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Worcester Polytechnic Institute, RXi Pharmaceuticals, Almac Group, Pennslyvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Renovo Group, University of Manchester Incubator Company, BioEnergy International, WMR BioMedical, InnoCentive

WPI Inks Lease, Including Expansion Option, With Craig Mello’s RXi Pharmceuticals
Worcester [Mass.] Polytechnic Institute has signed a 20-month lease with RXi Pharmaceuticals for space at the WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, 60-68 Prescott St. within the Gateway Park research campus co-developed by the school.
The Oct. 22 announcement by WPI confirms a Sept. 10 report in BioRegion News that WPI had leased to a then-unnamed tenant the remaining 6,000 available square feet at the campus’ open first building, with an option to anchor there a planned 100,00-square-foot second building.
WPI said its lease deal, announced Oct. 22, gave RXi the option to become the lead tenant of the 100,000-square-foot building slated for construction at Gateway Park. RXi, a therapeutics developer using the RNA interference technology co-discovered by Nobel-laureate and University of Massachusetts professor Craig Mello, is among firms that have signed a formal “indication of interest” in becoming potential future tenants there.
Gateway Park is a joint venture of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the public-private Worcester Business Development Corporation. The 12-acre research park is planned for five life sciences buildings totaling 500,000 square feet of lab, office, and amenity space intended for research organizations, 241,000 square feet of market-rate loft condominiums as well as retail space. WPI said in its announcement it is also exploring the possibility of graduate student housing at Gateway Park.

Biopharma Services Provider from Northern Ireland Eyes 900 Jobs in Lower Salford, Pa.
Almac Group of Northern Ireland has announced plans to consolidate North American operations now scattered in two Pennsylvania sites within a new 240,000-square-foot headquarters building in Lower Salford, Pa. Construction is set to begin in 2008, with the facility expected to be fully functioning by 2010. of Northern Ireland has announced plans to consolidate North American operations now scattered in two Pennsylvania sites within a new 240,000-square-foot headquarters building in Lower Salford, Pa. Construction is set to begin in 2008, with the facility expected to be fully functioning by 2010.
Almac said it would retain all 500 jobs scattered now between its existing sites in Audubon, Pa., and Yardley, Pa., then create at least 262 jobs by 2010, with that number rising to 400 jobs by 2013.
The company is an integrated research, development and manufacturing services provider for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
Working with local officials and the Montgomery County Industrial Development Corporation, Almac secured a $9.03 million funding offer from the state Department of Community and Economic Development. The package consists of a $4.5 million grant through the infrastructure and facilities improvement program to be disbursed over 10 years; a $2 million Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority loan; a $1.25 million grant through the infrastructure development program; a $400,000 opportunity grant; $100,000 in customized job training funds; and $786,000 in job creation tax credits.
The company is also eligible to apply for a $10 million loan through the state's Citizens Job Bank program, which offers low-interest loans to companies that commit to creating or expanding jobs in Pennsylvania.

Manchester University Spinoff Renovo Group Expands Into Core Technology Facility
Renovo Group, a spinoff company of Manchester University, has agreed to lease another 25,000 square feet at the University of Manchester Incubator Company’s Core Technology Facility, while retaining 4,100 of its current 8,500 square feet at UMIC’s Manchester Incubator.
The facility will serve as European headquarters for Renovo, which has 170 employees and is best known for developing the scar prevention and reduction product Juvista. The company has a £400 million ($820.6 million) deal giving Shire rights to the product outside of Europe; Renovo retains European rights to Juvista.
Renovo plans to occupy its new space by Jan. 1, 2008. The North West Development Agency is partially funding the renovaion of Renovo’s space, which will include adding fume cupboards and tissue culture cabinets.
The company said it plans to create 50 new jobs in the CTF, but a press release issued by UMIC did not say by when or disclose what NWDA will pay.
“We looked at other options for facilitating our expansion but the University of Manchester is a world leader in intellectual property commercialization and we have received valuable support from UMIC over the last seven years. It makes sense to stay in UMIC facilities,” Renovo financial director Robin Cridland said in the release.

BioEnergy International Opens 11,000-Square-Foot Biofuel Lab in Woburn, Mass.
BioEnergy International, a Norwell, Mass., developer of biorefineries for fuels and specialty chemicals from renewable resources, has opened a research laboratory at 42 Cummings Park in Woburn, Mass.
The 11,000-square-foot lab is designed to serve as BioEnergy's hub for the development and commercialization of new biofuels, biopolymers, and specialty chemicals from renewable sources. BioEnergy’s specialty chemicals incorporate microbial fermentation of biomass sugars – including cellulosic 5 and 6 carbon sugars.
“I look forward to the day when a pound of sugar from renewable raw materials replaces the use of petrochemicals in the manufacture of everything from the fuel we put in our cars to the plastics and fabrics we use in our lives," stated Chairman and CEO Stephen J. Gatto in a press release announcing the new lab.
The Boston real estate brokerage Meredith & Grew assisted BioEnergy in its search for lab space.

WMR BioMedical Signs 27,311-Square-Foot Lease for Alexandria Site in Watertown, Mass.
WMR BioMedical, a developer of medical devices for the cardiology and ophthalmology markets, has agreed to lease 27,311 square feet for its headquarters at 480 Arsenal St. in Watertown, Mass., a two-story, 145,000-square-foot building owned by Alexandria Real Estate Equities.
WMR was represented by Joe Flaherty and Tucker Hansen of the Boston commercial real estate brokerage Meredith & Grew, which announced the deal earlier this month. Alexandria was represented by Curtis Cole of CB Richard Ellis/New England. Specifics of the lease transaction were not disclosed. <


InnoCentive Subleases 9,046 Sq. Ft. for New Offices at Waltham Weston Corporate Center

InnoCentive, the operator of an online community matching scientists to R&D challenges presented by companies worldwide, has agreed to sublease 9,046 square feet from Sigmatel at the Waltham [Mass.] Weston Corporate Center (201 Jones Road), a six-story, 300,000-square-foot class A office building owned by Boston Properties. InnoCentive will relocate from 35 New England Business Center in Andover, Mass.
Michael O’Leary and Ted Lyon of the Boston commercial real estate brokerage DTZ FHO Partners represented InnoCentive. Sigmatel was represented by another DTZ FHO professional, John Boyle.

The Scan

Genetic Testing Approach Explores Origins of Blastocyst Aneuploidy

Investigators in AJHG distinguish between aneuploidy events related to meiotic missegregation in haploid cells and those involving post-zygotic mitotic errors and mosaicism.

Study Looks at Parent Uncertainties After Children's Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Diagnoses

A qualitative study in EJHG looks at personal, practical, scientific, and existential uncertainties in parents as their children go through SCID diagnoses, treatment, and post-treatment stages.

Antimicrobial Resistance Study Highlights Key Protein Domains

By screening diverse versions of an outer membrane porin protein in Vibrio cholerae, researchers in PLOS Genetics flagged protein domain regions influencing antimicrobial resistance.

Latent HIV Found in White Blood Cells of Individuals on Long-Term Treatments

Researchers in Nature Microbiology find HIV genetic material in monocyte white blood cells and in macrophages that differentiated from them in individuals on HIV-suppressive treatment.