Medgene Labs, a product-development company based in Brookings, has been awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health for research related to breast cancer.
Medgene will receive Small Business Innovation Research grant funding of more than $135,000 to achieve Phase 1 objectives. Company leadership expects the initial award will lead to Phase 2 grant funding of more than $1 million to advance project development.
Medgene’s research and development is aimed at improving treatment for survivors of breast cancer. Survivors are often at risk for infection because many suffer from lymphedema, a condition in which fluid is retained because of damage to the lymphatic system.
Medgene is focused on developing an effective way to deliver treatments to stimulate the regeneration of the lymphatic system.
“The recent NIH grant awarded to Medgene Labs is an exciting national recognition of the important development being done by a small biotech business in South Dakota. We are fortunate to have a diverse and talented team and good partners to bring new ideas to the market,” says Sue Lancaster, director of operations at Medgene.
“We are very passionate about the opportunity to develop a better treatment to reduce health-care costs and increase the quality of life for breast cancer survivors,” Lancaster says.
Dr. Alan Young - Medgene’s chief scientific officer - is collaborating on the project with Tranzderm Solutions, another South Dakota-based biotech business focused on solving problems in drug delivery.
Medgene and Tranzderm are portfolio companies of South Dakota Innovation Partners, a venture capital firm with offices in Sioux Falls and Brookings. Innovation Partners assists researchers and research institutions in starting new companies by investing capital and business expertise during the early stages of company development.
Mark Luecke, managing director and CEO of Innovation Partners, says the grant awarded to Medgene is significant for South Dakota, pointing out that the state has not received a Phase 1 grant from the NIH since 2009 and has received only three since 2003.
“Innovation Partners is working very hard with its partners to change this trend,” Luecke says. “This award helps elevate our efforts.”
Innovation Partners is working closely with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and local economic development organizations, the Small Business Development Center, regional universities and health systems, and industry leaders to generate more research business in South Dakota.