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State University of New York, NY State Foundation for Science Technology and Innovation, Chesapeake Crescent Innovation Alliance, Cambridge Major Laboratories, NanoVir, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Southwest Michigan First, Great

NYSTAR Eyes Scaled-Down Research Faculty Recruiting Program for SUNY

HUNTINGTON, NY — The head of the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation, or NYSTAR, told BioRegion News last week his agency is considering how to fund the hiring of top-tier research faculty members for the State University of New York system, as a state commission created last year by then-governor Eliot Spitzer recommended.

“We’re going to assist some of the universities — though not to the degree they would like — to help in the recruitment of lead faculty members,” said Edward Reinfurt, NYSTAR’s executive director, in an interview.

NYSTAR has about $2 million it can spend on recruitment. “That’s it. It can’t service the demand [unless] we get a permanent funding source,” Reinfurt said.

In a preliminary report issued last December, the New York State Commission on Higher Education Commission recommended spending an unspecified amount of money to recruit 250 “eminent scholars” among 2,000 new full-time faculty members in a variety of disciplines. The report also recommended recruiting “a minimum of” 4,000 doctoral candidates; and restructuring the state agency charged with promoting science by increasing academic-industry collaborations [BRN, Jan 7]. 

The hiring of faculty was part of the commission’s key recommendation — a $3 billion, 10-year Empire State Innovation Fund that would fund research at SUNY. A month later, then-governor Eliot Spitzer proposed a $4 billion program he labeled an endowment for the SUNY system. The endowment was to be funded through a partial privatization of the state lottery intended to generate between $200 million and $300 million annually. Spitzer promised his plan would still generate $2 billion a year to support K-12 public education, and would still leave the state operating the lottery’s gamut of games — as required by the state constitution.

“The higher-ed commission was very ambitious, and I think right on the mark,” Reinfurt said.

The commission is expected to issue a final report later this year. Reinfurt could not say how many researchers the state could hire with the $2 million NYSTAR is considering. 

Reinfurt spoke minutes after addressing the 2008 Life Sciences Industry Summit, presented by the Long Island Life Sciences Initiative, and held here last week

Md., Va., DC Research Universities Form Chesapeake Crescent Innovation Alliance
Research universities from across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, have formed the Chesapeake Crescent Innovation Alliance, a collaboration designed to boost the region’s commitment to innovation, economic performance, and global competitiveness.
The new alliance said it will examine areas of potential cooperation to include regional centers of excellence, entrepreneurial development, early stage investment, and moving research-based inventions to marketplace commercialization.
The alliance was announced June 3 at the day-long Chesapeake Crescent Regional Innovation Summit, a gathering of the region's technology, research, investment, business and public policy leaders, held in Washington at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The summit drew speakers that included Elias Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health; and David Rubenstein, co-founder and CEO of the Carlyle Group.
The university collaboration is an outgrowth of the Chesapeake Crescent Initiative, a public-private partnership launched earlier this year by Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and Washington, DC, Mayor Adrian Fenty, as well as officials from the federal legislative and executive branches, and more than 20 regional business executives.

Cambridge Major Laboratories Breaks Ground on $30M Expansion
Cambridge Major Laboratories broke ground last week on a new $30 million manufacturing site in Germantown, Wisc. The new 120,000-square-foot facility [BRN, May 19] will be dedicated to manufacturing multi-ton quantities of active pharmaceutical ingredients, Cambridge Major Labs said.
The facility will house six manufacturing suites with reactors up to 2,000 gallons. It will also house vessels for hydrogenation and cryogenic reactions. The facility has been designed to accommodate additional manufacturing suites up to 4,000 gallon scale, which will be built out as needed, the company said.
Completion is scheduled for August 2009. The plant is expected to employ up to 45 people.

NanoVir Receives $3M Preclinical Development Grant from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
NanoVir, a Kalamazoo, Mich., discoverer of drugs focused on finding treatments for human papillomavirus, has been awarded a nearly $3 million Small Business Technology Transfer Research grant by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an institute within the National Institutes of Health.
The three-year grant is intended to support synthesis and pre-clinical development of lead antiviral compounds for treatment of human papillomavirus 16, or HPV16. The grant will support work at several collaborating institutions including NanoVir, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Stanford Research Institute-International.
NanoVir is headquartered within the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, developed by the Kalamazoo-area economic development organization Southwest Michigan First.

GPEC Embarks on Canadian Road Show, With Foreign Direct Investment in Mind
The public-private Greater Phoenix Economic Council will promote business and investment opportunities in Arizona and Greater Phoenix to Canadian businesses considering expansion in the US this week during a Canadian “Road Show” trip that will take the organization to Montreal and Toronto — namely luncheons in Montreal and Toronto being held by the law firm Blakes, Cassels and Graydon.
“Montreal and Toronto are important target markets for Greater Phoenix because we share mutual strengths in the life sciences, information and communications technology, and aerospace industries,” Barry Broome, GPEC president and CEO, said in a press release.
The City of Glendale will accompany GPEC on the Canadian road show, during which meetings have been scheduled with CEOs, legal experts and bankers, business leaders and economic development agencies to market the region’s growth, university innovation, cost of doing business, and workforce.
The road show is also designed to support a GPEC partnership with the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance, which works to help businesses explore ways to invest in or expand to Greater Toronto. GTMA assisted GPEC in scheduling meetings with Canadian businesses considering investment in Greater Phoenix.

Diversified Project Management Relocates Its Hartford, Conn., Office
Diversified Project Management, a provider of project management, construction administration, and other services for property owners, has moved its Hartford, Conn.-area office to 635 Farmington Ave. within the city itself, from 111 Founders Plaza in nearby East Hartford, Conn.
DPM said the new location will help it better accommodate company growth and serve an expanding client base well beyond Hartford, into the New Haven, Conn.; New London, Conn.; and western Massachusetts markets.

The Scan

Study Links Genetic Risk for ADHD With Alzheimer's Disease

A higher polygenic risk score for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is also linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, a new study in Molecular Psychiatry finds.

Study Offers Insights Into Role of Structural Variants in Cancer

A new study in Nature using cell lines shows that structural variants can enable oncogene activation.

Computer Model Uses Genetics, Health Data to Predict Mental Disorders

A new model in JAMA Psychiatry finds combining genetic and health record data can predict a mental disorder diagnosis before one is made clinically.

Study Tracks Off-Target Gene Edits Linked to Epigenetic Features

Using machine learning, researchers characterize in BMC Genomics the potential off-target effects of 19 computed or experimentally determined epigenetic features during CRISPR-Cas9 editing.