Arizona Biosciences News

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

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

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 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
Jan 31, 2008

Genetics pioneer aims to transform global healthcare—from Arizona

Nobel Laureate Lee Hartwell, who has helped shape our understanding of genetics and cell biology, has now turned his attention to making healthcare more science-based, and thereby more effective and affordable. His means to accomplish that objective is the Arizona-based Partnership for Personalized Medicine.

Tags: cancer, genetics, lee hartwell, partnership for personalized medicine
Jan 30, 2008

BIO5 receives $50 million NSF grant

The National Science Foundation has awarded a team of institutions, led by the BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona, a $50 million, five-year grant to create the iPlant Collaborative, a global center and computer cyberinfrastructure that will enable researchers around the world to tackle complex, multidisciplinary plant-science challenges. UA will retain 79 percent of the funds, and in five years the grant will be eligible for renewal, for a potential total of $100 million.

Tags: bio5, cyberinfrastructure, nsf, plant biology, ua
Jan 29, 2008

Helios Education Foundation gives $6.5 million for TGen interns

Helios Education Foundation, the largest education-focused foundation serving Arizona and Florida, is providing a grant of $6.5 million to the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to support the Helios Scholars Program, an internship program at TGen, for the next 25 years. Each summer, 45 high-school, undergraduate, and graduate students come to TGen for an introduction to high-tech bioscience research.

Tags: education, helios, interns, tgen
Jan 26, 2008

UA pharmacy chief receives profession's highest distinction

Lyle Bootman, dean of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, has been selected to receive the highest honor in the pharmacy profession. Dr. Bootman, who heads one of the top pharmacy schools in the country, will receive the 2008 Remington Honor Medal from the American Pharmacists Association at its annual meeting in March.

Tags: awards, college of pharmacy, remington honor medal, ua
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