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California Net Operating Loss Carry Forwards, Clinical Research Consortium of Massachusetts, North Shore Life Sciences Accelerator, Michigan Strategic Fund Board, MichBio, Industrial Development Agency Ireland, New York Power Authority

California Senate Panel Approves Net Operating Loss Carry-Forward Extension
The California State Senate’s Revenue and Taxation Committee last week voted to advance Assembly Bill 1370, which would double from 10 to 20 years the amount of time biotech companies can carry forward tax deductions on their net operating losses.
The measure has moved on to the Senate’s Appropriations Committee, chaired by state Sen. Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch). An approval by Appropriations will bring the measure to the full Senate for debate and, supporters hope, a vote this year.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, used his keynote address at the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s 2008 International Convention, held earlier this month in San Diego, to urge that lawmakers pass the bill [BRN, June 23].

Four Organizations Form Clinical Research Consortium of Massachusetts, Link With Italy’s Lombardia Region
Four organizations have joined to create the Clinical Research Consortium of Massachusetts, a group designed to support knowledge and technology transfer between Massachusetts and international regions interested in building clinical research centers of excellence.
Members of the consortium include Tufts Medical Center's Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies; Phase Forward, a clinical trial and drug safety software company; BBK Worldwide, a clinical trials enrollment management company; and Court Square Group, a consulting firm in life sciences information technology and regulatory compliance.
The Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment helped bring the groups together, so the state could fend off competition from similar groups in California and North Carolina in order to link with the Lombardia region of Italy. The consortium has completed a report outlining a multi-year plan to enhance Lombardia’s clinical research and life sciences infrastructure to that region’s ministry of health.
Such a project, Lombardia reasons, will reverse an impression that clinical studies are difficult to conduct in Italy — which now has only about 2 percent of the multi-billion-dollar European market for clinical trials.
Lombardia is only the first of several initiatives planned by the consortium. In a statement, the consortium said it is in talks with government and life sciences leaders in three countries in South America, and two others in Europe.

Biotech Industry Professionals Plan Life Sciences Accelerator for Beverly, Mass.
A group of biotechnology veterans from Massachusetts’ North Shore region is working to establish a life sciences incubator in Beverly, Mass., in hopes of capitalizing on Gov. Deval Patrick’s $1 billion, 10-year Life Sciences Initiative, the Boston Business Journal reported.
A group of executives, investors, and academics filed papers with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth's office to create the nonprofit North Shore Life Sciences Accelerator Inc. late last month. The accelerator’s president is Martha Farmer, a medical ethics fellow with Harvard Medical School. The chairman of the accelerator is Harry McCoy, president and CEO of Thorne Diagnostics in Beverly.
The group told the state it was looking to house at least 10 early-stage biotech or medical device companies in about 10,000 square feet of leased space at Cummings Properties' Beverly campus. The nonprofit would likely subsidize the rent on a sliding scale, as well as provide shared equipment and mentoring with executives at established biotech companies located onsite, the newspaper reported.
The accelerator also said it is looking to fund its operations through the Life Sciences Investment Fund, established by the biotech law; through private investment; as well as through grants from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a state economic development agency formed to promote high-tech and renewable energy growth.
The North Shore is home to several life sciences companies — the largest of which is Abiomed, which employs more than 200 in its Danvers, Mass., headquarters, and generated $50.7 million in revenue last year.
Cummings Center general manager Steve Drohosky told the Business Journal that one of the likely biggest draws for companies is relatively low rent. Cummings Center rents start at $22.95 per square foot, with designated "incubator lab" space marked at $25 per square foot — less than half the average asking rent for space in the state’s priciest life sciences market of Cambridge, Mass.

Michigan Board Approves Renaissance Zone for MPI's $330 Million Expansion
The Michigan Strategic Fund Board has approved the creation of a Pharmaceutical Recovery Renaissance Zone that will eliminate most state and local taxes for the two sites where contract research organization MPI Research has announced plans for a $330 million expansion of its operations.
MPI has said it will create 3,300 new jobs over the next five to seven years by nearly doubling its approximately 1 million square feet at its 130-acre headquarters, within the Mattawan Business Park. That expansion will add 2,900 jobs while the remaining 400 positions will be based about 10 miles east of Mattawan, within two renovated buildings MPI will lease for $1 a year from the city of Kalamazoo, which will accept them as a donation from Pfizer [BRN, April 28, 2008].
The Michigan Economic Development Corp., which announced the strategic fund board’s action, said the zone will cover MPI’s Mattawan headquarters, and the two Kalamazoo buildings.
MPI will receive benefits from the zone from Jan. 1, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2023 — but will still be required to pay school “sinking funds,” or property taxes levied to pay bonds; and special assessments.

