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Doctor hopes to find HIV treatment in proposed Owen laboratory

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By Molly Haines

A medical research facility could be in New Liberty’s future.

Dr. Ray C. Perkins and his daughter, Sarah Leonard, have worked for 10 years to develop effective and economical methods in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Perkins said these methods will also apply to many forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and other infectious diseases.

If the company, known as New Liberty Proteomics, can gain enough support, Perkins is looking to establish a biomedical center in Owen County.

“We have a fairly small amount of support right now,” Perkins said. “But with more support we could start going to drug companies today and from there build the company.”

Perkins, who was raised in Owen County, said he had been away for 30 years before returning.

“My wife and I just moved back to Owen County five years ago,” Perkins said. “We feel a business like this could mean a lot more to a small community than the larger areas that normally see this kind of thing. Heavy infusions of cash could come into this county from it and it would leave a great impact on the people of this community.”

Perkins said Leonard picked the HIV system to study.

“She’s working in Illinois and we have scientists in three different states assisting us who are working for nothing,” Perkins said. “We’re working for nothing.”

Perkins said bringing a new drug to the market is costly and can take time.

“A new drug takes $2 billion dollars to make and can take up to 12 years to bring to market,” Perkins said. “There’s a lot of money spent and we think we’ve got the tools to speed up the whole process.”

Perkins said he and Leonard have sent in proposals to the health act.

“We’ve used our results in part to send in proposals to the health act,” Perkins said. “They are all currently pending review.”

Perkins said although a company such as New Liberty Proteomics seems a little out of character for Owen County, he believes it could do a lot of good for the county.

“I’d just like to see it happen here,” Perkins said. “This is my home.”