Arizona Biosciences News

Jan 26, 2008

NAU selects dean as university's first VP for research

Northern Arizona University has named Laura Huenneke, the university's founding dean of the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences, as its first vice president for research. Dr. Huenneke will direct NAU's efforts to strengthen further its leadership in applied research, undergraduate and master's-level research, and regional economic development.

Tags: economic development, nau
Jan 24, 2008

St. Joseph's tandem honored with lifetime-achievement award

Joan and William Shapiro, a powerhouse couple in the field of neuro-oncology, have been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Neuro-Oncology, which recognized the contributions over their careers to clinical care and research. Joan Shapiro is the vice president of clinical research studies, and William Shapiro the chairman of neurology, at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

Tags: awards, neuro-oncology, st. joseph's
Jan 22, 2008

Swiss drug giant buys Tucson's Ventana Medical Systems

The Tucson area's largest biotech employer, Ventana Medical Systems, has been purchased for $3.4 billion by Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant that has been pursuing an acquisition of Ventana since last June. After extending several times an offer of $75 per share, Roche offered $89.50 per share for Ventana. Roche has stated that Ventana will maintain its presence in Oro Valley, and may in fact grow there.

Tags: acquisition, infectious diseases, personalized medicine, pharmaceutical, roche, tucson, ventana
Jan 16, 2008

UA, Banner Health halt negotiations for downtown Phoenix hospital

Negotiations have ended between Banner Health and the Arizona Board of Regents and the University of Arizona on construction of a teaching hospital for the downtown Phoenix Biomedical Campus. After more than a year of struggling to strike a deal, both sides have concluded that agreement is unlikely, and UA has announced that it will seek alternative partners for the hospital.

Tags: arizona board of regents, banner, phoenix biomedical campus, ua college of medicine-phoenix
Jan 12, 2008

$6.5 mil grant sustains Arizona Cancer Center research

The Arizona Cancer Center at the University of Arizona has received a five-year, $6.5 million grant renewal from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to sustain its Therapeutic Development Program. The NCI award, which UA first won in 1975, will fund several lines of drug-development research, including clinical trials related to two promising anticancer drugs developed at the Arizona Cancer Center.

Tags: arizona cancer center, cancer, drug development, grant, therapeutic, ua
Dec 31, 2007

Arizona's Bioscience Roadmap: A Snapshot at the Midpoint

A string of developments are reshaping the bioscience landscape across Arizona, from the construction of new research facilities and the recruitment of key scientists, to the founding of new biotech firms and increased attention to quality K-12 science and math education. Together, the advances represent dramatic progress on Arizona's Bioscience Roadmap, a ten-year strategy that has now reached its midpoint.

Tags: asu, banner, barrow neurological institute, bio5, biodesign, c-path, drug development, gore, nau, ppm, roadmap, scottsdale healthcare, shri, techconnect, tgen, ua
Dec 21, 2007

Board increases graduation mandates, boosting weight of STEM grants

Business, education, and legislative leaders pleading for stronger STEM curricula got their wish Dec. 10 when the Arizona state Board of Education voted to increase high-school graduation requirements for science and math. The board's decision makes new grants for innovative educational programs and teacher-training initiatives significantly more valuable.

Tags: board of education, education, math, science, stem
Dec 21, 2007

ASU set to initiate new bio-related grad programs for Spring 2008

Beginning in the 2008 spring semester, Arizona State University will be launching two new graduate programs linked to the biosciences, both of which will capitalize on the increasingly intertwined domains of industry and university-based scientific research.

Tags: asu, biological design, bioscience, clinical-research management, graduate programs
Dec 17, 2007

NAU wins major grant to overhaul prep for math, science teachers

Northern Arizona University has won a $3.4 million grant from the National Math and Science Initiative and the Helios Education Foundation to double the number of math and science teachers it graduates each year, welcome news to Arizona education and industry leaders alarmed by a shortage of math and science teachers.

Tags: education, grant, helios, math, nau, nauteach, science, workforce development
Dec 17, 2007

UA economic development chief pushes southern Ariz. biosciences forward

Bruce Wright, UA's associate vice president for economic development, has demonstrated a career-long commitment to facilitating technology-based regional development. And with the drive to launch the Arizona Bioscience Park, he stands at the center of Southern Arizona's efforts to expand its bioscience economy.

