Polymer Science and Engineering Program a Catalyst for New Business Venture at Southern Miss

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New science incubator tenant complements Southern Miss’ program in polymer science and engineering.

We certainly look forward to developing additional collaborations like this because initiatives like this is why Southern Miss took the lead role in creating a unique business and science incubator like The Accelerator.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s leadership in polymer science and engineering has influenced a multi-national company to begin manufacturing a new product in The Accelerator, the university’s technology incubator.

Bracco Diagnostics, a multi-national company headquartered in Milan, Italy, announced in January that its Healthcare Protective Products Division (HPPD) will use resources at The Accelerator to manufacture a lotion that neutralizes chemical warfare agents that have proven to be hazardous to military personnel. The life-saving lotion is already in use by the U.S. Department of Defense and most NATO militaries and first production of the product is targeted for summer 2011.

Tim Henry, general manager and vice-president of Bracco’s Healthcare Protective Products Division, said, “We selected The Accelerator at The University of Southern Mississippi because their expertise and resources will allow us to further the development of new technologies in healthcare protective products.”

Southern Miss has a well-established record of leadership in materials science and formulation development offered through its polymer science and engineering program in the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials.

Southern Miss President Martha Saunders noted that bringing such a prestigious tenant as Bracco Diagnostic into The Accelerator only fortifies the facility’s mission.

“We certainly look forward to developing additional collaborations like this because initiatives like this is why Southern Miss took the lead role in creating a unique business and science incubator like The Accelerator,” said Saunders.

The Accelerator opened in March 2010 and is one of Southern Miss’s newest initiatives to support innovation and entrepreneurship. The $26 million facility offers more than 60,000 square feet of world-class resources and equipment to support early-state science companies.

“The Accelerator was established to attract entrepreneurs and industries to Mississippi to research, develop and market new products and services,” said U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) “The fact that this state-of-the-art facility at The University of Southern Mississippi is gaining international attention bodes well for the future of The Accelerator as a center that benefits companies like Bracco Diagnostics and helps general jobs and economic growth here.”

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree sees the Southern Miss-Bracco partnership as collaboration that will yield important dividends in the Pine Belt area.

“The Accelerator continues to be a magnet for recruiting high-tech companies to Hattiesburg,” said DuPree. “We greatly appreciate Bracco’s confidence in our community. The company will create quality jobs for area citizens. Job creation is of paramount importance as our economy continues to rebound from the recession.”

For more information about The Accelerator, visit http://www.TheAcceleratorMS.com

About The University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and Southern MS research university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at http://www.usm.edu .

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