Thu. Nov 21st, 2019

U of L will be part of the new hub for healthcare innovations in Kentucky

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville and University of Kentucky received a $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to improve healthcare technologies Oct. 31. This grant will be used to form a Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub, which includes all eight of Kentucky’s public universities along with Kentucky Community and Technical Colleges System.

“One of the things to keep in mind is that the health care sector here in Kentucky privately employs over 30,000 of our fellow citizens,” said interim secretary for the Cabinet for Economic Development Vivek Sarin. “It’s one of the top sectors driving our total economy.”

The hub will be called the “Kentucky Network for Innovation & Commercialization,” or KYNETIC, and is one of five hubs funded by the NIH. The hub is designed to speed up the translation of biomedical discoveries into commercially viable diagnostics, devices, therapeutics and tools to improve patient care and enhance health, according to the NIH.

“This is not a trick but a great treat for every single person in the Commonwealth,” said President Neeli Bendapudi. “This will provide innovation to improve the health of Kentuckians and people around the world.”

According to NIH, selected hubs are required to match the federal funding they receive and develop partnerships with life science and economic development organizations. The KYNETIC founding members will provide a $2.56 million direct-cost match to help with the funding.

Each university involved will also partner with the Commonwealth Commercialization Center (C3), a science and technology nonprofit that supports invention and entrepreneurship across the state.

“Kentucky’s ability to win this grant — one of only a handful ever awarded nationwide — was made possible in large part because of the unprecedented collaboration between our economic development cabinet, public universities and technical colleges in creating our non-profit commercialization center, C3,” Gov. Matt Bevin said. “This grant further validates the significance of C3’s public-private structure and our decision to revitalize Kentucky’s innovation and entrepreneurial support system. Together, we can have a truly positive impact on the health of Kentuckians and people around the world.”

KYNETIC aims to bring innovations such as new pharmaceuticals, therapies, devices and other healthcare technologies to the market. They also aim to address issues like lack of healthcare in rural areas.

This new hub will also be an asset in expanding U of L Health’s current research and medical developments.

“With the acquisition of Jewish Hospital and other KentuckyOne Health properties, researchers at U of L will have additional opportunities to recruit patients for clinical studies to advance research emerging from KYNETIC,” said Bendapudi. “Projects developed through KYNETIC will have the potential to further existing U of L research efforts in optimal aging, improve access to quality health care in underserved urban and rural regions, and bolster efforts to both attract and retain top faculty and students at U of L.”

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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