Prommune, IAH Relocating to KC Corridor

One animal health company is planning a move from Nebraska and the other from Australia.

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Kansas has netted two more animal health companies.

Vaccine developer Prommune Inc. is moving its commercial operations to Overland Park, Kan., and the biotechnology company Integrated Animal Health (IAH) is establishing its new headquarters in Lawrence, Kan.

They join more than 300 other animal-related companies, ranging from product distributor AgriLabs to pharmaceutical giant Zoetis Inc., that have offices, factories, laboratories or warehouses in the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor.

The roughly 250-mile-wide area stretches from Columbia, Mo., in the east to Manhattan, Kan., in the west.

“The corridor is home to the largest concentration of animal health industry assets in the world, and more and more companies are seeing the benefit of a corridor location,” said Kimberly Young, president of the industry organization.

The Kansas City Animal Health Corridor announced today that Prommune, which is working on vaccines to fight swine flu and avian flu, selected temporary office space in Overland Park.

The company is headquartered in Omaha, Neb., but hopes to move everything to Overland Park by year’s end, said Sam Sanderson, Ph.D., Prommune’s founder and CEO.

“Once we get the company cooking and capitalized, we will bust out of here and head out down there,” Sanderson said.

Prommune, a start-up company, is getting some expert assistance as it expands. Sam Al-Murrani, Ph.D., MBA, of Babylon BioConsulting will serve as the interim CEO.

“The corridor provides unsurpassed logistics, manufacturing and a pool of [qualified employees] that a company focused on animal health can ill afford to ignore,” Al-Murrani said.

Prommune plans to release its swine flu vaccine, code-named Pro-SF1, in late 2018. The avian flu vaccine, Pro-AF1, should follow a year later.

The company’s platform technology could have a future in human medicine, Sanderson said.

“We’re putting the focus on the animal health applications because of the huge need,” he said. “If we can pull that off and generate good response and good data, it may buttress [developments] on the human side.”

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Integrated Animal Health, meanwhile, selected the Bioscience and Technology Business Center at the University of Kansas in Lawrence for its global headquarters.

“As we looked at locales literally from the California coast to the Eastern Seaboard, we kept coming back to the concentration of talent and opportunities in the Animal Health Corridor,” said Rob Neely, founder of IAH. “We were struck by the work ethic of the area and the openness of the people and companies here to our breakthrough technologies.”

Started in Australia, the company signed an agreement in March with Northwest Missouri State University, whose Hubbard Center business incubator will assist with the testing of products designed for horses and livestock. At the time, IAH was looking at potential headquarters locations.

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