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NCBiotech News

  • Watch yourself. Or watch somebody else. Just don't miss the chance to nominate a growing North Carolina bioscience company for the upcoming "Companies to Watch" awards program, sponsored by CED and the Edward Lowe Foundation.
  • Duke University has landed a $10.2 million gift to help prove the benefits of therapies derived from donated umbilical cord blood cells. The funding commitment from the Robertson Foundation creates a state-of-the-art Translational Cell Therapy Center on the Durham campus, under the guidance of cord-blood pioneer Joanne Kurtzberg, M.D.
  • Raleigh-based BioDelivery Sciences is being routed onto a superhighway to get one of its next drugs to market. The decision by the the U.S. Food and Drug Administration avoids the back roads and costly detours of multiple clinical trials. The BioDelivery agreement involves the use of its proprietary BEMA system for delivering an anti-nausea medicine to chemotherapy patients. That will be the sole focus of its regulatory scrutiny -- not the overall drug.
  • Bio Briefs with names making news Joseph DeSimone, Ph.D., an entrepreneur and chemistry professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a professor in chemical engineering at North Carolina State University who co-founded the Hangers dry-cleaning chain and the local firm Liquidia, has received the prestigious 2011 Harrison Howe Award from the American Chemical Society. More
  • Salix Pharmaceuticals has opened the door to a big new drug market. The United States Food and Drug Administration has given the Morrisville firm the go-ahead to market its oral antibiotic rifaximin for treating adults with a neurological disorder caused by chronic liver failure. Salix already markets rifaximin in the United States under the trade name XIFAXAN for patients over 12 with travelers' diarrhea.
  • Oxygen Biotherapeutics is drawing attention from investors, consumers and job seekers. The pharmaceutical company has expanded quickly since relocating its headquarters from California to Durham a year ago. Earlier this year it started trading on the NASDAQ stock market, where it opened this week with a jump of as much as one-third since last week's close. It now has 13 people at its Durham headquarters, and it's actively adding more.
  • Bio Briefs with names making news
  • Fayetteville State University is throwing a seriously scientific party for one of its prized scientists this Friday. Valeria Fleming, Ph.D., who has served FSU as a biology and biotechnology professor for 50 years, is to be honored with a free public science colloquium, Biology/Biotechnology: Linking the Past to the Future for our Students. It's at 2 p.m. in the campus' Seabrook Auditorium.
  • North Carolina women historically have more preterm births than the national average. And the state's infant mortality rate has also exceeded the American average. Now, thanks to a $151,246 Institutional Development Grant from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, an interdisciplinary team of Appalachian State University researchers is buying lab equipment to study the preterm birth situation.
  • Today you can own a piece of a company that might someday recreate a piece of you. Pennsylvania-based Tengion, the high-profile regenerative medicine firm with a research office, a development laboratory and a pilot manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem, launches its initial public offering of stock today on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol TNGN. The firm expected to sell six million shares, with an opening price of $5 a share.
  • The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences will get $5 million from Dow Chemical Co. to computerize chemical safety data. The five-year grant targets a Hamner program that tests chemical toxicity using human cells and high-speed computers.
  • Research Triangle Park-based public biopharmaceutical company Icagen hopes to raise some $25 million from outsiders. The 18-year-old clinical-stage firm has filed a shelf offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission, indicating plans to raise the money through sales of stock and/or through other means.
  • Pittsboro-based Biolex Therapeutics has announced positive results for its lead drug candidate, a new form of interferon to battle hepatitis C. The firm is developing a controlled-release interferon product, Locteron, to treat chronic hepatitis C. It's using duckweed -- a plant that can often be found on the surface of ponds -- to produce the protein needed for the medicine.
  • Bio Briefs with names making news
  • Four North Carolina metro areas are among the top 25 places for doing business, according to recent rankings by The Raleigh metro area ranked third, and the Charlotte area came in 17th when scored by three criteria: cost of doing business, job growth projected and educational attainment. Asheville was # 21 and Durham 23.
  • There's not a dry eye in the house for the folks at Durham-based Inspire Pharmaceuticals since they finally got some good news about one of their dry-eye treatments. Inspire and Osaka, Japan-based Santen Pharmaceutical Co. have issued a joint announcement saying Japanese health officials have approved the marketing of an Inspire-developed therapy, diquafosol tetrasodium ophthalmic solution.
  • Forsyth Technical Community College's foresight in embracing biotechnology won the institution $20,000 last weekend. Forsyth Tech President Gary Green, Ed.D., brought the check home from Seattle, where he was attending the 2010 conference of the American Association of Community Colleges.
  • Amber Shirley is on a mission to help North Carolina farms and farmers thrive. This week the Ph.D. research scientist joined the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in the newly created position of Biotechnology Crops Development Director. She reports to Gwyn Riddick, M.B.A., vice president of agricultural biotechnology.
  • Eight years ago the North Carolina Biotechnology Center put nearly $60,000 into Harold Kohn's epilepsy research quest at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Loans of more than $400,000 from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center are starting to pay off for Arbovax, a fledgling vaccine developer. Arbovax, the Raleigh-based spinout from North Carolina State University, will start preclinical testing of its unique new Dengue fever vaccine in early May. Dengue is ranked second only to Malaria by the World Health Organization, for its devastating global impact.


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