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Boston Nonprofit Outlines Transportation Investment Strategy for Life Sciences Cluster
 
A Boston nonprofit that builds business support for regional transportation, land development, and public infrastructure projects has released a report that examines the role of transportation infrastructure in creating stronger and better connections among the institutions and businesses in the life sciences sector.
 
A Better City’s report, titled Connecting with our Economic Future: A Transportation Investment Strategy for the Life Sciences Cluster, includes transportation investment recommendations designed to maintain the region’s competitive edge in the life sciences. The recommendations include short- and longer term recommendations in the areas of capital initiatives, operational initiatives, and policy and planning. 
 
In conjunction with the study release, A Better City recently joined with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Collaborative to host a panel discussion on the needs of the region’s growing life sciences industry, and why investing in transportation infrastucture is critical to the industry’s growth and competitiveness.
 

 
Telomolecular Announces Plans for Aging Facility in West Baton Rouge Parish, La.
 
Telomolecular of Rancho Cordova, Calif., has announced plans for a $43 million, 140,000-square-foot facility in West Baton Rouge Parish, La. The facility will house 20 biotechnology and research companies dedicated to pharmaceutical development and the study of therapies for age-related disease and human aging. The facility will also be home to a regional workforce initiative designed to support laboratory technician education and professional training.
 
The company said it will announce its site selection and development team in coming weeks.
 
The facility — whose exact location the company has yet to disclose — is still in the early planning phase, and remains subject to receipt of adequate funding, the company clarified in a Nov. 6 press release issued nearly a month after its original announcement of the facility.
 
According to the release, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development as well as unnamed “certain state and local agencies” had expressed interest in locating the facility in Louisiana, while the company also intends to seek federal funds. Preliminary contacts have been made with general contractors, though no contracts, bids or formal estimates have been prepared or obtained yet, Telomolecular added.
 

 
Ohio Officials Dedicate $400M Expansion of Amylin Manufacturing Complex
 
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher led state and local officials and Amylin Pharmaceuticals executives last week in dedicating a $400 million, 460,000-square-foot expansion of its manufacturing complex now under construction.
 
The two-building expansion of the facility at 8814 Trade Port Drive in West Chester Township, Butler County, is projected to be complete by the end of 2008. The expanded facility will be the company’s first to be devoted to manufacturing the long-acting release formulation of exenatide, a new injection drug intended to treat Type 2 diabetes. Early in 2009, Amylin plans to seek US Food and Drug Administration approval for the drug, which uses a slow-release technology developed by Alkermes.
 
The expansion will increase Amylin’s workforce from the current 145 employees to 161 by year’s end, and to 645 jobs over the next three years. In return for its projected job creation, Ohio and local officials have approved a total $117 million in subsidies for Amylin, which is headquartered in San Diego. Butler County’s Board of Commissioners announced the expansion back in May.
 

 
Three Companies Win a Combined $350,000 from TEDCO-J&J Investment Program
 
Three early-stage life science companies have received a combined $350,000 from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation’s joint investment program with the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Office of Science & Technology:
  • 20/20 Gene Systems of Rockville, Md., received $150,000 toward development and commercialization of diagnostics for early disease detection, personalized medicine, and biodefense. The company is co-developing a technology for protein biomarker detection in tissue and blood with the National Institutes of Health.
  • Biomedica Management of Baltimore was awarded $100,000 toward R&D projects on inflammation, coagulation, and tissue regeneration. The company works with the US Army Institute of Surgical Research, part of the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick.
  • Neuronascent of Clarksville, Md., also won $100,000, for research with the University of Maryland Baltimore to develop small molecule agents usable as therapeutics for disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
Designed to complement TEDCO’s Maryland Technology Transfer Fund, the program provides awards up to $150,000 to existing TEDCO portfolio companies or up to $75,000 for Maryland companies that have not received a MTTF award in the past. To be eligible for funding, companies must be early-stage businesses engaged in healthcare technology transfer collaboration with a university or federal laboratory in Maryland.
 
Johnson & Johnson and TEDCO provided initial investments of $250,000 each to seed the fund in February 2006.
 

 
PR Company Launches New Subsidiary Focusing on Biotech, Economic Development
 
The Austin, Tex., public relations firm BlabberMouth has formed a new subsidiary, CameronWeeks Public Relations, that will focus on biotech and other tech specialties, as well as economic development.
 
BlabberMouth, founded in 2001, will continue to address the needs of such industries as advertising, consumer electronics, fashion, gaming, hospitality and retail, the company said. BlabberMouth said the division of industries among the two PR firms will reflect the results of a survey in which professionals in tech companies sought a company with a more traditional public relations approach, while those in consumer-focused companies said they preferred the quirkier firm. CameronWeeks will operate under the same principles and business model as BlabberMouth, the parent company said.
 

 
DuBiotech HQ Breaks Ground on 600,000 Sq. Ft. Phase I of Complex
 
The Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park, also called DuBiotech, has broken ground on a 740-acre, 600,000-square-foot Phase I of the research complex, consisting of the venture’s headquarters complex, called the Bio HQ.
 
The Bio HQ will combine two 22-story towers with a floating three-story “jewel” component connecting them. The jewel provides a physical link between the towers and opportunities for shared support and intellectual exchange through its innovation and business centers. The project is slated for completion during 2009.
 
The headquarters has been designed by CUH2A, an architectural firm that specializes in designing facilities for technology organizations. The Bio HQ complex has been awarded the Design and Sustainability Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects, New Jersey, which cited its “new regional vision” and “refreshing and functional design,” oriented to maximize day-lighting and views while minimizing solar gain. New Jersey, which cited its “new regional vision” and “refreshing and functional design,” oriented to maximize day-lighting and views while minimizing solar gain.
 

 
Public-Private Brazilian Agency Partners with Terasol LABS to Develop Test Plantations
 
SEBRAE-CE, the public-private Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises, has formed a partnership with Terasol LABS, a plant biotechnology company focused on the development of biodiesel crops, to develop test plantations in Ceara, Brazil. The partnership will provide planting materials intended to increase the yields of biodiesel crops, creating larger supply of feedstock designed to boost biodiesel production, the Brazilian agency said.
 
Terasol LABS will provide technical and plant science knowledge, while SEBRAE will coordinate the partnership, select agricultural partners and choose sites for test plantations. The partnership was announced at the CG/LA 2nd Annual Brazil Leadership Forum in Sao Paulo.

The Scan

Gap in COVAX Doses

BBC News reports that COVAX is experiencing a vaccine shortfall, as the Serum Institute of India has paused exports.

Sanofi, GSK Report Promising Results

The Wall Street Journal reports that the candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine from Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline has had encouraging early results.

Influence of Luck

The New York Times examines how the US avoided variant-fueled increases in COVID-19 cases.

PLOS Papers on Retina GWAS, Hantaan Virus, COVID-19 Phenome-Wide Association Study

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of retinal morphology, analysis of hantaan virus found in a mouse, and more.