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The Markey Cancer Foundation has received a $2 million gift from Darley Stud Management LLC, the global Thoroughbred-breeding operation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai. In recognition of the gift, the cancer center’s blood and marrow transplant unit will be named the Darley Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. “Through the generosity of Darley and Sheikh Mohammed, the Markey Cancer Center will be able to build on efforts to provide a top-notch blood and marrow transplant program in world-class facilities,” said Dr. Randall G. Rowland, the foundation’s president and CEO.

Venture funding in Lexington, including angel and venture capital investments and mergers and acquisitions, totaled a record $69 million last year according to the annual survey by the Lexington Venture Club. The 68 early-stage companies that participated in the survey also reported 230 new jobs in the Lexington-Bluegrass region. Over the past two years more than $133 million in venture funds was raised. The companies, with a total 532 full- and part-time employees, reported total annual revenue of $37.8 million, an 18 percent increase over 2007. The average full-time salary was $65,000. The majority of the companies are in the biotech and health care, IT and software, and advanced manufacturing industry sectors.

Specialty pharmaceutical company AllTranz has moved into a new space in Lexington that provides some 3,400 s.f. of lab space. The start-up company – which counts the Kentucky Seed Capital Fund, Bluegrass Angels Venture Fund, Commonwealth Seed Capital Fund and the Kentucky Science & Technology Corp. among its investors – specializes in the development of neuroscience pharmaceuticals delivered through the skin.

Bluegrass Energy Inc.
has formed a joint venture with 7921 Energy LLC to develop the New Albany Shale on more than 5,000 acres in western Kentucky. A third-party engineering report estimates the reserves on the project to be 64 BCF of gas and 695,000 Bbls of oil. According to Bluegrass Energy, an oil and gas development and exploration company headquartered in Lexington, several public and private companies have been successful in the area and are reporting high commercial success rates in the drilling and completion of wells in the western Kentucky region. The companies anticipate drilling work to begin later this year.

The University of Kentucky has been awarded a $1.4 million federal grant that will support increased health care delivery, online health care education and enhanced network connections between UK and rural medical centers across eastern and south-central Kentucky. The federal grant enables UK to install a state-of-the-art network connection to Internet 2, a system that has 10 times larger bandwidth than today’s access. The funding is being provided by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration as a direct appropriation secured by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. UK will coordinate the grant with KyRON, the state’s higher education Internet network, to enable statewide access to medical resources at UK.

Construction has started on a new east-west runway at Blue Grass Airport. The $27 million construction project will employ approximately 150 people and is one component of more than $66 million in airport improvements scheduled for this year.