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Newport Laboratories honored with award from U of M

Newport Laboratories researchers (front row from left) Allison Richards, Tracy Oleson, Kim Kolander, Tammy Kolander, Kamesh Sirigireddy and (back row, from left) Mike Stoll, Elyse Cooper, Brent Wassman and Vickie Ektnitphong show off their Distinguished Research Partner award presented to them by the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Friday afternoon at Prairie Holdings in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- Further verification of Newport Laboratories' mission, quality and growth arrived Wednesday in the form of a new honor bestowed by the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM).

The Worthington-based company was named the CVM's Distinguished Research Partner of 2012 at a Twin Cities recognition event. Representing Newport Laboratories were president Dr. Randy Simonson, research and development director Ben Hause and Dr. Russell Bey, as well as two colleagues from Newport Laboratories' parent company, Merial.

"Once a year, the CVM holds its 'Points of Pride' day, and as part of that they recognize a company that's provided a lot of support and advice to the research at the veterinary college," Simonson explained. "This is a real honor for Newport."

In accepting the award, Simonson presented a short overview of Newport Laboratories' relationship with the CVM.

"I talked about how we've partnered with them on numerous types of research and in education -- almost 40 percent of our professional staff members hold technical degrees from U of M," Simonson said. "We've supported research in the excess of $1 million, and we have published papers and worked on committees together.

"We've also provided externships and internships for vets and graduate students to work with outside laboratories, and we've shared diagnostic information."

In its awards citation, the CVM called Newport Laboratories "a leader in innovative research" with an "industry-leading commitment to high quality vaccine development and production." It also said Newport is a company that has been "extremely generous in its support to the many levels."

"In addition to partnering on cutting-edge research, Newport Laboratories has continuously supported and supplemented CVM educational programs," the citation continued.

Newport Laboratories is widely acknowledged as the nation's largest manufacturer of custom vaccine for the animal health industry, the CVM also reported.

Simonson, who was personally awarded the CVM's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001, is pleased that Newport Laboratories' contributions to his alma mater are appreciated.

"Education and research at a land-grant university are extremely important to a company like Newport," said Simonson, noting he had taken the opportunity to discuss Newport and its connection with the U of M with Governor Mark Dayton during the governor's visit to Worthington Friday morning. "We need to continue to promote that."