MichBio Adds First-Time Features to Nov. 18-19 Annual Expo and Conference
MichBio announced several first-time offerings to this year’s annual Expo and Conference, to be held Nov. 18-19 at the Rock Financial ShowPlace in Novi, Mich.:
  • The Michigan Emerging Life Sciences Showcase, where new and emerging life sciences companies from Michigan will deliver presentations before an audience of venture capitalists, angel investors and institutional investors;
  • The Life Sciences Innovation and Commercialization Caucus, a road-mapping discussion of the future of the industry by legislators and life sciences leaders from across the state;
  • A medical device suppliers track, focusing on manufacturing companies looking to diversify or increase their business in the medical device industry, and;
  • An exclusive members-only CEO dinner where life science leaders will network with peers and participate in a discussion of leadership issues facing the industry.
The expo will also include one-on-one business partnering meetings; company tours; sessions and workshops devoted to R&D, emerging businesses, and medical affairs and markets; a breakfast forum; networking receptions; lunch; and breaks.

Registration for attendees opens Sept. 1. Click here to register or learn more about the Expo.


IDA Ireland Finishes 2007 With Promises of More than €2.3B in Projects From 114 Companies
Industrial Development Agency Ireland last week issued its 2007 annual report, in which it concluded that it drew promises of more than €2.3 billion in future capital spending from 114 “investments” or companies that have committed to relocating to or expanding within the country in return for economic subsidies from the agency.
The report also showed a total 9,216 new jobs created by IDA-assisted companies last year, down from 12,173 in 2006. Of the 2007 job total, 1,123 jobs — 12.2 percent — were in the “pharmaceuticals and healthcare” segment, up from 808 jobs (6.6 percent of the total) created in 2006.
The report said that one-third (33 percent) of companies were based outside the US, “demonstrating the global appeal of Ireland as an investment location.” US companies account for 48 percent of all companies assisted by IDA Ireland, with the next highest slice, 17 percent, based in European nations outside the UK, Germany and France. The UK and Germany tied for the third highest share, 11 percent each.
The annual report also said that all companies assisted by the agency paid almost €3 billion in taxes, accounting for 47 percent of Ireland’s total corporate tax intake.

American Pharmaceutical Partners Wins Upstate NY Hydropower for $25M Expansion
American Pharmaceutical Partners, a Grand Island, NY, producer of injectable pharmaceutical products, has been approved by the trustees of the New York Power Authority for an allocation of 700 kilowatts of hydropower from the Authority’s Niagara Power Project.
The power will support a $25 million expansion of APP’s manufacturing facility. APP will add 60 jobs to its current workforce of more than 500 in connection with the expansion, Gov. David Paterson said June 26 in a press release.
APP’s allocation was one of three that NYPA trustees approved to be drawn from the “Replacement Power” program, one of two blocks of power from the authority’s Niagara Power Project that is reserved for Western New York businesses under state law. The other allocations were awarded to API Heat Transfer of Buffalo, and Certified Fabrications of Sanborn, NY.

The Scan

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.

Sequencing Study Leads to Vaccine Target in Bacteria Behind Neonatal Meningitis

Researchers eBioMedicine track down potential vaccine targets with transposon sequencing on mutant bacteria causing neonatal meningitis in mouse models of the disease.

Multiple Myeloma Progression Influenced by Immune Microenvironment Expression

Researchers in NPJ Genomic Medicine compare RNA sequencing profiles of 102,207 individual cells in bone marrow samples from 18 individuals with rapid or non-progressing multiple myeloma.

Self-Reported Hearing Loss in Older Adults Begins Very Early in Life, Study Says

A JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery study says polygenic risk scores associated with hearing loss in older adults is also associated with hearing decline in younger groups.