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NCBiotech News

  • Bioscience companies throughout North Carolina can get reduced-price Internet access to science and business information, thanks to contract pricing arranged by the information specialists at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center library. The service, especially useful to emerging companies around the state that have limited budgets, includes:
  • How do you get science to thrive in the midst of economic decline? Leaders at the Research Triangle Regional Partnership often answer that question.
  • What economic crisis? Syngenta Biotechnology Inc. is proof you don't need to develop a swell swine flu vaccine or a cancer drug to be a biotech powerhouse. In fact, even as it celebrated 25 years of biotech breakthroughs at its Research Triangle Park research headquarters Friday, SBI is hiring workers, buying land and launching products.
  • North Carolina has a new system for getting drug discoveries into the development pipeline. The North Carolina Biotechnology Center has approved a $2.5 million Phase II grant that will be doled out as milestones are met, to support the next four years of building a statewide Drug Discovery Center of Innovation ((DDCOI).
  • Tranzyme Pharma, a 6-year-old Research Triangle Park firm developing drugs for gastrointestinal and metabolic diseases, has signed a multi-million-dollar partnership agreement with pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb.
  • Cary-based Trana Discovery, which got a boost last year through a $250,000 Small Business Research Loan from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, has completed a $720,000 Series A round of venture funding. The funding means Trana has so far amassed more than $1.4 million to help the 9-year-old firm commercialize its proprietary technology for quickly identifying new drugs to fight viral and bacterial infections, such as HIV and staph.
  • Duke University is among nine organizations receiving $35 million from the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to help devise better radiation detection systems. The contracts, to corporations and universities across the country, seek more-effective tests and devices to determine the level of radiation a person has absorbed after a nuclear or radiological incident. They total $35 million for this initial phase and up to $400 million over five years.
  • North Carolina-based non-profit organizations can help their communities become biotech business beneficiaries. How? By pursuing up to $75,000 in grant funding from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center's Regional Development Grant program. But a January 27 deadline is fast approaching.
  • Liverpool, England-based Eden Biodesign Ltd. has opened its United States subsidiary, Eden Biodesign Inc., with the appointment of Maria Lusk as director of client management at the new Research Triangle Park facility. Lusk, former project manager and business development manager at PharmaDirections, has 17 years' experience in biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry, including roles at Diosynth, Bayer and LabCorp.
  • Athenix, an 8-year-old Research Triangle Park agricultural biotechnology company whose research was advanced by a $150,000 Small Business Research loan from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in 2002, has entered a collaboration with DuPont's Pioneer Hi-Bred business to develop genetic insect resistance in corn and soybeans. Under the agreement, DesMoines, Iowa-based Pioneer will use proprietary insect-resistance trait genes from Athenix to develop and commercialize next-generation corn and soybean seed products. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
  • Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis has secured a $486 million contract to build a new flu vaccine plant in the United States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services granted the eight-year contract to build and run a vaccine manufacturing site in Holly Springs, North Carolina.
  • Start-up companies in North Carolina that need help bridging early funding gaps en route to government grants or private-equity support have until Friday, Jan. 30 to submit online pre-proposal applications for the next round of grant funding from NC IDEA. Firms focused on medical devices, green technologies, material sciences or information technology can get grants of up to $50,000 in this seventh application cycle to be offered by the non-profit organization. Since its founding in 2006, NC IDEA has awarded more than $1.2 million to 32 companies.
  • Raleigh-based early-stage biomedical device company Micell Technologies has signed an agreement with Maxcor, a subsidiary of Opto Circuits India, to put Micell's drug-delivery technology into Maxcor drug-eluting stents.
  • Pennsylvania-based Tengion, a regenerative medicine firm with a research office, a development laboratory and a pilot manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem, plans an initial public offering of stock expected to raise more than $40 million.
  • When our economy recovers, it's a good bet that the biotechnology sector will be one of those sectors leading the way.
  • North Carolina has opened a trade and investment office in Shanghai, the seventh state Department of Commerce overseas office that promotes business activity. Others are in Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Germany and Korea. China is North Carolina's second-largest export market, trailing only Canada. Other major markets for Tar Heel goods and services are, in order, Mexico, Japan, Germany and France.
  • Ridge Diagnostics, a Research Triangle Park medical diagnostics company, plans to begin marketing its unique blood test for major depression later this year -- and to seek a major round of venture funding. The firm was called Precision Human Biolaboratory when it was launched three years ago by two former GlaxoSmithKline researchers, with the help of $452,500 in loans from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
  • A jointly developed drought-tolerant corn from BASF Plant Science and Monsanto is being reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for regulatory clearance, according to the companies. Monsanto has submitted the product to the FDA and, if approved, the firms expect to have it available to farmers within the next four or five years. The BASF unit's R&D facility is in Research Triangle Park.
  • Two young North Carolina bioscience-related companies are among the first 26 emerging technology firms chosen to give presentations to the Southeastern venture capital community next month. The fourth annual Southeast Venture Conference, to be held February 24 and 25 at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner, Virginia, will showcase some 60 promising technology firms from throughout the region. That's nearly twice the number participating in previous years.
  • A Catawba College student who won a $5,000 undergraduate research award from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center last year has added another major feather to his academic cap. Nathaniel Griffin, a senior from the Wilkes County town of Boomer, N.C., who is pursuing a double major in chemistry and biology, has won the American Chemical Society's (ACS) 2010 Student Leadership Award.

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