FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: James West, CEO
LAWRENCE, Kan. (July 1, 2020) — Local startup, Clara Biotech Inc., was awarded $50,000 in grant funding from the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Job Creation Fund to support the creation of eleven new highly-skilled Kansas jobs over the next three years. The funding will assist the company with its efforts to develop its revolutionary, scalable platform for targeted, highly-purified exosome isolation and will help the company grow its operations at the Bioscience and Technology Business Center (BTBC) in Lawrence.
Exosomes have varied uses in diagnostics, therapeutics, and core research. They can be used to treat and detect cancer, traumatic brain injury, and many other conditions. Clara Biotech, a KU spinout company, is developing a platform for automated isolation of exosomes from any biofluid with better purity, specificity, volume, and yield than almost every other technique currently available.
With the COVID-19 pandemic closing or restricting access to university labs across the country, the funding will help Clara Biotech acquire the necessary equipment to bring critical testing functions in-house and to expand its R&D capacity. “This type of equipment is prohibitively expensive for a startup company like Clara Biotech, so our R&D is dependent on the ability to contract with universities like KU for use of their core labs. The grant funding has allowed us to bring some of these capabilities in-house and has helped us weather the temporary closing of KU’s research labs caused by COVID-19,” says the company’s CEO, Jim West. In addition to generating new jobs, the funding will help the company develop its own benchtop isolation device that is significantly faster and scalable than what is currently used in the industry, decreasing processing time by up to 90%.
“The Kansas Department of Commerce has been an important partner in BTBC’s efforts to create, grow, and retain early-stage bioscience and tech companies in Kansas,” says GR Underwood, BTBC’s Chief Operating Officer. “Not only are these companies working on developing cutting edge medical technologies and therapies, they are creating highly-skilled, high-paying jobs that will strengthen and diversify the regional economy and help keep Kansas’ highly-trained and educated graduates in the region.”
About Clara Biotech
Clara Biotech enables tomorrow’s medical breakthroughs today through exosomes. The company solves the major roadblock preventing exosome solutions from reaching patients — purification of exosomes from biofluids. Clara Biotech’s solution enables breakthroughs in diagnostics and therapeutic pathways for a wide variety of conditions including cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, ischemic stroke and more. For more information, visit clarabio.tech.
About the Department of Commerce’s Job Creation Fund
The Job Creation Fund (JCF) was created by the Kansas Legislature in 2011 to replace the Kansas Economic Opportunity Initiatives Fund (KEOIF) and Investments in Major Projects and Comprehensive Training Program (IMPACT). The Department of Commerce uses this fund to help attract new companies to Kansas and grow Kansas startup companies. Payments to companies from the JCF are typically made over five years, as the companies meet certain benchmarks, such as creating jobs and making capital investments like equipment purchases or facilities improvements.
The Bioscience & Technology Business Center (BTBC) is an independent, not-for-profit economic development organization focused on creating, recruiting, growing, and retaining high tech and life science companies that produce jobs in Lawrence and Northeast Kansas. BTBC is the University of Kansas’s technology commercialization partner and is located on KU’s West Campus, with expansion facilities in Kansas City and west Lawrence. BTBC is a unique coalition of local government, private industry, academia, and the local business community, which seeks to leverage existing economic assets and regional strengths to enhance economic growth and prosperity in the region. Learn more at btbcku.com.