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Pioneer Hi-Bred, BASF, Missouri Department of Economic Development, Northeast Missouri Economic Development Council, Warnex, Busgang Investments, Sirtex Medical, Qatar Science & Technology Park, MDS Pharma Services, Bioscan, Lulfs Groves, Upstate Biotechn

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Pioneer Hi-Bred to Expand in Des Moines Region
 
Pioneer Hi-Bred last week said it plans to sign a five-year lease in Ankeny, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines, to accommodate projected growth in its regulatory group.
 
The company said that more than 80 regulatory employees will relocate from its Johnston campus to the new facility.
 
John Duesing, senior research director for the regulatory group, said in a statement that the new facility “will provide the infrastructure for growth to enable timely regulatory submissions and approvals” for new biotech traits in the company’s pipeline.
 
Pioneer Hi-Bred is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, and operates in nearly 70 countries.
 
The Des Moines Register reported last week that Pioneer will move into a 60,000-square-foot building planned by the Lauridsen Group.
 
Lauridsen will use 15,000 square feet of the facility and Pioneer will use the remaining space, according to the report, which said that Ankeny officials are considering spending $3.3 million to expand Oralabor Road from three to five lanes to accommodate business growth.
 

 
BASF Plans $50M Renovation of Palmyra, Mo., Plant; Leases 11 Acres to Biotech Venture
 
BASF has announced plans to carry out a $50 million expansion of its agricultural products plant in Palmyra, Mo., as well as to partner with Hannibal Bio-Tech to reopen and upgrade the former Alpharma plant within the Palmyra campus.
 
The expansion will allow BASF to manufacture a new herbicidal compound as well as a new product line to be introduced to market in 2009 or 2010, Palmyra plant manager Nikki McGlone-Santistevan told the Quincy (Mo.) Herald-Whig, declining to provide additional details.
 
BASF employs some 310 people at its 2,000-acre Palmyra plant, located some 7 miles north of Hannibal, Mo. The expansion will add 70 temporary construction jobs, McGlone-Santistevan said.
 
BASF agreed in December to lease 11 acres of its campus to Hannibal Bio-Tech — a joint venture of Pharma Fortune SA and Phibro Animal Health Corporation — to renovate the old Alpharma plant for manufacturing various biotech products, employing about 40 people, starting in the second half of 2009.
 
Alessandro Falzoni, principal officer of Pharma Fortune, declined to state the cost of the project or to provide details about what products would be made there when asked by the Hannibal Courier-Post, though he did say it will be “capital intensive.”
 
BASF has marketed some 1,600 surplus acres of its campus through the Missouri Department of Economic Development and Northeast Missouri Economic Development Council.
 

 
Quebec Life Sciences Company Inks Lease With CEO’s Private Investment Firm
 
Warnex, a publicly traded laboratory services company headquartered in Laval, Quebec, Canada, has entered into a lease for 44,073 square feet at 865 Michele-Bohec Blvd. in Blainville, Quebec. The lease is for a term of 10 years and calls for base rental payments of up to $374,620 (US$ 376,706) per year.
The company entered into the lease with Busgang Investments — a private investment firm controlled by Mark Busgang, the president, CEO, and director of Warnex — after Busgang acquired the building from MDS Pharma Services. Warnex began leasing the building from MDS when it acquired MDS’ Neopharm Laboratories division in August 2006.
 
The original lease with MDS was set to expire this month. Because the new lease was a related party transaction, it was reviewed by Warnex’s corporate governance committee and approved by the independent members of its board of directors.

Warnex also extended to Jan. 31, 2018, its existing lease for its headquarters at 3885 Industriel Blvd. in Laval.
 

 
Sirtex Wins FDA Approval to Start Manufacturing at New Wilmington, Mass., Plant
 
Sirtex Medical can begin production at a newly built manufacturing plant in Wilmington, Mass., following a recent approval by the US Food and Drug Administration.
 
The facility can now begin supplying the company's SIR-Spheres microsphere doses to US treatment centers that will use them to offer Selective Internal Radiation Therapy, or SIRT, for inoperable liver cancer, the company said. The Wilmington plant can produce up to 200 doses a week, Sirtex said.
 
Wilmington is one of two manufacturing sites for Sirtex; the other is in Australia. Sirtex is headquartered in Sydney.
 

 
Medical R&D Company Launched Within Qatar Science & Tech Park
 
Scientific Medical Applied Research & Development, which calls itself Qatar’s first biotechnology and medical research company, has been launched within the Qatar Science & Technology Park. SMARD will develop diagnostic tools and treatments for diseases, especially those afflicting populations in the Middle East and North Africa
 
SMARD is a subsidiary of the German companies KMG AG and iSIMA, which collaborate with universities in Tübingen and other clinics and universities in Germany and Austria. SMARD will expand those collaborations to include Cairo University and Menoufeya University in Egypt, as well as other international hospitals and R&D institutes.
 

 
Clinical Trial Services Provider Expands With New São Paulo, Brazil, Office
 
MDS Pharma Services, a clinical trial services provider headquartered in King of Prussia, Pa., has opened an office in São Paulo, Brazil.
 
The company said its new office will allow it to offer clients access to more than 237,000 physicians and more than 46,000 health institutions.
 
