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Iowa's NewLink Genetics Steals the Spotlight

July 14, 2015

Headquartered in the ISU Research Park, NewLink Genetics' cutting-edge immunotherapy and Ebola vaccine research has put the international spotlight on Iowa's growing biomedical industry. Employing 100 people in Iowa, the company was recently profiled by The Wall Street Journal about its research work and global recruitment efforts. 

With the 7th lowest cost of doing business,  a competitive 6.5 percent refundable R&D tax credit and ideal quality of life, Iowa provides NewLink Genetics with a competitive advantage to the biomedical hubs on either of the coasts. The company has successfully recruited researchers and biologists from across the global to work in central Iowa.

Triggering the body's natural immune system to fight cancerous tumors, the biopharmaceutical company solidified a major research deal last year with Genentech that has the potential to earn the company a $1 billion payout. Plus, the Ames-based company partnered with Merk to collaborate on an Ebola vaccine licensed from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Phase one of vaccine trials on healthy volunteers at the Walter Reed Institute of Research in Bethesda, M.D., were reported as promising.

The early phase trials and Merk partnership earned NewLink a contract with the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency in March 2015, to begin toxicology studies of the vaccine's effectiveness. Founded in 1999, NewLink Genetics represents a rapidly growing health care biotechnology sector in Iowa. The company focuses on developing vaccines and other treatments that stimulate the body’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells and communicable diseases, including pancreatic, prostate, lung and breast cancer, melanoma, influenza and other diseases.



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