Kent State Centennial Research Park and Pathogen Systems Inc.

This year's featured leaders illustrate medtech's ability to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing business environment.

Steve Halasey

September 1, 2008

3 Min Read
Kent State Centennial Research Park and Pathogen Systems Inc.


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The Academic Connection

Centennial Research Park at Kent State University (Kent, OH) is representative of the university's longstanding commitment to technology research and development, technology transfer, and regional economic development. Conceived less than two years ago as part of the FlexMatters Initiative, Kent State's 44,000-sq-ft Centennial Research Park was initiated in 2007 and will be completely leased and fully operational with new and emerging businesses before the end of 2008.

(click to enlarge)At the June 2007 ribbon-cutting for Kent State University's Centennial Research Park (from left): Lester Lefton, KSU president; Dorothy Baunach, president and CEO, NorTech; Patricia Book, KSU vice president for regional development; and John West, PhD, KSU vice president for research.

Earlier this year, Pathogen Systems Inc. (Boulder, CO) announced its plans to become a primary tenant at Centennial Research Park. John West, PhD, director of the Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State, says Kent State Centennial Research Park will provide Pathogen Systems with the ability to accelerate its growth and develop a product that will benefit the medical community.

"Liquid-crystal biosensor technology was developed through a research project by investigators at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Pharmacy in collaboration with Kent State University and was licensed to Pathogen Systems in 2006," said West. "This technology transfer gives Pathogen Systems the capability of detecting bioterrorism agents and pathogens in food and water in as little as 30 minutes. The continued development of this technology at Centennial Research Park—tapping our deep expertise in liquid-crystal technologies—will enhance the health, safety, and economic vitality of Ohio communities and the nation."

Recently, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher, chair of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission, recommended $3 million in funding for the Ohio-based research and commercialization of a real-time pathogen-detection instrument.

(click to enlarge)Exterior of the Centennial Research Park at Kent State University.

Liquid-Crystal Biosensor Technology and Pathogen Systems' Application. The liquid-crystal biosensor technology is expected to radically change the detection and identification of harmful pathogens. While current detection methods can take up to three days to identify disease-causing agents, this new technology offers the promise of detection and identification within minutes.

The product Pathogen Systems is developing will quickly detect harmful microbes, such as anthrax or plague. There are a host of potential applications for this technology, including environmental protection, homeland security, and medical diagnoses.

History of FlexMatters Initiative. FlexMatters was established to build an industrial cluster in Northeast Ohio for the research, development, and production of flexible displays, electronics, and photovoltaics. The opportunity to build this consortium is based on the region's leadership liquid-crystal research and development, complemented by Northeast Ohio's core industrial strengths in polymers and printing.

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