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Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Invitrogen, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Texas Emerging Technologies Fund, Maryland Board of Public Works, North Carolina Community College System, Bell Boyd & Lloyd, TriNation Health Tech Forum, Dubai Biotechnol

Mass. Life Sciences Center Unveils $12M Biotechnology Grant Program
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the state agency formed in 2006 to promote growth in the industry, has launched a $12 million research matching grant program.
The program intends to fund projects by academic researchers working with industry partners. Grants range from $100,000 to $250,000 a year for three years, and must be matched by applicant researchers. The grant program accounts for about half of the life science center’s $25 million allotted it by the state.
Grant awards will focus on attracting top scientific talent, spurring new research opportunities, and increasing industry-sponsored research in the commonwealth. The program aims to encourage new work in areas such as stem cells, genomics, and RNA interference.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick joined state House of Representatives Speaker Salvatore DiMasi (D-South Boston) and state Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) in announcing the program at a Feb. 11 event at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Schwarzenegger Pumps Up State’s Life Sciences Industry with Visit to Invitrogen
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger promoted the state’s life sciences industry during a Feb. 11 tour of Invitrogen’s facilities in Carlsbad, Calif.  One focus of his visit was the industry’s stem-cell research segment, since Invitrogen has also started a stem cell research department and the state has committed $3 billion to such research over 10 years, starting last year. The governor also cited the industry’s job-creation potential — it employs about 240,000 people now — and the state’s national leadership in attracting venture capital and startup company creation. During thethird quarter of 2007, he said, California had 159 new start ups in biomedicine and biotechnology.
While the state's unemployment rate has climbed to 6.1 percent, Schwarzenegger noted, Invitrogen has grown revenues 5.5 percent in the past year, expanding its manufacturing capacity by 50,000 square feet and hiring an additional 200 workers.

Chamber of Commerce Endorses New Medical School for Austin, Tex.
The Greater Austin (Tex.) Chamber of Commerce has joined with city Mayor Will Wynn and other elected officials, as well as hospital executives, in calling for the creation of a medical school in the city, contending it would pump $2.4 billion a year into the region's economy and generate more than 19,000 jobs through direct employment, spinoff activity and startup firms, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The chamber last week released an analysis of the issue conducted by Ray Perryman of the Waco, Tex.-based Perryman Group. It noted that Austin is the second-largest city in the country without a medical school; San Jose, Calif., is the largest.
“In addition to the numerous economic benefits identified by the study, a medical school will help alleviate the area's shortage of physicians measured on a per capita basis compared with other cities,” said Joe Holt, the chamber’s chairman. “Medical schools also provide for helping meet indigent care needs.”
Holt, who is also chairman of the Austin region for JPMorgan Chase & Co., told the American-Statesman he was frustrated that Austin's business community has not been more outspoken on the need for a medical school.

General Atomics, Texas AgriLife Research Win $4M for Algae Biofuels Research
San Diego-based General Atomics and Texas AgriLife Research, part of the Texas A&M University System, have been awarded a $4 million grant from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund for research into the development of biofuels using microalgae.
The program will involve research into the development of promising algae strains and methods for testing algae production. The research partners hope to capitalize on the expectation that each acre of algae can provide 150 times the oil yield of an acre of soybeans.
General Atomics and Texas AgriLife Research have identified strains of algae which they said have high oil-producing potential. These strains require large amounts of sunlight, salty water and carbon dioxide to thrive and produce oil — all readily available in Texas’ Permian Basin region.

