Arizona Biosciences News

Jun 18, 2008

Flagstaff firm inks deal with Australia for rodent-control test

SenesTech Inc., a small Flagstaff biotech company, has some very big goals. Here's one: revolutionize how researchers study menopause. Here's another: completely overhaul one of the most common procedures in veterinary medicine. And here's one more: Boost the production of rice enough to feed half a billion people. The company took a big step toward realizing that third goal Tuesday, announcing an agreement with the government of Australia to test a new rodent-control product in the Indonesian province of West Java.

Tags: australia, flagstaff, incubator, nacet, nau, rice, senestech
Jun 17, 2008

German firm purchases TGen spinoff for $6.3 million

SYGNIS Pharma AG, a German drug developer, has snapped up Amnestix, a two-year-old spinoff of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), in a $6.3-million cash and stock deal that illustrates the commercial and therapeutic promise of advanced genomic research. Amnestix emerged from a line of research by TGen neurogenomics experts Dietrich Stephan and Matthew Huentelman.

Tags: amnestix, drug development, genomics, sygnis, tgen
Jun 16, 2008

C-Path consortium shepherds first-ever FDA/EMEA collaboration

In an unprecedented process facilitated by the Tucson-based Critical Path Institute (C-Path), a consortium representing 17 pharmaceutical firms has torn down a major barrier to faster, safer, and cheaper drug development. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency have approved new methods, developed by C-Path's Predictive Safety Testing Consortium, for discerning the potential kidney toxicity of drug candidates.

Tags: biomarkers, c-path, drug safety, drug testing, emea, fda, kidney
Jun 13, 2008

ImaRx raises $17 million from sale of leading product [UPDATED]

[UPDATE: A planned $17-million deal for ImaRx Therapeutics to sell the clot-busting drug urokinase to Microbix Biosystems has fallen through because of an FDA decision clouding urokinase's future and Microbix's difficulty raising funds for the sale.

Tags: fda, imarx, microbix biosystems
Jun 11, 2008

TGen, Biodesign central to Luxembourg's $200 million bio investment

The expertise of Arizona's bioscience research community has received a resounding international endorsement. The government of Luxembourg is committing $200 million to a trio of interrelated biomedical-research projects, and two Arizona entities are deeply involved in the initiative: the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and the Partnership for Personalized Medicine, which involves researchers from TGen and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.

Tags: biodesign institute, bioinformatics, cancer, csbl, data storage, luxembourg, tgen
Jun 06, 2008

TGen spinoff markets knowledge-sharing services to oncologists

A spinoff of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)--part search engine, part social-networking platform, and part Physicians' Desk Reference--has begun marketing its Internet-based services to oncologists. The Scottsdale firm, MedTrust Online LLC, is aiming to help cancer doctors harness the power of the Web and the collective knowledge of their peers and drug companies toward personalized, cutting-edge treatment for patients.

Tags: cancer, data storage, tgen
Jun 03, 2008

City of Phoenix approves grants to build small STEM high schools

The Phoenix City Council has approved grants totaling more than $5.7 million to Paradise Valley and Phoenix Union High School districts to develop small specialty high schools focusing on crucial bioscience and engineering subject areas. The grants, from the city's 2006 Capital Improvement Program Bond, will aid the districts in opening the small schools on two existing high school campuses.

Tags: city of phoenix, crest, education, grants, stem, workforce development
Jun 02, 2008

Arizona team receives $6.6 mil grant for Alzheimer's study

A team of Arizona researchers has won a $6.6 million federal grant to continue a long-term study of the brains of patients who face varying genetic risks for developing Alzheimer's disease. The study, led by Eric Reiman of Banner Alzheimer's Institute and Richard Caselli of Mayo Clinic, involves scientists from five of the seven member institutions of the Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium, a statewide research group.

Tags: alzheimer's, banner, eric reiman, mayo clinic, nia
May 29, 2008

Mayo Clinic cancer investigator builds prodigious research network

Multiple myeloma is a relatively rare form of cancer, accounting for around 1 percent of all cancer diagnoses. But even at that frequency, it affects a huge number of people: This year, in the United States alone, 20,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease, which is the second most common cancer of the blood. For myeloma patients and many others living with cancer, the work of Rafael Fonseca is vital.

