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Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, Quintiles, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Lake Nona ‘Medical City’, Medical University of South Carolina, China-Biotics, Novartis Research Center of Excellence in Virology, Biogen Idec, Alcon Laboratories Ireland, IDA

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Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Opens $100M Addition to Walpole, Mass., Plant
 
Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics has officially opened a $100 million, 115,000-square-foot addition to its Coney Street manufacturing facility in Walpole, Mass. The expansion is designed to increase the facility’s production to more than 1 billion diagnostic tests annually, compared with a production capacity of 600 million tests at the former 400,000-square-foot facility.

Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics CEO Donal Quinn joined US Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the formal opening of the addition, two years in the works. Walpole Selectman Al DeNapoli, the town’s liaison to the company, said at the Sept. 8 ceremony the project was "just the type of industry that we want to bring to the town" given its non-polluting production processes and its potential to ease the residential tax burden, the Walpole Times reported.

The expansion followed a tax increment financing plan worked out between the company, the town and the state. Under the TIF agreement, Siemens is exempted from paying 10 percent of its property taxes each year for 10 years.

In return for the tax break, Siemens has promised to donate $40,000 to the town over the next 10 years, and make a good faith effort to hire local employees for the estimated 70 new jobs in the new facility.

 

 
Quintiles to Relocate, Expand Asia-Pacific Headquarters Within Singapore
 
Clinical development organization Quintiles Transnational Corp. said last week it will consolidate and expand its Singapore operations “to meet the surging demand for its business in the Asia-Pacific region.”
 
Quintiles' central laboratory and its clinical development services offices will move into approximately 80,000 square feet of space in the Cintech IV building now under construction in Singapore's Science Park One. The move is planned in the third quarter of 2009.
 
The new regional headquarters will be double the size of its current Asia-Pacific space, now divided among three sites totaling about 40,000 square feet. The company’s Singapore work force will increase to about 400 staffers from the current 225 — a fraction of the 2,800 professionals now working for Quintiles throughout the region, in seven offices.
 
"We are projecting continued strong growth in the future, and this new facility gives us the room we will need,” Anand Tharmaratnam, head of clinical development for Quintiles Asia Pacific, said in a press release. He also cited support from the Singapore Economic Development Board as a factor in the company’s decision.
 
Quintiles expanded into Asia in 1993.
 

 
VA Completes Acquisition of 65 Acres at Medical City of Orlando’s Lake Nona Campus
 
The US Department of Veterans Affairs has completed its acquisition of 65 acres for a new medical center within the medical city portion of the 7,000-acre Lake Nona mixed-use master planned campus being developed in Orlando, Fla., by Tavistock Group.
 
The VA will build a 134-bed hospital, a 120-bed nursing home, a 60-bed domiciliary, an outpatient clinic, and a veterans benefits mini service center. The $656 million hospital is expected to break ground in the spring of 2009, and be completed in 2012. The hospital is projected to employ up to 2,500 people and serve some 400,000 central Florida veterans.
 
The new VA Medical Center is strategically located proximate to the University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine and Health Sciences Campus, Nemours Children’s Hospital and Burnham Institute for Medical Research — the core of a new life sciences cluster, according to developers.
 
“This is a significant milestone in our mission to create an environment that attracts world-class educators, doctors and researchers,” said Jim Zboril, president of Lake Nona Property Holdings, in a press release.
 
The VA selected Lake Nona for a new hospital in March 2007.
 
Designed in a joint venture of Ellerbe Becket and RLF, the project incorporates sustainability principles expected to earn the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Silver certification. 
 

 
MUSC Seeks Approvals from Charleston, SC, Officials for $55M Bioengineering Building
 
The Medical University of South Carolina has requested approval from the Charleston, SC, Board of Architectural Review to begin construction of a four-story, 100,000-square-foot building that will house the South Carolina Bioengineering Center, a collaboration with Clemson University.
 
The bioengineering building should cost approximately $55 million and is expected to open its doors by late 2010, Richard Swaja, director of the South Carolina Bioengineering Alliance, told the Post and Courier of Charleston. About 36 wet lab areas and office space for 36 investigators will be on the top three floors. The first floor will comprise dry labs for computer-based research and conference space that can hold up to 600 people, Swaja told the newspaper.
 
He said the center will have a strong focus on stem cells, and will also focus on biomaterials. Space will also be included for an incubator to house investors who want to start development. In addition, the bioengineering building will house offices of the South Carolina Bioengineering Alliance, a collaboration of MUSC, Clemson, and University of South Carolina that was founded in the mid-1980s.
 
