Life Sciences Orgs Collaborate to Build a Kentucky – Massachusetts Turnpike

Apr 25, 2016

Kentucky Life Sciences Council and MassBio partner on startup mentoring initiatives

Kentucky life sciences leaders traveled to Cambridge for MassBio’s Annual Meeting last month. Pictured here (l-r): Robert K. Coughlin, President & CEO, MassBio; Kyle Keeney, President & CEO, Kentucky Life Sciences Council; Kris Kimel, founder & CEO, Kentucky Space; Twyman Clements, President, Space Tango; John Hallinan, Chief Business Officer, MassBio.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 25, 2016) – The Kentucky Life Sciences Council (KLSA) and MassBio today announced the launch of the Kentucky – Massachusetts Turnpike, a partnership designed to foster collaboration between the two clusters and accelerate research to benefit patients and the healthcare system. The Turnpike is an extension of MassBio’s MassCONNECT program, which, under the leadership of Rakhshita Dhar and Anna Christo, has become a top mentoring program for life sciences entrepreneurs in Massachusetts. 

“We are proud to stand with our colleagues in Kentucky in explicit recognition that there are no knowledge monopolies and that innovation goes beyond borders,” said John Hallinan, MassBio’s Chief Business Officer, Turnpike co-founder and MassCONNECT mentor. “The complexity of human biology and unmet medical need demands that we embrace collaboration as a way to find and catalyze critical research and development, and we hope this partnership can help to usher in a new model of collaboration in life sciences. We are heartened by the response as a significant number of MassCONNECT mentors and Massachusetts executives have signed on to help with the construction of the Turnpike.”

“As a parent of a child with cystic fibrosis, and speaking on behalf of all patients, we don’t care where a therapy or cure comes from,” said Robert K. Coughlin, President & CEO of MassBio. “We are especially intrigued by the potential of combining a good idea in Kentucky with a good idea in Massachusetts to create a great idea that provides value to patients, the healthcare system, and our respective clusters.”

According to Kyle Keeney, Turnpike co-founder and President/CEO of Kentucky Life Sciences Council, “In our partnership model, Massachusetts provides leadership in many ways,  but we have to pay attention to the importance of the honeybees. Our model will help to ensure a health supply of pollinators and it mitigates the risk of the Midwest and the Central US being relegated to a fly-over zone for life sciences research.”

Known for its biologistics industry, Kentucky is ideally situated to connect the needs of biotech’s competing powers through a unifying need: access and distribution to patients. Geographically, Kentucky is the center of the US transportation and logistics industries and is the central hub for taking products to the marketplace.



Researchers interested in the Turnpike Partnership are invited to attend the Derby Partnering Summit. Held May 5-7, 2016 in Covington, Ky., the Derby Partnering Summit addresses the interests of academic and private researchers, entrepreneurs and industry executives. The event begins with a day for postdocs and emerging entrepreneurs to receive one-on-one mentoring with industry veterans. The second day is focused on industry and regulatory updates. True to the Summit’s banner slogan to “partner with a champion,” the Summit culminates trackside at the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby.


About Derby Partnering Summit

The Derby Partnering Summit is a three-day event at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Cincinnati – RiverCenter that brings together students, advocates, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics and researchers from disciplines across the life sciences industry, including therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices, health care information technology, health and wellness technology, nutrition and agriculture.

For the first time, the Derby Partnering Summit will provide an entire day of networking and mentoring just for life sciences PhDs, graduate students and postdocs. This annual networking event, the largest life sciences event in the Midwest, will take place May 5-6, 2016, in Covington, Ky. May 5, 2016 is for new professionals and those considering a career in life sciences. May 6-7 are industry partnering events. The Derby Partnering Summit convenes at the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby on May 7 in Louisville, Ky.

About Kentucky Life Sciences Council 

The Kentucky Life Sciences Council is a 501(c)(6) trade association operating in conjunction with a 501(c)(3) foundation. Together they represent and support the life science community in Kentucky, providing innovation services, commercialization support, public policy and advocacy.  The purpose of KLSC is to create a favorable business environment for Kentucky’s life science community to discover, produce, and deliver products that benefit society. Learn more at

About MassBio

MassBio is a not-for-profit trade association founded in 1985 and committed to advancing Massachusetts' leadership in the life sciences to grow the industry, add value to the healthcare system and improve patient lives. Representing more than 700 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, disease foundations and other organizations involved in life sciences and healthcare, MassBio leverages its network of innovative companies and industry thought leaders to advance policy and promote education, while providing member programs, events, industry information, and services. Learn more at


MassBio’s MassCONNECT program is the only entrepreneur mentorship program in Massachusetts that dives deep into the life sciences. MassCONNECT matches entrepreneurs with seasoned life sciences professionals to catalyze and commercialize innovation.

Learn more at

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