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Sanofi-Aventis, Tuscon Regional Economic Opportunities, New York City Industrial Development Agency, University Park at MIT, Empire State Development Corp., University Technology Park At IIT, Connecticut Innovations, Cara Therapeutics, West Virginia Econo

Sanofi-Aventis Breaks Ground on $40M Research Center in Arizona’s Oro Valley
Sanofi-Aventis broke ground Nov. 15 on a $40 million, 110,350-square-foot research center in Oro Valley, Ariz., near the corner of Oracle Road and Rancho Vistoso Boulevard. The new facility will allow the company to add 40 people to its current Oro Valley workforce of 68 employees.
The research center will more than double the space at the company's current two-building facility on Hanley Boulevard — augmenting the presence it has had in the Tuscon, Ariz., region for more than 17 years. The new facility comes a year after the company announced the purchase of more than 11 acres within the 300-acre Innovation Park campus, with R&D expansion in mind.
Construction of the new facility is scheduled to begin at the end of November, with an estimated completion date of June 2009. The facility is being designed to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified rating for environmental sustainability.
“This new, state-of-the-art facility will enable our local scientific team to enhance its impact on the Sanofi-Aventis drug discovery pipeline, laying down the foundation for bringing new, effective medicines to patients around the world,” said Jean-Marc Herbert, senior vice president of discovery research, in a statement.
Herbert was among Sanofi-Aventis executives who were joined at the groundbreaking by local officials, including Oro Valley Mayor Paul Loomis, Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup, Pima County Supervisor Ann Day, and Joe Snell, president and CEO of Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities.

Biofuel Producer Authorized for $9.5M Financing, Tax Breaks from New York City IDA
An entity of Metro Biofuels has received authorization for $9.95 million in triple tax-exempt bond financing, about $278, 601 in mortgage recording tax benefits, and $632,313 in sales tax exemptions from the New York City Industrial Development Agency. The financing will allow for the construction and equipping of a 5,000-square-foot biofuel production facility in Brooklyn. The facility will rise adjacent to Metro Terminals, a wholesale marketer of petroleum products including gasoline, heating oil, and diesel fuels. 
The new, 110-million-gallon facility will produce two trademark biofuel products – Biomax, biodiesel made primarily from virgin soy oil; and the heating fuel Greenheat. Metro Terminals told the IDA the project will enable it to retain and create a total of about 15 jobs.

Forest City-MIT Venture Sells Hotel/Conference Site Within University Park at MIT
A joint venture of Forest City Enterprises and Massachusetts Institute of Technology has entered into an agreement to sell the 210-room [email protected], a luxury hotel that anchors the 2.3 million-square-foot University Park at MIT research-office-residential campus in Cambridge, Mass.
The seller, University Park Phase II Limited Partnership, announced the deal but would not disclose the purchase price pending the closing of the sale, expected by year’s end and brokered by Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. The sale does not include the land under the hotel, which MIT will continue to own.
The buyer, HEI Cambridge, is an entity of HEI Hotels & Resorts of Norwalk, Conn. The hotel, at 20 Sidney St., features 15,000 square feet of conference and meeting space, plus an 8,000-square-foot roof garden for meals and receptions.
“We are confident that HEI will uphold the quality and high-tech standards at [email protected] that academics, students, business people, travelers and the biotech community have come to expect since its inception,” said Michael Fahey, senior vice president of asset management for Forest City Commercial Group, in a press release announcing the sale.

Empire State Development OKs $6M for Brooklyn Army Terminal Redevelopment
The Empire State Development Corp., New York state’s economic development agency, has authorized a $6 million grant to BioBAT, a collaboration between New York City Economic Development Corporation and SUNY Downstate Medical Center through the SUNY Research Foundation.
BioBAT will use the proceeds toward redevelopment of the Brooklyn Army Terminal as a 486,000-square-foot campus for biotechnology companies needing space for research and/or manufacturing. In June, BioBAT announced its first tenant after the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative agreed to lease 36,000 square feet there [BioRegion News, June 25].

Chromatin Leases at University Technology Park At IIT’s Technology Business Center
Chromatin has signed a lease to move its headquarters and its molecular biology research and development operations to the Technology Business Center within University Technology Park at IIT, a research campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.
Chromatin develops and markets novel proprietary technology developed at the University of Chicago. The company's technology enables entire chromosomes to be designed and incorporated into plant cells, delivering genes for the agricultural, nutritional, energy, pharmaceutical, and chemical sectors.
"We are experiencing significant growth and UTP provides capacity for our current and future needs,” Daphne Preuss, Chromatin's CEO and co-founder, said in a statement.
Chromatin's lease includes options to extend the term and to expand into additional space, based on growth projected through licensing agreements with agriculture companies, as well as activities in the biofuels sector.
Chromatin will join more than 20 technology companies with a total 113 jobs now at UTP, located at 3440 S. Dearborn, four miles south of Chicago's Loop. When completed, the park will consist of nine buildings with 1.5 million square feet of space on 15 acres.

