Texas A&M University and Gradipore, an Australian biotechnology firm, have announced establishment of the Gradipore Chair in Separation Science in the university's Department of Chemistry.

Professor Gyula Vigh will be designated the inaugural chair holder. The chair will be endowed with a gift of $500,000 from Gradipore Ltd., which is based in Sydney, Australia, and will be matched by $500,000 from the university through its Vision 2020 Matching Chair Program.

Separation processes are a crucial part of the production of synthetic pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals, including the removal of viral contaminants from blood plasma or blood-related products, Prof. Vigh said.

The new chair in separation science will facilitate scientific and possible technological breakthroughs in the general area of electrophoretically mediated membrane separations and will involve Texas A&M researchers and graduate students working closely with Gradipore, he added.

He said each party separately owns substantial intellectual property and this synergy will expand the common knowledge base and create new opportunities in the fields of chiral drug and protein separations, especially in the rapidly developing area of proteomics.

"A close working relationship already exists between the two organizations and a number of patents have already been filed jointly," he added.

"We selected Texas A&M because we believed the university has one of the finest programs of this type in the world," said Robert Lieb, chairman and chief executive officer of Gradipore Inc., the American subsidiary of Gradipore Ltd. "This is a pivotal program in our company and we think Texas A&M does the best work in this field and we hope this is the start of similar partnerships in the future."

Prof. Vigh said this chair "opens up new research opportunities for us. It is an important step towards the development of novel separation technologies. Gradipore has a unique, patented platform technology that has been successfully realized in their Gradiflow line of instruments."

"Results of research supported by the new endowed chair will develop new knowledge in blood purification, new drugs and renal dialysis," said Gradipore President John Manusu.

"We first became aware of this program at Texas A&M seven years ago," Manusu said. "The university is a world leader in this field, and we very much want to strengthen our relationship with them."

Gradipore is an Australian biotechnology company that researches, develops, manufactures and markets biological separation technologies for the life science market.

The patented Gradiflow technology is a unique process for large-scale biological separations and offers revolutionary advantages over existing separation processes.

The technology has a wide range of current and potential applications in research, scientific and commercial environments including blood purification, biological drug manufacturing, renal dialysis, viral and prion removal, proteomics and chiral separations.

Contact: Lane Stephenson at (979) 845-4662.

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