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North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Association of University Research Parks, MdBio/Tech Council of Maryland, Mid-Atlantic Venture Association, Virginia Biotechnology Association, BioCrossroads, Indiana Seed Fund I, University of Florida-Sid Martin Biote


Piedmont Triad Institutions Win $100K Grant Toward Nanobiotech Center of Innovation
A consortium of academic institutions from the Piedmont Triad has been awarded a $100,000 planning grant from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center to establish the state’s first Center of Innovation, which will focus on the emerging field of nanobiotechnology. The center will be known as the North Carolina Center of Innovation in Nanobiotechnology, or COIN.
The consortium will use the funding to develop a business plan leading to an application to the biotech center for a four-year Phase 2 grant request. Recipients of Phase 2 grants must demonstrate how they will make their projects self-sustaining after the money runs out. The ultimate goal is to help establish the Piedmont Triad as a research hub for products and processes using particles measurable by the nanometer, or billionth of a meter.
The grant was made possible through the cooperation of the Piedmont Triad’s three largest universities: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Wake Forest University. The Piedmont Triad Partnership, a non-profit 12-county economic development corporation, will administer the grant for the university consortium.
NCA&T and UNCG have established a $60 million two-campus collaboration focusing on nanotechnology, the Joint School for Nanoscience and Nanoengineering. That school will build on the nanotechnology research activity established at nearby Wake Forest and at NCA&T.

Three Campuses Honored by Association of University Research Parks
The Association of University Research Parks honored three technology research parks during the closing luncheon of its 2007 annual conference, held Oct. 26 at the Chase Park Plaza hotel:
  • Emerging research/science park — UMB BioPark, University of Maryland, Baltimore, for accelerating tech commercialization and economic development in the surrounding West Baltimore community, where annual per-capita income is $16,000.
  • Innovation — University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s [email protected] research park, for its Achieving the Commercialization of Technology in Ventures through Applied Training for Entrepreneurs program. ACTiVATE is credited with increasing the number of university startups from research universities in Maryland by approximately 30 percent each year.
  • Outstanding research/science park — Centennial Campus at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, for 25 years of growth. The 1,334-acre campus, including the 214-acre Centennial Biomedical Campus, has grown to 1,600 corporate and government employees; 1,350 university faculty, staff and post-docs; 3,400 university students; 600 middle school students; and 60 residents.

Mid-Atlantic Bio Conference Boasts Record Attendance; Plans Global Focus for 2008
Organizers of the annual Mid Atlantic Bio Conference announced plans for a strong international focus at next year’s event. The Mid-Atlantic Bio 2008 — to be held Oct. 22-24, 2008, at the Marriott Westfields hotel in Chantilly, Va. — will include an international pavilion where delegates can exhibit, meet and share best practices in a dedicated area, as well as a new program to assist international partners in connecting with regional business partners. The conference will also include special programming, panel discussions, speakers, and workshops centered on topics and issues deemed of interest to the international bioscience community.
The organizers met with health, science or economic ministers of more than 20 countries at this year’s event, held Oct. 24-26 at the Bethesda [Md.] North Marriott and Conference Center. More than 840 attendees from 24 states and several countries attended this year’s 3rd annual Mid Atlantic Bio Conference, co-hosted by the MdBio division of the Tech Council of Maryland, the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association, and the Virginia Biotechnology Association.
Key speakers at this year’s conference included Nobel laureate Thomas Cech, president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; David Brennan, CEO of AstraZeneca; James Mullen, Chairman and CEO of Biogen Idec; and James Greenwood, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization.; and James Greenwood, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

BioCrossroads Fun Awards $300,000 to Indianapolis Developer of IPF Treatment
ImmuneWorks, an Indianapolis biotech company founded in 2006 by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers, has received a $300,000 investment from BioCrossroadsIndiana Seed Fund I, Indiana’s only targeted life sciences seed stage investment fund. The funding is intended to further the company’s development of a potential treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a form of lung disease that kills 40,000 people each year.idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a form of
The $6 million seed fund provides working capital in the range of $50,000 to $500,000 to promising Indiana life sciences companies at preliminary stages of operation. The fund is managed by BioCrossroads, with funding coming from Indiana’s public-private life sciences effort as well as the Indiana Finance Authority and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
BioCrossroads said its investment will fund research into the development of a manufacturing process that is believed to support ImmuneWorks’ submission of an Investigational New Drug exemption to the US Food and Drug Administration in 2008. The submission is required before ImmuneWorks can begin human clinical trials.
The company is preparing for clinical trials, expected to begin in 2008, to study the oral administration of the identified auto-antigen. ImmuneWorks is identifying other autoimmune diseases that could be treated with its product, and conducting research on alternative ways to deliver drugs.

Florida BioDatabase: More Than Half of State's Biotechs Founded Since 2001
More than half of Florida's 134 biotech and biomedical device companies were founded in the last six years, according to data compiled and published online for the first time by the University of Florida's Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator.
Analysis of the incubator’s new Florida BioDatabase ( found that the state’s southeastern region has the greatest concentration of biotech and biomedical device companies with 46, followed by the north central region with 37, and the Tampa Bay region with 30.) found that the state’s southeastern region has the greatest concentration of biotech and biomedical device companies with 46, followed by the north central region with 37, and the Tampa Bay region with 30.
Other trends from the database:
  • 67 venture capital and other firms have invested in Florida's biotech sector in the last three years. The amount invested has risen from $66 million in 2005, to $195 million in 2006 and $222 million so far in 2007.
  • Most companies are privately owned with fewer than 20 employees. The largest group, 41 percent, is developing new therapeutics, while 21 (16 percent) are residing in or have graduated from UF's Incubator Program.
BioFlorida, the state's bioscience industry association, will distribute the first printed directory of Florida bioscience companies in the Spring of 2008 in collaboration with UF.

Hunan Province, Changsha Biotech Park Host Nov. 14 Lunch in Fremont, Calif.
The government of China’s Hunan province and a delegation from the Changsha Bio-Industry Park are providing a complimentary lunch for invited guests from California's biotechnology and real estate industry Nov. 14 at the Fremont Marriott. Changsha is home to 110 biotech enterprises with a total output of almost $678 million in 2006.
The lunch is part of an effort by the Monterey Bay International Trade Association to link the region’s biotechnology community to trade and investment opportunities in China. For information, call trade association president Tony Livoti at (831) 335-4780 or e-mail [email protected].

The Scan

Genes Linked to White-Tailed Jackrabbits' Winter Coat Color Change

Climate change, the researchers noted in Science, may lead to camouflage mismatch and increase predation of white-tailed jackrabbits.

Adenine Base Editor Targets SCID Mutation in New Study

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, report in Cell that adenine base editing was able to produce functional T lymphocytes in a model of severe combined immune deficiency.

Researchers Find Gene Affecting Alkaline Sensitivity in Plants

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science have found a locus affecting alkaline-salinity sensitivity, which could aid in efforts to improve crop productivity, as they report in Science.

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.