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BioOhio Report: Life Sciences, Healthcare Pump $146B Into Ohio Economy
 
Ohio’s growing life sciences and healthcare sectors generated $146 billion in economic activity in 2006, accounting for 1.2 million jobs and 17.6 percent of the state’s total output, according to a report released by BioOhio.
 
Ohio’s life sciences industry group teamed up with the consulting firm Tripp Umbach to release Ohio Bioscience Growth Report 2007. The report defined “bioscience” broadly enough to include hospitals, healthcare providers, and medical colleges, in addition to traditional biotech and pharmaceutical employers.
 
According to the report, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus collectively accounted for 89 percent of Ohio’s commercial bioscience economic impact and 90 percent of the state’s commercial bioscience work force in 2006. The largest segment of the life sciences industry measured by number of jobs (12,392) is medical device and equipment manufacturers, while agricultural biotechnology generated the largest direct economic impact, at $6.1 billion.
 
The complete report can be read here.
 

 
California Stem Cell Agency Names Institutions Recommended for Facilities Grants
 
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which operates the state’s stem-cell research program, has disclosed 12 institutions recommended for advancement to a second round of consideration for its major facilities grant program.
 
The program will fund the establishment of CIRM facilities in support of programs conducting R&D into therapies, diagnostics, and technologies against disease. Grant applications sought funding to establish one of three types of facilities:
  • CIRM Institutes to carry out stem cell research in three categories: basic and discovery stem cell research, preclinical (translational) research, and preclinical development and clinical research. Funding will range from $25 million to $50 million.
  • CIRM Centers of Excellence to conduct stem cell research in any two of the three categories listed above. Funding will range from $10 million to $25 million.
  • CIRM Special Programs to conduct specialized stem cell projects in one of the categories listed above. Funding will range from $5 million to $10 million.
Applicants must provide at least 20 percent cash in matching funds. 
 
The deadline for submission of Part Two applications will be determined and announced some time in January. The board that oversees CIRM, the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, is set to approve a set of CIRM Major Facilities Grants in April.
 
Approved for a second round of consideration for major facilities grants:
  • Buck Institute for Age Research, CIRM Center of Excellence.
  • San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, CIRM Institute.
  • Stanford University, CIRM Institute.
  • University of California, Berkeley, CIRM Center of Excellence.
  • University of California, Davis, CIRM Institute.
  • University of California, Irvine, CIRM Institute.
  • University of California, Los Angeles, CIRM Institute.
  • University of Southern California, CIRM Institute.

The San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine consists of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies; the Scripps Research Institute; and the University of California, San Diego.


 
Scripps Florida Credited With 2,000 Jobs, $230M in Activity Statewide in 2007
 
Scripps Florida has generated $230 million for Florida’s economy and helped sustain more than 2,000 jobs during 2007, its fourth year in the state, according to the state-created Scripps Florida Funding Corporation, which monitors the state's $310 million subsidy to the research institute in Jupiter, Fla.
 
This past year, the corporation reported, Scripps Florida created its first spinoff company, graduated its first doctoral student, initiated 13 new patent applications, and reached a collaboration deal with Pfizer.

Scripps Florida has created about 250 positions inside its current temporary research facility, and 683 construction jobs related to its permanent campus. The institute is building a 364,000-square-foot facility consisting of three buildings within a 100-acre portion of the Florida Atlantic University campus in Jupiter, Fla. The facility is set to open in 2009.

 
The institute is credited with generated $11.8 million in state, county and municipal taxes this year. But not without cost: Scripps Florida received $12 million in grants this past year, part of $30 million received since the institute was established.
 
"I think it's very promising, given the fact that they've accomplished so much while still being in temporary facilities that are overcrowded," Assistant County Administrator Shannon Larocque of Palm Beach County, Fla., told the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.The county has spent $350 million in incentives for Scripps Florida. “You can only begin to imagine what they can achieve next year when they move into their permanent facilities.”
 

 
KTEC Restructures Bioscience Funding as KU Centralizes Drug Development Effort
 
The Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation has centralized its funding of bioscience at the University of Kansas within a new entity, the Biotechnology Innovation and Optimization Center.
 
BIO Center is part of KU’s effort to centralize drug development efforts at its main campus in Lawrence, Kan., as well as at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. BIO Center funding will support four general areas including: core development resources such as laboratory personnel, equipment and supplies; technology transfer; seed funding; and grant administration.
 
The new BIO Center will consist primarily of personnel and other resources currently associated with the Product Development Core within the Higuchi Bioscience Center, and will be under the direction of Roger Rajewski. The reorganization coincides with the retirement of the HBC executive director, Charles Decedue, and an organizational change within the university that combines research and graduate studies under one office.
 
“The overall mission and vision will remain the same: to develop life-enhancing pharmaceutical and biomedical technologies through applied physical and chemical based research, and successfully manage the commercialization of these technologies to become a regional economic development engine,” said Richard Lariviere, KU provost and executive vice chancellor, in a statement announcing the change.
 