The proposed facility would be the third in a series of buildings MUSC would construction on or near President Street. The first is a 120,000-square-foot dental building now under construction and slated for completion in August 2009. The dental building faces Bee Street between President Street and Ashley Avenue.
 
The second building is a 114,000-square-foot drug discovery building to consist of laboratory and biotech startup space. It is set for completion by August 2010. The drug discovery and bioengineering buildings will be linked on the first and second floors.
 
This is the second time MUSC has sought approvals for a new project in the past three months. In July, the Charleston City Council approved a $5 million plan to lease a vacant 36,000-square-foot former mattress factory building at 645 Meeting St. to the South Carolina Research Authority, which would transform the building into an incubator for startup biotechnology and medical equipment businesses launched by medical university researchers [BRN, July 21].
 

 
China-Biotics Begins Equipment Installation for Manufacturing Plant at Shanghai’s Qing Pu Industrial Park
 
China-Biotics said last week it has begun to install equipment for its new 789,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at Shanghai’s Qing Pu Industrial Park.
 
Phase 1 of the project will comprise three main buildings and will have a production capacity of 150 metric tons of probiotics per year. Jinan Song, China-Biotics chairman and CEO, said in a statement that construction of the plant was proceeding on schedule, “and we look forward to commencing production by December 2008.''
 
China-Biotics completed construction of the two-level, approximately 130,000-square-foot manufacturing building at the end of August. A second building will have a research and development center, which will further strengthen the company's product development capability. A third building will house a multipurpose office and theater complex, which will be used as an education center to showcase the company's products and educate visitors on the probiotics manufacturing process.
 
China-Biotics is a publicly traded manufacturer focused on development of probiotics dietary supplements.
 

 
Novartis Opens Research Center of Excellence in Virology in Cambridge, Mass.
 
Novartis has opened in Cambridge, Mass., a new 80,000-square-foot virology research facility designed to develop vaccines for CMV, influenza and HIV.
 
The new Novartis Research Center of Excellence in Virology, at 45 Sidney St., consists of laboratory and office space for a work force set to grow to 150 employees by the end of 2009.
Novartis’ new viral research center is located in the same city as two other company facilities: the global headquarters of its vaccines and diagnostics division, which moved from Emeryville, Calif., to Cambridge in 2006; and the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical research, which opened in Cambridge in 2002.
 

 
Report: Biogen Idec Near Deal for 300K Lease in Weston, Mass.
 
Biogen Idec is close to signing a lease for up to 300,000 square feet at an undeveloped site in Weston, Mass., called the Weston Corporate Centre, the Boston Business Journal reported, citing as its source “according to a real estate source with knowledge of the talks.”
 
The corporate center is owned by Boston Properties — whose holdings include the Wellesley [Mass.] Office Park, where Biogen Idec leases more than 105,000 square feet of administrative space. The biotech giant is headquartered in more than 850,000 square feet of office and lab space in nearby Cambridge, Mass.
 
Until recently, Biogen Idec had been considering moving into a new 335,000-square-foot building under construction at 175 Wyman St. in Waltham, Mass., and owned by Hobbs Brook Management LLC.
 
Neither Biogen’s real estate broker, Joseph Fallon of DTZ FHO Partners of Boston, nor Biogen’s spokeswoman, Naomi Aoki, would discuss the lease deal with the newspaper. The BBJ’s calls to Boston Properties were not returned by deadline. Donald Oldmixon, a vice president at Hobbs Brook in Waltham, told the Business Journal he heard a rumor that Biogen is focused on the Weston Corporate Centre, but would not comment further.
 

 
Alcon Laboratories Ireland Completes First Phase of Expansion at IDA Park in Cork; Plans 186 Additional Jobs
 
Alcon Laboratories Ireland Ltd. has opened the €15.6 million ($22.2 million) first phase of an expansion of its Irish operations at the IDA Business & Technology Park in Cork, and announced with officials plans for 186 additional jobs there, at a cost of €21.1 million.
 
The company is a unit of Alcon, which makes pharmaceuticals, surgical equipment, devices, contact lens care products, and other vision care products. Alcon is incorporated in Húnenburg, Switzerland, but maintains a major operational office in Fort Worth, Tex.
 
Alcon's Cork facility was established in 1991, and acquired by Alcon in 2000 following its acquisition of a US manufacturer of laser systems for corrective eye care, Summit Technology.