With $4M from Connecticut Innovations, Cara Therapeutics Opens New HQ in Shelton
Cara Therapeutics has opened a new 41,000-square-foot headquarters facility in Shelton, Conn., within a converted warehouse building at 1 Parrott Drive. The developer of pain and inflammation therapeutics relocated from Tarrytown, NY, after receiving a $4 million loan from the BioScience Facilities Fund of Connecticut Innovations, the state’s quasi-public venture capital firm.
Cara has brought the state 40 new life sciences jobs — including 14 filled by former employees of Bayer HealthCare, which is moving out its oncology research facilities and its 700 employees from its West Haven, Conn., campus, to be shut down next year as part of a global consolidation following its €16.9 billion ($24.8 billion) purchase of Schering last year [BioRegion News, June 18].
Cara previously occupied 15,000 square feet within the Landmark at Eastview, an R&D-lab-office campus operated by BioMed Realty Trust.
Since 1998, CI’s BioScience Facilities Fund has invested over $33 million in more than 350,000 square feet of lab and support space throughout Connecticut. 

West Virginia EDA OKs Tax Credits for Marshall University Biotech Startup
The West Virginia Economic Development Authority on Nov. 15 awarded high-growth business investment tax credits to 11 investors in Progenesis Technologies, a biotech startup launched by two Marshall University professors, the Charleston Gazette reported. Each investor’s tax credit was more than $1 but not more than $50,000, according to the authority, which is exempted by state law from having to disclose the exact amount of the tax credits.
Investors include Louise Polan of Proctorville, Ohio; Mary Lake Polan of Camp Verde, Tex.; James Donnally of Firebrick, Ky.; Mary Jane Gress of Letart; and Gretchen Oley, Nancy Heiner, Earl Heiner Jr., Earleen Heiner Agee, John Dorsey, John Underwood and Bart Andrews, all of Huntington. Underwood’s and Andrews’ credits are contingent upon clearance from the state’s tax department.

Scheer Partners Completes 102,000-Square-Foot GMP facility for Mediatech
Scheer Partners, a provider of real estate services to life sciences companies, has completed a 102,000-square-foot Good Manufacturing Processes facility for Mediatech, a manufacturer and supplier of cell culture and molecular biology reagents to biopharmaceutical, academic and government research facilities, as well as biotechnology companies.
The facility is situated on 10 acres at Innovation Technology Park, a 1,500-acre site owned by Prince William County for the purpose of attracting life sciences companies and other companies in targeted industries.

Biotech Tenants Envisioned for Redevelopment of South Boston’s Bronstein Center
Biotech companies are among the mix of tenants envisioned for a $280 million makeover of the 820,000-square-foot Bronstein Center on the South Boston waterfront into commercial space that could accommodate life-sciences and other businesses.  
Cargo Ventures of New York has also proposed a new cruise ship terminal of 120,000 square feet, and renovation of an existing 60,000-square-foot cruise ship terminal in addition to redevelopment of what is now industrial space, about half of which has been empty for a decade. Cargo Ventures joined with another New York partner, Millennium Partners, to buy from the Boston Redevelopment Authority an existing lease for the Bronstein Center from Boston Harbor Partners in February for about $34 million.

The Scan

Sick Newborns Selected for WGS With Automated Pipeline

Researchers successfully prioritized infants with potential Mendelian conditions for whole-genome sequencing or rapid whole-genome sequencing, as they report in Genome Medicine.

Acne-Linked Loci Found Through GWAS Meta-Analysis

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics find new and known acne vulgaris risk loci with a genome-wide association study and meta-analysis, highlighting hair follicle- and metabolic disease-related genes.

Retina Cell Loss Reversed by Prime Editing in Mouse Model of Retinitis Pigmentosa

A team from China turns to prime editing to correct a retinitis pigmentosa-causing mutation in the PDE6b gene in a mouse model of the progressive photoreceptor loss condition in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

CRISPR Screens Reveal Heart Attack-Linked Gene

Researchers in PLOS Genetics have used CRISPR screens to home in on variants associated with coronary artery disease that affect vascular endothelial function.