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Philadelphia Biotechnology and Life Sciences Institute, Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, SouthCoast Development Partnership, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Largo City Commission, Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Dey

Workforce Development Effort Unites Philadelphia Schools, Businesses, Universities
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter joined a group of city life sciences executives, school district administrators, university administrators, nonprofit executives, and others in announcing an effort to bolster the region's biotechnology workforce at a May 28 event at the Cira Centre.
The Philadelphia Biotechnology and Life Sciences Institute will promote the City of Brotherly Love and its suburbs as a desirable location for biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies and their employees. The institute will also develop strategies to increase the number of workers capable of filling new jobs expected to be created by the region's more than 100 pharmaceutical manufacturers, biotechnology companies, medical device firms, and research organizations.
Chad Womack, CEO and chief scientific officer of NanoVec, a privately held Philadelphia biotechnology company, will serve as president and executive director of the institute.

Report: Biomedical Industry Generates $2.2B for Central Mass., $6B Projected by 2012
The biomedical industry will generate $2.2 billion this year in direct economic impact for Central Massachusetts — a number that will nearly triple, to $6.1billion, by 2012, according to a new report commissioned by the nonprofit operator of three life sciences incubators in Worcester, Mass.
The report — written for Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives by a pair of Worcester Polytechnic Institute students — based their forecast on continued growth by the region’s biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, and related businesses.

WPI students Collin Weingarten and Alan Ngo concluded that the biomedical industry in Central Massachusetts consists of 162 companies with 16,441 employees — up from 111 companies with 7,576 workers and a direct economic impact of $925 million in 2004, the last time a team of WPI students examined the industry’s regional impact. By 2012, the region could be home to 270 companies with 47,743 workers, Weingarten and Ngo projected in the report, which can be read here.

“I honestly believe the Central Massachusetts region is going to see a lot more growth than other regions,” Weingarten told the Telegram and Gazette of Worcester. He cited Gov. Deval L. Patrick’s $1 billion, 10-year Life Sciences Initiative, which includes funding for a stem cell center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.
The report fulfilled a graduation requirement for both students that they complete a “major qualifying project.” Weingarten lives in Milton, Mass., while Ngo is from Korea. Both graduated this month from WPI with bachelor’s degrees in management, though Weingarten plans to continue at WPI for a master’s degree in operational design and leadership.

UMass’ SouthCoast Development Partnership Wins $44K Grant for Marine Technology Strategic Plan
The University of Masachusetts’ SouthCoast Development Partnership has received a $44,000 regional priority award from the John Adams Innovation Institute, the economic development arm of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, to craft a strategic plan intended to strengthen the Marine and Oceanographic Technology Network.
The plan would organize the marine science and technology industry cluster around a clearly defined mission, with the goals of creating jobs and developing a workforce skilled enough to fill them. Marine science and technology companies in Massachusetts generate about $1.5 billion in total annual sales, making the sector among the fastest growing areas of the Commonwealth's economy, according to a press release announcing the award.

Largo, Fla., City Commission OKs Creation of Economic Development Strategic Plan
The Largo, Fla., City Commission on May 27 approved the creation of an Economic Development Strategic Plan intended to identify goals and means of attracting new businesses to the city, the Largo Leader reported.

Teresa Brydon, Largo’s economic development manager, told commissioners the new plan would outline means of increasing the city’s tax base, attract new jobs to the city and reduce unemployment, enhance a working relationship between the public and private sectors, and “ensure a sustainable community by promoting development consistent with [Largo’s] Strategic Plan,” according to the Leader.

One tool toward those goals would be economic incentives to be offered by the city. That idea proved controversial last year, when commissioners balked at subsidizing a local business that insisted on non-disclosure of its benefits; the business responded by moving to California.
Florida law allows businesses to keep their relocation plans confidential to protect them from competitors.

Florida targets life science businesses among companies in a half-dozen categories for economic incentives.


Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Cuts 100 Jobs — Including CFO, 2 VPs — In Reorganization
Lexicon Pharmaceuticals of The Woodlands, Tex., said last week it will be “reducing its workforce at the company's facilities in Texas and [Princeton,] New Jersey” by about 100 jobs as part of a reorganization designed to cut costs, increase efficiency in its research and discovery operations, and streamline its process of moving new drug candidates from discovery to human clinical testing.
Lexicon said the cost-cutting would save the biopharmaceutical company about $4 million, net of severance costs, for the balance of 2008, and about $10 million each year after that.
"This action will reduce operating expenses associated with our research and discovery efforts and allow us to deploy these resources into key clinical development areas, including our four programs currently in human clinical trials," Arthur Sands, Lexicon’s president and CEO, said in a statement announcing the cuts.
Sands said three executives would leave Lexicon as a result of the job cuts: Julia Gregory, who served as CFO from the company’s initial public offering in 2000; Jim Piggott, who served as senior vice president of pharmaceutical biology in charge of target discovery from the beginning of the Genome5000 program; and David Boulton, vice president of technology and operations in New Jersey, who Sands said designed and implemented the company’s click chemistry platform, which is the foundation of Lexicon's chemical library collection.

Mirar Residences at Dubai’s DuBiotech Campus Sold Out Hours After First Units Hit Market
Deyaar Development PJSC said it sold out all 414 units at its Mirar Residences, a luxury apartment complex of three 19-story towers within the 741.3-acre DuBiotech campus, just a day after the start of unit sales.
Mirar offers one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, some of which include living space for maids. Amenities include rooftop swimming pools, gymnasiums, parking space high-speed Internet service, and a location near shopping malls and key business hubs such as JAFZA, Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City, an airport under construction at Jebel Ali, and the planned second stage of the Dubai Metro.
Mirar Residences is scheduled for completion by the fourth quarter of 2010, with construction already underway.

Located in Al Barsha, DuBiotech offers 22 million square feet of space that includes residential, commercial and retail developments, as well as laboratories, manufacturing facilities, office space, and core research facilities.


Life Sciences Management Consulting Firm Opens London Office; Eyes European Expansion
Campbell Alliance Group, a management consulting firm specializing in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, has opened a new branch office in London, at Chiswick Park in West London. The new office is Campbell Alliance's first office location outside the US, and its 10th office worldwide.
Campbell Alliance said in a statement it had already begun to staff the office, and had plans to recruit additional “experienced local candidates” toward expansion in the UK and the rest of Europe.

"Our London office will provide convenient access to our client base in the 'big five' European countries as well as Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and elsewhere, including the growing industry in Eastern Europe," John Campbell, CEO of Campbell Alliance, said in a press release announcing the firm’s expansion.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.