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SIOUX FALLS | The latest target of Sioux Falls billionaire philanthropist T. Denny Sanford is a biopharmaceutical company based in the city.

Sanford is investing $10 million in SAB Biotherapeutics Inc. The investment closed on Aug. 17 and was made through a new entity called Sanford Therapeutics LLC.

SAB announced that its treatment recently provided 100 percent protection against a lethal dose of the Ebola virus in an animal study. The company develops human antibodies that are replicated by specially cloned animals and not humans. The method means SAB can develop and produce therapies in as few as 75 days, making the company a potential key factor in the battle against emerging epidemics.

"SAB Biotherapeutics has made great strides in a relatively short timeframe," Sanford said. "They have reached key milestones, collaborated with prominent partners, developed a robust product pipeline and are working on near-term solutions to health conditions like cancer and Type 1 diabetes."

The company expects to enter two new trials during the next 18 months for severe hospitalized influenza and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, or MERS-CoV.

"This investment provides a significant boost to our capital strategy as we enter phase two clinical trials and accelerate development of new commercial targets," said Dr. Eddie Sullivan, SAB's president and CEO.

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Sanford is best known locally for his benevolence that fuels Sanford Health, which is also an investor in the biopharma company. A representative for the businessman will join SAB's board.

"We're excited to have Mr. Sanford ... demonstrate his confidence in our novel technology, company and team," said Dr. Edward Hamilton, co-founder of SAB. "This investment will accelerate the advancement of the platform, capacity building, company growth and help to catalyze a vibrant biotech industry in South Dakota while we begin to realize the significant impact we can all bring to the global health community."

Sanford Health bills itself as one of the largest health systems in the nation with facilities in several states, including the Dakotas and Minnesota.

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