Tags: cancer, mayo clinic, mmrc, mmrf, myeloma, tgen, tissue
May 20, 2008

Medical-devices firm snares $15 million in financing

Cayenne Medical Inc., a Scottsdale-based medical-devices firm that develops products for treating joint and ligament injuries, completed a $15 million round of venture-capital fundraising in the first quarter of 2008. The Series C financing, led by Investor Growth Capital, raised the total amount of private-equity investments in the company to $32 million since its 2005 founding.

Tags: cayenne medical, medical devices, venture capital
May 14, 2008

NAU wins grant for fellowships, enriched bioscience education

The National Science Foundation has awarded Northern Arizona University a $2.9 million grant to bolster the interdisciplinary preparation of its graduate students in the biosciences and strengthen bioscience education at schools across northern Arizona. The five-year grant is launching a program of graduate fellowships and placing the new graduate fellows in K-12 classrooms several hours each week.

Tags: biotec, cstl, education, nau, nsf
May 07, 2008

Arizona educators gather to plan stronger high-school bio programs

More than 100 bioscience teachers convened for Arizona's first bioscience education summit on April 18 in Tempe, discussing ways to expand and strengthen statewide biotechnology curricula and programs. The summit featured a morning of speakers on topics that ranged from trends in biotechnology to models of exemplary biotechnology education, and an afternoon of breakout sessions.

Tags: biodesign institute, bioscience high school, biotechnology academy, community college, education
Apr 22, 2008

Spate of cancer-research findings underscore state's strength

Arizona research teams have repeatedly made headlines in recent weeks, announcing significant advances toward better understanding of and treatments for several types of cancer. The findings illustrate the steady progress the scientific community is making toward cementing Arizona's position as a leading center for cancer research.

Tags: arizona cancer center, cancer, genetically engineered, mayo clinic, tgen, ua
Apr 21, 2008

Flinn Foundation board adds biotech investment executive

The Flinn Foundation has elected Shaun A. Kirkpatrick, president and CEO of Research Corporation Technologies (RCT), to its governing board. RCT is a Tucson-based technology investment and management company. Kirkpatrick becomes the first Flinn Foundation board member from outside Maricopa County and the first alumnus of the Flinn Scholars Program to serve on the board.

Tags: board of directors, rct
Apr 18, 2008

National biotech trade group honors Sen. Kyl

Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl has been named "Legislator of the Year" for 2007-2008 by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the nation's largest biotech trade group. He received his award from BIO representatives during the organization's Legislative Fly-In Day on April 16.

Tags: awards, bio
Apr 18, 2008

Statewide conference assembles reps to strengthen bio sector

Some 200 professionals spanning the bioscience sector met in Tucson April 8 for Biozona 2008, Arizona's annual industry conference. The gathering, hosted by the Arizona BioIndustry Association, featured plenary addresses from veteran biotech executives Peter B. Corr and Richard L. Love, panel presentations, and company showcases.

Tags: azbio, biozona
Apr 03, 2008

ASU's SkySong opens with tech-transfer, international tenants

Arizona State University's SkySong project celebrated its grand opening on March 27, marking completion of the first phase of a Scottsdale mixed-use development that houses several of ASU's commercialization and technology-transfer programs, as well as numerous local and international companies.

Tags: asu, skysong
Mar 24, 2008

GateWay Community College receives boost toward new wet lab

With an eye toward easing Arizona's shortage of sophisticated commercial laboratory space, a Phoenix City Council subcommittee has recommended allocating $792,000 in bond money to support GateWay Community College's development of at least 5,000 square feet of wet-lab space for early-stage bioscience companies.

Tags: gateway community college, research labs, workforce development
Mar 24, 2008

UA researchers play key role in decoding corn genome

Several dozen researchers, including 10 at the University of Arizona, have reached a milestone in the realm of plant genetics: they have completed a draft genome sequence for corn, one of the world's most broadly cultivated and multipurpose crops. The project's lead investigators predict that the genetic blueprint they have produced will help scientists improve the yield and hardiness of corn and other principal crops.

Tags: bio5, corn, genbank, genetics, genome, nsf, ua
Mar 24, 2008

Ultrasound medical device company gets $22.5 million in financing

Ulthera Inc., a Mesa-based medical-devices company, recently completed a $22.5 million round of financing, with funds coming primarily from the venture-capital firm New Enterprise Associates, headquartered in Baltimore. The investment allows Ulthera to continue pursuing FDA approval of its Ulthera System device, which employs high-frequency ultrasound in cosmetic procedures like face lifts and skin rejuvenation.

