MediSapiens Ltd., a Finnish developer and provider of Bio-IT solutions for research and biomedicine, is one of seven partners in a new international consortium aimed at developing personalized medicine applications using integrated genome and other health data. The consortium was founded and is headed by the Competence Centre on Health Technologies of Estonia (CCHT), a program supported by Enterprise Estonia. The other consortium members are theUniversity of Tartu Estonian Genome Center (Estonia), Tallinn University of Technology eMedicine Laboratory (Estonia), BioEximi OÜ (Estonia), Duodecim Medical Publications Ltd. (Finland) and Coimbra Genomics (Portugal).
The latest and greatest MoneyTree Report from the National Venture Capital Association and PwC, based on data from Thomson Reuters, shows that biotech "ended the year up 17 percent in dollars and relatively flat in deals for the full year 2015, compared with the previous year. In 2015, Life Sciences dollars were up 12 percent and deals were down 3 percent, compared with 2014."
The revered Ben Franklin Technology Partners network approved $8.9 million for 48 Pennsylvania companies in 2015, including quite a few in the health and digital health sectors.
The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) announced in early January the production of a whole genome assembly of bread wheat, significantly accelerating global research into crop improvement. The public-private collaborative project is coordinated by the IWGSC and co-led by Nils Stein of IPK Gatersleben in Germany, Curtis Pozniak of the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre in Canada, Andrew Sharpe of the Global Institute for Food Security in Canada, and Jesse Poland of Kansas State University in the United States. Project participants include researchers from Illumina, Inc.; NRGene in Israel and the United States; Tel Aviv University in Israel; and the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA). The infographic below shows how complex the process is.
Wheat is the staple food for more than 35 percent of the global human population and accounts for 20 percent of all calories consumed throughout the world. "To meet future demands of a projected world population of 9.6 billion by 2050, wheat productivity needs to increase by 1.6 percent each year," says the IWGSC.
Chinese cash-backed Anpac Bio-Medical in January chose Sacramento, Calif., for its new US headquarters. The company will expand its innovative, proprietary "Cancer Differentiation Analysis" (CDA) medical device research, and multi-level, multi-parameter testing from Sacramento for subsequent national adoption. "The Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council and Dignity Health were instrumental in making this location possible," said a release from none other than the economic council itself. "Dignity Health is partnering in a joint venture with Anpac Bio-Medical to create an FDA clinical execution team to facilitate clinical trials and eventual approval of this life-changing procedure. Anpac leaders also have met with officials from Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente, and UC Davis, all of which are also supporting cancer research in the region.
Anpac Bio-Medical Science Company CEO Dr. Chris Yu noted that the California state capital "has four of the most respected health systems in the country within a 100-mile radius, with enthusiastic leaders offering to partner with us in our research and clinical trials. Sacramento also has excellent and qualified talent graduating from UC Davis, Sacramento State, and Chico State Universities."
The Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust on Feb. 10 announced plans to develop Science City on 68 acres in San Juan. The Trust is seeking a development partner to lease, finance, develop and manage the Science City project on a long-term basis. The site (see below) is cleared to create a state-of-the-art, mixed-use, transit-oriented, sciences, technology and research community, with supporting residential, retail, and lodging uses. Potential partners can download more information on the project and the RFQ at http://prsciencetrust.org/sciencecityrfq.
“Science City is a top priority for Puerto Rico’s economic development as a means of reversing recent trends and attracting new companies that will create high paying jobs and leverage the research activities occurring on the island,” said Ivan Rios, COO of the Trust.
Novo Nordisk showcased a multi-million dollar investment with diplomatic delegations from Denmark and the US in early February in West Lebanon, N.H., showing the company's commitment to maintaining a site in this rural community while ensuring a future medicines supply for serious disease like hemophilia and growth disorders. Danish Ambassador to the United States Lars Gert Lose and U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford toured the 170,000 square foot facility with Novo Nordisk U.S. President Jesper Hoiland. The site was acquired by Novo Nordisk in 2014, saving more than 100 manufacturing jobs and creating more than 300 new construction jobs for the local economy. Novo Nordisk plans to have a workforce of 150 people by the end of 2016.
The company also has entered into a compelling workforce development/publications arrangement with the Cambridge University Students' Union in the UK.
What better place to land in the US than in Landing? UK-based BAP Pharma, a specialist supplier of comparators for clinical trials, has opened its US headquarters in Landing, N.J., located within Roxbury Township in Morris County. "The facility and location proved a perfect fit for our company," said Dr. Bashir Parkar, founder and managing director. "Its proximity to a significant number of global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including our current clients, made it particularly attractive."
The Durst Organization and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in early January announced the signing of a lease with oncology-focused Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc., for build-to-suit space on the 47th floor of One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. Progenics is the first biotechnology firm to occupy space at the iconic, Class-A office tower.
“We are excited to be moving our headquarters to this impressive, state-of-the-art building that truly reflects our vision as an innovative oncology company,” stated Progenics CEO Mark Baker. “The outstanding transportation network will enable current employees to reach our new headquarters, while the vibrant lower Manhattan locale will be a source of new talent close to our collaborators in both the technology and medical fields.”
The World Trade Center Transportation Hub Oculus will open in the first week of March.