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South Dakota State University research ventures earn national recognition


BROOKINGS, SD (KELO-AM) Two Brookings, S.D. companies based on university research and managed by a local venture capital firm, Innovation Partners, have received national recognition for their innovative uses of technology.

Prairie AquaTech and Tranzderm Solutions were each recognized recently with a TechConnect National Innovation Award. Both companies receive investment capital and business development support from Innovation Partners, which focuses its resources on research commercialization.

The awards were part of the 17th annual TechConnect World Conference held in June in Washington, D.C.

The companies were honored for being among the top 20 percent of submitted technologies as ranked by the TechConnect Corporate and Investment Partner Committee. The rankings are based on the potential for positive impact that the technologies have in their industries. Nominations were submitted from global academic technology transfer offices, early-stage investment companies, Small Business Innovative Research award recipients, and government and corporate research laboratories.

The success of National Innovation Award winners is tracked and reported back to primary funding agencies to encourage continued support and help accelerate the commercialization process.

Tranzderm Solutions is developing topical and transdermal drug-delivery products and dermatology treatments using natural, plant-based systems.

Prairie AquaTech is developing high-protein feed ingredients for fish and other animals by processing materials such as soybean meal and distillers grain, a byproduct of ethanol production.

The two research-based business ventures reflect the advanced research that is taking place within the university system in the state of South Dakota, and the substantial work being done to commercialize this research, says Mark Luecke, managing director and CEO of Innovation Partners, which has offices in Sioux Falls and Brookings.

“We’re very fortunate to have research partners in the state who are focused on economic development and making sure this research reaches society to have a sustainable impact,” Luecke says.

Prairie AquaTech and Tranzderm Solutions were each spun out of research conducted at South Dakota State University in Brookings. Key researchers involved include SDSU faculty members Bill Gibbons, Mike Brown, Alan Young, and Om Perumal.