Kentucky Network for Innovation & Commercialization (KYNETIC)

Grants and Contracts Details


Academic institutions in the United States spend $40.88B per year to conduct biomedical research and publish more than 200,000 papers each year in this area [1]. The knowledge generated by academic research is a major source of health-related innovations [2-5]; however, transforming discoveries and ideas into tangible products that improve human health—including new drugs, preventatives, devices, diagnostic tests, and tools— is generally a slow and inefficient process [5]. Consequently, all stakeholders (i.e. universities, funding bodies, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, federal and state governments, and the public) have a vested interest in identifying scalable approaches that accelerate the translation of academic innovations into biomedical products via external licensing, partnerships with industry, or the creation of small businesses [5]. To address this need, we propose to create a new REACH (Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub) that will be headquartered at the University of Kentucky (UK) but will serve the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky. UK plans to partner with the University of Louisville (UL), the state, and a private partner to create the Kentucky Network for Innovation & Commercialization (“KYNETIC”) program (Figure 1). In addition to these founding partners, the network will include all of Kentucky’s public regional universities and the community and technical college system (KCTCS). The mission of KYNETIC is to nurture innovations and innovators by providing funding, mentoring, education, and a network of relevant expertise. Specifically, we aim to: 1. Establish the KYNETIC organizational and collaborative structure. We will build on lessons learned from developing a current REACH hub (at UL) and regional IDeA technology transfer accelerator (at UK) to optimize KYNETIC. The new program will be directed by a leadership team consisting of two academic innovators and two technology transfer professionals (from UK and UL), plus two representatives from the partnering entities (CED and C3). The two academic principal investigators (PIs) each have prior experience transitioning their own discoveries from their laboratories to the private sector/clinic and have also previously directed successful proofof- concept grant programs. Importantly, the directors of the UK and UL technology transfer offices are key members of the KYNETIC leadership team and bring a wealth of relevant experience. A steering committee made up of the leadership team plus representatives from each participating institution (Figure 1), an External Review Board (ERB), and the NIH will review and evaluate individual KYNETIC projects, as well as the overall program. 2. Find, fund, and manage product definition/development projects. The required matching funds have been committed in full by the Kentucky CED and the state R1 universities. This will allow us to fund up to 13 project grants per year using an innovative “quick kill” management strategy. We have a robust pipeline of technologies available due to our large Kentucky-wide network, which has substantial funding for biomedical/health-related research (e.g. $855M in federal funds for FY14–FY18 [6]) and unparalleled resources for research translation/ commercialization/entrepreneurship (including 10 of the 14 programs listed in the new REACH opportunity). The leadership team and a dedicated KYNETIC staff will act as site miners, mentors, educators, and project managers. 3. Provide mentoring, skills development, experiential education, and networking opportunities. We will leverage our existing resources, ecosystems, and extensive experience to apply and expand best practices for innovator education and mentoring. We will seek to make our services available to as many individuals as possible and to highlight diverse role models including innovators and entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups. 4. Devise and implement a plan to transition to a self-sustaining entity. A number of plans will be considered and assessed including subscription models, industry partnering, directed fund-raising, and an evergreening strategy where participating institutions and the state invest a portion of resulting royalties back into the network. A Kentucky-wide REACH program offers unprecedented opportunities for collaboration and synergy. KYNETIC will build on a collective wealth of resources and experience in order to overcome the state’s disparities and deliver de-risked technologies, well-prepared innovators, and a statewide pro-entrepreneurial culture.
Effective start/end date9/23/198/31/22


  • National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: $967,861.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.