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Massachusetts Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, Yale University, Tempo Pharmaceuticals, CMC Biopharmaceuticals, Scottish Enterprise, US Economic Development Administration, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce

Hearing Set for Jan. 29 on $1 Billion Massachusetts Life Science Bill
The Massachusetts General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies is set to hold an additional hearing later this month on Gov. Deval Patrick’s $1 billion, 10-year Life Sciences Initiative.
The committee, chaired by Rep. Daniel Bosley (D-North Adams) is set to hold that hearing on Jan. 29 at 10 a.m. at the University of Massachusetts’ Dartmouth campus.
The panel is among three joint committees that agreed to speed up their review of the legislation under an agreement announced in November by Patrick, House of Representatives Speaker Salvatore DiMasi (D-Boston), and state Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth). Part of the legislation is before the economic development panel, while other portions are before the Revenue committee and the Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets committee. committee.
The legislative leaders agreed to conclude “full legislative action” on the bill by mid-February — confirming comments made to BioRegion News in November by the chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, Rep. Daniel Bosley (D-North Adams).

Yale University Sets 37 Percent Jump in Endowment Payout, With More Research in Mind
Yale University said Jan. 7 it will raise by 37 percent the amount of money it will spend from its endowment in its upcoming fiscal year, to $1.15 billion from $843 million in 2007-08.
The university will use the extra money for pursuing scientific research as well as boosting financial aid and expanding access to Yale resources to more students, Yale President Richard Levin said in a press release. He said Yale would establish “several” recent institutes a few miles west of its main New Haven. Conn., campus following its $109 million acquisition in September from Bayer HealthCare of its former 136-acre campus — 80 percent of which is in West Haven, Conn., with the remainder in the neighboring town of Orange, Conn. [BioRegion News, June 18, 2007; Nov. 5, 2007].


The university said it would expand access in part by recruiting more students of modest means, and possibly by increasing the size of its undergraduate class. Yale is “actively considering,” and will decide by the summer, whether to build two new residential colleges in order to expand its student body of undergraduates from 5,300 to about 6,000.
Yale announced plans to pay out more of its $22.5 billion endowment weeks after Harvard University announced plans to increase financial aid for middle-class and upper middle-class students.

Biopharmaceutical Company Closes on $8.1M Series B VC Financing
Tempo Pharmaceuticals — a Cambridge, Mass., biopharmaceutical company focused on nanoparticle-based drugs for oncology, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases — has closed on $8.1 million of Series B venture capital financing.
Proceeds will be used to accelerate the development of Tempo's preclinical drug pipeline, which is based on technology exclusively licensed from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The financing raises to more than $22 million the amount of capital raised by Tempo.
Investors Polaris Venture Partners of Waltham, Mass., Venrock of New York, and Lux Capital of New York, and William H. Rastetter, the former executive chairman of Biogen Idec and a partner at Venrock, were joined in the series B round by Bessemer Venture Partners of Wellesley, Mass., and Alexandria Real Estate Equities. Tempo closed on a $12.1 million Series A round in May 2007, and on a $2 million seed round in December 2006.

Danish Biopharma Company Buys Bothell, Wash., CM Plant; Vows Workforce Expansion
Danish-owned CMC Biopharmaceuticals has acquired the contract manufacturing plant of ICOS in Bothell, Wash., as part of a deal to acquire the biotech company’s biologics development and manufacturing operation from Eli Lilly and Company.
CMC is promising to retain all current employees and hire new ones, possibly as soon as this year: “We want to develop into one of the largest contract manufacturing organizations on the West Coast,” Mads Laustsen, the CEO of CMC, told the Snohomish County Business Journal ofEverett, Wash. ofEverett, Wash.
To that end, he said, CMC is looking to increase the plant’s workforce of 127 employees, perhaps as soon as this year — as well as to upgrade the facility to produce late-stage and even commercial-stage biotech drugs for clients.
The facility is the last remaining operating unit of ICOS, which Eli Lilly acquired in January 2007 for $2.3 billion. CMC has not disclosed financial details of its deal for the Bothell plant, but has said it will rename its new acquisition CMC ICOS Biologics.
The Bothell plant is the first US manufacturing facility for privately owned CMC, which is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, and was established in 2001.