 

 
Rockland County, NY, Industrial Development Agency OKs $284K Tax Break for Wyeth
 
The Industrial Development Agency of Rockland County, NY, has approved $283,900 in sales-tax abatements to Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, toward construction of a new $16 million vaccine plant at its 550-acre campus in Pearl River, NY, on North Middletown Road, The Journal News of White Plains, NY, reported.
 
The exemption relieves Wyeth of the 8.375 percent sales tax on $3.4 million it expects to spend on construction materials for the site. A day before the IDA’s Sept. 11 decision, the town of Orangetown’s Planning Board approved the plant's construction. However, the tax subsidy requires approval from Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef.
 
The incentive is the first obtained by the pharmaceutical giant for activity in Pearl River, operations vice president Mike McDermott told the board of the Rockland IDA.
 
He said the new 36,000-square-foot building, to be built near an existing vaccine-production facility, would help ensure that the Pearl River plant can continue to make its Prevnar vaccine, as well as begin making a new version of the drug, Prevnar 13, in 2010.
 
“Without this expansion we cannot produce this (new) product in Pearl River,” McDermott was quoted by the newspaper as telling the IDA board. “It's a very critical investment for us on the site.”
 
And because manufacture of the existing vaccine would likely cease by 2012, he added, some 1,500 jobs at the plant were at risk absent the tax break. The plant employs 3,200 people, making it the largest employer in Rockland, a suburban county bordering northern New Jersey.
 
The 101-year-old plant also manufactures Centrum vitamins, in excess of 5 billion tablets each year, and researches vaccines against Alzheimer's disease
 

 
Synageva Bolts Atlanta for Waltham, Mass.; Changes Name from AviGenics
 
Synageva BioPharma, a decade-old biotechnology company focused on new oncology and autoimmune treatments, has relocated from Atlanta to the Boston suburb of Waltham, Mass., and changed its name from AviGenics following the arrival of a new CEO, according to Mass High Tech.
 
A large investor community, talented executives and a cluster of potential licensing partners were the biggest factors in coming to Boston, Marc Corrado, Synageva’s chief business officer, told the newspaper.
 
Synageva’s R&D and manufacturing facility will remain in Atlanta.

Sani Patel, the company’s new CEO, told Mass High Tech his company is now focusing on commercializing its products, notably two follow-on biologics in mid-stage clinical trials. In June, the company received $7 million in financing, the final tranche of a $17 million round that closed last year.

 

 
Two Biotech Companies Among Five First Tenant Startups at Germantown (Md.) Innovation Center
 
The Germantown (Md.) Innovation Center, the fifth business incubator to establish itself in Maryland’s life-sci/tech mecca of Montgomery County, is welcoming its first five companies this week, the Business Gazette reported.
 
The five — two biotechs and three information technology businesses — have signed leases for space at the center, located on the campus of Montgomery College, John Korpela, the county's business incubator network manager, told the newspaper. Four or five more prospective startups will soon be reviewed by the tenant committee, he said.
 
A grand opening is planned for Oct. 20.
 
"We expect to be up to 40 to 50 percent occupied in a month or so,” he told the Business Gazette.
 
The Germantown center sits within 32,000 square feet on the second floor of the 67,000-square-foot Goldenrod office building. The facility will have 11 wet labs and 45 offices, with the first floor set aside for classrooms and office space for college officials.
 
Korpela said he expects the center to eventually house 25 to 30 biotechnology and IT businesses. The Germantown campus also has future plans for a 40-acre business park with more than 500,000 square feet of space, and a 127,000-square-foot bioscience education center.
 
The Germantown center will be the county's second largest incubator — the first is the 60,000-square-foot Maryland Technology Development Center in Rockville, Md. — and the 20th technology-related business incubator in the state, according to the Maryland Technology Development Corp.
 

 
BioTrove Renews Lease, Expands Space in Woburn, Mass.

BioTrove has expanded and extended its lease at 10 and 12 Gill St. in Woburn, Mass., a site owned by Cummings Properties, which announced the deal.
 
The biotech company, which focuses on improving blood typing and researching genetic biomarkers, will add approximately 5,000 square feet, as well as renew its existing lease for more than 33,000 square feet of lab and office space at the Woburn site.
 
Leasing/property manager Tony Spencer and Mark Knittle, key accounts manager, represented Cummings Properties in the transaction, while BioTrove was represented by Andy Majewski of CB Richard Ellis.
 
