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A Site Selection Web Exclusive, November 2013
WEB Exclusive story

Close to S$100 million (US$80 million) is being invested in skin research with the September announcement of the Skin Research Institute of Singapore (SRIS). A collaboration between the Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR), National Skin Centre (NSC) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the SRIS will harness the expertise of scientists, clinicians and engineers to foster and conduct high impact, inter-disciplinary skin research designed to translate into improved health outcomes and quality of life.

“Besides working with pharmaceutical companies, our researchers are currently working with some of the world's largest personal care companies, a number which have expanded their R&D activities here,” said Dr. Benjamin Seet, executive director of the Biomedical Research Council at A*STAR. “The Procter & Gamble Singapore Innovation Centre, for example, will provide more than 500 research jobs when it is completed early next year. We are fully committed to placing Singapore at the forefront of research in skin biology and related fields, to continue to enhance the proposition for companies to locate their research activities here.”

Just to the north, following on recent multiple expansions from leading manufacturers of rubber and nitrile gloves, Malaysia’s Karex Bhd, the world’s leading condom maker, is investing $1.25 million in R&D, as well as $13 million to double production capacity to 6 billion condoms a year, or 22 percent of the projected global market, by 2015.

Following an extensive site selection process, the label printing company Nosco, Inc., announced this month that it will locate its new “On Demand Solutions Center” in Bristol, Pa. The 23,000-sq.-ft. (2,137-sq.-m.) facility will employ 50 people and be dedicated to manufacturing healthcare packaging. Helped by Select Greater Philadelphia in their real estate site search, Nosco was also assisted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Governor’s Action Team and the Department of Community and Economic Development, the Redevelopment Authority of Bucks County, the Bucks County Economic Development Corporation, and Bucks County Commissioner Rob Loughery.

James Struhar, GM of East Coast Operations for the company, said Nosco selected the Greater Philadelphia region to locate due to the quality of the facility, the accessibility to a skilled labor force and the convenient access to Nosco’s primary customer base, which includes a large segment of the health-care industries.

Site Selection readers will recall our California coverage highlighting personal genome services firm 23andMe, led by Ann Wojcicki, wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin. This week the FDA sent her a letter instructing her company to cease marketing its services until full FDA approval has been achieved. But personalized medicine marches on: Last week the NIH announced the first regulatory clearance by the FDA of a high-throughput DNA sequencing device, the Illumina MiSeq Dx from San Diego-based Illumina. “This action reflects our nation's commitment to a future in which health-care professionals will be able to use each person's unique genetic information to provide more precise ways of detecting, treating, and preventing disease,” said NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, citing the state’s recent elimination of sales tax on manufacturing equipment, announced last week that Covidien, a leading global provider of healthcare products, will establish a medical device manufacturing facility in Hillsborough County. The project will create up to 165 new jobs and $18 million in capital investment by 2017. “We specifically selected Hillsborough County for several reasons, including its talented work force and the Tampa Bay region’s business climate, economy and quality of life,” said Phil Devlin, vice president and general manager, Covidien. “Our new facility will not only provide jobs for the local community, it will support Florida’s growing life science industry as well.”

The project, to eventually located in Riverview, was made possible through strong partnerships between Enterprise Florida, the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, Hillsborough County, Workforce Florida, Inc. and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Gov. Jay Nixon joined leadership of Pharma Medica Research, Inc. and local government and economic development officials Nov. 20 to cut the ribbon on the contract research organization’s new research facility in St. Charles. The $30.8 million project will bring 320 new high-tech jobs to the state within the next three years. The St. Charles facility will be the company’s first expansion outside of Canada. Earlier this year, Governor Nixon met with company officials at the 2013 International BIO Convention in Chicago to discuss opportunities for growth in Missouri.

“This new facility in St. Charles provides excellent opportunities for Pharma Medica Research Inc.,” said Mohammed Bouhajib of Pharma Medica Research Inc. “Here we have access to an experienced work force and booming biotech and pharmaceutical industries. By expanding here, we’re better positioned to compete and succeed in a global economy.”

This week, Missouri welcomed another bio project, as Nanova Biomaterials, Inc., (NBI), an early-stage biotech company in Columbia, announced it is expanding its operations. The company’s $1.5-million expansion project is expected to create 50 new jobs within the first five years. “Mid Missouri has been a great place to launch a tech startup,” said Dr. Hao Li, president of NBI. “Missouri’s innovative economic toolkit has made the state a go-to place for startups, and being in close proximity to the University of Missouri, a prominent research institution, we’ve had access to extensive resources and world-class talent.”

(Pictured left to right: St. Charles Mayor Sally Faith; Mohammed Bouhajib, VP of Lab Operations; Latifah Yamlahi, President & CEO of Pharma Vetmedica; Governor Jay Nixon and Mike Panayi, President Pinnacle Capital Partners.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new plan to reduce the required amount of biofuels to be produced in 2014 by 2.94 billion gallons would reduce incentive for biofuels growth, says Purdue University energy policy specialist Wally Tyner, the Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics. He said the EPA's proposal to trim total production of biofuels from the current mandate of 18.15 billion gallons to 15.21 billion should be changed to 16.4 billion.

"I think something in that area does a better job of fulfilling the original intent of Congress in the RFS, but adjusted for current market and technology realities," Tyner wrote in a blog posting titled "The Biofuels Renewable Fuel Standard at a Crossroads.”

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