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Research Triangle Park, Syngenta, Cheminova, East Palo Alto Planning Commission, Bay Business Park, P/S/L Group America, BioBusiness Park at Elk Run, Merck, Treyburn Corporate Park, State of North Carolina

Syngenta Grows at RTP With 19,776 Sq. Ft. Office Lease
Swiss-owned agribusiness Syngenta will grow at North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, after inking a lease for 19,776 square feet at One Park Drive, the 78,000-square-foot office building within Park Center. The firm will relocate 80 administrative employees now based at the company’s roughly 300-person global biotech and biofuels R&D headquarters within RTP, at 3054 Cornwallis Road, freeing space at the lab building.
“The Triangle is an ideal location for us, as it is close to universities and other institutions, providing excellent opportunities for networking and scientific interaction,” Bill Hlavac, head of site operations for Syngenta Biotechnology, said in a statement.
Lee Clyburn of the commercial real estate brokerage Grubb & Ellis | Thomas Linderman Graham represented the landlord, One Park Drive LLC, in the transaction. Jim Allaire of the brokerage Colliers Pinkard represented Syngenta.
Syngenta specializes in developing insecticides for crop protection as well as plants capable of tolerating drought. The company generated about $9.2 billion in sales last year, and employs more than 21,000 people in more than 90 countries. That workforce includes more than 60 people the company added at RTP last year.
Syngenta’s Crop Protection unit has its North American headquarters west of RTP in Greensboro, NC.

Danish-Owned Cheminova Shifts US Headquarters from New Jersey to RTP
Cheminova, a Danish-owned maker of insecticides and herbicides, will move its headquarters for its region that includes the US from Wayne, NJ, to North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park.
The company has agreed to lease 9,494 square feet at the 78,000-square-foot One Park Drive for its ANZAC region headquarters, which includes Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, in addition to the US. Cheminova will start moving to RTP in August, and expects to have 18 employees there in September, Martin Petersen, the company's regional president, told the News and Observer of Raleigh, NC.
Petersen told the newspaper Cheminova wanted to relocate to a region where it could recruit the workers it needs due to a recent growth spurt, and was drawn by RTP’s concentration of agribusinesses. A handful of employees will move from New Jersey, while the remainder — ranging from entry-level customer service personnel to a regional marketing manager — will be new hires.
Cheminova generated a 33 percent jump year over year in first-quarter revenue, from about 1.1 billion Danish Kroner ($226.9 million) to 1.4 billion Kroner ($301.2 million).
The company also enjoyed a year-over-year tripling of its pre-tax operating profit during the first quarter, from 40 million Kroner ($8.4 million) to 125 million Kroner ($26.4 million).

East Palo Alto, Calif., Planning Commission Holds Off on Approving R&D/Biotech Park 
A majority of East Palo Alto, Calif., Planning Commission members has postponed plans to approve a mitigated environmental impact study and architectural supervision for the planned 90,000-square-foot Bay Business Park, an R&D/office site, following concerns raised by city residents, the Palo Alto Daily News reported last week.
Following nearly a year of reviews, the planning commission has asked developer Tig Tarlton to define “biotech,” explain what chemicals will be used on the site, and launch a public outreach campaign. Residents cited the case of Romic Environmental Technologies, which last year shut down an industrial hazardous waste plant in the city after decades of operation, as part of an enforcement order from the state of California to cease most of its operations, citing years of violations and chemical spills.
Tarlton’s son John Tarlton told the Daily News the offices in his new park will likely use fewer chemicals than an average private household and that his team plans to reach out to the concerned residents.
The new park will occupy a 5-acre lot at 2519 Pulgas Ave., near Bay Road, and be geared toward high-tech and biotech startups. Most of the site is vacant and is ringed by industrial properties. There are also two warehouses and a single-family home on the southeast section of the land. The developer plans to demolish the existing structures.
Voting in the minority were commissioners Robert Allen and Bernardo Huerta, who contended that Tarlton had followed through on every request and should have received approval.

