University of Rochester Medical Center Opens $2.5M Facility
The University of Rochester Medical Center has dedicated a new facility designed to support development of early stage biotechnology and life science companies. The new Rochester BioEnterprise Center will operate with $2.5 million in funds secured through New York state’s Gen*NY*sis program.
The University has converted a former Wyeth laboratory building at 77 Ridgeland Road in Henrietta, NY, into 40,000 square feet of office and laboratory space. The Rochester BioEnterprise Center will provide early-stage companies access to the region’s first wet-lab space as well as office space, shared administrative resources, areas for production and storage, bio-safety hoods, sinks, safety showers, a glassware washer, and an autoclave.
“This new facility will serve as an engine for economic growth by enabling local entrepreneurs to harness these opportunities to develop new technologies that will improve health and lead to the creation of new companies, jobs, and investments here in Rochester,” said Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester, in its July 24 announcement of the center’s opening.
The Rochester BioEnterprise Center will be open to any qualified early-stage life science, biotech, chemical, pharmaceutical, medical, dental, or health service company that seeks wet lab facilities, regardless of its relationship to the university. Three tenant companies or “clients” have moved in: The laboratory services provider URMC Labs, nanomaterials company NaturalNano, and cancer therapeutics developer Egenix.
Four additional prospective tenants are engaged in serious discussion and are likely to join the center by September, the university said.
The university added that it expects the center to add to the five to 15 new biotech ventures that have emerged in the Rochester region each year.
The Rochester BioEnterprise Center will be managed by High Tech Rochester, which manages the Lennox Tech Enterprise Center for high-tech startups.
Science Center Commences Search for New President and CEO
The Science Center in Philadelphia has launched a search for a new president and CEO, said Richard Jaffe, chair of the center’s board of directors. The new president will be expected to “leverage [the center’s] existing brand position and implement an enhanced strategy to integrate real estate, investment, and commercialization, primarily through its shareholder universities,” the center announced on July 24.
The science center said it is seeking a leader with training in science or medicine, with a “sophisticated working knowledge” of healthcare and related science and technology, along with experience in commercializing technology. The center said it expects candidates for the position will most likely have spent time in either industry or professional services, though it also acknowledged that “certain academic or research backgrounds supported by a PhD or MD may be appropriate.”
“It will thus be important for the new CEO to have both the gravitas derived from graduate-level education and advanced training in science, medicine or engineering, and a passion for turning ideas and concepts into companies and products,” Jaffe said in the announcement.
Established in 1963, the Science Center is home to more than 150 companies ranging from applied research and development startups to companies in commercialization and more mature phases. The center’s mission includes business development and commercialization services for technology-based companies; research program management; and research park development.
Advisory Panel’s Mission: Advance Biotech in Charlotte Region
A new 27-member advisory committee charged with advancing biotechnology in and around Charlotte, NC, has held its first meeting, with the goal of developing strategies to develop the industry region-wide.
The Advisory Committee for Biotechnology in the Charlotte Region will focus on short- and long-term biotechnology science and resources, economic gain, and job creation. Specifically, the committee will consider new segments of biotech for the region to embrace, including bioinformatics, nutrigenomics and value-added plants, nutrition, biomedical devices, investment support, and nanobiotechnology.
The panel — developed by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in cooperation with regional partners — is chaired by former Gov. Jim Martin, now a vice president of Carolinas Healthcare System. The vice chair is Bob Wilhelm, executive director of Charlotte Research Institute at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Martin and Wilhelm will serve two-year terms in their positions, while other panel members are serving three-year terms, and can serve up to six years.
The committee will meet quarterly, and will be administered by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. The state-supported nonprofit organization operates five regional offices, one of which serves greater Charlotte. Marjorie Benbow is director of the Charlotte regional office, assisted by Clare Cook-Faggart.
Pennsylvania Approves $312,500 for Nurturing Life Science Companies
The Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority has approved a total $312,500 for two projects intended to grow life science companies in Pennsylvania, the Department of Community and Economic Development announced July 26.
The funding came from Gov. Edward Rendell's Keystone Innovation Zone program, intended to generate high-wage, high-skill jobs for Pennsylvania. To date, 26 zones have been established throughout the commonwealth.
- $187,500 in second-round operational funding for the 611 Corridor KIZ, toward services and infrastructure to early-stage life sciences companies in the Philadelphia region. The zone, coordinated by BioStrategy Partners, has academic research partners in cell and molecular biology that focus on oncology, cardiovascular, diabetes and aging. The funding will allow the zone to assist at least 18 companies.
- $125,000 in third-round operational funding for the I-99 Corridor KIZ. The zone, coordinated by Centre County Industrial Development Authority in partnership with Penn State University, specializes in life sciences, as well as nanotechnology, advanced materials and information technology. The funding will support grants toward commercializing technologies developed at Penn State University.
The projects were among a total $1.3 million spent by the commonwealth on nurturing technology-based economic development in Pennsylvania.
10 Kentucky Life Sciences Firms Among Winners of $1.9M in State Funds
Ten Kentucky life science startups are among 20 early-stage technology businesses awarded a total $1.9 million in state funds designed to match federal Phase 1 and Phase 2 SBIR and STTR awards.
Life science companies receiving part of the state money will include ECM Biosciences, Sequela, Oraceuticals, ParaTechs, Naprogenix, Potentia Pharmaceuticals, SureGene, ApoImmune, Regenerex, and Scout Diagnostics.
Companies eligible for the matching funds must be located in Kentucky or commit to relocating to the state within 60 days, after which they can begin receiving the matching grant. The companies must also agree to remain in Kentucky for at least five years.