NCBiotech News

We work hard to bring you news about North Carolina’s wide-ranging life sciences community. Please feel free to share it with others. And let us know if you have something we should know about.

(Editor Note: This story originally appeared in the NC State News.)

For almost as long as NC State University has existed, sports rivals have teasingly called us Moo U or Cow College, thanks to our strengths in agricultural research and education.

So it’s only right that decades of groundwork at NC State might one day help cattle farmers worldwide better control their livestock’s gut microbiome — a collection of microbes that aid digestion — and cool the climate as a result.

Results from a collaborative project between Tiamat Sciences and BIOMILQ — women-owned biotechnology startups in Research Triangle Park — show the promise of using plant-based proteins to lower the cost of producing food using cultured cells.  

Astellas Pharma Inc. announced that it will acquire Propella Therapeutics, Inc., based in Pittsboro. Propella is a privately held biopharmaceutical company that has leveraged a wholly owned proprietary platform that combines medicinal chemistry with lymphatic targeting to create new oncology drugs.

Through the acquisition of Propella, Astellas will acquire PRL-02 (abiraterone decanoate), an androgen biosynthesis inhibitor being developed by Propella to treat prostate cancer. 

Avior Bio, a small Cary startup developing a treatment for pruritus, or chronic itchy skin, has secured an agreement to license its clinical-stage therapy to a New Jersey pharmaceutical company.

A new company is coming to town.

Donaldson, a global provider of filtration products and solutions, announced November 9 that it is opening a 25,000-square-foot life sciences technical center in Research Triangle Park (RTP).

The company said the facility – centrally located to support emerging biotechnology companies – will contain laboratories and cleanrooms with manufacturing capacity. It will support the design, development, launch and early commercialization of bioprocessing solutions.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center was saddened to learn that Philip Benfey, Ph.D., an inspiring and pioneering plant geneticist and entrepreneur, passed away on Sept. 26 at the age of 70. Benfey was the Paul Kramer professor of biology at Duke University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator.

Grifols, a global leader in plasma medicines, today announced it has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its new immunoglobulin (Ig) purification and filling facility at its Clayton manufacturing campus, one of the world’s largest sites for producing plasma-derived medicines.

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies has the first tenant for its huge $2 billion contract biomanufacturing site under construction in Holly Springs, 20 miles southwest of Raleigh.

The company said Janssen Supply Group, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, has committed to a large-scale manufacturing suite at the new plant, which should be fully operational in 2025. FUJIFILM Diosynth, a division of FUJIFILM, said the commitment is an extension of an existing relationship and will support the manufacture of Janssen’s clinical and commercial pipeline.

Veterans and military members transitioning out of their time in service have skills and experiences that many employers are searching for.

Life sciences companies have world-class manufacturing centers that need to be staffed with an experienced, reliable, detail-oriented workforce.

So why not match up the two?

Indivior, a global pharmaceutical company based in North Chesterfield, Va., will expand into North Carolina with a $60 million investment in a sterile manufacturing plant over the next five years. 

The company will develop a facility at 8900 Capital Blvd. in Raleigh previously owned by Sagent Pharmaceuticals and will retain Sagent’s current workforce while adding 35 new positions, according to a news release. 

Key roles at the plant will span production, quality control, maintenance and engineering.

You could call SinnovaTek a Raleigh-based food technology company. But that would miss some significant nuances.

SinnovaTek is a privately held certified B corporation that is tapping its origins in North Carolina State University research, and North Carolina’s unique agricultural diversity, to upend food processing technology and, also, to address local and global agricultural waste and hunger issues. 

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center awarded 21 grants and loans totaling about $1.79 million to bioscience companies, universities and non-profit organizations in the first quarter of its fiscal year.

The awards, made in July, August and September, will support life science research, technology commercialization and entrepreneurship throughout North Carolina. The funding will also help companies attract follow-on funding from other sources.

Life sciences manufacturing is getting a $30 million boost in Eastern North Carolina, thanks to a state budget appropriation to develop a biologics training center in Wilson.

The center will provide customized training and education for life sciences manufacturing across the region. Wilson is home to a large manufacturing presence, including global companies Merck, Fresenius Kabi and ABEC.

More than 250 women recently gathered in Research Triangle Park for the inaugural Women in Research Conference hosted by Black Women in Clinical Research (BWiCR). During the event, attendees learned about the dangers of clinical trials that lack equitable representation and what they can do to expand diversity in the research field.

BWiCR CEO and Founder Danielle Mitchell launched the organization in 2019 to grow diversity in the field. The event was held at the conference center at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in Research Triangle Park.

Soybeans are sometimes called magic beans due to their wide utility. They are used as livestock feed, in human foods ranging from tofu to salad oil, in crayons that are non-toxic and safer for children, in biodiesel fuel, in household cleaners and in countless other products.

scroll back to top of page