Tags: incubator, medical devices, ulthera, venture capital
Mar 20, 2008

State bioindustry association reorganizes, names new board

The Arizona BioIndustry Association has adopted a unified and more representative structure, merging with the Bioindustry Organization of Southern Arizona and naming a new board of directors. The changes are designed to help the statewide bioscience trade association more effectively enact its public-policy, business-development, and workforce-development agenda.

Tags: azbio, bio, bio-sa
Mar 19, 2008

Acclaimed UA pharmacy dean pioneers next-era healthcare

J. Lyle Bootman, the longtime dean of the UA College of Pharmacy, is one of the nation's most acclaimed and influential pharmacists. An originator of pharmacoeconomics and the author of key research on preventing medical errors, he is also bullish on the potential for Arizona to step forward as a national healthcare leader.

Tags: drug development, genomics, infectious diseases, niaid, personalized medicine, pharmaceutics, pharmacoeconomics, ua, warfarin
Mar 19, 2008

AZ bioscience leaders meet with congressional delegation in D.C.

For three days at the end of February, a team of Arizona bioscience leaders visited the nation's capital to meet with the state's congressional delegation. This marks the fourth year in a row that champions of Arizona's Bioscience Roadmap convened with elected officials in Washington to share the latest success stories and describe some of the work ahead.

Tags: bioscience leaders, d.c., delegation
Mar 07, 2008

Arizona bio firms invited to join state delegation at BIO 2008

Arizona will be showcased prominently in June at BIO 2008, the world's largest biotechnology conference and exposition, which will draw 20,000 registrants to San Diego. A state delegation of bio leaders is now seeking startup and established biotech firms to join Arizona's exhibition.

Tags: azbio, bio
Feb 25, 2008

UA picks Iowa VP for research as new provost

Meredith Hay, currently vice president for research at the University of Iowa, has been appointed the University of Arizona's new provost and executive vice president. Dr. Hay, who has maintained an NIH-funded physiology research program while working in administration at Iowa, will assume the UA provost's duty April 30.

Tags: provost, ua
Feb 25, 2008

MDS Pharma Services opens new Tempe clinical-trials facility

MDS Pharma Services, which provides a variety of contract research and testing services for pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, has opened a new Phase I clinical-trials facility in Tempe, more than doubling the company's capacity in the Phoenix area and significantly adding to the Valley's clinical research infrastructure.

Tags: clinical-trials, mds pharma
Feb 13, 2008

BIO5/Biodesign symposium to feature genomics pioneer Venter

A March 19 symposium at the University of Arizona, jointly sponsored by the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and the BIO5 Institute at UA, will feature a quintet of leading researchers and theorists who are helping to shape the nascent field of synthetic biology. Among the presenters will be Craig Venter, one of the key scientists involved in mapping the human genome.

Tags: bio5, biodesign institute, genomics, human genome, synthetic biology, ua
Feb 08, 2008

Swiss drug giant closes deal on purchase of Tucson's Ventana Medical Systems

The Tucson area's largest biotech employer, Ventana Medical Systems, has been purchased for $3.4 billion by Roche Holding AG, the Swiss pharmaceutical and diagnostics giant that had been angling to acquire Ventana since last June. As of Feb. 7, Roche had acquired 70.5 percent of Ventana shares, enough to close the deal. Roche has stated that Ventana will maintain its headquarters in Oro Valley, and may in fact grow there.

Tags: drug development, personalized medicine, roche, ventana
Feb 05, 2008

Arizona's first dedicated bioscience venture fund launches

Leading Phoenix-area bioscience and investment professionals today announced the formation of the Translational Accelerator, LLC (TRAC), a private, Arizona-based $20 million bioscience venture capital group. TRAC becomes Arizona's first venture fund established to target early-stage bioscience companies. TRAC investments will only support firms located in Arizona or those planning to move to the state.

Tags: accelerator, trac, venture capital
Feb 01, 2008

L.A. biotech firm invests $21.5 mil in TGen initiatives

Abraxis Bioscience, a Los Angeles-based biotechnology company with a growing presence in Phoenix, is investing $21.5 million in two initiatives of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). The programs take complementary approaches to help propel discoveries toward commercial viability and clinical applications.

Tags: abraxis, accelerator, tgen