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University of Texas Medical Branch, Johns Hopkins University, University at Buffalo Department of Biomedical Engineering, Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, Massachusetts Summit on Progressive Business

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Hurricane Ike Shuts Down University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston
 
The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston has been shut down as a result of Hurricane Ike earlier this month.
 
No date had been set at deadline for reopening the UT Medical Branch, Galveston’s largest employer with nearly 15,000 workers. David Callender, the president of the medical center, has said publicly that it might take a month or two before the hospital resumes its normal operations.
 
Ike “created a heck of a mess, with high water and some destruction, but 80 percent of our structures are still standing,” Jeff Sjostrom, the president of the Galveston Economic Development Partnership, told the New York Times last week.
 
Sjostrom told USA Today that the presence of UT Medical Branch had helped attract 14 biotechnology startups to Galveston, a city of 60,000, before Hurricane Ike wreaked havoc.
 
The storm has damaged the region’s $700 million-a-year tourism industry, though Galveston Island’s beaches survived the storm relatively unscathed, the Times reported, citing Peter Davis, chief of the Galveston Beach Patrol.
 
Hurricane Ike, which reached land Sept. 14 as a Category 2 storm with 110-mph winds, has been blamed for dozens of deaths in 10 states. The storm has sent more than 35,000 people to shelters and left more than 2 million without power around Galveston and Houston.
 
A 1900 hurricane caused the deaths of an estimated 8,000 Galvestonians.
 
Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas has projected the city's recovery will take three to five years. Over the next three months, she said, the city can operate on $14 million in reserve funds.
 

 
Johns Hopkins Links Growth in Md. Biotech Spinouts to Top Ranking in Research Spending
 
A Johns Hopkins University official said recently that the university’s number-one ranking in research spending is helping it spin out technology and expand Maryland’s life sciences industry.
 
Johns Hopkins has been ranked first-in-the-nation in research spending for 29 years — a ranking the university retained in a new National Science Foundation study released earlier this month.
 
Aris Melissaratos, senior advisor to the president for enterprise development at Johns Hopkins and former secretary of Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development, cited two recent examples of spinouts growing in the state, in comments to the Baltimore Business Journal.
 
Melissaratos cited Amplimmune, a biotechnology startup spun out of JHU that received $20 million in venture funding last year and moved to Montgomery County earlier this year. Another example he cited was Iatrica, a biotechnology startup spun out of JHU last year; it moved in June into the Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins, a campus being developed by a venture led by Forest City Enterprises, the publicly-traded, Cleveland-based developer [BRN, April 14, 2008].
 
According to the NSF, Johns Hopkins University earned $12.8 million from 750 licenses and patents at the university in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2007.
 

 
With $3M Grant, SUNY’s University at Buffalo Establishes Department of Biomedical Engineering
 
The University at Buffalo, part of the State University of New York, announced last week it will establish a department of biomedical engineering that will focus on developing new medical devices and therapies for illnesses that include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
 
The department will be established through a $3 million grant to UB from the John R. Oishei Foundation. To receive that money, UB must raise another $1 million for the department through other sources in 2009.
 
The new department will be a joint venture between UB’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Researchers from both schools have collaborated on projects in recent years.
 
UB said the new department would be headed by “an internationally recognized chair,” and employ about eight full-time faculty and 20 affiliated faculty from other departments, as well as from UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.
 
Researchers will focus on cell and tissue engineering, creation of biomedical sensors and diagnostics, design of new medical imaging technologies, and development of devices that allow for continuous monitoring and early detection of disease symptoms, UB said in a press release.
 
"The new department will enable UB to compete for top faculty, students and research funding with other major research universities such as Michigan, Johns Hopkins, MIT, and Stanford,” Harvey Stenger Jr., dean of UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, said in the release.
 

 
After $30M Donation, San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine Renamed for Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford
 
The San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine renamed itself the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine following a $30 million donation from Sioux Falls, SD, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.
 
The consortium will combine Sanford’s donation with $43 million received earlier this year from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to build and equip a stem cell research facility.
 
The gift was announced at a Sept. 16 event at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, Calif. Burnham is one of the four institutions that comprise the consortium. The other three are the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the Scripps Research Institute, and the University of California, San Diego.
 
Sanford — a financial services magnate who serves as chairman and CEO of United National Corp. — had previously given $20 million to the Burnham Institute for the Sanford Children's Health Research Center, as well as $400 million to Sioux Valley Hospitals and Health Systems, now Sanford Health; and $70 million to the state of South Dakota for the Sanford Science Center.
 

 
Life Sciences Discussion on Tap at Oct. 17 Massachusetts Summit on Progressive Business
 
The Progressive Business Leaders Network, which promotes practices by business leaders committed to socially and environmentally responsible economic growth, and policies toward that end, will host a Massachusetts Summit on Progressive Business on Oct. 17 at the Harvard Club in Boston.

More than 150 Massachusetts CEOs and top officers will meet with top policy-makers and media leaders, in hopes of advancing socially and environmentally responsible economic growth, the network said in a statement. Summit attendees are expected to include Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; and Daniel O'Connell, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development.

The Summit will begin at 8 am with a CEO-only leadership breakfast, followed at 9:30 am by the conference’s general proceedings. The conference will include discussion sessions on the life sciences and healthcare, as well as energy and environment, education, and housing and economic development.

 
Joshua Boger, CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and chairman of the Biotechnology Industry Organization; and James Roosevelt, CEO of Tufts Health Plan, will lead a joint life sciences/healthcare discussion focusing on public and private sector initiatives to promote health and wellness programs.
 
Additional information about the summit is available here.

The Scan

Comfort of Home

The Guardian reports that AstraZeneca is to run more clinical trials from people's homes with the aim of increasing participant diversity.

Keep Under Control

Genetic technologies are among the tools suggested to manage invasive species and feral animals in Australia, Newsweek says.

Just Make It

The New York Times writes that there is increased interest in applying gene synthesis to even more applications.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on OncoDB, mBodyMap, Genomicus

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: database to analyze large cancer datasets, human body microbe database, and more.