Pharma Marketing Firm Takes 15,112 Sq. Ft. in Midtown Manhattan Lease
P/S/L Group America, a marketing and communications firm whose clients include
pharmaceutical companies and healthcare institutions, has agreed to lease 15,122 square feet at 1140 Avenue of the Americas, a 22-story, 181,000-square-foot New York City office building owned by Stellar Management and located near West 44th Street.
P/S/L Group will occupy the 14th and 15th floors of the building, set to undergo renovations that will include a new exterior glass curtain wall; a technology upgrade; new ground level entrance, lobby and public areas; upgraded elevator cabs, common areas and bathrooms; and the ability for tenants to control their HVAC 24/7.
Lindsay Ornstein and Patrick Robinson, of Robinson Ornstein Real Estate Advisors, represented Stellar Management in the lease transaction. Paul Amrich, an executive vice president with CB Richard Ellis, arranged the 10-year lease with two colleagues: Patrice Hayden, a vice president; and Fernando Urrutia, an associate. CBRE announced the lease deal earlier this month.

Plans Unveiled for 40,000 Sq. Ft. Biotechnology Center at Elk Run in Pine Island, Minn.
Tower Investments has announced plans for a 40,000-square-foot research, development and manufacturing facility in Pine Island, Minn., that would be the first building to be constructed as part of the 200-acre BioBusiness Park at Elk Run.
The building would house the Biotechnology Center at Elk Run, a nonprofit organization committed to the development of biotechnology firms, their technologies and research institutions. Slated to break ground in the fourth quarter of 2008, the facility will be built-to-suit for institutions and start-up firms. Amenities will include an executive suite concept for development, quality and regulatory services; 20 ISO class production clean rooms; and support for cell/protein/tissue therapeutic platforms. Additional information is available here.
“Our vision for BCER is to complement public and private efforts to increase biotech industry in the region,” said Marks, “and to establish a full-service facility where the best in the field can usher products from pre-clinical safety studies through to commercialization,” Alex Marks, senior vice president of Tower Investments, said in a statement. “We expect to have 40 total operational staff with technical, scientific, and engineering experience.”
The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported June 27 that Tower Investments had lined up a first tenant for BCER — and that Marks would not disclose details except to say it fit the profile of firms he'd hoped to line up for the facility.
BCER will be located just off Highway 52, a 15-minute drive from Rochester, Minn., home of the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has designed a new highway interchange at Elk Run, intended to link Pine Island and the immediate area.
The design and construction team includes architects Perkins + Will, and general contractor PCL Construction Services, both based in Minneapolis; and land planner DTJ Design of Boulder, Colo.
Tower announced plans for BioBusiness Park at Elk Run at the Biotechnology International Organization’s 2008 International Convention. BioBusiness Park at Elk Run would be part of Elk Run, a 2,325-acre, master-planned mixed-use community. 
Formed in 1989, Tower Investments is a private, family-owned real estate investment and development company with more than 100 real estate projects in 17 states. 

Merck Eyes Up to 180 New Jobs in Expansion of Durham, NC, Vaccine Plant
Merck plans to add 150 to 180 jobs at its vaccine manufacturing complex in Durham, NC, as a result of a planned $300 million expansion that would add to the plant bulk manufacturing capability, as well as warehouse and administrative space, Gov. Mike Easley has announced.
The expansion would boost to 400 the workforce the pharma giant will base at the Durham complex, at Treyburn Corporate Park. The expansion would mark a third phase for the facility. Earlier this year the first $300 million, 235,000-square-foot phase was completed. Construction is in progress and set to be finished in 2010 on the facility’s second phase, a $100 million, 110,000-square-foot site with a sterile processing facility, quality testing labs, and a high-speed packaging line.
Merck has said it expects to start shipping vaccines by 2009 from the Durham plant, which broke ground in 2004 after the company received nearly $40 million in state economic incentives. For the second phase, Durham County awarded $1 million toward site work.
Merck will not receive state incentives for the just-announced expansion, but is counting on another grant from Durham County.

“As we lose jobs in the less skilled sector we are building them up in the knowledge sector and educating our people as they transition to these new jobs,” Easley said in a press release trumpeting the new expansion. “We are strategically targeting the biotech and pharmaceutical industries because of the huge growth possibilities.”

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.