State Board Approves Nearly $250K for Germantown Life Sciences Incubator
The three-member Maryland Board of Public Works has approved $248,610 for two contracts — one for architecture and engineer services, the other for interior demolition — comprising renovations to the future home of the Germantown (Md.) Life Sciences Incubator, state Sens. Robert Garagiola (D-Germantown) and Nancy King (D-Montgomery Village) have announced.
The money will be matched through the state-created Germantown Life Sciences Incubator Loan of 2005. ‘‘The Life Sciences Incubator will serve as a catalyst for the continued development of biotechnology along the I-270 technology corridor,” Garagiola and King said in a statement.
The incubator will be located on the second floor of the 67,000-square-foot Goldenrod Building, which the county will lease from the adjacent Montgomery College. The facility, the county’s fifth business incubator, will accommodate 20 to 30 life sciences and advanced technology businesses and include 11 wet labs, two modular clean rooms and 45 offices.
It is also part of the proposed Germantown Business and Technology Park, which will be situated on and around Montgomery College’s Germantown campus. The project will also include the Bioscience Education Center and the Life Sciences and Technology Park.
The incubator is scheduled to open in the spring.

BioNetwork Awards $105K to Wake Technical CC for New Certificate Program

The North Carolina Community College System's BioNetwork has awarded a $105,104 grant to Wake Technical Community College’s Applied Industrial Biotechnology division.
Wake Tech said the grant is intended to allow it to develop a certificate program in applied biotechnology to better meet the needs of employers in the Research Triangle Park region, and to improve job placement opportunities for graduates in biotechnology fields. The grant will also enable K-12 teachers to gain knowledge of biotechnology through summer coursework.

Wake Tech has received more than $2.5 million in grant funding since May of last year.

Law Firm’s New San Diego Office to Anchor Life Sciences Group
The law firm Bell Boyd & Lloyd LLP has opened a San Diego office that will serve as the center for the law firm’s life sciences group. The new office, within the Gateway at Torrey Hills, 3580 Carmel Mountain Road, opened with 13 professionals — six attorneys and seven technical specialists with PhD degrees in science and business.
The San Diego office will offer corporate, patent procurement, and portfolio management services focusing on biopharma, venture-funded and emerging companies. The office will also allow for expansion of the firm’s corporate, venture capital, and intellectual property practices.
Biotechnology patent attorney Stephanie Seidman will head the life sciences group, while David Fisher, the former manager of the San Diego law firm Fisher Thurber, will lead the office’s corporate and emerging company practice.

Northwest Cities Share Medical Technology Advances with Japanese Businesses
The TriNation Health Tech Forum will bring together medical device and electronic health equipment professionals from the US, Canada, and Japan for a three-country, multi-venue event next month.
The forum starts in Vancouver, BC, Canada, from March 6-7. It continues in Seattle on March 10-11, before concluding in Portland, Ore., on March 12 and 13. This year’s itinerary includes tours of the Assisted Living Lab in Vancouver; Microsoft's Home of the Future in Redmond, Wash.; and the Nike Sports Research Lab in Beaverton, Ore.
Forum hosts for this year include the British Columbia Institute of Technology, the University of Washington and Oregon Health and Science University. Other sponsors and partners include Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development; Japan External Trade Organization; U.S. Commercial Service, Consulate General for Canada, Seattle; Western Economic Diversification Canada; Oregon Economic & Community Development Department; Westlink Innovation Network; enterpriseSeattle; Oregon Bio Science Association; Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association; BC Life Sciences; Bio Alberta; Ag-West Bio Saskatchewan; and Life Sciences Association of Manitoba.
Next year, the North American delegates will visit Japan, while a large international trade event is set for Seattle in 2010.

Medical Conference/Exhibition Organizer Opening Regional HQ at DuBiotech
Index Holding, an organizer of medical, scientific, trade and educational conferences and exhibitions, has announced the launch of a regional headquarters at the Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park, also called DuBiotech, a holding of TECOM Investments.
The 268,506-square-foot regional HQ, which is set to begin operation in the fourth quarter of 2010, will house Index Holding’s corporate units, as well as a specialized training center and conference area designed to serve DuBiotech tenants.

Index has additionally acquired another plot within DuBiotech with 31,000 square feet of space that will be used by BigDot and Index Design, as well as other Index Holding operations.

Formed in 1991, Index Holding annually organizes more than 24 local and international events including congresses, conferences, seminars, workshops and exhibitions in the medical, scientific, and educational sectors.

