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NCBiotech News

  • 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 Forbes.com. 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.
  • A UNC technology designed to make breathing easier hit the big time this week when Oriel Therapeutics got a buy-out offer from Sandoz, the generics division of Novartis.
  • Bio Briefs with names making news
  • It's only money. Who needs it? Sunday, May 2, is the deadline for discounted conference hotel rates for the 12th Annual NIH SBIR Conference in Raleigh. The event, to run June 2 and 3 at the Raleigh Convention Center, will feature more than 50 representatives of the National Institutes of Health with more than $690 million in grant funding to distribute.
  • About a quarter of a million people in North Carolina make their living because of biotechnology. This according to a study released today by BIO and the Battelle organization. North Carolina, at the end of 2008, had more than 53,000 people employed in biotechnology. The ripple effects of those jobs brings the total to 247,457 That's 4.62 jobs for each biotech job. In addition, bioscience jobs command a high salary on average, and even technician-level jobs pay higher than jobs with similar qualifications.
  • North Carolina will share its experiences and expertise in finance, international partnerships, devices, biologics and diagnostics Wednesday at the BIO 2010 International Convention. The 10 speakers will participate in: The Global Innovation Network - International Case Studies 3:00 PM S101B John Chaffee, North Carolina Eastern Region
  • North Carolina educators pursuing research on topics ranging from forest growth to forensics will soon be getting special attention from academic and industrial mentors. Eighteen educators from across the state have been included in the Class of 2012 Kenan Fellows Program for Curriculum and Leadership Development. Of those, 10 teach biotech-related curricula.
  • Two more young North Carolina pharmaceutical companies are in the "win" column with new drug marketing approvals. Chapel Hill drug company Pozen got the go-ahead from the United States Food and Drug Administration to market VIMOVO, a medicine merging two existing drugs. It combines enteric-coated naproxen with esomeprazole to reduce the risk of gastric ulcers in treating arthritis.
  • Another in a string of North Carolina Biotechnology Center funding recipients is compounding the award with more cash and kudos. Patrick Sullivan, M.D., of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, landed a $126,400 Biotechnology Center grant four years ago to support his work developing high-speed techniques for parsing the genetic makeup of mammalian cells.
  • Bio Briefs with names making news Chimerix, a 10-year-old Durham-based development-stage biopharmaceutical company, has hired former Neurogen senior vice president, chief business and financial officer Thomas Pitler, Ph.D., as its new vice president of business development. More
  • Now there are two crime labs in North Carolina. And one of them is the state's only private commercial forensics lab. Triad Forensics Laboratory, which moved its headquarters last year from Texas into the Piedmont Triad Research Park's Wet Lab LaunchPad in downtown Winston-Salem, was recently certified by the state to conduct drug analyses.
  • Research Triangle Park pharmaceutical company Cognosci is celebrating its 10th anniversary with another winner in a string of good news. The small biotech firm has received a $330,000 grant from the Accelerating Commercial Development program sponsored by Fast Forward (a division of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society) and EMD Serono, a division of Merck KGa.
  • Software to bring hard data to global health will get the spotlight Thursday in a breakfast forum at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. Frederic Bost, director of information systems for Research Triangle Park drug discovery and development company SCYNEXIS will lead the discussion with local global health organizations and the general public.

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