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NCBiotech News

  • Pioneer Surgical Technology, which has a research facility in Greenville started with the help of $190,000 in funding from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in 1995, has entered the Chinese market with its full range of spinal-fusion products. Pioneer's Chinese partner, Bonovo Orthopedics, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of orthopedic products, has received its government's approval to distribute Pioneer's full product line there.
  • Well in advance of tonight's celebration of biotech's growth in the Piedmont Triad, Becky Dougherty walked into the Marriott Convention Center. Becky and her colleage from Prudential Carolinas Realty, Samantha Woltz, took on the job of sorting through name tags. Once the As and Bs and Cs were all together, they arranged them on a black velvet table awaiting the event's 300 attendees. Many Tasks
  • While the Novartis vaccine plant is only now officially opening, Shannon Manning is already one of its proudest boosters. Manning is a production engineer in the automation engineering department. But it's his path to the job with the pharmaceutical giant that makes him an evangelist. Manning, 32, a native of the Nash County town of Middlesex, developed an interest in science while attending Southern Nash High School. He took advanced placement chemistry, physics, and even became a lab assistant.
  • Salix Pharmaceuticals this week closed a sale of 6.325 million shares of stock to raise $128.2 million for company operations. The shares of common stock sold for $21 a share, and was trading over $23 per share on Wednesday (Nov. 25) afternoon. The company's stock received a boost in September, when it won approval from the FDA for Metozolv as a treatment for gastroparesis. It also announced significant results for Rifaximin as a treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Emerging North Carolina bioscience companies are encouraged to apply by Friday, Dec. 11, for the chance to present themselves to venture capital funding specialists and other interested people at the 2010 Southeast Venture Conference, to be held February 24 and 25 in suburban Washington, D.C.
  • Wilmington-based contract research organization PPD has completed another in a recent series of major business expansions in China. The firm said it has closed on its $77 million acquisition of BioDuro, a 660-employee CRO that PPD says is China's largest such drug discovery and services firm. PPD also recently bought Excel PharmaStudies, another large Chinese CRO, giving PPD 1,000 employees in China. The company now operates in 38 countries and has more than 10,500 employees.  
  • Winston-Salem-based Targacept has entered a collaboration and license agreement with AstraZeneca that could provide more than $1.2 billion in milestone and royalty payments from a drug borne of an earlier disappointment. The drug, TC-5214 is an experimental augmentation therapy, or "add-on drug," to treat major depressive disorder (MDD). It's chemically similar to an experimental MDD drug previously shelved by Targacept. But TC-5214 appears to be safer and more effective. Under terms of the agreement AstraZeneca agreed to pay Targacept:
  • 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.

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