 
Wisconsin State Building Commission Approves More Funds for Stout Science Wing
 
The Wisconsin State Building Commission on Dec. 19 approved an $8.1 million increase in the budget for the renovation and expansion of the Jarvis Hall Science Wing on the University of Wisconsin-Stout campus. The change raises the total estimated cost of the project to $43.2 million.

UW administrators told the Dunn County News of Menomonie, Wis., that the reduced budget would have reduced the number of classrooms, eliminated some laboratory space and left some laboratory space unfinished — and as a result not have allowed for sufficient facilities for the project. The administrators said that would have created an immediate need for a future project to complete the missing portions of the original project, which would have added to the total cost.

The project consists of building a three-story, 90,900-square-foot addition to the existing 66,400-square-foot building. The existing building’s plumbing, ventilation, electrical and telecommunications systems would be renovated, while an obsolete wing with 11,400 square feet will be demolished.

UW Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen told the commission’s Higher Education Subcommittee the renovated Jarvis Hall would offer improved biotechnology and nanotechnology programs within a broader school focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The project was originally slated to cost $45.2 million but budgeted at $40.6 million in the state’s 2005-07 budget. That was reduced to $35.1 million following a cut in UW’s capital budget.

Construction is set to begin this summer, soon after the commission reviews bids for a general contractor. The project is set to be completed in February 2011, though part of the building could be occupied as soon as August 2010.
 

 
Promega Opening Office in Stockholm, Sweden, Next Month
 
Promega said last week that it will open an office in Stockholm in January to offer its products and services directly to the Swedish research community. The Madison, Wis., company previously offered its products in Sweden through a distribution deal with SDS BioSciences.
 
The company has hired Patrick Van de Velde as general manager of the office.
 
In a statement, William Linton, CEO of Promega said that Sweden has the fourth-largest biotech industry in Europe with 48,000 full-time employees in R&D and the highest R&D expenditure per capita
 

 
Palm Beach [Fla.] Community College Opening One Science Complex, Building Another
 
Palm Beach [Fla.] Community College will open in January a new $15 million, 91,000-square-foot BioScience Technology Complex on its Palm Beach Gardens campus, allowing the school to add up to 30 classes in science and health-related subjects.
 
The complex — to house a wellness center, lecture hall and meeting rooms — is one of two science facilities under construction by PBCC; a $9.2 million, 50,000-square-foot science building is rising at PBCC's suburban Lake Worth campus.
 
“With these new buildings, we'll take a huge leap in our science programs,” PBCC spokesman Grace Truman told the Palm Beach Post. She said the project was related to the school’s launch in 2006 of an associate's degree in biotechnology, following the move of the Scripps Research Institute to nearby Jupiter, Fla.
 

 
Utility Awards $50,000 Toward Promoting New York State’s Biotechnology Effort
 
NYSEG, a subsidiary of Energy East, has awarded a $50,000 grant to NY Loves Bio, New York’s public-private campaign to expand the state’s biotechnology industry by promoting the attraction and retention of biotech companies and their jobs.
 
“This grant from NYSEG will help us communicate that New York State is serious about biotechnology,” said Brian McMahon, executive director of the New York State Economic Development Corp., in a statement. NYSEDC is a private nonprofit group representing the state’s economic development professionals and the lead group behind NY Loves Bio.
 

 
I2IT ties up with NDSU
 
North Dakota State University has signed a memorandum of association with the International Institute of Information and Technology, Pune [India], to conduct collaborative research in biotechnology as well as nanotechnology, robotics, embedded systems, telecommunication, integrated circuit development, and computer science.
 
Students at I2IT Pune will be allowed to pursue final internships at NDSU; upon successful completion of their coursework, they can also work there while pursuing PhDs.
 

 
Iran Approves Distribution of Biotherapeutics Company’s Bleeding Disorder Treatment
 
Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education has granted rights to CSL Behring, a biotherapeutics company in King of Prussia, Pa., to distribute Haemate P exclusively throughout the country.
 
Haemate P is a treatment for von Willebrand disease, a hereditary, sometimes life-threatening condition caused by a deficiency of a protein needed for normal blood clotting. CSL Behring said the disorder is 10 times more frequent in Iran than other areas of the world.
 

 
Incubator, Neurosciences Institute Among Projects Granted Deadline Reprieve by WVEDA
 
A biotechnology incubator planned for South Charleston and the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute planned for West Virginia University were two of 11 projects for which the West Virginia Economic Development Authority earlier this month extended by a year the deadline for submitting contracts and funding paperwork. The projects have until Dec. 31, 2008, to have their paperwork submitted, while completion deadlines for the projects will be reviewed next month.
 
The incubator and neurosciences institute were two of 47 projects that were awarded a total $225 million in funding in 2004 from a predecessor of the WVEDA. Only $200 million of that has been spent, while another $2.4 million has been returned.
 

 
Watervliet, NY, Tech Park Wins $210,000 from Empire State Development Corp.
 
