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Minnesota Biomedical Research Program, University of Minnesota Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, Empire State Development Corp., Pall, South Carolina Research Authority, Medical University of South Carolina, Quebec Ministry of Economic Development I

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University Projects Job, Research Funding Gains from Minnesota Biomedical Research Program
 
The Minnesota Biomedical Research Program will create work space for more than 100 primary researchers and 500 support staffers in four new or expanded buildings within the University of Minnesota, Frank Cerra, senior vice president of health sciences, told the university’s Board of Regents, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported.
 
The $300 million research program — which includes $220 million approved by the state legislature this year — is also projected to draw more than $100 million in new research funding annually, Cerra told the regents.
 
To tap into the research program’s funds, however, U of M must come up with 25 percent of the funding for the buildings, as well as finance the recruitment and salaries of faculty members and researchers employed there. The university took a step in that direction when it recently received its largest-ever gift — $65 million toward cancer research — from the Masons fraternal order.
 
U of M will use its funding to expand the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, by creating buildings focusing on cancer, cardiovascular health and infectious diseases. When completed in 2013, the four buildings will feature 400,000 square feet for research.
 
"It will greatly increase our ability to recruit and retain faculty" — including Kamil Ugerbil, who has been retained as head of the magnetic resonance research, Cerra said, according to the Star Tribune.
 
Cerra said $65 million that the university recently received from the Masons for cancer research is the first of several philanthropic gifts in the works. In addition, Cerra said, money from the partnership between the university's hospital and Fairview Hospitals will be used. Other sources will include partnerships with industry, the re-allocation of funds within the Academic Health Center, and additional state support.
 

 
NY’s ESDC Awards Pall $500K Toward Renovation of New Global HQ
 
Pall Corporation, which specializes in fluid filtration, separation and purification technologies, has received $500,000 from New York’s economic development agency, the Empire State Development Corp., toward renovations to a Port Washington, NY, site that will become the company’s new global headquarters.
 
Pall has been headquartered on Long Island since it was founded in 1946.
 
The company’s new 238,000-square-foot headquarters will consist of 24,000 square feet of new space added to an existing building. Inside, the new HQ will feature expanded R&D and technical capacity, new offices, conference, and training areas.
 

 
Charleston, SC, City Council OKs $5M Incubator Plan for Vacant Building
 
The Charleston, SC, City Council last week approved a $5 million plan to lease a vacant former mattress factory building at 645 Meeting St. to a state agency that would transform the building into an incubator for startup biotechnology and medical equipment businesses.
 
The South Carolina Research Authority would renovate the city-owned 36,000-square-foot building for use by Medical University of South Carolina researchers seeking to nurture their own startup businesses using technologies developed at the school.
 
“We've got a pretty good pipeline of companies that would be located in the building and are ready to get going,” SCRA President Bill Mahoney told the Charleston Regional Business Journal. “The primary objective is better patient care, but if we can commercialize some of those discoveries, then everybody wins.”
 
Officials hope to open the incubator in the fall of 2009.

The city of Charleston would lease the building at $1 a year for up to 50 years. According to the Post and Courier, the council approved the plan July 15, a day after the council’s real estate committee recommended approval.

 
The city would continue to own the former Weil’s Mattress Co. building, which officials said had been inhabited during the past decade only by squatters.
 
John Gregg, SCRA executive vice president of property and asset management, told the Post and Courier his agency would lease space to up to 20 startups at below-market rates, with the authority breaking even or faring slightly better on its investment.
 
Under the state’s Innovation Centers Act of 2005, SCRA must develop three research centers — one each with MUSC, Clemson University, and the University of South Carolina.

The authority broke ground on a research center with Clemson earlier this year in Anderson, SC, while SCRA is working with USC to find space in Columbia.

 

 
Medicago Launches Feasibility Study on Developing Pandemic Vaccine Production Plant in France’s Genopole D’Evry
 
Medicago, a Quebec City, Quebec-based vaccine developer, said it had obtained a grant of an undisclosed sum from the Quebec Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade to conduct a feasibility study, in collaboration with France’s Genopole biopark, for the establishment of a vaccine production facility in France.
 
The ministry would finance 40 percent of the study, which would be conducted by SNC Lavalin with help from Medicago and the Genopole d'Evry, located near Paris in Evry, France.
 
Medicago is developing VLP vaccines against H5N1 pandemic influenza, capable of being produced in large quantities one month after the identification of pandemic strains.
 
"The objective is to establish a facility that offers surge capacity to produce pandemic vaccine doses and eventually other biodefense related products, as well as offering bioproduction services to local companies," Andy Seldon, Medicago’s president and CEO, said in a written statement.
 
Medicago expects to complete its study by the end of 2008.
 

 
Developer, Minnesota DEED Commit $1.8M Toward Water, Sewer Systems for Elk Run
 
The developer of the Biotechnology Center at Elk Run in Pine Island, Minn., has joined with the state to commit about $1.8 million toward water and sewer service for the project.
 
Tower Investments of Pine Island will spend $1.16 million, with another $600,000 coming from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, for the infrastructure improvements. They are intended to facilitate construction of BCER; crews are scheduled to begin work on Aug 1.
 
The improvements were included in a Master Development Agreement recently signed by Tower Investments and the city of Pine Island has been executed between the City of Pine Island and Tower Investments. BCER — the first phase of the 2,325-acre Elk Run mixed-use, master planned community — is a nonprofit organization committed to the development of biotechnology firms, technologies and services envisioned to support the economic progress of the state and the region.
 
Formed in 1989, Tower Investments is a private, family-owned real estate investment and development company with more than 100 real estate projects in 17 states.
 

 
Chinese Medical Device Maker Wins Tax Credit Toward Beachwood, Ohio, HQ
 
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority has approved a six-year, 35 percent job creation tax credit valued at $189,838 for Chinese-owned GammaStar Medical Systems, which plans to create a new $4.1 million North American headquarters in the Cleveland suburb of Beachwood, Ohio.
 
In return for the tax credit, the company has promised to create 35 full-time jobs over three years.
 
GammaStar’s new HQ would initially be within the Beachwood Development Center business incubator, near Chagrin Boulevard and Green Road, with a permanent site to be determined later. Beachwood officials have promised the company $145,000 in subsidies, while GammaStar is pursuing an additional $225,000 through Ohio’s Third Frontier high-tech economic development program, which assists medical device makers.
 
Paul Murdoch, general manager of GammaStar Medical Systems, told the Plain Dealer of Cleveland he expects action on the Third Frontier application within 60 days. A final decision to locate in Beachwood will not be made until then, he told the newspaper.
 
GammaStar is owned by GammaStar Medical Group of Shanghai, developer of the Gyro Knife, a precision device used to destroy cancerous tumors with radiation while limiting damage to healthy tissue. The device has been approved for use in Europe, and GammaStar has asked the US Food and Drug Administration for similar approval by August.

The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.