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A Site Selection Web Exclusive, March 2013
WEB Exclusive story
Saint John, New Brunswick
Image courtesy of the Province of New Brunswick

he New Brunswick provincial government is providing $500,000 over two years to support a new cluster initiative – called Health + Life Science New Brunswick – to attract new investment in scientific research and to create jobs in the life sciences sector across New Brunswick. "Our plan to rebuild New Brunswick's economy is focused on smart projects that will enable our businesses and researchers to bring innovative products and services to market and to create jobs," said Premier David Alward. "By helping these forward-thinking businesspeople come together, we are building a strong foundation to attract investment and create new economic growth in Saint John and throughout New Brunswick."

An excellent report from NPR examines the sometimes conflicting humanitarian origins and biotech industry profits embedded in a grain of genetically modified golden rice. As usual in the GMO universe, all roads lead to Monsanto.

Global clinical supply chain solutions provider Marken, based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., announced in early March the completion of its new pharmaceutical depot in Beijing, China. The new facility, which provides 850 sq. m. (9,150 sq. ft.) of GMP-compliant space for temperature-controlled storage as well as distribution of clinical trial supplies, is located next to Beijing Capital International Airport. The facility supplements Marken's existing network of global depots in Frankfurt, Germany; Singapore; Farmingdale, N.Y.; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Mexico City, where the company completed construction of a new, expanded facility in January.

"We now have six fully operational depots in strategic areas globally and plan to open five additional depots before the end of 2013. Enlarging our network to provide the most efficient and flexible solutions to our clients is one of our key priorities for 2013," said Gerit Offenhauser , senior vice president, Clinical Trials Distribution. "We are now pushing forward with more depots in key countries around the world such as Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Russia," said Wes Wheeler, CEO of Marken.

Want to know who the top 20 spenders were in biopharma R&D in 2012? Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) is happy to tell you.

Spirit Pharmaceuticals has announced it will create 296 new jobs at a new $12.2-million manufacturing and packaging facility for generic pharmaceuticals at a former Federal Mogul plant in Summerton, S.C., located in Clarendon County, along I-95 just north of Lake Marion and the I-26 interchange. The facility is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2014. "Spirit joins WNS as the second company from India to locate in Central SC in the last year," said Central SC Alliance Chairman Jim Apple.

"South Carolina offers us an excellent business climate, a talented workforce and the infrastructure we need to be successful. We appreciate all the support we've received from state and local officials," said Ajoy Joshi, CEO of Spirit Pharmaceuticals. Since 2011, South Carolina has recruited more than 2,000 jobs and more than $400 million in capital investment in the life sciences industry, which includes secondary sectors such as medical and health IT.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 10 percent of medicines available globally are likely to be counterfeit. This figure rises to as much as 30 per cent in some areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Combating the global scourge of fake medicines which threatens the health of millions of people is the focus of a landmark agreement between INTERPOL and 29 of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. The three-year €4.5-million deal will see the creation of INTERPOL's Pharmaceutical Crime Program to further build on the work of its Medical Product Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime (MPCPC) unit. The program will focus on the prevention of all types of pharmaceutical crime including branded and generic drug counterfeiting as well as the identification and dismantling of organized crime networks linked to this illegal activity, which generates millions in illicit profits every year.

In 2012, Operation Pangea V, an INTERPOL-supported initiative spanning 100 countries aimed at disrupting the organized crime networks behind the illicit online sale of medicines, resulted in some 80 arrests and the worldwide seizure of 3.75 million units of potentially life-threatening medicines worth US$10.5 million. Fake medicines have led to scores of deaths around the world, including 109 heart patients in Pakistan who died after taking counterfeit drugs.

"In the case of drug counterfeiting, it can mean the difference between life and death for a patient." said Christopher Viehbacher, CEO of Sanofi. "It is estimated that 10 per cent of medicines are fake and these figures can go up to 50 per cent, particularly in some poorer countries. This is why it is so important that industry members partner with INTERPOL to coordinate law enforcement operations around the world so that we can help curtail the threat of counterfeit medicines online and at the retail level."

Healthcare led the way in a 15.3-percent year-over-year increase in demand in Florida for job applicants with STEM skills, said an early March release from Florida Gov. Rick Scott's office.

In Texas this month, The Sanders Trust, based in Birmingham, Ala., acquired for $13 million the Kyle Medical Plaza near Austin. The recently completed 42,000-sq.-ft. (3,902-sq.-m.) facility includes Hays Surgery Center (top picture above), an outpatient surgery center, as well as MRI testing, physical therapy, and complementary physician practices. "We are excited to add the Kyle Medical Plaza to our expanding portfolio of medical office buildings, especially in an area that is starting to identify itself as a hub for medical services," said Rance Sanders, President and CEO of The Sanders Trust.

In the Houston suburb of Katy, Transwestern announced it's been awarded the leasing assignment for Katy Medical Plaza (bottom picture above), a 150,000-sq.-ft. (13,935-sq.-m.), three-building LEED-Gold-certified medical office campus now in development. Construction on the first building is under way and is on schedule for a July 2013 delivery.

Recent Site Selection Life Sciences Report contributor Don Van Dyke sent out a LinkedIn note about this excellent summary from Current Partnering of biopharma M&A in 2012, which also includes data going back to 2008.

The CityCenterDC development at the 12-acre former site of the Washington Convention Center was designed by Foster + Partners.
Image courtesy of Foster + Partners

Hines announced earlier this week the lease of 42,000 sq. ft. (3,902 sq. m.) at its landmark mixed-use CityCenterDC development to the national non-profit American Hospital Association, which was advised by Studley. With the execution of the new lease, the office buildings One and Two CityCenter are now just over 83-percent leased with additional pending commitments.

"We determined early on that the newly constructed building infrastructure at CityCenterDC would be the best fit to meet the needs of our members and staff," said John Evans, AHA senior vice president and chief financial officer.

CityCenterDC, one of the largest downtown developments currently underway in the nation, is a development of Hines and The TFI US Real Estate Fund. The anchor investor in the Fund is Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company (Qatari Diar), the real estate investment arm of the Qatar Investment Authority. The Fund is advised by Tanween, a Qatari real estate development management and consulting firm.

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