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Some of the newly formed Niagara Technology Fund will be invested in a local company that has developed a chip-based diagnostic device with potential applications in the fields of human and veterinary diagnostics, environmental testing, food and drinking water safety, and defense.

John R. Simon, executive director of the Niagara County Development Corp., said Thursday that the corporation's new Technology Fund would invest in Innovative Biotechnologies International Inc., which is situated in the Summit Business Park in Wheatfield.

Simon said the company president, Dr. Richard Montagna, had been helped by Cornell University in developing the technology and adapting it for commercial products.

Simon said the Technology Fund was developed in response to the need for venture-capital type funds. "There is a movement nationally and globally from traditional heavy industry into high technology industries. The establishment of this fund will help local companies and our Niagara County economy as a whole in that transition," he said. However, he did not say how much money the fund would invest in Biotechnologies.

Simon said the Development Corp. also approved a $25,000 loan from its Microenterprise Assistance Program to Zehr's Farm Market & Nursery Inc. of Wilson for working capital, inventory and materials for construction of a greenhouse and storage area.

Zehr's, owned by Mark and Laurie Van Buren, grows and sells plants, fruits, vegetables and other related farm products and it sells Amish-made outdoor furniture.

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