NCBiotech Awards Total $1.37M in Quarter
By Jeremy Summers, NCBiotech Writer
The North Carolina Biotechnology Center awarded more than $1.37 million in the first quarter of the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
The awards, in seven programs, went to institutions and organizations across the state to support life-science entrepreneurship, technology commercialization and education.
NCBiotech has been distributing grants and loans since soon after it was established in 1984, helping North Carolina become the nation’s third-largest biotech cluster. There are now more than 500 life-science companies in the state, with more than 58,000 employees and an average salary exceeding $75,000.
The loans and grants from NCBiotech include:
$247,270 for a Small Business Research Loan
The CertiRX Corporation (Research Triangle Park), already an NCBiotech portfolio company, received this loan for its development of anti-counterfeiting technology in prescription medication. The technology will allow ready identification of counterfeit prescriptions and more-effective tracking of lost, damaged, stolen or diverted goods. The loan will help the company demonstrate commercial viability of its technology in for pharmaceutical applications.
$28,871 for Biotechnology Event Sponsorships
One of the most valuable services from NCBiotech is its unique ability to make connections and bring people across the state together to spur research, its commercialization, and ultimately companies providing excellent jobs. NCBiotech sponsored 15 events across the state during the quarter:
- The Association of Clinical Research Professionals, for a conference on the changing landscape of clinical research. The event allowed attendees to share ideas and interact with other professionals and community members from different organizations.
- Duke University, for the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium. More than 600 attendees from public and private universities presented posters, gave presentations and talked about the research coming out of the state’s excellent university system.
- Durham Technical Community College, for a clinical research education day, which provided knowledge to help inform people about clinical research participation.
- East Carolina University, for the 14th Annual Neuroscience Research Day. The meeting was used to bring in highly respected speakers to share ideas with students who are developing careers.
- East Carolina University, for the 2012 Carolina Cannabinoid Collaborative Conference. The Carolina region has a distinct strength in this field of research, and this meeting fostered collaboration among these productive researchers.
- ECU was also awarded, for the U.S.-China Cotton Biotechnology Workshop, which brought together scientists from both the United States and China to discuss the latest developments, potential problems, and future directions in cotton biotechnology.
- The North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research, for a conference that brought together state stakeholders to address STEM education in a comprehensive way.
- North Carolina State University, for the Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society. The symposium focused on advances in chemical biology in order to highlight new directions that are crucial to vertically advance the fields of chemical biology and biotechnology.
- NCSU, for the 2012 Molecular Biotechnology Research Symposium, which featured student presentations and business leaders who talked about the latest developments in the life-sciences and biotechnology research.
- NCSU, for the Joint Southeastern Magnetic Resonance Conference. The meeting featured participants from over 50 research groups in the Southeast with emphasis on applications of magnetic resonance to biological systems and imaging.
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for a conference that targeted advanced educational opportunities for STEM students of all grade levels.
- UNC-CH for the Genome Sciences Building Opening Symposium, which celebrated the opening of the school’s new interdisciplinary genomics building. The meeting was a showcase for diverse talks from leaders in the field of genomics and a poster session featuring the research of students and postdocs.
- UNC-CH for a Careers in Toxicology Workshop.
- UNC-CH for the 3rd Annual Biochemistry and Biophysics Research Retreat.
- The Wake Forest University Charlotte Center, for a meeting that explored recent innovation in biotechnology. The event featured a presentation from Tony Atala, M.D., director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
$104,991 for Regional Development Grants
The University of North Carolina Wilmington was awarded $74,991 to help Wade Watanabe, Ph.D., and his team to establish foundational resources for finfish mariculture business and industry development in North Carolina. The project will test new eco-friendly and cost-effective diets for use by commercial fish farms.
A $30,000 grant was awarded to the Southeastern Partnership II, a non-profit wing of the organization known as North Carolina’s Southeast, to identify and analyze the broad range of renewable biomass sources in southeastern North Carolina, using geographic information system technology.
$390,800 for the Industrial Fellowship Program
This program provides industry-oriented research experience to postdoctoral scientists interested in improving their competitiveness for high-level industry positions. NCBiotech funds the majority of the cost of salary and benefits for the trainees, while participating companies share some of the costs.
The following companies and fellows are participating in this class:
- Advanced Liquid Logic (RTP), Peter Ross, Ph.D.
- Bayer CropScience (RTP), Jessica Monserrate, Ph.D.
- Gentris Corporation (Morrisville), Mukund Patel, Ph.D.
- GlaxoSmithKline (RTP), Dana Peles, Ph.D.
- KeraNetics (Winston-Salem), Erin Falco, Ph.D.
- Liquidia Technologies (RTP), Katherine Horvath, Ph.D.
- Parion Sciences (Durham), Diane Villalon, Ph.D.
- PharmAgra Labs (Brevard), Sudarshan Upadhya, Ph.D..
- SePRO Corporation (Whitakers), Jessica Koczan, Ph.D.
$532,105.10 for Centers of Innovation Grants
- $282,105.10 was awarded for continued Phase II funding of the Marine Biotechnology Center of Innovation (MBCOI). The MBCOI will be a sustainable, not-for-profit entity which will bring together research and technology to accelerate commercialization of the state’s marine biotechnology industry. Deborah Mosca, Ph.D., is CEO of the MBCOI.
- $250,000 was awarded for continued Phase II funding of the Center of Innovation for Nanobiotechnology (COIN). COIN, headed by Griffith Kundahl, fosters collaboration among universities statewide, creating a “one-stop” resource for industry-academic interactions in nanobiotechnology in North Carolina.
$27,500 for Biotechnology Meeting Grants
- Karl Bates, of Duke University, to help organize the ScienceWriters 2012 Conference.
- COIN, for a Nanomanufacturing Conference, held at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.
- The North Carolina Section of the American Chemical Society for that organization’s 2012 meeting.
- NCSU for a conference on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
- The Society for Translational Oncology for its third annual meeting, which focused on personalized cancer treatment.
$40,000 for a Presidential Initiative Award
This award will help launch the first workshops at a new Molecular Training Facility (MTF) at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City. Under the direction of Rachel Noble, Ph.D., the MTF workshops are designed to train professionals in the fields of water quality, aquaculture, food safety, seafood safety and drinking water science in the use of techniques known as rapid molecular methods.