NCBiotech News

We work hard to bring you the stories about the life science community in North Carolina. Every once in a while, we add a little news of our own. Read some of those stories below, or check out some of our perspectives on our staff blog.

Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have helped identify a gene that modifies the severity of lung disease in people with cystic fibrosis (CF), a lethal genetic condition.

The findings open the door to possible new targets for treating the lung disease, researchers say.

The study appeared online in advance of print publication in Nature as the first published study to search the entire genome looking for genes that modify CF severity.

Burlington-based Laboratory Corporation of America and Duke University have signed an agreement to collaborate on processing of human biological samples to be stored at LabCorp's soon-to-open Biorepository at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.

A comprehensive Duke University-led study reaffirms the decision by North Carolina scientific and policy leaders to focus a statewide effort on developing ethanol from cellulosic sources rather than corn.

The report said that cellulosic species, such as switchgrass, are a better option for curbing emissions than corn because they don't require annual replowing and planting. In contrast, a single planting of cellulosic species will continue growing and producing for years while trapping more carbon in the soil.

ASG, a Cary company that provides staffing services for contract research organizations, has purchased neighboring Cary-based CRO Ockham Development Group.

The transaction, completed last month, did not include public disclosure of financial details from the two privately held firms.

James Baker, ASG's CEO, said ASG employs 175 worldwide, including 32 in Cary. Ockham, which is now an ASG subsidiary, employs 65 worldwide, including about 40 in Cary. But he said some staffing changes will result from the acquisition.

Morrisville-based Salix Pharmaceuticals said it expects to submit wording for a "black box warning" to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by mid-March to speed marketing approval of its METOZOLV Orally Disintegrating Tablets for treating gastric distress.

Salix got word last November from the FDA that there would be a three-month delay in a review of its New Drug Application for METOZOLV (metoclopramide hydrochloride). At that time the agency didn't ask for more data, but said it needed more time for its review of Salix's application.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center's Industrial Fellowship program's deadline for sponsoring company applications is this Friday, March 6.

This program is for Ph.D.-trained scientists interested in transitioning into scientific careers in the industry. It places fellows into NC biotechnology companies for two-year fellowships to gain industry-oriented research experience and thus improve their competitiveness for their careers.

Raleigh pediatric pharmaceutical company Arbor Pharmaceuticals has launched a non-antibiotic oral solution to reduce children's ear infections.

The company said its new prescription-only dietary product, XYLAREX, can be administered daily to children as young as six months of age. This is Arbor's third product introduction since the privately held firm was founded only two years ago.

Metabolon, a Research Triangle Park company that develops biomarkers for disease detection, has begun offering, as a research tool, a test based on its discovery of a molecule in urine that may indicate a man's level of prostate cancer aggressiveness.

Metabolon, a Research Triangle Park company that develops biomarkers for disease detection, has begun offering, as a research tool, a test based on its discovery of a molecule in urine that may indicate a man's level of prostate cancer aggressiveness.

Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have for the first time isolated an important antibody in human serum that could potentially play a key role in the design of an AIDS vaccine.

The Duke researchers say the antibody, never before found in the blood of infected patients, provides a target for vaccine development because previous research has shown it can successfully neutralize 80 percent of transmitted HIV viruses.

Muscadine Naturals, headquartered in the Forsyth County community of Lewisville, has launched a new product containing Muscadine grape skins and seed powder which the firm says it expects to prove useful against heart disease.

Biocomposites, a privately held international developer, manufacturer and distributor of synthetic tissue-regeneration products with U.S. headquarters in Wilmington, N.C., has received marketing approval for a bone graft product from by the State Food and Drug Administration of the People's Republic of China.

The 12-year-old firm, headquartered in the British city of Keele, Staffordshire, said its Shanghai subsidiary has been given marketing approval for the company's unique bone graft substitute geneX.

Duane Larick, Ph.D., interim dean of North Carolina State University's Graduate School and a professor of food, bioprocessing and nutrition sciences, has been named dean of the Graduate School, effective March 1.

As dean, Larick will provide leadership for a graduate program serving more than 7,400 full- and part-time students from across the U.S. and from 85 other countries. NCSU's graduate program administers 220 different graduate degrees (master's, Ph.D. and Ed.D.) across all 10 of NCSU's academic colleges.

Duane Larick, Ph.D., interim dean of North Carolina State University's Graduate School and a professor of food, bioprocessing and nutrition sciences, has been named dean of the Graduate School, effective March 1.

As dean, Larick will provide leadership for a graduate program serving more than 7,400 full- and part-time students from across the U.S. and from 85 other countries. NCSU's graduate program administers 220 different graduate degrees (master's, Ph.D. and Ed.D.) across all 10 of NCSU's academic colleges.

Technomark Life Sciences is looking for opportunities to co-develop products with biotechnology and life-science companies.

Technomark, with headquarters in Research Triangle Park, plans to work with partner companies on a risk-sharing basis to advance product development.

"We are very excited to be in a position now to partner with biotechnology and other life science companies on their preclinical or clinical product development," said Allen Hakimi, managing director of Technomark.