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United Therapeutics, Semafore Pharmaceuticals, BioLife Solutions

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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

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.