Arizona Biosciences News

Jul 01, 2008

UA president announces restructuring of health-sciences areas

University of Arizona president Robert Shelton announced July 1 a significant restructuring of UA's health-sciences units, including creation of a new position, the vice president for health affairs. The new vice president will oversee several health-related colleges and manage relations with university-affiliated hospitals and a university physicians group. Dr. Shelton also announced that the current College of Medicine dean, Keith Joiner, will step down to return to the faculty.

Tags: college of medicine, health affairs, restructuring, ua
Jul 01, 2008

Governor signs budget preserving bioscience priorities

State bioscience interests achieved an escape worthy of Houdini in the Arizona Legislature's just-completed budget process. On June 27, the Legislature passed a $9.9 billion budget for fiscal year 2009, erasing a projected shortfall of $2 billion and leaving intact three of the funding priorities dearest to bioscience advocates.

Tags: bioscience, budget, sfaz, tax
Jun 30, 2008

Arizona sends largest delegation yet to top bioindustry convention

Earlier this month, Arizona sent its largest delegation yet to the BIO 2008 International Convention, and the state enjoyed a position of greater prominence than ever before at what has become the premiere annual event for the bioscience industry.

Tags: azbio, bio, biozona
Jun 26, 2008

UA virologist wins prestigious Pew Scholars prize

Felicia Goodrum, a University of Arizona virologist and a member of the BIO5 Institute, has been named one of 20 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences. The $240,000 award, one of the nation's highest honors for early- to mid-career researchers, will support Dr. Goodrum's study of the human cytomegalovirus, which more than half the world's population carries latently.

Tags: bio5 institute, cytomegalovirus, pew scholars
Jun 25, 2008

National study cites Arizona's bio industry growth, strengths

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and Battelle released a biennial study of U.S. bioscience industry trends at the 2008 BIO International Convention in San Diego on June 18. Arizona, the study reports, saw bioscience jobs jump 21.5 percent from 2001 to 2006. And in 2006, Arizona's bioscience workers earned wages 35 percent higher than their counterparts in the state's overall private sector.

Tags: battelle, bio, biosciences
Jun 23, 2008

InNexus receives patent-protection for cancer antibody technology

Drug developer InNexus Biotechnology Inc., which modifies laboratory-produced antibodies to make them more effective cancer-fighters, has announced that several patents related to its Dynamic Cross Linking (DXL) technology will soon be issued. The latest patent approval for the firm's technology platform--other patents have been issued previously--gives InNexus a firmer stake in the promising field of cancer immunotherapy.

Tags: cancer, drug development, innexus, monoclonal
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

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 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 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

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 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 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