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Around the Regions: Dec 8, 2008

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New Jersey Gov. Corzine Sings Into Law Extension of NOL Carry-Forwards from Seven to 20 Years
 
New Jersey has joined a growing list of states that have extended their net operating loss carry-forward benefits to life sciences and other tech companies — a change the state’s biotech group said can only help boost the industry in the Garden State.
 
Debbie Hart, president of BioNJ, told BRN she estimated about 200 early-stage bio companies — all but 40 of all biotech companies in the state — could benefit from the state’s extension of its NOL carry-forward from seven to the same 20-year timeframe used by the federal tax code. The measure was part of a series of bills introduced by Gov. Jon Corzine to jumpstart New Jersey’s economy.

“Anything that delivers more money, and extends out the ability for them to collect that money, is a good thing. Whether they’re selling the NOLs, or just taking the credits on their own returns, at the end of the day this delivers bottom-line dollars to them,” Hart said in an interview.

 
“There’s always more that can be done, but we think it’s a fairly significant tool,” Hart added.
 
Corzine signed the bill, S-2130, on Nov. 24 after the measure passed the state Senate by a 38-0 margin on Oct. 23, followed by a 79-0 Assembly vote four days later. State Sen. Richard Codey (D-Essex) sponsored the bill in his chamber, while Louis Greenwald (D-Camden) was the measure’s chief Assembly sponsor.
 
“This legislation sends a clear message to those firms: you are welcome in New Jersey, and we will work with you so we can grow and prosper together,” Corzine said in a press release.
 

 
After Retirements, Medical Technology Leadership Forum Moving from Minneapolis to Indianapolis
 
The Medical Technology Leadership Forum, a medical technology think tank, is relocating from Minneapolis to Indianapolis following the retirement of its two longtime leaders, former US senator David Durenberger, and Susan Bartlett Foote, a University of Minnesota professor who has served as director of MTLF and chairman of the MTLF Board of Advisors.
 
To mark the move, MLTF was to hold one of its three yearly forums in Indianapolis Dec. 8-9.
 
Founded in 1996 by Durenberger and others, MLTF’s original purpose was to bring together an influential group of medical technology and policy leaders, and to promote dialogue and debate about policy issues of relevance to the medical device and medical technology community. Over time, MTLF’s mission evolved to promoting the role of medical technology and the need to sustain technological innovation to policy makers, health care leaders, the media, and the public. 
 
Plans call for MTLF to be housed within the Indiana University/Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. campus, at the head of the canal in downtown Indianapolis. MTLF plans to name a new executive director soon after completing its relocation to Indianapolis, later this month. 
 
It was another founding member, Bloomington, Ind.-based Cook Group, that worked to relocate MTLF operations to Indianapolis. BioCrossroads, Indiana’s life sciences organization, has worked with Cook, Indiana University, and the MTLF on the move.
 

 
Duke Energy Awards $250K Grant to Rowan-Cabarrus Community College for Facility at NC Research Campus
 
Duke Energy has awarded a $250,000 grant to Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, toward the cost of an aseptic bioprocessing suite — both equipment and prep rooms — for a new 60,000-square-foot RCCC biotech facility planned for the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.
 
The research campus’ developer, billionaire food and real estate magnate David Murdock, is pursuing financing for the building. Representatives of RCCC and the campus have told several North Carolina news outlets they still hope to break ground on the building by year’s end or early in 2009.
 

 
Minnesota Promotes Research Activity With ‘Life Sciences Week’ Declaration
 
This week has been declared “Life Sciences Week” by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who joined statewide life-sci leaders in expressing hope that a series of events will enhance the state’s reputation in the industry.
 
In addition to the annual Bakken Surgical Device Symposium at the University of Minnesota through Dec. 9; the 7th Annual LifeScience Alley Conference & Expo, will take place on Dec. 10; and the Midwest Personalized Health Framework meeting, to be hosted by LifeScience Alley, on Dec. 11.
 
LifeScience Alley is the state’s life sciences industry group, with more than 600 members. Minnesota says its life science industry employs more than over 250,000 residents within the state, and thousands more worldwide.
 

 
St. Louis County Economic Council Wins 2008 Outstanding Local Government Achievement Award
 
The St. Louis County Economic Council, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, City of Creve Coeur, and St. Louis Community College have been honored by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments at its 43rd annual meeting for their contributions to the successful launch of the Danforth Center’s Bio-Research and Development Growth, or BRDG, Park.
 
The award honors the partnership effort on behalf of the expansion of the Danforth Center's 40-acre site, which includes wet laboratory and office space designed to support the needs of emerging life science companies. The NIDUS Center and Monsanto will occupy space in the new 110,000-square-foot lab and office facility, which is scheduled for completion in fall 2009.
 
The Danforth Center also is partnering with St. Louis Community College to develop a plant science and biotechnology education and training program to be located within BRDG Park. Regional companies and research institutions will provide the laboratory, classroom, and office space for a vocational training program.
 

 
DPEC Partners Signs Letter of Intent for Reverse Merger with Mercari Communications Group
 
DPEC Partners — Diversified Private Equity Corp. and its wholly owned subsidiaries and affiliated companies InvestBio and InvestProperty Group — has signed a non-binding letter of intent for a reverse merger with Mercari Communications Group. Headquartered in New York City, DPEC Partners creates, develops, markets, sells, and manages private equity investment opportunities principally in the biotechnology industry and in non-leveraged global real estate assets.
 
DPEC Partners said in a press release the transaction would “provide it with a public company platform to facilitate its future growth and development.” Through subsidiary DPEC Capital, DPEC Partners has raised more than $100 million in private equity since its inception.
 

 
Burrill, Nobel Laureate Kary Mullins Honored for Lifetime Achievement at BayBio’s Pantheon Awards
 
BayBio has named winners of its recent Pantheon awards, recognizing achievement and honoring excellence in the life sciences industry of the San Francisco Bay Area and northern California.
 
Two honorees received Lifetime Achievement Awards:
  • G. Steven Burrill, the biotechnology banker and analyst who is CEO of Burrill & Co. in San Francisco.
  • Kary Mullis, Nobel Laureate and inventor of a polymerase chain reaction technology allowing researchers for the first time to copy strands of DNA they were interested in.
BayBio bestowed its 2008 DiNA Awards to industry executives and stakeholders deemed to have played a key role in life science advancements in Northern California throughout the year:
  • BioMarin Pharmaceutical — 2008 Outstanding Company.
  • Nexavar by Onyx Pharmaceuticals, and Bayer HealthCare — 2008 Outstanding Product;
  • OncoMed Pharmaceutical — 2008 Outstanding Partnering Deal;
  • Marty Van Duyn, city of South San Francisco — 2008 Outstanding Public Support Award;
  • Julie Reis and George Cachianes, Abraham Lincoln High School, San Francisco — 2008 Biotechnology Educator Award;
  • Michelle Chang, University of California, Berkeley — 2008 Rising Star Award.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

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For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.