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MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals, Avesthagen, Harlan Sprague Dawley, Akela Phar, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Empire State Development Corp., Chicago Technology Park

MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals Eyes Move from Maryland’s Montgomery County to Texas
MiddleBrook Pharmaceuticals is weighing a move out of Maryland’s Montgomery County into Texas, from where the company’s incoming two top executives hail, according to the Washington Business Journal.
John Thievon, who will soon become CEO; and Dave Becker, the soon-to-be CFO, come from the Fort Worth region. That is where they recently relocated Adams Respiratory Therapeutics, another life sciences company in the portfolio of their investment firm Equity Group Investments of Chicago, the WBJ noted.
Equity is about to close on a $100 million investment into MiddleBrook, whose first potential drug product is a once-a-day strep throat treatment.
“We’re looking into what our options are on the real estate side,” Bob Bannon, MiddleBrook’s vice president of investor relations, told the newspaper. “All things are on the table.”
Bannon said MiddleBrook will likely maintain some presence in Gaithersburg, Md., for its research and development staff, which accounts for most of the company’s 30 people in its 62,000-square-foot Germantown, Md., headquarters.

Avesthagen Breaks Ground For Bangalore Corporate Headquarters, R&D Facility
Avesthagen has broken ground on a new corporate headquarters and R&D campus that will house the company’s lab and research facilities, work stations, auditorium, service block, and other facilities. The 14-story, 400,000-square-foot campus will cost Rs 160 crore ($40 million) to build and will rise on a 2.6-acre plot in the International Technology Park Bangalore. The new campus is expected to be ready by June 2010.
“The center will provide a fully integrated technology platform and turnkey solutions for the production of various products to the biotech industry and the scientific community,” Villoo Morawala-Patell, Avesthagen’s founder and chief medical director, said in a statement.
Avesthagen is developing the site with Singapore-based Ascendas, a developer of technology campuses.
Founded in 2001, Avesthagen is the developer of an integrated systems biology technology platform designed to facilitate preventive and personalized healthcare.

Preclinical Research Supplies Firm Plans Headquarters in Mount Comfort, Ind.

A real estate firm representing Indianapolis-based life sciences firm Harlan Sprague Dawley announced last week the company would occupy about 77,000 square feet within a 245,000-square-foot building located in Mount Comfort, Ind., the Indianapolis Star reported.
Harlan Sprague Dawley is a supplier of preclinical research tools and services in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, agrochemical, industrial chemical, and food industries. The company sells products that range from laboratory animals to specialized instruments for microbial studies.
A division associated with the company already operates a smaller facility in Cumberland, Ind.
Mount Comfort is one of two sites under consideration by another life-sci company, Elanco, as the site of a new headquarters; the other is Greenfield, Ind.
Elanco, the animal health unit of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Company, is studying sites in Greenfield, on the northwest corner of the Ind. 9 interchange on I-70; and in Mount Comfort, just across the road from the airport near the headquarters of Freije Treatment Systems.

Canadian-Owned Akela Phar Signs Lease for Austin, Tex., Facility
Akela Phar, a Montreal-based drug development company focused on the inhalation and pain markets, has disclosed that on July 28 it entered into a lease for a 69,872-square-foot facility in Austin, Tex.
The facility will allow Akela Phar to accommodate growing demand for its current service offering, as well as expand into commercial scale manufacturing, the company said in a statement.

Mass. College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Buys $1.5M Building in Downtown Worcester
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has purchased the 19,500-square-foot 36-40 Foster St. in downtown Worcester for $1.5 million, the Worcester Business Journal reported.
The two-story office building was formerly occupied by Palley Office Supply and Bank of New England. The college bought the 43-year-old building from Protocol Realty, which previously used the building as a call center. The college — which has its main Worcester building at 19 Foster St. — intends to house students and administrative personnel at 36-40 Foster St., the newspaper reported.
MCPMS also has campuses in Boston and Manchester, NH.
The college’s Worcester campus made news late last month when its Fuller Conference Hall hosted a meeting of the cabinet of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick — the fourth in a series of public cabinet meetings held statewide.

Chesapeake Pharmaceutical Packaging Wins $175K Grant Toward Move Within NY’s Long Island
The board of directors of New York’s Empire State Development Corp. last week approved a $175,000 Economic Development Fund grant for Chesapeake Pharmaceutical Packaging, toward the expansion of its pharma packaging operations.
The company will use the grant toward its recent relocation within Long Island, from Lake Success, NY, to Hicksville, NY, that the company announced in February. In return for the state money, Chesapeake has promised to add 30 new employees to its current work force of 129 people.
Chesapeake Pharmaceutical Packaging is a unit of Chesapeake Corp. of Richmond, Va. Chesapeake's pharmaceutical and healthcare packaging business supplies folding cartons, labels, and leaflets to pharmaceutical companies through a network of 25 pharmaceutical packaging plants across Europe, the United States and Asia.
In addition to Lake Success, where the company maintains a manufacturing operation and administrative offices, Chesapeake has North American operations in Raleigh, NC, and Lexington, NC.
"This expansion will substantially increase our capacity for pharmaceutical package leaflets in North America," said Michael Cheetham, Chesapeake's vice president of pharmaceutical and healthcare packaging, in a press release. "We will be installing a new sheet-fed press and large-format folders in our new location prior to moving our existing Lake Success equipment. That will set the stage for a smooth transition into the new Hicksville plant."
The award was among grants totaling $17.3 million that were approved Aug. 13 at a meeting of ESD’s board in Buffalo.

Chicago Technology Park Biotech Incubator Lease Extended One Year
The University of Illinois board of trustees has extended for one year UI’s lease with the Illinois Medical District to run a biotechnology incubator in the Chicago Technology Park Research Center, the News-Gazette of Champaign, Ill., reported.
Since 1992 the Medical District – a collaboration of UI and three other medical centers – has leased the building for $10 to operate the incubator for the UI and promote biotechnology growth. UI built the laboratory with state money to serve as rental space for biotechnology start-up firms.
Trustee Kenneth Schmidt, who chairs the Illinois Medical District board, abstained from the vote.
The lease is being extended for just one year as the parties work out cost-sharing arrangements for the incubator. The medical district spends upwards of $400,000 a year to run the facility, and the state has not contributed to that cost for several years, he told the News-Gazette.
The state of Illinois initially provided $3 million a year to support the medical district's operations, which include the 56-acre technology park and other facilities covering 560 acres near the UI medical center. But state funding has essentially evaporated, and the district is now self-supporting, Schmidt told the newspaper.

The Scan

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.

Study Explores Animated Digital Message Approach to Communicate Genetic Test Results to Family Members

In the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the approach showed promise in participants presented with a hypothetical scenario related to a familial hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome diagnosis.

Computational Tool Predicts Mammalian Messenger RNA Degradation Rates

A tool called Saluki, trained with mouse and human messenger RNA data, appears to improve mRNA half-life predictions by taking RNA and genetic features into account, a Genome Biology paper reports.

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.