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NCBiotech News

  • Targacept, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of drugs known as NNR Therapeutics, announced that J. Donald deBethizy, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, is scheduled to present at the 11th Annual BIO CEO and Investor Conference at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on Tuesday, February 10 at 11:00 a.m.
  • Medical device maker ConvaTec has settled on Greensboro to expand its manufacturing operations. The company plans to hire 30 machine operators and mechanics at an average salary of $44,000. ConvaTec will also convert warehouse space to manufacturing and invest $19.55 million in machinery, equipment and building upfit.
  • Vince Mendenhall, D.V.M., Ph.D., joins Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center as director of the new preclinical surgical services (PSS) section, located at the Piedmont Triad Research Park.
  • Mardil, a Morrisville cardiac device company, reported "significant improvement in heart function" for the first human receiving its implanted device as part of a clinical trial being conducted in India. The Mardil device, called BACE (an acronym for Basal Annuloplasty of the Cardia Externally), was pioneered by cardiothoracic surgeon Jai Raman, M.D., in an effort to develop a minimally invasive approach to treating mitral regurgitation.
  • Chapel Hill drug company POZEN announced today that it has received good news from federal regulators in the company's efforts to commercialize two of its experimental medicines.
  • North Carolina's broad pharmaceutical base continued to absorb global changes in the industry with this week's $68 billion purchase of Wyeth by Pfizer -- the largest such combination since Glaxo Wellcome bought SmithKline Beecham for $76 billion in 2000. Here are some of the ways North Carolina is affected: * Wyeth employs about 1,000 people at a manufacturing plant in Sanford -- one of Wyeth's largest.
  • Zen-Bio, of Research Triangle Park, has been awarded a $1.88 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to help it commercialize its line of synthetically grown human cells for use by scientists studying obesity, diabetes, and common cancers.
  • Morrisville-based Centice, a Duke University spin-out that is developing a computerized sensor-based drug verification system for safer dispensing of medicines, has raised another $2 million, this time as bridge financing. It's Centice's third round of funding, according to Dow Jones VentureWire and Triangle Business. The firm is commercializing its PASS Rx pharmaceutical authentication sensor system with help from an $11.3 million second round in November 2007. It closed a $3 million A round in 2004.
  • As farmers look to get more out of each acre of farmland, St. Louis-based Monsanto is exploring unique ways to discover and deliver more desirable traits through the seed. Monsanto's new collaboration with GrassRoots Biotechnology Inc. is expected to do just that by expanding the benefits of Monsanto's research and product portfolio for its farmer customer.
  • Update: Award nominations have closed. Please check our event listing for more information about Triad BioNight. The deadline has been extended to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, to nominate outstanding members of the Piedmont Triad's biotechnology community for Awards of Excellence, to be presented Nov. 19 during Triad BioNight 2009. Award catagories include:
  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which maintains its U.S. headquarters in the Triangle, is adding new drugs to its lineup and expanding its reach in emerging markets through acquisition rather than development. GSK plans to spend $667 million to acquire certain drugs and distribution rights to those drugs from Belgium-based UCB. The deal also includes some 50 UCB operations in the Far-East, Middle-East, Latin America and Africa.
  • Dogs at North Carolina State University suffering from lymphoma and leukemia are now receiving the same type of medical treatment offered elsewhere to humans. Steven Suter, D.V.M., assistant professor of oncology, has made NCSU's College of Veterinary Medicine the first in the nation to offer canine bone marrow transplants in a clinical setting. He's providing the treatment on three leukophoresis machines donated by the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minn.
  • Research Triangle Park-based Talecris Biotherapeutics continues to notch news-making successes, with a new marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a more potent formulation of its PROLASTIN emphysema therapy.
  • Bayer CropScience, which has United States headquarters in Research Triangle Park, has given $1 million to North Carolina State University to endow a chair in sustainable development. Tom Rufty, Ph.D., co-director of the Center for Turfgrass Environmental Research and Education and a professor of environmental plant physiology in the Department of Crop Science, has been named the first Bayer CropScience Professor of Sustainable Development.
  • Shareholders of Durham-based Oxygen Biotherapeutics approved a 15-to-1 reverse stock split as recommended by company officials, to boost its stock price so it could be listed on a major exchange and become exposed to more investors, including institutions. The proposal shrank the number of outstanding shares from 293,767,389 to approximately 19,584,492. Oxygen Biotherapeutics researches, develops, and markets oxygen-related therapies. Its lead prescription-product candidate is Oxycyte, a synthetic oxygen-carrying agent made of perfluorocarbon (PFC).
  • Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio), a Chapel Hill-based spin-out from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill founded with funding support from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, has entered a collaboration with a Massachusetts firm to develop AskBio's technologies to battle amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, known as Lou Gehrig's disease).
  • Greensboro's growing bioscience industry and its valuable training programs have helped bring Ameritox, and 228 jobs, to the Triad. The company, which helps physicians regulate the amount of pain medication taken by their patients, is opening a facility in Greensboro. All positions are expected to be filled by 2010. The North Carolina Biotechnology Center helped to recruit Ameritox to North Carolina, which is based in Baltimore.
  • BioDelivery Sciences International (BDSI) of Raleigh has signed a research collaboration and licensing agreement with a global non-profit foundation to develop a BioDelivery therapy targeting neglected parasitic diseases such as leishmaniasis and Chagas disease found primarily in developing countries. BDSI signed the agreement with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), a foundation focused on the development of new drugs and new formulations of existing drugs for patients suffering from some of the world's most neglected communicable diseases.
  • Morrisville-based Centice, a Duke University spin-out that makes and sells a computerized sensor-based drug verification system for safer dispensing of medicines, has raised another $6.1 million, this time in Series C financing. After winning the Duke Start-Up Challenge compeition, Centice was incorporated in 2004 and now is commercializing its PASS Rx pharmaceutical authentication sensor system.
  • Durham-based Argos Therapeutics scientists are reporting positive results on an experimental therapy to confer individualized treatment to people infected with HIV. The company generated interest from two presentations in Paris this week at the AIDS Vaccine 2009 conference, demonstrating safety and effectiveness from an ongoing Phase 2a trial of AGS-004, its personalized immunotherapy candidate.

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