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.

Five North Carolina bioscience start-ups are among 16 young firms vying for more than $100,000 in professional services at this week's annual Five Ventures competition at UNC Charlotte.

The April 9 finals at the university's Barnhardt Student Activities Center include biopharma start-ups Alaeras, of Cary and Countervail, of Charlotte; device developers HepatoSys of Charlotte and Ligamar of Chapel Hill; and Entogenetics, of Raleigh, in the student/non-profit category.

Durham-based Rural Sourcing, Inc., has been chosen by Clarus Information, an Atlanta niche business-intelligence software solution provider for the life sciences, to create new technology jobs in rural America through its rural Centers of Excellence.

Clarus said it chose Rural Sourcing to develop its next-generation product for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Chimerix has teamed up with Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) to find and deliver a cure for malaria.

Based in Research Triangle Park, Chimerix develops orally available antiviral therapeutics. Chimerix is giving MMV access to screen Chimerix' chemical library to identify candidates that work against malaria.

Discoveries from federal labs that represent new product opportunities will be trotted out to interested North Carolina entrepreneurs May 7 in Charlotte.

The free public "industry day" event, hosted by the Federal Laboratory Consortium, includes speed networking sessions, display booths, panel discussions and other activities so companies and research organizations can learn how to access technologies and resources from the federal laboratory system.

Durham's Mi-Co has announced a strategic alliance with Apex's Code Refinery, a provider of FDA-compliant software and services, to jointly deliver custom software and data collection solutions for pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device customers. By working together, Mi-Co and Code Refinery will be able to offer their customers a broader range of software solutions and services and deliver additional return on investment.

Four new public health innovation laboratories will be started in July with grants of $100,000 to $350,000 each at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health.

It's the latest set of the targeted research projects funded from an earlier $50 million donation to the university from Dennis and Joan Gillings. Dennis Gillings is the founder of Research Triangle Park-based Quintiles Transnational.

Stiefel Laboratories, a Coral Gables, Fla. dermatology products firm with a research and development facility in Research Triangle Park, is seeking a buyer, according to reports last week in the Wall Street Journal and the Reuters news agency.

The reports indicate potential buyers of the privately held company include GlaxoSmithKline, with U.S. headquarters in RTP, as well as Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Abbott Laboratories, Sanofi-Aventis and Allergan.

Buffalo, N.Y.-based biodiesel company Global Earth Energy has issued a news release saying it plans to "establish relationships with local feedstock suppliers in North Carolina, a state with heavy concentrations of agriculture and meat processors."

K. Paul Knott, curriculum coordinator of the BioNetwork BioBusiness Center at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, will lead a free public discussion, "Biotechnology for the Non-Scientist," on April 16 at The North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.

A $50,000 grant from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center will let seniors at Atkins Academic and Technology High School in Winston-Salem help produce and share animated educational videos about biotechnology through a joint project with local educators, scientists and animators.

Representatives of North Carolina farmers and growers will gather Thursday, March 25, at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis to discuss a state-supported network of "local food systems" in which local farmers would partner to supply local markets and restaurants.

That's among the topics to be considered when the Kannapolis-based North Carolina State University Program for Value-Added Alternative Agriculture hosts the Agricultural Advancement Consortium.

Southeast BIO (SE BIO), the nonprofit organization supporting growth of the life sciences in the Southeast, has launched Southeast BIOtech Connect, an interactive database that outlines more than 1,200 biotech companies and centers throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia.

The launch of Southeast BIOtech Connect coincides with the fact that the 2009 BIO International Convention is being held this year in the Southeast -- in Atlanta, May 18 to 21, sponsored by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).

North Carolina's business climate has boosted the Tar Heel state to the second-best ranking in the United States, according to a newly published survey of 543 CEOs conducted by Chief Executive magazine.

The fifth annual survey by the magazine moved North Carolina up from third place last year and fourth place in 2007. Texas topped the rankings in the "Best & Worst States" survey for the fourth consecutive year. South Carolina came in ninth and Georgia fourth.

BioDelivery Sciences International, a Raleigh firm developing new forms of oral drug-delivery systems, is looking forward to some major good news by midyear.

The firm said preliminary results are looking positive from a 14-person Phase 1 study assessing two formulations of a new painkiller technology for delivering the opioid analgesic buprenorphine via the company's proprietary BEMA drug delivery system.

There are now two official "Biotechnology Centers" in North Carolina.

One - the world's oldest, established by the General Assembly a quarter-century ago.

And the newest - dedicated last week by the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

And you could say they're from the same family.