Product innovation center forming in Kansas City area

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The Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, location of a concentration of animal health companies, could soon see the addition of a private-public consortium to accelerate development of animal health and nutrition products.

On March 1, the Kansas Bioscience Authority approved spending $1 million in seed money to establish the National Center of Animal Health Innovation. The center will bring together animal health companies in the Kansas City area, regional universities, government agencies, and other organizations.

"This proposal is part of an overall strategy to position Kansas as the nation's innovation hub for animal health and animal disease research and product development," said Tom Thornton, KBA president.

The plan for the first year of the National Center of Animal Health Innovation is to establish operations, recruit leaders and top scientific advisers, and complete a strategic plan.

Companies participating in the center include Bayer Animal Health, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc., CentaurVA Animal Health, Ceva Biomune, Hennessy Research Associates LLC, Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc., Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, Nestle Purina PetCare Co., and Teva Animal Health.

The KBA expects participating universities to include the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, and the University of Missouri.

Other likely participants include the Midwest Research Institute, agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine, the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, the Morris Animal Foundation, and the National Institute for Strategic Technology Acquisition and Commercialization at K-State.