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Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, QLT, Arizona Biomedical Collaborative, SouthField, Tech Council of Maryland, US Economic Development Administration, Worcester Business Development Corp., American Society of Landscaping-North

Citing Accord, Sartorius Shifts Production of Stainless Steel Systems to Springfield, Mo.
Sartorius Stedim Biotech said it will close its production facility in Bethlehem, Pa., and will shift its operations to Springfield, Mo.
The shift is a consequence of Sartorius signing a cooperation and supply agreement designating Springfield-based Paul Mueller Company its new exclusive North American supplier. As part of the accord, Paul Mueller will take over the manufacture of stainless steel systems for sale in the US and Canada, as well as the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Systems covered by the accord include fermentors, bioreactors, freeze-thaw systems, and crossflow and other filtration systems.
The deal allows Sartorius to focus on customer-specific application engineering, as well as installation and servicing of its stainless steel systems, the company said. Sartorius and Paul Mueller Company will each continue to offer their own traditional products in addition to the products offered jointly under the agreement.
Sartorius, formerly B. Braun Biotech, opened at Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VI in 2003 with about 120 employees. At last count the company had 109 employees in Bethlehem, Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development, told the Express-Times of Easton, Pa.
Sartorius had promised to retain 109 jobs and create 300 new ones when it moved to LVIP VI, in return for $2.7 million in incentives. Most of that money has been recovered by DCED, Ortiz told the newspaper, though the company did receive $278,000 in grants.
Sartorius said it will continue to operate its production facilities in Melsungen, Germany, and Bangalore, India.

British Columbia Biotech Pioneer Selling US Operations, Vancouver Headquarters
QLT, the British Columbia biotech pioneer, has placed its American operations up for sale along with real estate around its Vancouver headquarters. QLT USA owns the company’s prostate cancer treatment Eligard, its acne treatment Aczone, and its Atrigel drug delivery system.
The decision to sell followed the company’s decisions in November to form a special committee and to hire Goldman, Sachs and Company to explore options. QLT has also cut its staff by 115 employees, with more people expected to be let go as company assets are sold off.
The company is responding to its inability to replace the revenue it lost following a 39 percent drop in annual sales to $215 million, as well as a decline in sales of its lead drug Visudyne, a treatment for age-related macular degeneration.

Arizona Says $10.5M Budget Shift Won’t Slow Down Work on Two Life Science Projects
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano has shifted from this year’s state operating budget to next year’s capital budget a total of $10.5 million originally approved for schematic designs for two planned life science facilities. The shift will not delay the projects from being built and opening, a spokeswoman for Napolitano told BioRegion News last week.
The 2008 budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 included $5.25 million for “programming and schematic design” for the University of Arizona’s main campus in Tucson. The spending plan also included an equivalent amount toward a similar purpose for a second Arizona Biomedical Collaborative research building, known as ABC2, and an education building.
ABC2 would house research programs for the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix, the Arizona State University Department of Biomedical Informatics, and other ASU biomedical research programs, such as the Biodesign Institute and the College of Life Sciences. The education building would be comprised primarily of classroom and administrative space, with simulation laboratories, gross anatomy facilities, and preclinical training space.
Napolitano spokeswoman Jeanine L'Ecuyer said the shift was among a total of $870 million in cuts to the state’s fiscal year 2008 budget operating budget. In a statement, Napolitano said the cuts were necessitated by an $870 million shortfall in tax revenues that the state blames on the soft real estate market.
Talk of ABC2 comes three months after ASU President Michael Crow and UA President Robert Shelton joined state government and higher education leaders to officially open the Arizona Biomedical Collaborative building (ABC1) in downtown Phoenix. ABC1 houses Arizona State University’s department of biomedical informatics within the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, a collaboration with the University of Arizona. Laboratory facilities for the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix programs conducting research in diabetes, cancer, and neurology are also located there.
A $1 million “technology grant program” was also eliminated, but details of that program were unavailable at deadline.

