f you haven't heard the incredible story of Henrietta Lacks, her cells, her family and all the bioethical issues the story raises, brilliantly recounted by Rebecca Skloot, discover it here. The next chapter in her story was reached early this month, when the NIH announced it has reached an understanding with the family of the late Henrietta Lacks to allow biomedical researchers controlled access to the whole genome data of cells derived from her tumor, commonly known as HeLa cells.
When we saw that the thought leaders at KPMG were all over the topic of convergence of healthcare firms and life sciences firms, we were happy to know we'd been pointing it out for some time in Site Selection over the past six months. But the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, per their usual MO, was ahead of us by a couple years.
The team at BioDistrict New Orleans reminds us that on July 31, 2013, a group of more than 160 university presidents and chancellors, including F. King Alexander, Louisiana State University and Scott S. Cowan of Tulane University, sent a letter to President Obama and Congress urging them to increase investments in research and higher education in order to close what they called an "innovation deficit" that they said is harming the underpinning of America's economic competitiveness. Life sciences discovery and commercialization is a cornerstone of their argument.
Recent Site Selection Life Sciences Report contributor Don Van Dyke recommends this snapshot of a nascent cluster outside Paris.
Biotechnology experts from around the world will gather at Malaysia's premier and largest biotechnology event in the region this October to share ideas and new findings, Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation Sdn Bhd (BiotechCorp) announced on July 31. The event, BioMalaysia & Bioeconomy Asia Pacific 2013, will be held at Persada Johor International Convention Centre, Johor Bahru, Oct. 21-23.
Lend Lease has been selected by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to design, build, and manage a new VA Healthcare Center in Kernersville, N.C. The 280,000 net usable square feet (NUSF), four-story healthcare center with more than 1,900 parking spaces, will provide primary and mental healthcare to Veterans. Services will include dental, diagnostic, laboratory, pathology, radiology, as well as other ancillary services. Designed by Perkins Eastman, the project is scheduled to be completed in fall 2015. As we reported not long ago when we interviewed the VA's head of construction and facilities management, the VA operates the largest integrated healthcare system in the country, with 152 major medical centers and more than 800 community-based outpatient clinics.
One of the most useful parts of the BIO website is its area devoted to state and local issues. Here the organization offers its insights into new legislation signed in June by Florida Gov. Rick Scott that will help increase access to biologic medicines.
Speaking of state legislation, California Gov. Jerry Brown in July signed into law new tax credits in his reforms to the state enterprise zone program that could help life sciences firms. He signed the measure at Takeda Pharmaceuticals in San Diego to drive home the point.
BioSpectrum offers these insights on life sciences logistics from a managing director for DHL Express in Singapore