Tags: bioscience, biotech park, development, economy, ua
Dec 13, 2007

Molecular Profiling Institute acquired by Caris Diagnostics

Molecular Profiling Institute, the first spinoff of Phoenix's International Genomics Consortium and the Translational Genomics Research Institute, has been acquired for approximately $40 million by Caris Diagnostics, a Texas biotech firm, signaling the potential for Arizona's investment in the biosciences to yield significant returns.

Tags: cancer, caris, diagnostic, igc, molecular profiling institute, personalized medicine, texas, tgen
Dec 03, 2007

Roadmap midpoint update notes Arizona bio achievements, challenges

The latest analysis of Arizona's bioscience sector highlights impressive growth in terms of jobs, wages, and firms, and renewed attention from venture-capital investors, but the state continues to play catch up with the leading states and regions. So says Battelle, the consultant team that helped design Arizona's Bioscience Roadmap and was asked to gather data and assess its impact after five years of implementation.

Tags: bioscience roadmap
Dec 01, 2007

TGen, Arizona Dept. of Health Services nab Valley Fever grant

When an Arizonan comes down with Valley Fever, doctors and public-health experts should be able to diagnosis the respiratory infection within hours, identify where the individual crossed paths with the disease-causing fungus, and take action to limit public exposure. Those are some of the long-term goals for a new line of research that the Translational Genomics Research Institute and the Arizona Department of Health Services are launching with the support of a $300,000 grant from the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission.

Tags: adhs, infectious diseases, respiratory infection, tgen, valley fever
Nov 21, 2007

Arizona Cancer Center awarded $12 million federal grant

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded the Arizona Cancer Center a $12 million grant to continue a program of interdisciplinary research on gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. The University of Arizona is one of only five sites nationwide to receive funding under the GI Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) initiative.

Tags: arizona cancer center, cancer, gastrointestinal, nci, spore, ua
Nov 20, 2007

UA Parkinson's research receives national attention

A recently published Parkinson's disease study by a team of University of Arizona scientists has generated national media attention, underscoring the neurological disease's tremendous impact on the general public. And the headline-grabbing investigation is just one piece of the Parkinson's research underway at UA, where several departments have made it a top priority.

Tags: parkinson's, ua
Nov 20, 2007

TGen, NAU secure $4.5 million to develop biowarfare-disease diagnostic

Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Northern Arizona University have won a highly competitive $4.5-million grant from the National Institutes of Health to design a diagnostic tool to for melioidosis, a highly contagious bacterial disease weaponized by the Soviet Union and the U.S. during the Cold War.

Tags: bacterial disease, bioterrorism, melioidosis, nau, tgen, tgen north
Nov 16, 2007

Drug firm sanofi-aventis breaks ground on Oro Valley expansion

Sanofi-aventis, the world's third-largest pharmaceutical company, broke ground Nov. 15 on a $40 million research facility in Oro Valley's Innovation Park. The new center should bring 40 new jobs and strengthen greater Tucson's reputation as an emerging biotechnology hub.

Tags: drug development, oro valley, pharmaceutical, sanofi-aventis
Nov 14, 2007

Startup co-founded by TGen scientist launches in Calif.

Navigenics Inc., a Bay Area biotechnology firm offering comprehensive genetic screening, has officially launched, buoyed by an infusion of Silicon Valley venture capital and significant guidance from a scientist who has helped build the reputation of the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

Tags: genetic, navigenics, neurogenomics, tgen, venture-capital
Nov 09, 2007

Nanotech drug firm Abraxis strengthens Phoenix presence

The CEO of Abraxis BioScience Inc., a Los Angeles-based pharmaceutical company specializing in cancer therapeutics, met this week with Phoenix-area officials, who hailed the company's recent arrival. In late July, Abraxis purchased a manufacturing facility in Phoenix from Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. and now employs 85 people at the site.

Tags: abraxis, cancer, nanotechnology, pharmaceutical
Nov 08, 2007

Cancer drug developer Semafore expands to Scottsdale

Semafore Pharmaceuticals Inc., an Indianapolis cancer therapeutics firm, is opening a Scottsdale office, hoping that Arizona's growing bioscience industry and proximity to the state's cancer experts will help its top drug candidate reach the marketplace.

