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BioRegion Real Estate: Mar 9, 2009


Millipore Shutting Anderson, Calif., Facility, Creating 100+ Jobs in Danvers, Mass.

Millipore announced last week it will shut down its Anderson, Calif., biopharmaceutical supply manufacturing facility as of April 30, and shift its 52 employees to an existing company site in Danvers, Mass., where it plans to add another 52 staffers.

Millipore made the decision after concluding its Anderson facility at 6100 Bellevue Lane "couldn't support the expansion" of its Mobius manufacturing operations in the way its 10,000-square-foot Danvers site could, company spokeswoman Karen Hall told the Anderson Valley Post.

Despite a global recession, "this area of our business is expanding rapidly," Hall told the newspaper.

Millipore inherited the site when it acquired Newport Biosystems in 2006.

Unable to Secure Financing, UMass-Lowell Postpones $90M Science Center Construction

The University of Massachusetts at Lowell has postponed earlier plans to break ground this spring on the $90 million Emerging Technology & Innovation Center, after the state agency that finances campus construction projects could not secure funding from the all but frozen credit market, the Boston Globe reported.

UMass' building authority has told administrators of the campus it cannot borrow the $35 million needed for center to begin construction. The university was poised to hire a construction manager in the next two weeks and purchase building materials, until the university learned it could not secure a 30-year loan at 5 percent interest due to the ongoing economic upheaval, according to the newspaper.

The project's only hope is to find funding from the state's share of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus measure signed into law last month by President Obama.

"At this point we can't commit to the project. Unless something changes, we're not going to be able to go forward," Martin Meehan, the university's chancellor, told the Globe.

The university had positioned the project, announced in fall 2007, as the centerpiece of a campus expansion. Projected to create 500 jobs, the research center was designed to build upon the university's nanotechnology program, and create new collaborations between the university and private life-sciences companies.

Meehan told the newspaper he will lobby aggressively for the project, which he called "more than shovel-ready."

Boehringer Ingelheim Sets March 19 Dedication for $135M Petersburg, Va., Pharma Plant Expansion

Boehringer Ingelheim Chemicals on March 19 will dedicate a new $135 million expansion of its pharmaceutical plant in Petersburg, Va., set to start production in April following three years of planning, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported. The plant will manufacture the active ingredient used in Micardis, a prescription medication for controlling high blood pressure

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Boehringer Ingelheim has already filled most of the 100 jobs it created as a result of the expansion. Those jobs bring employment at the plant to almost 500 people, company spokeswoman Amanda Tate told the newspaper.

The expansion, plus a lab building that opened late in 2007, bring to 96,000 square feet the amount of space built out by Boehringer Ingelheim since it opened its original plant in 1979 within its 40-acre site on Normandy Drive.

Boehringer Ingelheim Chemicals is a subsidiary of Ridgefield, Conn.-based Boehringer Ingelheim Corp. and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies based in Ingelheim, Germany.

NC's Hamner Institutes to Add 400 Jobs in Partnership with Chinese Research Park

The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences will nearly double in size and expand its workforce with 400 new jobs following a new partnership with China's leading medical research park, set to develop and commercialize Chinese drug discoveries at Research Triangle Park, the Triangle Business Journal reported.

William Greenlee, CEO of the Hamner institutes, confirmed to the newspaper that he was working with China Medical City to formalize details of the relationship. One key goal, he said, was to develop at RTP a new 100,000 square-foot building, costing $40 million to $50 million, within two years. The facility would provide space and jobs for 400 scientists and technicians – nearly quadruple the 110 staffers that now work in the Hamner's 150,000-square-foot facility within its 56-acre campus.

Greenlee told the Business Journal leaders in the Chinese park, an area about the size of Research Triangle Park, are interested in developing Chinese drugs to US Food and Drug Administration standards. In addition to accessing new research, he said, US companies working with the Hamner in the partnership would benefit by gaining an entry into the Chinese market: "It could be a two-way gateway."

China Medical City is just outside Taizhou, a port city of 5 million people about three hours from Shanghai. The research park was established by the Chinese government in 2005. Businesses there cover a range of pharmaceutical activities, including research and development and contract manufacturing.

Greenlee noted that Taizhou is the hometown of China's president, Hu Jintao, who has spoken of his interest in building China Medical City into a major biotechnology park.

Charles Hamner, chairman of the Hamner's board of directors and founder of the namesake institutes, says outfitting the new building with equipment will cost up to $15 million. The funding could come from multiple sources, including entities that would do research at the expanded facilities.

LabCorp Collaborates with Duke in Operating Kannapolis, NC, Biorepository

LabCorp said last week that it has struck a collaborative agreement with Duke University covering operations at its Biorepository in Kannapolis, NC.

