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NCBiotech News

  • Durham-based Argos Therapeutics scientists are reporting positive results on an experimental therapy to confer individualized treatment to people infected with HIV. The company generated interest from two presentations in Paris this week at the AIDS Vaccine 2009 conference, demonstrating safety and effectiveness from an ongoing Phase 2a trial of AGS-004, its personalized immunotherapy candidate.
  • A team of Triangle-area scientists has published a research paper describing changes to lungs in mice exposed to six hours of inhaled carbon nanotubes, though the researchers said it's too soon to know whether those changes represent a health threat. Carbon nanotubes are being considered for use in everything from sports equipment to medical applications, but a great deal remains unknown about whether these materials cause respiratory or other health problems.
  • Entrepreneurs, investors and others interested in North Carolina's growing bioscience industry, including students and faculty, will have a chance to rub elbows and exchange ideas Friday at the Fifth Annual BioSciences Forum co-hosted by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
  • Research Triangle Park drug discovery and development company SCYNEXIS has received a preclinical milestone payment for an undisclosed amount, resulting from a collaboration to discover and develop cancer drugs. "We are pleased to celebrate success in reaching another milestone with our valued partner, Merck," said Yves Ribeill, Ph.D., SCYNEXIS president and CEO. "This milestone provides further validation of our long-term relationship with Merck in a number of therapeutic areas through discovery research and innovation."
  • What recession? Research Triangle Park-based Metabolon has exceeded expectations in its Series C fundraising effort, snagging an additional $6 million from recent investors to close the round at $12.3 million. The developer of metabolomics for use as research and diagnostic tools closed the first portion of the funding round at more than $5 million on April 30, and expected the balance to end up at around $11 million. It came in more than a million higher.
  • Therapies from Morrisville drug company Salix Pharmaceuticals were reviewed in 13 presentations as part of the 2009 American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) Annual Scientific Meeting which started last Friday in San Diego. The company's therapies for bacterial and inflammatory bowel disease and bowel cleansing product lines were reviewed in oral and poster presentations from a variety of academic and company researchers throughout the event, ending Oct. 28. Salix products reviewed included Rifaximin, Apriso and Moviprep.
  • Wilmington-based contract research organization PPD has announced three major business moves:
  • Durham-based Aldagen has renewed plans to become publicly owned with an initial public offering of stock after putting a similar plan on hold a year ago. The company has nenewed its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go through with the IPO listing on the Nasdaq exchange to raise $80.5 million. The company had filed for the IPO in May, 2008, but pulled back three months later, saying market conditions were "not in the best interest of the Company at this time."
  • Durham-based Quintiles, the world's largest clinical research organization, has added to the expanding scope of bioscience business relationships between North Carolina and Asia by signing a strategic alliance with Eisai, a global pharmaceutical company with worldwide headquarters in Tokyo but with a major U.S. facility in Research Triangle Park, near the Quintiles campus.
  • The discussions ranged from a possible $100 million cyclotron for the North Carolina Research Campus to cycles affecting the state's multi-billion-dollar bioscience business sector. The Fifth Annual BioSciences Forum drew more than 125 bioscience entrepreneurs, investors, educators and students to the North Carolina Biotechnology Center for a morning of updates and projections on the statewide involvement in biotechnology applications to agriculture, engineering, pharmaceutical development and advanced medical devices.
  • It isn't because he's so successful at avoiding rivalries by holding concurrent professorships at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. Joseph DeSimone, Ph.D., is just plain successful.
  • Durham-based Quintiles, the world's largest clinical research organization, has added another major global pharmaceutical company to its expanding list of services. Just days after announcing a new agreement with Japan's Eisai to shepherd six Eisai cancer drugs to the marketplace, Quintiles unveiled an "industry-leading alliance" with AstraZeneca.
  • Students going from the cloistered halls of graduate school to their first job in industry often require nine months to a year to adjust to the business environment, according to Lisbeth Borbye, Ph.D., an expert on the topic at North Carolina State University. Borbye said a key to dealing with the problem is getting more interaction between university faculty and business, and designing graduate-school classes with the help of industry personnel so students enjoy a better fit when they get to the workplace.
  • Score another major trophy for North Carolina. The state's business climate is ranked the best in the nation by Site Selection magazine for the fifth year in a row--and the eighth of the last nine years. The magazine's cover shows hot-air balloons floating in a blue sky, with the balloon identified as NC 001--the largest, front and center.
  • The North Carolina Biotechnology Center's approval of a $150,000 Small Business Research Loan for agricultural biotechnology upstart Athenix seven years ago is now harvesting major benefits for North Carolina workers and taxpayers. That early investment of state tax dollars from the General Assembly, through the Biotechnology Center's loan programs, provided Athenix not only critical early research money, but also nurture.
  • North Carolina's first statewide non-profit economic development corporation targeting job growth through the blossoming field of advanced medical technologies is underway. The North Carolina Advanced Medical Technologies Center of Innovation (NC AMTC) is incorporated, with J. Greg Davis elected board chairman and Cindy Clark, J.D., running day-to-day operations from a Research Triangle Park office, as president.
  • James Evans, Ph.D., M.D., is both a physician and a renowned genetics scientist. But despite his heady background, Evans can break down the complex world of genetics and health so lay people can understand it.
  • The $486 million Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics manufacturing plant will officially open in Holly Springs on November 24. A select group of elected officials, North Carolina business and economic development leaders and news reporters have been invited to witness the ribbon cutting for the world's first large-scale flu cell culture and adjuvant manufacturing facility.
  • Gov. Bev Perdue announced today that international biopharmaceutical company Talecris Biotherapeutics is expanding its manufacturing facilities near Clayton. Talecris will make the investment over seven years. "The competition for these types of jobs is fierce," Perdue said.
  • Researchers from Durham-based Aldagen have reported positive early clinical study results for two of the firm's lead products, stem cell therapies designed to improve blood flow to the limbs and hearts of people suffering from circulatory problems. Aldagen is a biopharmaceutical company developing proprietary regenerative cell therapies that target unmet medical needs.

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