Massachusetts Commits $42.5M to Parkway Through Weymouth’s SouthField Complex
Massachusetts will commit $42.5 million toward construction of an east-west parkway through SouthField, a 1,400-acre master-planned community — including lab space — taking shape in Weymouth, Mass., on the site of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station.
The road will connect Route 18 in South Weymouth, Mass., to Route 3 at Exit 14 in Rockland, Mass.
SouthField developer LNR of Miami Beach, Fla., has begun construction of the project’s first phase, which will include 155,000 square feet of commercial space intended for life science companies, plus the 500 apartments and homes that comprise the development’s SouthField Highlands.
At completion, SouthField will include life science space within its 2 million square feet of commercial, retail, hotel, and civic space; the project also includes a golf course, a sports complex, and 2,855 homes, 20 percent of which will be below-market “affordable” or “workforce” homes. The state estimates that the project will generate 12,000 construction jobs and more than 3,000 permanent jobs.

Tech Council of Maryland Releases 2008 Policy Platform for Biotech, High-Tech
The Tech Council of Maryland has issued a wish list of state policy priorities for this year, topped by a call for the repeal of the 6 percent sales and use tax on computer services enacted during last fall’s special session of the Maryland General Assembly.
The tax applies to computer services including computer facilities management and operation; custom computer programming; computer system planning and design that integrate computer hardware, software, and communication technologies; computer disaster recovery; and data processing, storage, and recovery as well as hardware or software installation or maintenance and repair. The tax takes effect July 1, and is supposed to sunset on June 30, 2013.
To press its case for repeal, TCM has formed the Fight the Tech Tax Coalition with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, local tech councils, local chambers, business advocacy groups, and Maryland companies.
TCM’s 2008 Policy Platform also calls for fully funding Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget requests for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation; urging lawmakers to give “careful consideration” before advancing future tax proposals “that may adversely impact Maryland’s business climate,” advocating more funding for workforce development and higher education initiatives toward training life sciences professionals; and promoting long-term funding solutions for the Transportation Trust Fund.
To download the 2008 Policy Platform, please click here.

EDA Awards WEDC-Led Team $250,000 Toward Gateway Park Development
The public-private Worcester [Mass.] Business Development Corporation headed a team of four entities that have received a $250,000 performance award from the US Economic Development Administration. The team included Worcester Polytechnic Institute, New Garden Park, and the city of Worcester.
The award recognizes WBDC's leadership of the team in the management of EDA's support for initial site development of a bioengineering incubator facility at the 11-acre Gateway Park — support that included construction funding for parking facilities for the campus. As the project management team leader, WBDC was honored for fast-tracking the project's design, permitting, and construction, allowing the project to start six months early and finish 15 months ahead of schedule.
Gateway Park, a venture of WPI and WBDC, is being developed on a 19th-century industrial site. The park’s first structure, the WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at 60-68 Prescott St., opened in April. It will be followed over the next few years by three additional buildings, one each of 140,000, 100,000, and 80,000 square feet [BioRegion News, Sept. 10].

Courtyard Work on NC’s Piedmont Triangle Research Park Earns Award for Paver
The Research Triangle Park architectural firm O’Brien Atkins has won a Recognition Award from the North Carolina Chapter of the American Society of Landscaping for its design of the courtyard at the Piedmont Triad Research Park, Biotechnology Research Facility Phase One, in Winston-Salem, NC. 
Subcontractor Fred Adams Paving of Raleigh, NC, installed 14,000 square feet of unit pavers in the plaza area, consisting of various materials. All of the pavers were installed in a sand bed screeded over a concrete slab, then cleaned and sealed.
The 2007 Professional Awards program recognizes not only local firms, but students studying landscape architecture at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T University as well.

The Scan

Wolf Howl Responses Offer Look at Vocal Behavior-Related Selection in Dogs

In dozens of domestic dogs listening to wolf vocalizations, researchers in Communication Biology see responses varying with age, sex, reproductive status, and a breed's evolutionary distance from wolves.

Facial Imaging-Based Genetic Diagnoses Appears to Get Boost With Three-Dimensional Approach

With data for more than 1,900 individuals affected by a range of genetic conditions, researchers compared facial phenotype-based diagnoses informed by 2D or 3D images in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Survey Suggests Multigene Cancer Panel VUS Reporting May Vary Across Genetic Counselors

Investigators surveyed dozens of genetic counselors working in clinical or laboratory settings, uncovering attitudes around VUS reporting after multigene cancer panel testing in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.