The University of Kentucky and Alltech on Tuesday signed an agreement that UK hopes will be the first in a series of contracts with private corporations that will heighten the school's research profile.
The agreement will generate about $2.5 million in research funding during the next year and more than $5 million annually by the end of the third year, Alltech officials said. The money would be spread among 20 to 30 projects in several colleges, Alltech officials added.
The agreement allows UK and Alltech to "free ourselves up ... to move beyond the day-to-day budgetary issues," said Karl Dawson, Alltech's chief technology officer.
"The things we can get done will really change the world," Dawson said. " ... We're going to redefine the way you think about eating food."
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UK Provost Kumble Subbaswamy said UK was negotiating similar agreements with several other companies, but he would not identify them.
The agreement said areas of collaboration between Alltech and UK could include:
■ Proposals jointly sponsored and conducted by Alltech and UK scientists that will lead to grants in health and nutrition areas such as preventing Alzheimer's disease and diabetes.
■ Collaborative contracts for targeted research and development.
■ Student sponsorships to support research focusing on Alltech products.
The alliance eliminates the need to negotiate terms and conditions for each project by serving as an umbrella of general governing principles, UK and Alltech officials said.
UK President Eli Capilouto said the agreement "will facilitate the quick implementation" of new ideas and partnerships between UK and Alltech.
Scott Smith, dean of the UK College of Agriculture, called the agreement "a significant model for the future of agricultural research," part of the "new normal" in Kentucky higher education in which the university is less reliant on public funds and more in partnership with private companies.
As an example of that partnership, Alltech founder and president Pearse Lyons said some patients at UK's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging are taking an Alltech compound "that will be huge." The compound is called AT001, or Alltech Therapeutic 001, and is related to Sel-Plex, a selenium-based Alltech product that enhances animal feed.
Ronan Power, Alltech's director of research, said the company had "strong hopes it will be efficacious" in delaying the onset of Alzheimer's or slowing its progression.
A Feb. 27 article in Barron's speculated that a successful treatment for Alzheimer's could generate $10 billion to $20 billion in annual revenue.