The Arsenal Business and Technology Partnership at the Watervliet [NY] Arsenal has been awarded $210,000 by the Empire State Development Corp., which oversees New York state’s economic development effort.
 
The Arsenal Partnership is a technology park that has leased and optioned 100,000 square feet to biotech companies as well as tenants in the coatings, advanced materials, and engineering design fields.
 

 
India’s Manipal Group Plans Stem-Cell Research Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
 
Stempeutics Research, an entity of India-based Manipal Education and Medical Group, has become the first overseas company to set up a stem cell research and therapy center in Malaysia. Manipal plans to invest about 30 million ringgit ($9 million) in the next three to four years on the center, to be located at the Technology Park Malaysia in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur.
 
Stempeutics Research president BN Manohar told the New Straits Times of Kuala Lumpur that independent studies had identified Malaysia as a market with potential in stem cell research and therapy with estimated annual growth of 530 million ringgit ($157 million).
 

 
NC’s Forsyth Tech to Host Biotech Workforce Development Conference Feb. 5-6
 
The National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, NC, will host a national bioscience conference Feb. 5-6. The conference, called the Wired Bioscience Institute, will focus on biotechnology business and workforce development, with speakers to include industry experts and federal agency representatives.
 
The conference is expected to draw some 100 attendees from around the country, and is connected to the US Labor Department’s WIRED or Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development, program. The program established the National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce through a three-year, $15 million grant to the public-private Piedmont Triad Partnership, one of 39 regional groups to receive WIRED grants nationwide.
 

 
EU, ScanBalt Agree to Support Small and Medium-sized Life Science Companies
 
The European Union and ScanBalt have agreed to study how to eliminate roadblocks to allow greater collaboration between academic institutions and small and medium-sized life sciences companies in the Baltic Sea region.
 
ScanBalt will serve as coordinator of the project, known as Bridge-BSR, or “Bridging Life Science Research and SME’s in the Baltic Sea Region – Putting Cluster Policies into Practice for the Benefit of SME´s.”
 
The official kick-off meeting for Bridge-BSR takes place March 6, 2008, in Riga, Latvia, to be hosted by the Latvian Biotechnology Association.
 
Bridge-BSR will promote mentoring and benchmarking between regional clusters within  ScanBalt, with a key goal being the development of a “joint innovation agenda” to promote life sciences growth, to be integrated with regional authorities. Partners of the project consortium besides ScanBalt are Steinbeis, BioCon Valley, Institute of Fundamental Technological Research in Warsaw, BioForum Oulu, Medicon Valley Alliance, Latvian Biotechnology Association, and Estonian Biotech Association.

ScanBalt promotes life sciences activity in 11 nations: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, and Sweden.

 

 
Group Wins $500,000 to Promote Bioproducts, Biomedical Industries in Northern Ontario
 
The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation has set aside $500,000 to establish Innovation Initiatives Ontario North, a regional network for northern Ontario with a focus on three industries: bioproducts/bioenergy, biomedical/healthcare, and environmental/mining.
 
The NOHFC will also provide $311,735 in funding to help Genesis Genomics commercialize a new prostate cancer test it has been developing, with the help of a previous NOHFC investment of $238,000. The company will conduct research to determine if the processes developed for the prostate cancer test can also be used for the early detection of breast cancer.
 
“Regional innovation networks can build on the work of private companies like Genesis Genomics and leverage new opportunities for prosperity,” said Michael Gravelle, the chair of NOHFC and Canada’s minister of northern development and mines, in a statement.
 

 
New Cluster Created to Promote Engineering in South Carolina
 
New Carolina, the public-private group formed to enhance South Carolina’s economic competitiveness, has formed a new cluster devoted to promoting engineering in the state.
 
The South Carolina Engineering Cluster will be overseen by a steering committee of representatives from government, economic development, academia, engineering companies, and professional societies.
 
The new cluster’s goals include promoting the services and products of state-based engineering organizations; promoting continued investment in South Carolina’s engineering economy; providing a forum to discuss engineering issues in the state; recognizing the accomplishments of South Carolina engineers; and encouraging young students to choose engineering as a career. The cluster has created a web site and announced its leader, Lee Stogner, director of business development at Milliken Performance Solutions in Spartanburg, SC.
 
New Carolina said in a statement that South Carolina has 45,000 engineers working in life sciences and other tech fields.

The Scan

Possibly as Transmissible

Officials in the UK say the B.1.617.2 variant of SARS-CoV-2 may be as transmitted as easily as the B.1.1.7 variant that was identified in the UK, New Scientist reports.

Gene Therapy for SCID 'Encouraging'

The Associated Press reports that a gene therapy appears to be effective in treating severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome.

To Watch the Variants

Scientists told US lawmakers that SARS-CoV-2 variants need to be better monitored, the New York Times reports.

Nature Papers Present Nautilus Genome, Tool to Analyze Single-Cell Data, More

In Nature this week: nautilus genome gives peek into its evolution, computational tool to analyze single-cell ATAC-seq data, and more.