Business on the Hill
Third Quarter 2012
story by JOE MONACO, UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS

KU Spinout Crititech to Partner with India-Based Drug Formulation Company

A pharmaceutical company based on University of Kansas technology has established a partnership with an India-based drug formulation company.

CritiTech, a drug development company that spun out of KU in 1997, will partner with Finoso Pharma on a joint venture to create better treatments with fewer side effects.

Bla SubramaniamThe partnership – called Finotech Pharma – will combine CritiTech’s particle reduction technology with Finoso Pharma’s expertise in drug formulation. The goal of the partnership is to design particles to be used in products that enable the delivery of intravenous suspensions, oral dosage forms and inhalation products.

As part of the joint venture, CritiTech will provide its fine-particle production equipment for Finoso Pharma’s facility, located in Hyderabad, India. CritiTech is also providing new technologies, technical expertise and business and marketing support.

“CritiTech is pleased to be expanding the access to its technology in India to address emerging needs and improve access to technology that enables different drug delivery options,” Dr. David Johnston, CritiTech CEO, says. “India represents a key market for Finotech Pharma as we continue with our geographic expansion strategy.” CritiTech is a KU spinout based on technology developed at the university under the supervision of Bala Subramaniam, a University Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and director of the KU Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis.

Subramaniam’s patented process allows CritiTech to make very small particles, called nanoparticles, of existing drugs to enhance their delivery and effectiveness and improve drug manufacturing and development. CritiTech currently has a cancer drug called Nanotax in Phase I human clinical trials at the University of Kansas Cancer Center.

CritiTech is one of 23 active KU spinouts. “It reflects well on our university when one of our KU startup companies goes on to do great things,” Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little says. “CritiTech is an outstanding company that’s doing great things in drug development, and we’re proud to be part of their story.”

KU LAUNCHES REDTIRE PROGR AM TO HELP RURAL BUSINESSES

The University of Kansas School of Business has launched a new program designed to keep rural businesses open for business.

Bla SubramaniamThe Redefining Retirement program – nicknamed RedTire – will match qualified graduates who want to own a business with business owners who are looking to retire. The program is aimed at preventing rural businesses from closing because an owner can’t find a successor or buyer.

“Every day in rural communities, businesses close forever because an owner retires and can’t find someone to take over the business,” Neeli Bendapudi, dean of the KU School of Business, says. “This is crucial to rural Kansas communities that depend on the services, jobs and tax revenue that these businesses provide. RedTire will address this issue by matching graduates with current business owners and facilitating a succession plan to keep the business running.”

In effect, RedTire is a matchmaking service. Program staff will screen prospective replacement managers and candidate businesses, then identify good matches for purchase opportunities. From there, the program will help negotiate the purchase and transition of ownership terms, help establish a business purchase loan, and monitor and help the new owners successfully run and grow their new business.

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