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Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Massachusetts Life Science Initiative, Eli Lilly, RxElite, Pittsburgh Technology Center, Nevada Cancer Institute, Missouri Life Science Research Board

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Massachusetts Biotechnology Council Names Robert Coughlin as New President
 
Robert Coughlin, Massachusetts’ undersecretary for business development, has been named president of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, the organization announced Aug. 13. He
will take over the position by October.
 
“In my role as undersecretary for business development, I have worked closely with the biotechnology and life sciences industry,” Coughlin said in a press release announcing his new position. “This community is dedicated to developing new therapies, and serves as a great economic engine for the state and nation. As the new president of the MBC, I am proud to support the energy and commitment of all of the individuals who make up the Massachusetts life sciences super cluster.”
 
Coughlin succeeds Thomas Finneran, the former Massachusetts House of Representatives speaker who resigned from the council’s helm in January, soon after he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice during a redistricting lawsuit, and agreed to a $25,000 fine and 18 months of unsupervised probation.
 
Coughlin disclosed his interest in the job late last month [BioRegion News, Aug. 6]. He was one of two officials seeking the post; the other was state Sen. Jack Hart (D-South Boston), who withdrew his name from consideration for the biotech council’s presidency earlier this month.
 
In his most recent position, Coughlin oversaw agencies tasked with developing Massachusetts businesses, including the Office of Business Development, the International Office of Trade and Investment and the Office of Travel and Tourism.
 
Coughlin previously served three terms in the state House of Representatives and was vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Revenue, where he worked on tax code stability, economic stimulus legislation and streamlined permitting for business.
 
Earlier he was a principal at MC Solutions, a corporate consulting and capital management firm, and Susquehanna Capital, where he managed a portfolio of five companies. He held business development positions, including regional sales and marketing manager, for Clean Harbors Environmental Services.
 
A graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve, Coughlin lives with his wife, Christine, and three children in Dedham, Mass.
 

 
Massachusetts Capital Plan Would Spend $250M Over Five Years for Life Sciences
 
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has announced a five-year capital investment plan that includes a quarter of the $1 billion he has promised for the state’s life science industry over the next decade.
 
The plan includes $250 million to be spent over the next five years to help fund two key provisions of Patrick’s proposed Life Sciences Initiative — the planned $66 million stem-cell bank to rise at the University of Massachusetts campus in Worcester; and the creation of an unspecified number of regional facilities intended to promote collaborative research and entrepreneurship.
 
Patrick has promised to stop what officials say has been erosion of the state’s leadership in biotech through the initiative, under which the state plans to attract and retain biotech companies, subsidize research, and train future professionals [BioRegion News, May 14].
 
The stem-cell bank would make available for public and private research stem cell lines held by eight institutions: Boston University, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Children's Hospital, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Partners HealthCare, and the University of Massachusetts.
 
The new capital plan would spend half of the $500 million in capital earmarked for the life science industry under the initiative.
 

 
Eli Lilly Subsidiary Marks Completion of $150M Expansion Project in Puerto Rico
 
Executives from Lilly del Caribe, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company, joined Puerto Rico Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá in Guayama on Aug. 8 to mark the completion of a $150 million, 230,000-square-foot expansion of its facilities on the island commonwealth.
 
The new plant will add 250 new jobs to Lilly’s Puerto Rico work force of more than 1,700 people in manufacturing, sales, and marketing positions. Lilly generates more than $358 million for Puerto Rico’s economy. The plant will manufacture the active ingredient in Cymbalta, an antidepressant intended to compete with Pfizer’s antidepressant Prozac, as well as Cialis, the strongest competitor to Viagra among erectile dysfunction drugs.
 
Joining the governor were Seamus Malone, Lilly del Caribe president and general manager; Frank Deane, president of operations and manufacturing; Paul Ahem, global senior vice president; Teresita Colón, director of the small molecule bulk network; Silvia Arias, president of the National Alliance for Mental Illness, Ricardo Rivera, Puerto Rico secretary of economic development and commerce; Boris Jaskille, executive director the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company; and Guayama Mayor Héctor Colón.
 

