  We can't wait to see the things Erin accomplishes and the mark she leaves on this world!


We also enjoyed putting on an informal BioKansas reception at a touristy spot in San Diego called Kansas City BBQ.  While the connection to Kansas City is noticeable from the name alone (the owners, Martin & Cindy Blair, are KC transplants), Kansas City BBQ is also famous for being the filming location of the bar scenes in the movie Top Gun (You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin!)The Kansas delegation enjoyed some good BBQ, great conversation and a nice tour of the bar and all of the Kansas memorabilia.

While at BIO, we also heard many updates on some of the most pressing legislative topics relevant to our industry, including biosimilars (passed in MO in 2016 and KS in 2017), healthcare, drug pricing, FDARA (FDA Reauthorization Act), MDUFA/PDUFA (Medical device/pharmaceutical drug user fee agreements) and others.  While BioKansas is a 501(c)(3) and is limited in what we can do in regards to advocacy, awareness of these topics and issues is an important piece of what we do for our membership.   
Here were a few other highlights from the trip:

· Shane Schaeffer, CEO of Cingulate Therapeutics, presenting Cingulate’s ADHD products during the company presentations. Cingulate is focused on the development of new products for the treatment of central nervous system and neurobiological disorders.

· Joshua Sestak, President & CSO of Orion Bioscience, presenting during the Startup Stadium on Orion’s Soluble Antigen Arrays (SAgAs) technology.  Orion is focused on the development of technologies capable of treating a wide range of autoimmune diseases. 

· David Cameron, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, taking part in a candid discussion with Jim Greenwood, President of BIO, on topics ranging from healthcare to Brexit to Trump.

· Dinner & Drinks at Half Door Brewing Company – What a great little gem with a large selection of some really awesome beers!  Check out this spot right in the middle of San Diego next time you’re out there!

Dennis
President & CEO



Every conference I’ve been to has had the same feeling, you go to your sessions and wait until they’re done to go explore the city that you’re in. It never fails – 90% of the reason you go to these things is to try new foods and see new places. Yet the 2017 BIO Convention was not one of those conferences, even with it being held in San Diego. 

The first thing I noticed during the Council of State BIO Affiliates (CSBA) was how many attendees had come back time and time again, some of them over 20 times! And they exuded the same energy that the first timers came with. The second thing I noticed was how broad the reach of BIO is. Not only are there visitors from all over America, but from all corners of the world. Which I took note of again when I had to navigate through a Taiwanese reception just to get to the bathroom. I also realized that human health, animal health, and the planet’s health are all in good hands. We have some very intelligent and talented students ready to take the reins in the near future, especially highlighted by Shawnee Mission West’s Erin Smith, the Kansas BioGENEius and winner of the 2017 International BioGENEius Challenge.

This convention really is something to behold, not just because of the size and scale, but what happens between the attendees. Some are there purely to meet others and grow their individual networks. But so many more are there to discover new technologies, new methods of everyday practices, and new ways to impact the life sciences. It gave me the ability to see some of our member companies in a new light, to watch them interact and show other companies what they’re working on. It was refreshing to see so many people developing new approaches to problems that have plagued humanity, the planet, and even our businesses for so long.

So while you may not need to attend 20 times, I can guarantee that you will get value every time you attend the BIO Convention. You will meet so many great people from every corner of the world, it will give you motivation and a new sense of why we are all here and why what we do is so important. Like I said, this is no ordinary convention. There’s amazing people, incredible technologies, and dynamic conversations going on 24/7. And, of course, don’t forget the food!

Matt Falk
Manager, Events & Marketing

Tags:  Advocacy  BIO  BioGENEius  Connect 

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Welcome to the NEW BioKansas website!

Posted By Dennis Ridenour, Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Updated: Monday, June 26, 2017

Welcome to the NEW BioKansas website!  You may have noticed more emails from Matt and I over the past few months, as we have put more focus on keeping our members current on the latest events and news relevant to our industry.  In addition to finding notes from us in your inbox more often, we’ve worked hard to build a website that will highlight the region, the work BioKansas does to strengthen the climate for science and research both locally and nationally, and the amazing members we have that are changing the world through research and innovation.  Here are just a few highlights you’ll begin to see on the website and in your inbox:

  • Blog entries (like this one), as well as guest blog posts from others who actually know how to write and have more important things to say.  If you are interested in writing a post about a topic relevant to the regional life science community, please contact us
  • More up-to-date content, including industry news from local, regional and national sources
  • BioKansas events with online registration, attendee lists and event recaps/photos
  • A community calendar that includes events from partner and community organizations around the region
  • A career center that includes both local and national opportunities
  • Legislative updates and ways to take a more active role in science advocacy at both the state and federal levels

Matt and I are very excited to engage more of our members and more employees of our member organizations.  Soon you’ll see us organizing events focused on different functional areas of industry, including life science HR, supply chain and diversity.  And you’ll see more efforts to involve scientists from all levels in outreach to and education of legislators and other decision makers.  As the non-profit with the largest life science and healthcare membership in the region and now a new website and more comprehensive set of engagement tools, BioKansas is delivering on our mission To Connect, Educate and Advocate!

Tags:  Connect 

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