State Incentives in Hand, Organogenesis Plans Massachusetts Expansion
The regenerative medicine company Organogenesis will keep its headquarters in Massachusetts, double its existing work force by adding 300 new employees, and expand its facilities to 250,000 square feet, Massachusetts officials announced on May 31.
Organogenesis will receive a $12.9 million incentive package that includes grants, as well as support to be awarded when the company identifies its expansion site. The company can also tap into $5 million in low-interest loans for growth initiatives.
The subsidies succeeded in quashing a threatened move by Organogenesis out of Massachusetts in hopes of finding a site it considered more supportive of regenerative medicine research. Gov. Deval Patrick, state Senate President Therese Murray, and House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi joined company officials in announcing the deal at the Canton, Mass., headquarters of Organogenesis.
In a statement announcing the deal, Organogenesis CEO Geoff MacKay credited Patrick’s $1 billion life science initiative, announced May 8 at the BIO 2007 convention in Boston [BioRegion News, May 14, 2007].
“The success of this new field is directly dependent on positive governmental policies, and Governor Patrick has taken the necessary steps in this direction with an unprecedented commitment to both industry and academic institutions.”
BioStorage Technologies Closes on Final Round of Financing
BioStorage Technologies, an Indianapolis-based biomaterials storage company, has closed an $8.32 million series A round of financing led by Radius Ventures, with participation by Spring Mills Venture Partners, Village Ventures, and Twilight Venture Partners. Proceeds will facilitate BST’s continued growth both at its headquarters in Indianapolis and its new European facility in Frankfurt, Germany.
The financing announcement came weeks after the company disclosed plans to expand its operations into Europe by opening a new biorepository facility in Frankfurt, Germany. The company provides biomaterials storage, sample management, and cold chain logistics for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
ISI Expands Global Presence with Opening of Tianjin China Office
Image Solutions, a Whippany, NJ, provider of software and services to streamline the drug development lifecycle, announced on May 29 the opening of new operations in Tianjin, China.
The company said the new operation will better enable it to capitalize on the emergence of China as a preferred location for new markets and lower-cost drug development and manufacturing. Short-term, Image Solutions’ focus will be the processing of case report forms. The operation is expected to be ISO certified later this year.
The China operation adds to the company’s presence in Asia, which includes a development center in South Korea, as well as testing and support capabilities in India, and in Japan through an alliance with CAC Corporation. Image Solutions also plans to expand in the United Kingdom and the United States, where the company is planning to open new offices in Boston and San Diego, Calif.
Wisconsin Legislature’s Finance Committee Approves $10M Scanner
The Wisconsin Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance on May 24 approved the purchase of medical technology for the Medical College of Wisconsin's proposed Translational Research Facility, which promotes research of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other neurological diseases.
The committee took up the medical technology item as part of its work on Gov. Jim Doyle's $28.4 billion budget for the two years starting July 1. On a 13-3 vote, the committee authorized $10 million in state bonding to purchase a 7 Tesla MRI long-bore scanner.
The 7 Tesla scanner is one of only three of its kind worldwide. State officials and life sciences industry professionals say its presence at the Medical College is expected to draw national research dollars to Wisconsin and make southeast Wisconsin a home for new innovation and economic development related to the diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases.
The Finance Committee recommendation now goes to the full legislature for consideration as part of the overall state budget.
Fraunhofer USA CMB Wins $8.5M for Biopharma Manufacturing System
The Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology in Newark, Del., was awarded a $2.6 million contract from the US Department of Defense through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to further develop and validate a system for accelerated manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals. The value of the effort, if all phases of the development program are completed, could be $8.5 million.
Under Phase I of the DARPA contract, Fraunhofer USA CMB will validate its plant-based technology platform for the rapid, cost-effective production of vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. The Fraunhofer USA CMB platform is designed to significantly reduce the time required from the identification of infectious agents to the manufacture of millions of doses of medical countermeasures. Fraunhofer USA CMB's technology employs a proprietary vector system and non-genetically modified plants for time-efficient and cost-effective production of vaccines, antibodies and therapeutic proteins.
Fraunhofer USA CMB partners in the project include the Fraunhofer USA Center for Manufacturing Innovation, which will design process automation; Integrated BioPharma, which will scale up downstream protein purification; AMEC Biopharmaceuticals, which will be responsible for process and facility engineering; and Delaware State University, which will optimize non-transgenic seed production and storage.
Fraunhofer USA CMB was awarded its contract under DARPA's Accelerated Manufacture of Pharmaceutics Program, intended to quickly produce life saving medical countermeasures for naturally occurring, intentionally released and pandemic biological threat agents. The program’s goal is to generate 3 million doses of vaccine within 12 weeks of an outbreak, and do so inexpensively using highly resilient, rigorously controlled, GMP-quality production platforms.
Fraunhofer USA CMB is part of Fraunhofer USA, a non-profit research and development corporation, headquartered in Plymouth, Mich. It operates through technology centers that are partnered with major research universities in the United States and also with parent research institutes in Germany.
Report Projects German Employment by 2020 Will Grow With Biotech Sector
A new study concluded that by the year 2020, Germany will see between 272,000 and 483,000 jobs generated through the penetration of biotechnology into “downstream” industries such as pharmaceuticals, chemical and foodstuffs, agriculture, and environmental biotechnology.
The number of new jobs expected within businesses that supply equipment to biotechs will also grow, to between 369,000 and 682,000, according to the study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research in Karlsruhe, Germany. The study evaluated the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks of Germany as a biotechnology location.
Among strengths identified by the report were highly qualified personnel, a widely diversified research landscape, competitive strength in industrial application sectors, high domestic market sales potential, and good access to export markets.
But the report also identified several risks – shortages of qualified personnel, and too little investment in future-oriented education, research, and development compared with other countries.
Only joint and focused efforts on the part of all actors involved will make it possible to fully exploit the innovation, growth and employment potentials of Germany as a location for biotechnology companies, the study concluded.
"Germany is well positioned as a location for many biotechnology segments and therefore has an excellent chance to play a central role in future international competition," said project director Michael Nusser in a Fraunhofer Institute press release announcing the study findings.