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Sept. 27, 2012 Volume 34, No. 6

Coulter Foundation’s history of success good news for MU


Five MU research projects currently receiving funding from Coulter Translational Partnership Program

At a meeting last week in Memorial Union, the MU co-program directors of the Coulter Translational Partnership extolled the promise of the five-year $5.2 million funding agreement struck between the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and the University of Missouri. 

In its first year, the partnership is funding five MU medical research projects. 

Rebecca Rone and Jake Halliday presented data at the Research & Development Advisory Board meeting Friday that showed the audited results of the foundation’s first four years of work with 10 other universities. 

The results were striking: $40 million in investment that generated more than $150 million in venture capital funding, brought in more than $150 million in government research grants and stimulated the formation of 44 start-up companies.

The hope is that the Coulter and MU partnership will have similar success over the years. Halliday was optimistic. “In the first (round of Coulter partnerships), it was really an experimental program,” Halliday said in an interview this week. MU is receiving a “well-honed process that’s potentially more valuable than the initial investment.”

In 2011, Mizzou and five other universities were chosen to be part of the second round of Coulter partnerships. In the partnership, Coulter agreed to provide $200,000 in startup funds and $666,667 each year for five years, while MU kicks in $333,333 per year over the same period, totaling $5.2 million.

The partnership’s objective is to move medical research forward by filling a critical gap in funding that can occur between patent-ready university research and when it becomes attractive to investors.

Part of the Coulter Foundation’s success, Halliday said, is that Coulter representatives keep close tabs on the funded projects. “They’re committed to the success of each school,” he said. “Rigorous review and feedback is part of that process.”

Even as the first-year partnership between Coulter and MU gets under way, Halliday and Rone are gearing up for another year of Coulter awards to MU researchers. Applications for the those awards are due by Dec. 1.

Contact Rebecca Rone for more information by emailing 

— Erik Potter