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A Site Selection Web Exclusive, September 2013
WEB Exclusive story

The National Institutes of Health is making available approximately $3.7 million for awards to enhance training opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to prepare them for careers in the biomedical research work force that could take them outside of conventional academic research.

The first set of Broadening Experience in Scientific Training (BEST) awards are supported through the NIH Common Fund's Strengthening the Biomedical Research Workforce, and are going to programs at NYU, Cornell, Vanderbilt, Emory, UC-Davis, UMass, Wayne State, UCSF, Virginia Poly and UC-Denver.

"The NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) Biomedical Workforce Task Force analyzed the state of the biomedical workforce, and found that many trainees are pursuing research and research-related careers outside of the traditional academic path that serves as the current model for training," said Sally Rockey, Ph.D., NIH deputy director for extramural research. "The BEST awards are intended to expose trainees to the multitude of career paths that utilize their Ph.D. training."

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) rolling out this fall gives states the option of accepting federal dollars for expanding their Medicaid programs, or turning down the money and making no changes. Regional Economic Models, Inc. performed an economic impact study of the potential expansion of Medicaid for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) earlier this year, and will host webinars on the topic Oct. 1 and Oct. 3.


Qmed is a directory of pre-qualified suppliers to the medical device and in vitro diagnostic industries. It's also a great resource for business intelligence. It says the states highlighted above are top-tier locations. Agree? Find out more in Site Selection's Nov. 2013 industry report on the Medical Devices & Equipment sector.

Those looking for ag biotech opportunities on a somewhat smaller scale may want to look over the North Carolina Biotechnology Center's 2013 Agricultural Bioscience Company and Entrepreneurial Profile System (AgBIOCEPS), a database representing a sampling of entrepreneurial ag biotech companies that have unique technologies in North Carolina. Companies represented in AgBIOCEPS are seeking various funding, technology partners or licensing opportunities to grow their technologies and companies. The portfolio represents an aggregate investment opportunity of approximately $29 million. Leaders of eight of the firms will be featured October 10 at the 2013 Ag Biotech Entrepreneurial Showcase.

Part of Xingu's Tabuleiro Farm will be leased to Mitsui's new JV with Brazil's SLC Agricola S.A.

Sept. 3, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. announced it had established an agricultural JV named SLC-MIT Empreendimentos Agrícolas Ltda S.A. with SLC AGRÍCOLA S.A., which operates 14 farms located in six Brazilian states, and has the largest scale of owned farms in Brazil, currently totaling 320,000 hectares. SLC started its agricultural operation in 1977, focusing on soybean, cotton and corn production, and employed 3,000 people as of this spring. Agricola Xingu S.A., agricultural producer company of Mitsui's Multigrain Group, own farms in 3 states over 116,000 hectares, focusing on soybean, cotton and corn. Xingu also handles production of non-genetically modified organism soybean to export to markets with Non-GMO demand, such as Japan.

The JV will lease a part of Xingu's farm (22,000 hectares) and start agricultural production in October 2013. "Mitsui and SLC are aligned towards expanding the business in multiple locations of Brazil," said a company release. "The global demand for grain is expected to increase as population grows and as the economies of emerging countries continue to improve. Mitsui will strive to strengthen its agricultural production business in Brazil, which has high potentiality to enhance a stable supply of "safe and secure" grains to Japan, Asian and other markets."

BDC - Venture Capital and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ this month announced a US$30-million commitment to Sanderling Ventures, an investment firm with a 35-year track record of building new biomedical companies. As a result of this transaction, Sanderling will create a permanent facility for the development of early-stage life science projects in Montréal, Canada. The dollars committed by BDC and the Fonds will be placed in a Canadian parallel fund to Sanderling Ventures Fund VII, which is well on its way to achieving its target size of US$250 million.

