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.

Liverpool, England-based Eden Biodesign Ltd. has opened its United States subsidiary, Eden Biodesign Inc., with the appointment of Maria Lusk as director of client management at the new Research Triangle Park facility.

Lusk, former project manager and business development manager at PharmaDirections, has 17 years' experience in biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry, including roles at Diosynth, Bayer and LabCorp.

Athenix, an 8-year-old Research Triangle Park agricultural biotechnology company whose research was advanced by a $150,000 Small Business Research loan from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in 2002, has entered a collaboration with DuPont's Pioneer Hi-Bred business to develop genetic insect resistance in corn and soybeans.

Under the agreement, DesMoines, Iowa-based Pioneer will use proprietary insect-resistance trait genes from Athenix to develop and commercialize next-generation corn and soybean seed products. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis has secured a $486 million contract to build a new flu vaccine plant in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services granted the eight-year contract to build and run a vaccine manufacturing site in Holly Springs, North Carolina.

When our economy recovers, it's a good bet that the biotechnology sector will be one of those sectors leading the way.

Raleigh-based early-stage biomedical device company Micell Technologies has signed an agreement with Maxcor, a subsidiary of Opto Circuits India, to put Micell's drug-delivery technology into Maxcor drug-eluting stents.

GlaxoSmithKline and XenoPort announced that GSK has resubmitted the New Drug Application (NDA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting approval of Solzira (gabapentin enacarbil) Extended Release Tablets for the treatment of moderate-to-severe primary Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).

A jointly developed drought-tolerant corn from BASF Plant Science and Monsanto is being reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for regulatory clearance, according to the companies.

Monsanto has submitted the product to the FDA and, if approved, the firms expect to have it available to farmers within the next four or five years. The BASF unit's R&D facility is in Research Triangle Park.

North Carolina has opened a trade and investment office in Shanghai, the seventh state Department of Commerce overseas office that promotes business activity. Others are in Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Germany and Korea.

China is North Carolina's second-largest export market, trailing only Canada. Other major markets for Tar Heel goods and services are, in order, Mexico, Japan, Germany and France.

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.

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.

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.

Durham-based Expression Analysis will promote its recent purchase of an Illumina genome analyzer at the International Plant & Animal Genome Conference in San Diego next week, as proof of its entry into the agricultural market.

The 8-year-old provider of genomic services for clinical trials and research intends to use its booth at the show to demonstrate ways agricultural scientists can accelerate their discoveries using Expression Analysis in their biological research.

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.

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.

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.