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Life Science Business Incubator Opens Doors, Welcomes First Tenants

Mizzou facility will work to transition research to the marketplace

May 4, 2009

Story Contact:  Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. - University of Missouri officials cut the ribbon today at the MU Life Science Business Incubator at Monsanto Place, officially opening the facility for operation and welcoming the first tenants to the building, all with ties to MU research.

"While we have always strived to take our discoveries to the public, this new facility will enable our researchers to rely on business and marketing expertise right here at MU," MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said. "The University of Missouri has been responsible for numerous developments and discoveries that have changed people’s lives, including cancer drugs, medical devices and computer technology used in hybrid vehicles. It is important that we assist our scientists in moving their discoveries to the marketplace."

Currently, the Business Incubator is host to five companies:

Equinosis, LLC – a company formed using technology developed by Kevin Keegan, professor of veterinary medicine and surgery. Keegan directed a research team that developed a system of sensors capable of diagnosing lameness in horses. This created a much more accurate and objective measurement than previous tools.

PetScreen – the only company in the world to offer the Canine Lymphoma Blood Test, which detects proteins in the blood that indicate cancer. Carolyn Henry, associate professor of veterinary medicine and surgery, has been working with the company since 2007. Researchers at MU will collaborate with PetScreen to discover biomarkers in both humans and pets.

Terminus Energy – a company that provides low-carbon distributive generation with state-of-the-art solid oxide fuel cells. Officials for the company are working with researchers at the University of Missouri and the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Value Ag, LLC – a "spin-off" company from the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. The company focuses on agribusiness services and technology.

Centennial Investors - a Columbia-based, 53-member angel investor network. Centennial Investors is considered a "strategic tenant" that will be a source of seed-capital funds for current and future incubator tenants.

"With this incubator, we have opportunities that relatively few communities have," said Jake Halliday, president and CEO of the Missouri Innovation Center, which will operate the incubator for the university. "I can't think of a more important time to be opening a facility that is focused on creating jobs and boosting our economy."

The facility is owned by the University of Missouri, and MU officials selected the Missouri Innovation Center to operate the facility and the incubation program.

The funds for the $9 million building were provided by the university, a federal grant and private donations, including $2 million from Monsanto Company. The building is approximately 33,000 square feet and has room for 14 companies that require lab space and an additional 30 work spaces for individual entrepreneurs.