 
RxElite to Build New Headquarters and Manufacturing Plant in Nampa, Idaho
 
RxElite, a manufacturer of generic drugs for national pharmacy and hospital chains, has selected Nampa, Idaho, for a new headquarters, distribution center, and production site projected to bring the area 150 new jobs.
 
A new 76,000-square-foot office and distribution center, at Madison Road and Cherry Lane, will rise on 6 acres comprising the first development phase of the 17-acre, 230,000-square-foot site. RxElite has purchased the site through a development partner, RS Hosac.
 
On Aug. 7, RxElite broke ground on its office and distribution center, whose construction will be overseen by Integrated Project Services of Lafayette Hill, Pa. Future phases will include on-site manufacturing, subject to approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. RxElite has recently recruited from across the country several key executives who are relocating to the greater Nampa area.
 
Nampa city officials plan to fund an extension of utilities to the site using Community Development Block Grant funds, while the state departments of Commerce and Labor have pledged funds to help RxElite build infrastructure and train new employees.
 

 
Pennsylvania OKs $7.25M for Research Facility at Pittsburgh Tech Center
 
Pennsylvania will spend $7.25 million from its Building PA fund to help a real estate development and management firm build a $46 million research facility within the Pittsburgh Technology Center in South Oakland.
 
The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved the state spending, intended to help John Ferchill’s The Ferchill Group of Cleveland build the 165,000-square-foot facility. It will include wet lab space available for lease by nearby universities and hospitals.
 
"Several companies have expressed the need for such space in close proximity to the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Carnegie Mellon,” Gov. Edward Rendell said in an Aug. 7 press release announcing the funding.
 
Building PA sets aside $150 million of state money in funding that must be matched by private investors and foundations undertaking economic development projects. Building PA is one of 19 programs created under Rendell’s $2.8 billion economic stimulus package, enacted in 2004.
 
Ferchill in 2002 completed a 153,000-square-foot office building at Pittsburgh Technology Center called Bridgeside Point, then sold it three years later for $31.5 million.
 

 
Nevada Cancer Institute Building NewExam Rooms, Lab Space
 
Nevada Cancer Institute has begun construction of new lab space at its flagship Las Vegas facility to accommodate a growing patient volume. When completed, the 5,000 square feet of new lab space will add three new labs to the cancer institute, bringing the total to 12.
 
The extra lab space will also help NVCI fulfill its goal of growing its faculty from the current 25 members, including physicians and researchers, to 80 members by 2012. Among topics of emphasis for faculty members is clinical research, basic research, and population science. 
 
Construction on new exam rooms will begin the week of Aug. 13. The expansion will increase the number of patient exam rooms from nine to 14, with the extra space intended to help handle NVCI’s increasing patient volume and new oncologists, and allow for a second nurses’ station.
 
NVCI’s flagship 142,000-square-foot facility has generated 125,000 visits since it opened in September 2005, and has seen 2,000 new patients in its medical and radiation oncology divisions. Housed in NVCI’s flagship building are the medical oncology unit, a radiation oncology suite, a pathology lab, research laboratories, a 24-seat chemotherapy suite, a digital diagnostic imaging suite, and an Information and Resource Center that is open to the public.
 
Marnell Corrao is the contractor. Construction of the patient exam rooms and labs is expected to be complete this fall.
 

 
St. Louis Picked as Center of Excellence Site
 
St. Louis has been named one of four sites where the Missouri Life Science Research Board will consider designating a Center of Excellence from a cluster of existing institutions specializing in plant biotechnology, the Missouri Department of Economic Development announced.
 
The St. Louis cluster center includes five institutions — the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Missouri Botantical Gardens, Saint Louis University, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Washington University. Roger Beachy, president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, chairs the St. Louis Center for Excellence.
 
In addition to St. Louis, the Missouri centers will be located in Kansas City, Springfield and a statewide center will be based in Columbia.
 
Centers of Excellence must be established within a specific geographical area; and comprised of public and private not-for-profit academic, research, or health care institutions or organizations with at least $15 million combined in annual research expenditures in the life sciences — including at least $2 million in basic research in life sciences. 

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