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NCBiotech News

  • PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals, an 8-year-old Morrisville drug-development firm whose start-up was supported by three loans from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, has landed $25 million in new Series B venture funding.
  • Research Triangle Park-based SCYNEXIS has reported positive results from a Phase I clinical trial for its lead oral antiviral drug candidate for treating adults with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The experimental medicine, dubbed SCY-635, represents a new class of drugs called cyclophilin inhibitors. They're a family of enzymatic proteins related to the more well-known drug cyclosporine that has been used for decades to prevent organ rejection after transplants.
  • Bill Dean, the Director of the Piedmont Triad Research Park has been named Chairman of the newly formed North Carolina Research Parks Network organization. As of January 2009, Bill will chair the Network, a coalition of seven leading science parks located across the state of North Carolina.
  • Bradley Peganoff, director of government and corporate affairs at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, has joined RTI International as vice president of government and corporate relations. More
  • ParagonDx, a genetic and molecular testing diagnostics company based in Morrisville, has started selling a warfarin-sensitivity testing service to doctors' offices. Warfarin, also known for the brand name Coumadin, is a blood thinner that prevents and treats blood clots. The therapeutic effect for warfarin can vary widely among individuals, depending on their genetic make-up.
  • Raleigh-based Arbor Pharmaceuticals has received a Series A venture capital infusion to finance the launch of its third product.
  • Research Triangle Park-based Liquidia Technologies and pharmaceutical company Abbott have signed a collaborative agreement to use Liquidia nanotechnology to deliver cancer therapy. Liquidia, a privately held nanotechnology company co-founded in 2004 on the discoveries of Professor Joseph DeSimone, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, uses a protein particle fabrication method licensed from UNC.
  • Novozymes, which employs more than 465 people at its North American headquarters in Franklinton, has received a $28.4 million federal tax credit to help the Danish firm build a new biofuel enzyme plant in Nebraska. Novozymes said the new plant will employ more than 100 people. The company intends to invest $160 million to $200 million on the facility by the time it's completed in mid 2012. The tax credit is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, designed to foster investment and job creation in clean energy manufacturing.
  • Bio Briefs with names making news
  • Raleigh-based BioDelivery Sciences has scheduled a March 17 meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help ensure smooth sailing for its planned Phase I clinical testing of its product candidate, BEMA Granisetron, aimed at treating nausea and vomiting. BDSI is pairing the drug granisetron into its proprietary BioErodible MucoAdhesive (BEMA) delivery technology, which consists of a small, dissolvable wafer made of a special polymer film placed against the inner lining of the cheek.
  • Do you know a North Carolina university research lab with cutting-edge science that your company might be able to commercialize? The North Carolina Biotechnology Center can help grease the skids -- especially for small bioscience researchers and companies across the state who can meet a Feb. 17 grant application deadline.
  • Durham-based Chimerix has started Phase II clinical trials of its oral anti-viral drug candidate, CMX001, after finding positive results in Phase I tests involving 84 healthy volunteers.
  • The kudos continue to roll in for Biogen Idec, which makes its multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri at its manufacturing plant in Research Triangle Park.
  • The North Carolina Department of Commerce is coordinating North Carolina's pavilion for the BIO 2009 show, May 18-21 in Atlanta. The North Carolina pavilion will showcase North Carolina and its biotechnology and life science assets.
  • PPD has purchased a state-of-the-art laboratory and hired 80 employees from Merck as part of a vaccine-testing agreement announced Monday. Financial terms were not released for deal, which calls for Wilmington-based PPD to develop tests that measure the effectiveness of Merck vaccines.
  • The North Carolina Biotechnology Center has awarded a $30,000 low-interest Company Inception Loan to a young Asheville medical therapeutics company, Venafair. Vascular surgeon Richard Bock, founder of the firm, said the loan is key for the company's plans for commercial development of vascular agents for treatment of varicose veins, usually in the legs.
  • Germany's Merz Pharma Group, whose U.S. subsidiary is Greensboro-based Merz Pharmaceuticals, has announced plans to buy BioForm Medical in a deal worth about $253 million. BioForm, a privately owned San Mateo, California company, produces a variety of products including the dermal filler called Radiesse. Merz said it will create a new Merz Aesthetics subsidiary in San Mateo to make cosmetic products. The unit will also include BioForm Medical operations in Wisconsin, Asia and Europe.
  • Raleigh-based BioDelivery Sciences has sold another round of marketing rights for its lead product, ONSOLIS, allowing its Swedish commercial partner, Meda, to sell the drug everywhere but Taiwan and South Korea. The sale, for a one-time cash payment of $3 million, expanded an earlier marketing agreement giving Meda rights to sell ONSOLIS, a pain therapy using BioDelivery's proprietary delivery system involving a drug-impregnanted film held against the inside of the cheek.
  • The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has granted Metabolon a patent that extends the firm"s use of metabolomics technology beyond basic disease biomarker discovery, and into areas of drug discovery and development.

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