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Martin County Administration, South Worcester (Mass.) Industrial Park, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Central Florida Research Park

Martin County, Fla., Officials Eye Life Sciences Use for 500 Acres Marketed for Sale by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Publisher
The chief administrative officer for Florida’s Martin County has publicly expressed hope that a life sciences user will emerge for the 500 acres being sold there by Washington Kiplinger Editors, the publisher of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, according tothe Palm Beach Post.
Washington Kiplinger parent Shadow Lake Groves VP Marty Bonan told the newspaper “internal capital needs” accounted for the decision to sell the land, which it has owned since 1988. The site is sandwiched between the Florida Center for Innovation, a 120-acre tech campus within the Tradition mixed-use master-planned community in Port St. Lucie, and Scripps Florida, the new research facility being built for the Scripps Research Institutein Jupiter, Fla.
While an R&D site was discussed for the site in 2006, to no avail, Martin County Administrator Duncan Ballantyne told the Posthis government hopes to work with the company and a buyer to promote a life-sciences campus. One option toward that end, he said, was identifying life sciences as among targeted industries for which future development approvals would be fast-tracked.
Shadow Lake Groves has hired CB Richard Ellis to solicit bids for the property; no asking price has been disclosed. "Now seemed like a good time, even though the market may not look that great," Bonan said, adding: “The demand for quality business sites is always strong."

South Worcester (Mass.) Industrial Park Signs Plant Grower Pharmasphere as First Tenant

Pharmasphere, a Boston grower of plants for pharmaceutical development, plans to open its first commercial operation at the South Worcester (Mass.) Industrial Park this summer, Robert Hamlin Jr., one of the company's co-founders, told the Worcester Business Journal. Pharmasphere would become the first tenant at SWIP, which has been on the city’s drawing boards for more than a decade.

The Worcester operation would employ around 40 people, including skilled botanists and lab technicians, many to be recruited from the Worcester area. The company will buy a blighted brownfield site at 49 Canterbury St., then build there a more than 50,000-square-foot "warehouse-type" building, for "$5 million-ish,” Hamlin said. If remediation costs are less than $250,000, Hamlin will pay the city $25,000 for the parcel. If the costs are more than $250,000, he will pay only $1.

"The rents in Boston are so high for office space, people are starting to look for alternatives. Worcester is an alternative, and not just for high tech or life sciences," Hamlin told the newspaper.
Hamlin said he considered sites in upstate New York and Arkansas, before choosing Worcester based on its pool of skilled workers trained in biotech specialties, especially at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Clark University, and several regional community colleges.
SWIP consists of six parcels — four residential and two commercial — covering 11 acres that the city acquired via eminent domain along Canterbury, Gardner and Southgate streets in 2000 and 2004. Since then, the city has put about $2 million into the area for roadwork and pollution clean-up efforts, including about $50,000 to $75,000 on the parcel PharmaSphere will develop, the Worcester Telegram reported last month.
The state of Massachusetts has awarded Worcester $147,000 in state money to help pay for marketing, consulting, and cleanup at SWIP.

North Carolina Biotechnology Center Plans Expansion of its RTP Headquarters
The state-funded North Carolina Biotechnology Center plans to expand its Research Triangle Park headquarters intended to accommodate more conferences and employees, the Raleigh, NC, News & Observer reported. The center will build a 25,000-square-foot addition to its 47,000-square-foot headquarters at 15 TW Alexander Drive, where 72 employees are based.
The addition, set for completion next year, will allow the center to accommodate conferences and conferees better. Last year the center hosted 1,400 meetings attended by a combined 37,000 people, Steven Burke, who is in charge of the center's building project, told the N&O.
Federal, state and private funds will be needed to finance the addition, Burke said.

Emerging Biotech Inks Five-Year Lease for New Orange County, Fla., Space
VaxDesign, a maker of in vitro assays of the human immune system, has moved into 17,699 square feet it has agreed to lease for five years at Taurus Southern Investments’ new, 75,000-square-foot Challenger South Phase II office-warehouse “flex” tech building in Central Florida Research Park in east Orange County, Florida’s Orlando Sentinel newspaper reported. Jeff McFadden, a managing partner with Taurus Southern, and Heidi Adams, director of leasing, represented the landlord in the deal; Steve Coughlin of Coughlin Commercial in Orlando represented VaxDesign.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.