Dr. Cook and Dr. Kendrick recognized for scientific impact and business success in the biohealth industry

MADISON, Wis—BioForward Wisconsin has announced the winners of the seventh annual Wisconsin Biohealth Awards which showcase leadership and innovation in Wisconsin’s biohealth industry and specifically recognize scientific and business successes that have made Wisconsin a leader in biohealth.The 2022 winners: Hector F. DeLuca Scientific Achievement Award—Dr. James Cook, Wisconsin Biohealth Business Achievement Award—Dr. Nancy Kendrick.

Dr. James Cook is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 1973, he joined the University as an Assistant Professor in Organic Chemistry and was promoted to University Distinguished Professor in 2002. He is a leading expert in GABA-A receptor drug targeting and has published over 550 papers in the fields of natural products, medicinal chemistry, and organic synthesis. He is the recipient of the UW-System Innovator Award and the UW-Milwaukee Innovator Award and has filed over 90 patents. As the original designer of the GABAkines licensed to RespireRx Pharmaceuticals, his group synthesized a series of benzodiazepine subtype-selective agents for pharmaco-resistant epilepsy and chronic pain that are devoid of tolerance, sedation, and ataxia in preclinical tests to circumvent the opioid epidemic. He also cofounded Promentis Pharmaceuticals at Marquette University, which has a drug in Phase II clinical trials for the chronic mental illness Trichotillomania. His research collaboration at The Center for Addiction and Brain Health at the University of Toronto has led to licensing alpha5 selective agents to a startup company (Damona Pharmaceuticals) with investment funds targeted toward depression and Alzheimer’s disease. More recently his group developed alpha 6 selective agents that are active in animal models of trigeminal orofacial pain and Tourette syndrome and are, to date, devoid of side effects.

Dr. Nancy Kendrick received a B.S. in Biology from Illinois State University, followed by a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Washington University in St. Louis (1973) under Dr. Garland Marshall, Department of Physiology. Her thesis focused on solid-phase peptide synthesis with the goal of creating a model for the neuronal action potential. During that time, she absorbed considerable information about protein chemistry, including structure-function relationships. Nancy did postdoctoral research studying calcium transport in synaptosomes with Dr. Mordicai Blaustein at Washington University in St Louis and studying vitamin D-dependent calcium transport in the intestine with Dr. Hector DeLuca at the University of Wisconsin, Department of Biochemistry. The scientific overview and rigor acquired during her academic years were useful in developing a business. Nancy started Kendrick Labs in her basement as a 2D electrophoresis service for scientists at the University of Wisconsin and incorporated in 1987. Now a Contract Research Organization that serves pharma, biotech, and university scientists worldwide, Kendrick Labs, Inc. occupies about 5000 sq ft of lab/office space. The infrastructure of the business is strong and includes >100 written SOPs (standard operating procedures) for technical procedures, instrument calibrations, and Quality Assurance.

“BioForward Wisconsin is honored to announce and celebrate the achievements of this year’s Wisconsin Biohealth Award winners, Dr. Cook and Dr. Kendrick,” said Lisa Johnson, CEO of BioForward. “Both embody the meaning behind these awards due to their globally recognized research achievements and entrepreneurial support that have led to major medical advances in treating diseases and improving health outcomes. Their ingenuity, passion, and vision will be an asset to the Wisconsin biohealth industry for years to come.”
The Wisconsin Biohealth Summit, October 12, 2022, at the majestic Overture Center for the Arts, will celebrate the Wisconsin biohealth industry as it continues to lead the way in addressing current and future health challenges. This year’s award ceremony will be held during a special lunch reception designed to honor the awardees.

Wisconsin Biohealth Summit sponsors include Hausmann GroupWisconsin Economic Development CorporationJP CullenKraemer BrothersLuminexCZ StrategyExcelsior LabsGenentechUW-Madison Master of Science in Biotechnology ProgramStrangMadison Environmental Resourcing Inc.UW-Extension Master of Science in Applied BiotechnologyCommissioning Agents IncArrowhead PharmaceuticalsFisher ScientificAldevronCatalentExact SciencesGE HealthcareIlluminaMallinckrodt PharmaceuticalsMilliporeSigmaMorgridge Institute for ResearchPromegaWisconsin Alumni Research FoundationAbbvieAlliant EnergyAurora Health CareCellular DynamicsEurofinsFindorffIsthmus ProjectKerryLabcorpPhRMAPPDTeramedicaUniversity Research Park, and Yahara Software.

About BioForward
BioForward Wisconsin is the collective voice of Wisconsin’s robust and comprehensive biohealth cluster, representing more than 220 member organizations across an integrated network of health solution leaders, including research institutions, biotech and biopharma, digital health, and medical device and diagnostics. It is an action-oriented association that focuses on initiatives to strengthen the state’s talent pipeline; collaborations to develop supply chain partnerships; educational and networking events to enhance professional development; and legislative advocacy to highlight the economic and social impact of the biohealth industry on the state, nation, and world. Learn more about BioForward Wisconsin at www.bioforward.org.

For more information:

Rissa Guffey/BioForward Wisconsin
[email protected]