University of Kentucky will lead a consortium of academic institutions participating in a US government-funded commercialisation hub intended to accelerate biomedical research.

University of Kentucky will lead a consortium of 24 academic institutions taking part in a biomedical commercialisation hub created in partnership with University of Louisville, West Virginia University and health tech-focused accelerator XLerateHealth.

The initiative has secured up to $3.5m in grant funding over three years from National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of US government-owned research agency National Institutes of Health (NIH), and will receive almost $500,000 in its inaugural year.

The project involves creating a digital hub for institutional biomedical technologies emerging from an area known as the Southeast Institutional Development Award (Idea) region encompassing Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and West Virginia.

Plans for the hub include a virtual portal for Kentucky, Louisville, West Virginia and XLerateHealth to share resources with participating institutions, and a tech transfer service that will aid regional and historically-black institutions which lack their own intellectual property offices.

Institutions participating in the wider program include Benedict College, Clemson University, Coastal Carolina University, Eastern Kentucky University, Jackson State University, Louisiana State University Health Services, Medical University of South Carolina, Northern Kentucky University, Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, University of Puerto Rico, Southern University, Tulane University, University of Arkansas, University of Mississippi, Western Kentucky University and Winthrop University.

The NIH-funded Idea program launched in 1993 to help broaden the geographic dispersal of NIH’s resources. The Kentucky-led project is one of four regional hubs expected to receive NIGMS funding.

Research performed by academic institutions in the southeast Idea region has received more than $1.5bn in federal funding to date, leading to the creation of 38 businesses, according to the Association of University Technology Managers.