The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board has awarded $125,000 in grants and other assistance to two University of Iowa startups housed in the UI Research Park: Viewpoint Molecular Targeting and Immortagen,

The board made the awards Friday, March 27, along with two companies based in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines.

Viewpoint Molecular Targeting received the largest award, $100,000. Two University of Iowa professors, Michael K. Schultz, Ph.D., and Frances Johnson, M.D., founded the startup, which is working to develop cancer therapy drugs.

Schultz, Chief Science Officer of Viewpoint Molecular Targeting, is an associate professor of radiology in the UI Carver College of Medicine and specializes in molecular targeting for diagnostic imaging and cancer therapy. Johnson, Viewpoint’s Chief Medical Officer, is an associate professor of internal medicine in the UI Carver College of Medicine.

“We are delighted with the decision of the IEDA panel,” Schultz said. “These funds come at a critical time in our company development as we move into new facilities at the University of Iowa BioVentures Center.”

Added Johnson, “Incubating in the laboratories of a larger company has turned out to be advantageous for us at the earliest stages of R&D. But recent growth is creating the need for expansion of space and equipment.  This award helps us toward our next set of critical milestones."

Immortagen was incorporated in 2014 by a team of researchers from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the UI Carver College of Medicine: Kristi Thiel, Ph.D., research scientist; Donghai Dai, M.D., Ph.D. research associate professor; Baoli Yang, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor; and Kim Leslie, M.D., professor and DEO of the department, who no longer has an ownership stake.

Immortagen will use its funds to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy to launch its business.

“Personalized medicine is the future of cancer treatment,” said Thiel. “The question is how to make this a reality for every single cancer patient. Immortagen will provide a range of services, from privatized tumor banking to in-depth profiling of the tumor, to help clinicians make more informed treatment decisions for their patients.”

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