The collaboration will focus on the operations of the facility and management of the samples deposited by Duke University, and by LabCorp's clients and its collaborators at the 40,000-square-foot facility, now being built at US 29 and Chipola Road near the North Carolina Research Campus [BRN, Aug. 4, 2008].

The company said that when the Biorepository opens later this year it will hold up to 10 million samples and will offer a high-security storage environment and on-site nucleic acid and sample preparation capabilities. The facility will be closely linked to Duke University, the David H. Murdock Core Laboratory Building at the NCRC, and LabCorp's network of routine and esoteric laboratories for discovery and commercial testing.

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"The combined capabilities of our organizations through the Biorepository will further our leadership in personalized medicine and will lead to new discoveries and new diagnostic tests that will benefit patient care," LabCorp CEO David King said in a statement.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Signs Lease for $26M Facility at NC Research Campus

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College last week signed a lease for a $26 million, 62,000-square-foot biotechnology training building at the North Carolina Research Campus being developed in Kannapolis, NC, by food and real estate magnate David Murdock. RCCC will pay about $2.4 million a year for 20 years to Castle & Cooke to lease the new building, with the developer then giving the building to the school, according to the lease agreement released late last week.

Murdock-owned NCRC developer Castle & Cooke will soon complete a loan application and submit it to the lender, college spokesman Jeff Lowrance told the Salisbury (NC) Post. The lender will have 15 business days after receiving the application to lock in an interest rate, Lowrance said.

After repeated delays it blamed on the ongoing economic upheaval, Castle & Cooke is set to start construction of the building this spring. The building could open in time for RCCC's fall 2010 semester.

The state will provide about $3 million per year to RCCC for lease payments and operating costs. The college will lease the facility from Castle & Cooke for 20 years.

RCCC will move its biotechnology program to the new building. The college is expected to train thousands of people to work at the NCRC.

Medical Device Maker Eyes Florida's Tallahassee Innovation Park

An undisclosed medical device maker from the Midwest is in talks to relocate to Tallahassee's Innovation Park and bring a projected 250 new jobs over five years.

The device maker is in discussions with the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County, which has dubbed the recruitment effort "Project Lake." The project was the subject of talks Feb. 26 by "some" Leon County commissioners, who are pondering whether to spend $2.82 million in county funds toward an $8.1 million economic incentive package for the company, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

The newspaper reported skepticism of the proposed package by commissioner Bob Rackleff – as well as concern by another commissioner, Andrew Gillum, that a rejection of the device maker may cement the perception that the region is anti-business. Speaking with the Democrat, Gillum cited decisions by two other life-sci employers — biotechnology company Cypress Systems and Biomass Gas & Electric — against relocating to Tallahassee, citing what they termed political interference.

Biomedical Companies Extend Leases in Suburban Massachusetts Buildings

Cummings Properties announced that three biomedical companies have extended their leases at a pair of properties where Cummings serves as leasing agent:

• Agion Technologies extended its lease for more than 13,000 square feet of biology and chemistry labs, as well as office space at 60 Audubon Road in Wakefield, Mass. Cummings' leasing/property manager Steve Costa represented the firm in the lease transaction. Agion is a provider of customized, natural, antimicrobial, silver-based solutions designed to inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold and fungus.

• MSM Protein Technologies, an antibody engineering company, has extended its lease for more than 3,500 square feet at 200 Boston Ave. in Medford, Mass., where MedChem Partners, a medicinal chemistry provider, has renewed its lease for nearly 1,200 square feet. Tony Spencer, a Cummings Properties leasing/property manager, represented the firm in both lease extensions.

PerkinElmer Opens New Center of Excellence in Singapore

PerkinElmer last week announced the inauguration of a new Center of Excellence in Singapore, at an event held at the A*STAR Biopolis research complex.

According to the company, the center will serve as a training and knowledge sharing facility for life sciences researchers located throughout the Pacific Rim. Operated by PerkinElmer's Bio-discovery business unit, the center will provide advanced solutions in the areas of automation and detection, cellular imaging and analysis, and drug discovery and research reagents.

"As we continue to expand into cellular sciences, we greatly anticipate working closely with both our regional and global customers through the new center," Daniel Marshak, chief scientific officer and president of Greater China for PerkinElmer, said in a statement.

The newest Singapore COE is equipped with PerkinElmer instruments, software and reagents for biotech, pharmaceutical and academic customers that enable scientific workshops, demonstrations and customer support and training. It also provides classroom courses with topics covering techniques for assay development and training of instrumentation and related analysis software, the company said.

PerkinElmer's first Singapore based Center of Excellence was opened in March 2008.

The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.