The new office joins nearly two dozen other late-stage clinical trial management offices run by MDS in 21 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America.
 

 
Washington, DC, Biotech Eyes Move to Maryland for New Headquarters
 
Washington, DC-based biotech Bioscan is searching sites along Interstate 270 in Montgomery County, Md., for a new expanded headquarters, the Baltimore Business Journal reported.
 
Bioscan now occupies 7,500 square feet on MacArthur Blvd., and has leased temporary lab space in Montgomery County for more than a year. Bioscan is now seeking 11,000 square feet there, after being headquartered in Washington since it was founded more than 20 years ago. 
 
"We haven't really pushed [staying in DC] hard, because we didn't think there was any suitable space." Seth Shulman, founder, chairman and chief scientific officer for Bioscan, told the newspaper. He noted that Bioscan’s current HQ is zoned as commercial, rather than research and development or industrial: “The zoning in Washington has always been rather ill-defined,” he said.
 

 
Developer Asks Port St. Lucie, Fla., to Annex Land for Biotech Park
 
Lulfs Groves, a Lake Grove, Fla.-based developer, has asked the city of Port St. Lucie, Fla., to annex 465 acres of agricultural land it bought in December, then rezone it to allow for a regional business park with lower-cost land for biotech spinoffs and manufacturing plants, the Palm Beach Post reported.
 
Lulfs Grove – owned by Brian Lulf, owner of Atlas Peat and Soil in Boynton Beach, Fla. – wants to build 2.4 million square feet of industrial space, 500 homes, and up to 600,000 square feet of space for retail, office, and institutional use. Lulfs Grove hopes to capitalize on the site’s location midway between the Florida Center for Innovation, the life sciences campus within the Tradition master-planned mixed-use community; and a research campus planned by St. Lucie County.
 
Hence Lulfs Grove’s $9.29 million purchase of the parcel from seller Tropicana Products. Tropicana bought the site in 1998 for $2.05 million, with future needs in mind.
 
“We're providing opportunity for the biotech support businesses and spinoffs and start-ups that maybe can't afford the pricey addresses or need more of a light industrial focus,” project attorney Bobby Klein told the newspaper.
 

 
Investors Seek New Life Sciences Users for 50,000 Square Feet in Lake Placid, NY
 
A trio of local investors is seeking life science users to reoccupy the 34-acre former Upstate Biotechnology property on Old Barn Road in Lake Placid, NY, which they purchased in June 2007, the Lake Placid News reported. 

PEG Enterprises and partners Patrick Barrett, Edwin Weibrecht, and Greg Peacock are marketing the site’s 50,000-square-foot, two-story building, as well as a tennis court and several outbuildings. Barrett told the newspaper PEG is working on developing a Web site to outline the building and its attributes to potential renters: “We’ve kept it in good shape.”

 
The property was developed in the 1970s as the W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center, and later became Upstate Biotechnology. In 2004, Upstate Biologicals was acquired by Serologicals, which shut down the site, idling 140 employees.
 

 
SteriPack Expands by 50 Percent

SteriPack, a contract manufacturer of medical packaging products based in Offaly, Ireland, has announced plans to add 25,000 square feet growth to its existing 45,000-square-foot facility, to accommodate growth of more than 50 percent.
 
The firm currently supplies customers in more than 25 countries with both packaging and contract packaging services.
 

 
WaferGen Building R&D Center in Kedah, Malaysia
 
WaferGen Biosystems, a Silicon Valley-based biotech company, has opened its first overseas facility in Kulim Hi-Tech Park, Kedah, Malaysia.
 
The Malaysia Star reported last week that the R&D center was built for around 10 million Malaysia ringgits ($3.1 million).
 
Alnoor Shivji, WaferGen’s chairman and CEO, said the R&D center would be completed by April and would employ some 100 researchers and scientists, mainly from Indonesia, according to the newspaper. The facility will be overseen by WaferGen’s Malaysian unit, WaferGen Biosystems (M) Sdn Bhd.
 
WaferGen develops gene expression, genotyping, cell biology and stem cell research systems for the life science and pharmaceutical industries. 
 
Shivji said the company would form collaborations with local universities, research institutions, and relevant supporting industries for research in biotechnology.
 
WaferGen Biosystems (M) signed a memorandum of agreement with Kulim Technology Park Corp. for the lease of office space and with KedahBio Resources Corp Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of KTPC, for use of facilities. 
 
It also signed a memorandum of understanding with Penang-based Pentamaster Corp Bhd for manufacturing and designing the required equipment. 
 
KTPC group CEO Datuk Ahmad Shukri Tajuddin said WaferGen is the first biotech company to team up with KTPC to promote biotechnology activities in Kedah.  

The Scan

Review of Approval Process

Stat News reports the Department for Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General is to investigate FDA's approval of Biogen's Alzheimer's disease drug.

Not Quite Right

A new analysis has found hundreds of studies with incorrect nucleotide sequences reported in their methods, according to Nature News.

CRISPR and mRNA Together

Time magazine reports on the use of mRNA to deliver CRISPR machinery.

Nature Papers Present Smartphone Platform for DNA Diagnosis of Malaria, Mouse Lines for Epigenomic Editing

In Nature this week: a low-cost tool to detect infectious diseases like malaria, and more.