"The Fonds de solidarité FTQ is proud to be a financial partner of the Sanderling Ventures Fund VII which will have a positive impact on Quebec's life sciences sector," said Alain Denis, senior vice president - New Economy at the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, a development capital network connected to Quebec's largest union. "Partnering with performing private funds such as Sanderling and institutional investors such as BDC Venture Capital will foster the creation of new businesses in Quebec's life sciences sector as well as provides unique co-investment opportunities that perfectly fits Fonds's strategy in life sciences. Led by an experienced drug development team in Montréal, this initiative will not only help keep Quebec scientists within the province, but also represents a unique opportunity to utilize the existing network of experienced Québec based universities and contract research organizations."

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley in August joined with Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and City of Frederick Mayor Randy McClement to announce the expansion of a Montgomery County life sciences company which plans to add new jobs in Montgomery and Frederick counties over the next several years. Precision for Medicine, a leading provider of specialized services, technology and infrastructure for life sciences companies, will consolidate and expand its headquarters in a new location in Bethesda and will also expand its operations in the City of Frederick to be used for biorepository and lab operations. In total, the company will retain 81 jobs, and will create 170 new jobs between the two locations.

"We are extremely pleased to have been selected as a recipient of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development's financing program," said Precision for Medicine's Chief Operating Officer Chad Clark. "We will deploy this attractive financing to significantly expand our state-of-the-art biorepository and laboratory capabilities in Frederick as well as our corporate headquarters in Bethesda. Precision is committed to an extensive growth strategy largely focused in Maryland."

BioDuro, a company under the aegis of Wilmington, N.C.-based contract research organization PPD, opened a new 72,000-sq.-ft. laboratory and 20,000 sq. ft. of offices in Shanghai this spring, strengthening its ability to provide biopharmaceutical clients an extensive range of customized drug discovery services in Asia Pacific. The company said, "The location of the lab in the Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone and its proximity to local and multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in Shanghai will foster their working relationship with BioDuro." BioDuro also has a 110,000-sq.-ft. laboratory in Beijing.

Earlier in the year, PPD announced it is expanding its cGMP cell-based assay laboratory in Middleton, Wis. "Biotech and pharmaceutical companies are shifting their strategies to developing high-value, niche therapies utilizing biologics, a trend that is expected to generate significant growth in characterization of biologics, as well as biosimilars," said Magdalena Mejillano, Ph.D., vice president of cGMP labs for PPD. "Expanding our capabilities to perform additional cell-based assays that establish the potency and stability of these biologics gives clients greater capacity, flexibility and efficiency in testing their products."

Tom Bice will lead the new Austin Healthcare subsidiary, whose St. Louis office, says Austin Co. President Mike Pierce, will become "our center of excellence for health-care projects."

The Austin Company, an international design-build and location consulting firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, earlier this month announced the addition of Austin Healthcare, a wholly-owned subsidiary which will be led by experienced industry professionals and serve clients nationwide from a new office in St. Louis, Mo. Led by GM Tom Bice, Austin Healthcare will utilize The Austin Method® for Healthcare to "provide unique, fully-integrated design, engineering and construction solutions that empower clients in a collaborative approach with a single-source service provider," said the announcement. "Austin's integrated building solutions for acute care hospitals and other healthcare facilities respond to the unique challenges facing today's healthcare industry."

In an interview, Austin Co. President Mike Pierce says the company's location consulting practice for life sciences and other fields will continue to operate from Cleveland. The new subsidiary will employ eight at the outset. Austin Co., part Kajima USA Group since 2006, now employs approximately 175 people overall, says Pierce, with locations in Cleveland; Irvine, Calif.; Atlanta; Portage, Mich.; and a JV in Mexico.

Tecnológico de Costa Rica's new program of biotech engineering is profiled with English subtitles in a new video created by the school earlier this month.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company on Sept. 4 announced an agreement with TIER REIT to lease 70,000 sq. ft. of office space at 5104 Eisenhower Boulevard South in northwest Hillsborough County for the company's new North America Capability Center in the Tampa area, profiled in this space earlier this summer. The 10-year agreement includes a company option to lease an additional 60,000 square feet. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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The Site Selection Life Sciences Report features exclusive and in-depth reporting and analysis on the most important life science projects and issues. Topics covered include pharmaceutical R&D and manufacturing, biotechnology, medical device manufacturing, health-care services facility trends, clinical research and other key life science sectors.


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