FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vandalia, MU to commercialize DNA production system
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The first biotechnology research company based upon Marshall University research has begun operations in Huntington. The formation of Vandalia Research Inc. makes it the first company to come out of a program begun two years ago to focus on area economic growth based upon scientific research at Marshall.
Vandalia Research and Marshall University have entered into an exclusive license agreement to commercialize the patent-pending Triathlon DNA production system that has been under development since early 2003, Derek Gregg, Director of Business Development with Vandalia, announced today.
The announcement took place at a news conference at the Frederick Building in Huntington, where Vandalia’s offices are located.
“DNA in the 21st century will serve as a catalyst for more efficient drug discovery, diagnostics, therapeutics, identification methods, and computing advances,” Gregg, a Marshall junior, said. “All of these applications require large amounts of short, specific DNA sequences.”
Gregg said Vandalia Research and Marshall University recognized this market need and developed the Triathlon system using the industry-standard PCR method to provide customers with a solution that fits with their research and development efforts.
“The Triathlon system provides advantages over current applications, and its scale and cost allow for many new and exciting applications, increasing scientific knowledge and consumer uses for DNA technology,” Gregg said.
Gregg said formation of the company was completed when Vandalia was successful in convincing local investors to provide the start-up capital in excess of $500,000 through acquisition of Vandalia common stock.
“We’re indebted to the local group of investors who have worked very closely with Vandalia and actually made this venture possible,” Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp said.
The company’s management team includes Gregg, Marshall junior Justin Swick, and MU professors Dr. Elizabeth Murray and Dr. Michael Norton.
“I’m extremely proud of our faculty and students in this entrepreneurial endeavor,” Dr. Howard Aulick, vice president for research at Marshall, said. “They have provided both the leadership and the passion to begin a biotech industry here in Huntington. It is not an easy process but I believe it will be one of the first of many biotech companies that will grace this area.”
Norton said he hopes other students are inspired by Vandalia’s success.
“We do hope that this event awakens the entrepreneurial spirit among the many excellent students of all ages who are part of the intellectual community which calls Marshall its home,” he said.
At Marshall, the project was supported by grants from the West Virginia Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.
For more information about Vandalia Research, Inc., formed in 2005, persons may visit http://www.vandaliaresearch.com or call Gregg at (304) 529-0803.