Scottish Enterprise, Venture Capital Fund Join to Acquire Edible Film Maker
Tate & Lyle Ventures and Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Venture Fund have acquired BioFilm Limited through a newly formed company, BioFilm Holdings Limited. BioFilm Limited, a subsidiary of Devro, is the only fully integrated manufacturer in Western Europe of dissolvable and edible films that carry active ingredients, designed for use in the nutraceutical and medical markets.
BioFilm is being acquired for what Scottish Enterprise said in a statement was “a nominal initial consideration plus a sum in respect of working capital,” neither of which it disclosed. The agreement provides for a further potential payment to Devro in the event of a subsequent sale of the business. BioFilm Holdings Limited plans to invest £3 million ($5.9 million) in BioFilm, which hopes to capitalize on North America’s market for edible films, which is projected to grow to $500 million this year and $2 billion by 2012.
Tate & Lyle Ventures is a £25 million ($49.3 million) venture capital fund that invests in renewable ingredients, food technologies, biomaterials and other renewable resources, and industrial processing technologies companies. The Scottish Venture Fund provides investments of up to £2 million per transaction in partnership with the private sector on at least a matched funding basis in syndicated transactions, typically, between £2 million ($3.9 million) and £10 million ($19.7 million).

Wise Construction Completes Renovation of Walker Building at Emerson College
Wise Construction Corporation, which specializes in healthcare, biotechnology, education and corporate projects, said it has recently completed renovations of the Walker Building, a 180,000 square-foot core-teaching facility at Emerson College in Boston.
The Walker Building renovation project included improvements to several interactive areas for students and faculty. Renovations were made to the library, café, administrative offices and counseling center. Wise Construction also provided upgrades to the building's mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. 
Wise Construction worked in conjunction with the project design team of Darlow Christ Architects of Cambridge, Mass.

College of the Canyons Wins $1.3M for Emerging Technologies Program
The US Economic Development Administration has awarded $1.3 million to the Santa Clarita Community College District to develop and support a new Emerging Technologies training program at College of the Canyons’ main Valencia campus in Santa Clarita.
The Emerging Technologies program, a joint effort of COC’s engineering and biology departments and the college’s economic development division, will help prepare workers for new, high-wage jobs in advanced manufacturing and biomed/biotech companies.
The program is designed to teach students the specific skills being requested by regional employers. The grant will allow COC to purchase advanced equipment needed to train laboratory technicians for employment in companies using biotechnology, nanotechnology and autonomous technology. The equipment will be located in the Aliso Laboratory, the new science lab building on the Valencia campus.
The project is expected to create 300 jobs and generate $6 million in private investment.

Chamber Eyes Biotech as Part of New Marketing Plan for Greater Providence, RI
The Greater Providence (RI) Chamber of Commerce has hired the Washington, DC, consulting firm New Economy Strategies to recommend job attraction and retention strategies intended to help the region retain its college graduates; encourage collaborations among businesses, hospitals and universities; and support startup companies.
While the study is not expected to be completed until early March, officials involved in the four-month, $132,500 effort disclosed to the Providence Journal that they were studying biotechnology, digital media, information technology and financial services as possible anchors of the new business strategy.
Since November, New Economy Strategies representatives have visited Providence twice, interviewing 200 business leaders, university and hospital administrators, policymakers and entrepreneurs. The analysts will return in January for more focus groups, and they will later publish surveys on the chamber Web site asking college students and others about the city’s business climate.
The goal is to create a three-to-five-year business plan and strategy that will generate entrepreneurial activity, investment and job growth for Providence.
The Providence Foundation, an economic development policy group, has joined the chamber in the study effort, which has received support from Brown University, the University of Rhode Island, Lifespan, CB Richard Ellis and several other businesses, schools and nonprofit groups.

The Scan

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Tibetan Study Finds Adaptive Variant Influencing Skin Pigmentation

With a combination of phenotyping and genetic data, researchers document at PNAS a Tibetan-enriched enhancer variant influencing melanin synthesis and ultraviolet light response.

Domestication Linked to Nervous System Genes in Inbred Mouse Strains

Researchers highlighted more than 300 positively selected genes in domesticated mice, including genes linked to nervous system function or behavior in Genome Biology.

ALS Genetic Testing May Be Informative Across Age Ranges, Study Finds

Researchers in the journal Brain identified clinically actionable variants in a significant subset of older ALS patients, prompting them to point to the potential benefits of broader test use.