Cummings Properties said it leases more than 2 million square feet of lab space to more than 100 leading life science firms. Gill Street is a sub-cluster for life sciences companies that includes lung disease biopharmaceutical company Aeris Therapeutics, single molecule biology pioneer US Genomics, and detection technologies developer SRU Biosystems.
 

 
Lentigen Completes Relocation from UMBC TechCenter to Gaithersburg, Md., HQ-Manufacturing Site
 
Lentigen announced last week it had completed its relocation within Maryland, from the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s [email protected] incubator/accelerator in Baltimore, to 910 Clopper Road in Gaithersburg.
 
The new Gaithersburg site houses Lentigen’s corporate headquarters, as well as its research labs and manufacturing plant, within almost 26,000 square feet. Two self-contained suites measuring 4,900 square feet will allow the simultaneous production of both lentiviral vectors and proteins in compliance with FDA-regulated current good manufacturing practices.
 
Lentigen said the new facility will accommodate future growth needs.
 
“The new facility provides an opportunity to expand our research programs. More importantly, the addition of the cGMP manufacturing suites will allow us to manage our programs from the labs through manufacturing to the clinic,” Lentigen CEO Tim Ravenscroft said in a press release announcing the completion of the move, first disclosed by the company last winter [BRN, Feb. 19]. 
 
“We plan to manufacture lentiviral products for clinical trials during 2009 and we will have capacity to handle manufacturing projects for collaborators as the market for lentiviral products expands,” Ravenscroft added in the statement.
 

 
Cargill Cuts Ribbon for Canola Oil Research Lab in Fort Collins, Colo., with Biofuel in Mind
 
Cargill has opened within its Fort Collins, Colo., campus a new 20,000-square-foot laboratory designed to facilitate the company’s research into the use of canola oil as a biofuel.
 
“It's an off-shoot; it's an opportunity: Can this be used somewhere else,” said Lorin DeBonte, assistant vice president of research and development for Cargill Specialty Canola Oil, according to the Coloradoan of Fort Collins.
 
The Fort Collins site is the only Cargill location that does genetic work, Jenny Verner, business unit president for Cargill Specialty Canola Oil, told the newspaper.
 
About 60 people attended Tuesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony and toured the Specialty Canola Innovation Center at the Cargill location, 2540 E. Drake Road, the Coloradoan reported. The new facility is designed to help the company adapt canola plants to the dry Colorado climate and includes new laboratory space, and will include an area for plant testing and seed handling.
 
Remaining remodeling work on the facility will be finished in the next two weeks.
 
Among Cargill’s customers is McDonald’s, for which Cargill grows the canola plants that are the source of its canola oil used in cooking its French fries.
 

 
Cleanroom Contractor AdvanceTEC Expands Within Richmond, Va.
 
AdvanceTEC, a design/build cleanroom contractor in Richmond, Va., has moved within the city to 11300 Business Center Drive. The company’s new space offers nearly 10,000 square feet of office and conference space for the team of engineers, designers, construction managers, and leadership staff.
 
Founded in 2000, AdvanceTEC has designed and built nearly 1 million square feet of cleanroom and laboratory space and now maintains contracts in excess of $30 million. Notable clients include the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC; Purdue University; Merck and Co.; Jacobs Engineering Group; and Brookhaven (NY) National Laboratories.
 

 
Diagnostic Laboratory Services Relocates Kalihi, Hawaii, Satellite Laboratory
 
Diagnostic Laboratory Services has relocated its satellite laboratory in Kalihi, Hawaii, into a larger space at 2110 N. King St.
 
Diagnostic Laboratory Services has 21 satellite facilities on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, and 12 on the Neighbor Islands. All offer walk-in medical and drug testing to patients and doctors. DLS also has laboratories in three Hawaii hospitals, as well as on Guam and Saipan.
 
“We needed more space and this move to our new location in Kalihi gave us the chance to update and modernize to make things easier and more comfortable for our clients,” Chris Galutira, Kalihi satellite supervisor, told Pacific Business News.

The Scan

WHO Seeks Booster Pause

According to CNN, the World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on administering SARS-CoV-2 vaccine boosters until more of the world has received initial doses.

For Those Long Legs

With its genome sequence and subsequent RNAi analyses, researchers have examined the genes that give long legs to daddy longlegs, New Scientist says.

September Plans

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration is aiming for early September for full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on Targeting DNA Damage Response, TSMiner, VarSAn

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: genetic changes affecting DNA damage response inhibitor response, "time-series miner" approach, and more.