Tags: cancer, drug development, semafore
Nov 06, 2007

New venture group forms to support UA tech innovations

When a university researcher hits upon a discovery that might succeed in the marketplace, shouting "Eureka!" is often only the beginning, inaugurating a long and difficult course toward a new product's debut. A newly formed investment fund, Desert Tech Investors LLC, is designed to make that journey easier.

Tags: desert angels, desert tech investors, investment, tech transfer, ua
Nov 02, 2007

SFAz grant to fund ASU-BP biofuel project

Concluding its initial round of Strategic Research Group grants, Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) has announced that a group of Arizona State University researchers will receive $2.2 million over two years to study environmentally friendly biofuel production. Petroleum giant BP will collaborate with the ASU team and contribute funds equal to SFAz's grant.

Tags: asu, biofuel, bp, grants, sfaz
Oct 29, 2007

New statewide organization seeks coordinated economic development

Gov. Janet Napolitano has announced the formation of a new economic-development nonprofit, the Arizona Economic Resources Organization (AERO), which will work to strengthen the state's economy via better-coordinated marketing and pursuit of new businesses.

Tags: aero, agn, cedc, economic development, napolitano, sfaz
Oct 24, 2007

New grants cement C-Path's role in setting research, treatment standards

Tucson's Critical Path Institute (C-Path) has announced details of two new grants to fund collaborations that will buttress its leadership role in setting standards for pharmaceutical research and patient treatment regimens. Separately, Gov. Janet Napolitano cited that distinctive role as she presented C-Path with an Arizona Innovation Award.

Tags: azcert, c-path, drug development, drug safety, fda, grants, nci, pharmaceutical, sfa, ventana
Oct 23, 2007

Tucson biotech nets $10 million investment led by Merck

High Throughput Genomics Inc. of Tucson has announced the receipt of $10 million in venture-capital investment, led by pharmaceutical giant Merck, strengthening the small firm's position in a rapidly evolving and fiercely competitive scientific field and business environment.

Tags: drug-development, genetic, high throughput genomics, merck, solstice capital, tucson, valley ventures, venture capital
Oct 22, 2007

Battelle presents Northern Arizona Regional Bioscience Roadmap

Building on a trio of research core competencies and the presence of medical-device company W.L. Gore, northern Arizona can fulfill a vision where the biosciences sector helps to create better-paying jobs, nurture new companies, and improve residents' wellbeing. That assessment was presented Oct. 16 in "Growing Northern Arizona's Bioscience Sector: A Regional Roadmap," by research consultant Battelle.

Tags: battelle, roadmap
Oct 19, 2007

Arizona BioIndustry Association names new CEO

The Arizona BioIndustry Association has named a new president and chief executive officer to lead the growing statewide bioscience trade association. C. Robert (Bob) Eaton, who led a bioscience industry support organization in Maryland for 10 years, has relocated to Phoenix and began his new position on October 1.

Tags: azbio, ceo
Oct 19, 2007

New facilities provide support for novel bio collaborations

Three new facilities, from Flagstaff to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, exemplify the enriched infrastructure enabling Arizona's drive toward more collaborative research initiatives with immediate, real-world applications. Two are now welcoming their first occupants, and a third broke ground this month.

Tags: abc, nau, northern arizona, phoenix biomedical campus, r&d
Oct 17, 2007

Scientific luminaries launch personalized diagnostics initiative

The Partnership for Personalized Medicine, an unprecedented initiative to develop personalized molecular diagnostics, is being launched collaboratively by 2001 Nobel laureate Lee Hartwell, the Translational Genomics Research Institute, and the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. The effort is being funded by commitments of $35 million from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and $10 million from the Flinn Foundation.

Tags: cancer, molecular diagnostics, personalized medicine, proteomics
Oct 15, 2007

UA, NAU team wins grant for commercially promising bio study

A collaboration of three BIO5 members at the University of Arizona and a researcher at NAU has received a $3.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study biosurfactants—bacteria-produced molecules with extraordinary potential for commercialization. Finding such commercial applications constitutes one of the key objectives for Arizona's bioscience research enterprises.

Tags: bio5, biosurfactants, grant, nau, nsf, ua