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BioRegion Real Estate: Apr 24, 2009

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University of Utah Breaks Ground on $130M Interdisciplinary Research Facility

The University of Utah this week broke ground for a $130 million interdisciplinary research facility, the first of four buildings designed to create a new Interdisciplinary Quadrangle within the school's Salt Lake City campus.

The 200,000-square-foot James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building will consist of five levels, one of them below grade. The biotech building is being funded through a $100 million commitment from the sate of Utah along with private gifts, including $15 million from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation and $1.25 million from the Micron Technology Foundation.

State funding comes from the Utah Science Technology and Research, or USTAR, initiative, a long-term economic development initiative designed to promote research facilities and research teams.

The Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology building is pursuing the second-highest "gold" certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program of the US Green Building Council. Lord Aeck & Sargent’s Atlanta office teamed with Prescott Muir Architects in Salt Lake City to develop the building's design. Lord Aeck & Sargent joined with another firm, Salt Lake City-based Architectural Nexus, to create a master plan for the 11-acre Interdisciplinary Quad, located between the main and health sciences campuses.

Jerry Percifield, Lord Aeck & Sargent principal in charge of the project, said in a university press release that the building will reduce both energy use and energy cost from current laboratory code requirements by a minimum of 40 percent. Among strategies used to generate the energy efficiency will be increased incorporation of sunlight capable of reaching at least 75 percent of the building’s occupied spaces, as well as the use of sunshades to modulate the quality and intensity of light entering the building at different times of day and from different angles year-round.

The biotech center will include four specialty core research facilities for small animal imaging, biomedical microscopy, engineering microscopy and nano-fabrication. The center will be designed to support 25 senior faculty researchers, plus junior faculty, administrative and laboratory staffers.


Roche Madison Opens New Madison, Wis., Facility at UW Research Park

Roche Madison on April 23 officially opened a new laboratory facility at the University of Wisconsin Research Park in Madison. The facility will be occupied by Roche's global RNA Therapeutics group, which conducts research focusing on the discovery and development of innovative nucleic acid based technologies, including a proprietary RNAi delivery platform.

The site currently has a 45-member staff — a workforce that is expected to grow, since Roche Madison said it plans to hire additional employees during the next six to 12 months.

Roche Madison was created last year by Roche following its purchase of Mirus Bio Corp., a gene therapy and RNAi company. Roche Madison is a unit of Hoffmann-La Roche, the Nutley, NJ-based US pharmaceuticals headquarters of the Roche Group.


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AMRI Relocates Bothell, Wash. R&D Unit to New 44K-Sq. Ft. Facility

Albany Molecular Research or AMRI, has completed the relocation of its Bothell, Wash., research unit into about 44,000 square feet of newly refurbished laboratory and office space near its former 36,000-square-foot site — an expansion move the company said will better allow it to support growing demand for its R&D services.

The company in a statement said the move has resulted in "substantial improvements in operational efficiencies gained by consolidating all staff and services into one building," as well as capacity for growth, currently projected to be double the scale of the current operation over the next five years.

"The new Bothell facility is equipped to support future enhancements encompassing early biology and natural product drug discovery capabilities," AMRI added.

The Bothell facility employs 40 people, AMRI spokeswoman Andrea Schulz told the Times-Union of Albany, a number the company plans to increase “over time.” AMRI employs 1,351 people and has additional facilities in India, Singapore, Hungary, and the Albany, NY region.

AMRI provides services to biopharma companies pursuing drug discovery and pharmaceutical development, and also manufactures active ingredients and pharmaceutical intermediates.


Laboratory Instrument Maker Navas Expanding to $1.6M Facility in Conway, SC

Navas Instruments, a Conway, SC, manufacturer of laboratory instruments, plans to open within 60 days a $1.6 million, 20,000-square-foot facility at the Atlantic Business Center off US Route 501 — a project set to expand the company's work force from the current four employees to 13, the Myrtle Beach (SC) Regional Economic Development Corp. has announced.

Until now, the company has designed and assembled its instruments at the home of owner Jose Las Navas. As the business has grown, and as it projects additional growth, its need has increased for additional space, Pam Bailey, the company's office manager, told the Sun News of Myrtle Beach.

In 2008, Navas sold about 20 thermogravimetric analyzers at prices between $40,000 and $80,000. The company's biggest clients are coal companies, seeking to gauge the presence of moisture that determines the grade and price of their product, Bailey told the newspaper.

Navas moved the company from Spain to the Grand Strand region that includes Myrtle Beach in 2005 because of the quality of life and its relative proximity to the port in Charleston, SC, according to the Sun News. The new employees will probably include another engineer, another office manager and about 10 assembly workers, Bailey said.


Weitz-DPR Joint Venture Selected as Construction Manager for Max Planck Florida Institute

The Max Planck Florida Institute has selected a joint-venture partnership of the Weitz Co. and DPR Construction as construction manager to build its 100,000-square-foot biomedical research facility at Florida Atlantic University’s MacArthur Campus in Jupiter, Fla. [BRN, July 28, 2008].

The Weitz-DPR venture oversaw construction of the 350,000-square-foot Scripps Florida campus, adjacent to the Max Planck Florida Institute site.

The Weitz Co. is a national full-service general contractor, design-builder and construction manager with 25 offices in the US and Guam, including Florida offices in West Palm Beach and Hollywood. DPR is a national commercial general contractor specializing in the life sciences, advanced technology, healthcare and corporate office markets. DPR has 15 offices around the country, including a West Palm Beach, Fla. office that opened last year.

Under Max Planck's agreement with Palm Beach County, the institute had to select a contractor with experience in constructing educational, institutional, industrial and research projects — at least three of which was completed within the last 10 years, and each of which was valued at more than $50 million.

Construction on the Max Planck Florida Institute is expected to begin in spring 2010, and is scheduled for completion by fall 2011. Washington, D.C.-based Zimmer Gunsul is the project architect. Jones Lang LaSalle Americas will oversee development and construction.


VINS Bioproducts Plans Regional Headquarters within DuBiotech

VINS Bioproducts, a maker of anti-snake venom serum and anti-rabies serum, will base its regional headquarters at the Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park, also known as DuBiotech. VINS, which is based in Hyderabad, India, announced its plans during the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Middle East 2009 exhibition.

The regional HQ will be the site of VINS' first production facility in the Middle East. In addition to anti-snake and anti-rabies sera, VINS will also manufacture anti-cancer drugs at DuBiotech. In expanding operations to DuBiotech, VINS joins global biotech and pharma giants Amgen, Merck Serono, and Pfizer at the science park.

The Scan

Pfizer-BioNTech Seek Full Vaccine Approval

According to the New York Times, Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking full US Food and Drug Administration approval for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Viral Integration Study Critiqued

Science writes that a paper reporting that SARS-CoV-2 can occasionally integrate into the host genome is drawing criticism.

Giraffe Species Debate

The Scientist reports that a new analysis aiming to end the discussion of how many giraffe species there are has only continued it.

Science Papers Examine Factors Shaping SARS-CoV-2 Spread, Give Insight Into Bacterial Evolution

In Science this week: genomic analysis points to role of human behavior in SARS-CoV-2 spread, and more.