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NCBiotech Eyes Center to Capitalize on State's Personalized Medicine Culture

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The North Carolina Biotechnology Center sees the state as a potential hub for personalized medicine research and business, and has provided $100,000 for a project to begin exploring the possibility of creating a center that would focus on commercializing technologies to individualize medical diagnosis and treatment of each patient.

The initial exploratory efforts will be conducted by a consortium of businesses and academic institutions represented by Duke University Professor Geoffrey Ginsburg, who is executive director of Duke's Center for Personalized Medicine and director of Genomic Medicine in the Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy.

The consortium will use the funding to develop a business plan for an independent center of innovation,n which if approved would trigger a second grant of $2.5 million spread over four years to create and launch the center.

"North Carolina’s knowledge-based economy is well-positioned to take advantage of the coming growth in personalized medicine," Mary Beth Thomas, vice president of the NCBiotech Center of Innovation Program said in a statement. "Preeminent research universities, more than 500 life-science companies, including the world’s largest cluster of contract research and testing organizations, combined with a strong information technology cluster, will serve as an exceptional platform for launching and growing a personalized-medicine sector."

Ginsburg added that the state has "a strong health-provider and payer system and the second-largest medical reference laboratory."

He said that this first grant will be used to bring together personalized medicine stakeholders from around the state to "develop a plan for collaborative solutions, public-private partnerships, and to develop a network that will accelerate the state's leadership in this important area of health care."

The convening members who planned the center of innovation project included the Institute for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Duke's Center for Personalized Medicine; Gentris; Pappas Ventures; Physicians Pharmacy Alliance; and the David H. Murdock Institute. A number of other groups and individuals are expected to join the projects in the coming months.

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