DuBiotech currently hosts 28 tenant businesses, and recently announced the construction of a 354,714-square-foot nucleotide complex, to be operational in September. The building will house Gulf Anti-doping and Monitoring Enterprise (GAME), a subsidiary of DuBiotech dedicated to conducting anti-doping measures for all professional and amateur athletes in the UAE.


New Report Identifies Research Centers in Ireland, Northern Ireland
A regional group promoting trade between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland has released a study recommending greater awareness of, communication between, and funding for programs that promote mutual business activity, Northern Ireland Executive reported.
Northern Ireland’s economy minister Nigel Dodds and his counterpart in the Irish Republic Micheál Martin, the minister for enterprise, trade and employment, today welcomed the findings of the first Mapping Study of Research and Technology Development Centers released by InterTradeIreland.
The mapping study identified 36 centers as having potential for collaboration — 18 in Northern Ireland and 18 in the Irish Republic — that span across areas such as biotechnology, ICT, and nanotechnology. Another 23 – eight in Northern Ireland, 15 in the Irish Republic — are identified as having potential for developing collaboration across both areas.
The study also suggested measures to address challenges faced by the research centers — namely improved ties between graduate schools, increased networking, encouragement of co-operative research clusters and provide dedicated funding for such programs.

Canadian Government Spending $5.7M Over Three Years for Winnipeg's Biotech Cluster

Canada’s government has announced that it will spend $5.7 million over the next three years to develop Winnipeg's biomedical technology cluster

Winnipeg's biomedical technologies initiative is one of six National Research Council technology cluster initiatives that have received renewed investments of $118 million over three years from the Canadian government. Others include: Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies in Vancouver; Nanotechnology in Edmonton; Plants for Health and Wellness in Saskatoon; Photonics in Ottawa and Aluminum Transformation in the Saguenay-Lac St. Jean region.

In 2002, the Government of Canada made its first investment of $10 million over five years to stimulate the growth of Winnipeg's biomedical technologies industry.


At French Technology Park, Two Tenants Win Millions in Capital

Biocitech, the Paris life science technology park, said two of its tenant companies received €100 million ($146.5 million) in January. Endotis Pharma raised €25 million ($36.6 million) in its second, Series B, financing round, while Novexel signed a license agreement with Forest Laboratories under which it receives an upfront payment of €75 million ($109.9 million).

Endotis Pharma is a specialty pharma company dedicated to the discovery and development of small-glyco drugs for applications in thrombosis and oncology. In this new round, the lead investor was the UK-based Wellcome Trust. Endeavour Vision of Switzerland and NIF SMBC Ventures of Japan also participated, in addition to Sofinnova Partners of France, Endotis Pharma's longstanding investor.

The privately owned Biocitech is on the outskirts of Paris, 20 minutes from the city center and Charles de Gaulle airport. Along with other organizations in the Ile-de-France region around Paris, Biocitech plays a key role in the Medicen Paris Region network, a healthcare and new therapy cluster designated by the French government as internationally competitive and hence qualified for special economic benefits.


Biotech China Wins Asia Trade Group’s Top-3 ‘Golden Finger’ Prize
The Biotech China exhibition and trade show has been awarded the “Golden Finger Prize” for placing in the Top 3 shows in the chemical and biological industry category by the Asia Conference & Exhibition Fortune Forum and the online marketplace Alibaba, at a ceremony held in Hangzhou, China. The prize is awarded to exhibitions in various industries deemed the most influential with attendees, and is aimed at promoting the “harmonious” development” of the exhibition industry in China, according to ACEFF.

UNLV College of Sciences Honored by Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium
The University of Nevada at Las Vegas College of Sciences has received the organization award of the Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium at its Nevada Biotechnology Awards luncheon, held Feb. 18 at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.
UNLV's College of Sciences was honored for its contributions to the advancement of biotechnology in Nevada — including growth in its enrollment, number of research grants, published papers, programs and awards. "UNLV's College of Sciences has created a strong base for biotechnology in Nevada,” consortium president John Laub said in a statement.


The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.