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United Therapeutics, Semafore Pharmaceuticals, BioLife Solutions

United Therapeutics Adding 250 New Workers in NC’s Research Triangle Park
United Therapeutics of Silver Spring, Md., has nearly doubled its projection of how many new workers it will hire when it completes its expansion into North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, the Triangle Business Journal reported.
The company now has 50 staffers at RTP and had promised last year to create 147 jobs in the region. Roger Jeffs, the company’s COO, told the newspaper the company now plans to base 300 workers at RTP, where it is building a $100 million, 200,000-square-foot manufacturing and office facility set to be commissioned in late 2009, replacing space the company now leases.
The size of the building has doubled from last year’s plans showing a $54 million, 100,000-square-foot facility. United Therapeutics won incentives from the state and Durham County last year to build the facility.
The new building will host clinical development, sales and marketing staff, as well as manufacturing facilities for the oral form of treprostinil, an active ingredient in United Therapeutics' blood-pressure treatments. The drug is in late-stage clinical trials and is not expected to enter the market until at least late 2010.

Seeking Capital and Proximity to Researchers, Semafore Expands Into Scottsdale, Ariz.
Semafore Pharmaceuticals, an Indianapolis cancer therapeutics firm, has opened an office in Scottsdale, Ariz., hoping to capitalize on the state’s growing life sciences industry and locate closer to cancer researchers at a time it is seeking capital and has begun phase 1 human clinical testing of its anti-cancer drug SF1126.
The new office, at Loop 101 and Via de Ventura, will focus on business development and provide clinical and regulatory support, with the possibility of a local research lab. The new facility will employ about 20 workers within one year — about as many people as work in the company’s headquarters — but could grow based on drug-development successes, Semafore executives told the Arizona Republic earlier this month.
Semafore CEO Edward Jacobs, who has a Scottsdale home, told the Republic said the company wanted to draw on the knowledge of Arizona cancer researchers such as David Alberts, director of the Arizona Cancer Center, and Daniel Von Hoff.

BioLife Solutions Outsources Manufacturing, Warehousing, and Order Fulfillment
BioLife Solutions, a Bothell, Wash.-based developer and marketer of hypothermic storage and cryopreservation media products, has outsourced product manufacturing, warehousing, and customer order fulfillment to Bioserv, a San Diego-based contract manufacturing organization serving the pharmaceutical, biologics, and medical device markets. Bioserv is a subsidiary of NextPharma Technologies.
BioLife said it selected Bioserv following a detailed evaluation of several contract manufacturing
services providers. BioLife serves the cord blood banking, cell therapy, and drug discovery markets.
“Having Bioserv warehouse our inventory and fulfill orders will also enable us to reduce production and other operating expenses and allow us to commit additional resources to expanding our sales and scientific teams, which will better position BioLife to execute its growth plan,” said Mike Rice, BioLife chairman and CEO, in a press release.
BioLife will vacate its 6,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Owego, NY, by the end of its lease Jan. 15. The company has no plans to renew the lease due to space constraints there and legal issues with the family of co-founder John Baust, Rice told the Press and Sun-Bulletin of Binghamton, NY.

Founded in 1988, Bioserv has more than 40,000 square feet of cGMP facilities.

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.