Biozona Weekly: Bio Roadmap update; canine cancer research; much more

February 7, 2012

By hammersmith

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Dogs Get Cancer Like People, and Hold Clues to Cures
2/7/2012 | Wall Street Journal | Amy Dockser Marcus

Researchers hoping to develop a promising new approach to treating cancer in people are trying it in another group: pet dogs. The aim of personalized medicine is to design an optimum cancer therapy after analyzing genes in a patient’s tumor. Dogs, which have strong genetic similarities with humans, get many of the same types of cancers as people and have similar responses to cancer-fighting drugs.

Bioscience bright spot for jobs in Arizona
02/03/2012 | Arizona Daily Star | David Wichner

Arizona’s biosciences sector is expanding despite the still-struggling economy – boosted in Southern Arizona by expansion at companies like Oro Valley-based Ventana Medical Systems/Roche. Employment in Arizona’s biosciences sector rose 7.4 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to the latest update of a statewide bioscience plan commissioned by the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation.

Phoenix pharmaceutical company forges ahead
02/02/2012 | Arizona Republic | Ken Alltucker

Even with cuts to state programs intended to diversify the economy by growing areas such as the biosciences, some entrepreneurial companies have been able to forge ahead. They launched operations during the darkest days of the recession and are poised to expand as the economy recovers. One such company, Insys Therapeutics, is in full growth mode, with plans to more than double its size before the end of the year.

Grant of $600,000 will be used for local pancreatic cancer research
02/01/2012 | Arizona Daily Star | Stephanie Innes

The National Foundation for Cancer Research this week awarded a three-year $600,000 grant to the University of Arizona and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to study new therapies to treat pancreatic cancer.

Noted cancer scientist takes helm at Tucson-based C-Path
02/01/2012 | Arizona Daily Star

A former National Cancer Institute scientist has taken the helm of the Tucson-based Critical Path Institute, a non-profit, independent institute dedicated to improving the drug development process. Dr. Carolyn Compton joined C-Path as president and CEO, C-Path announced today. She replaces C-Path founder Dr. Raymond Woosley, who announced last year he would step down.

Skin-cancer drug tested in Valley approved by FDA
01/31/2012 | Arizona Republic | Sonja Haller

The Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a new drug studied in the Valley gives hope to patients with a type of advanced skin cancer — patients who, until now, had no other treatment options. The approval also marks the first time that a drug has received a federal green light after clinical trials performed in a standing partnership between Scottsdale Healthcare and the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix.

Arizona’s bioscience industry prospers
01/31/2012 | Arizona Republic | Ken Alltucker

Arizona’s bioscience industry posted gains in jobs after the recession even as the state’s private-sector employment dipped, according to a new report. Other bright spots for the state’s bioscience sector included a surge of venture-capital funding last year as several private-sector biotech companies secured large funding rounds.

Flinn Foundation: Arizona bioscience jobs on the rise
01/31/2012 | Phoenix Business Journal | Angela Gonzales

Despite the recession, bioscience jobs are on the increase, according to the Flinn Foundation’s Arizona Bioscience Roadmap update, released today. The number of bioscience jobs increased by 7.4 percent during the postrecessionary period of 2009-10, compared with a 1.8 percent decline for the state’s overall private sector, according to the annual study conducted by the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice.

Huge fest salutes science, technology
01/30/2012 | Arizona Republic | Jennifer McClellan

If the inaugural Arizona SciTech Festival were a high-school student, it would be hip with the jocks, the science geeks, the art crowd and the math nerds. The festival, equally cool with arts organizations, sports teams, history buffs and science groups, aims to show the ubiquity of science and technology across disciplines and in everyday life.

Medical-research cache in works
01/28/2012 | Arizona Republic | Emily Gersema

A massive building near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is now home to a supercomputer that one day is expected to store clinical-research reports, medical records and the decoded genetic makeup of millions of patients and their cancers.

Executive profile: Dr. Robert Penny of the International Genomics Consortium
01/27/2012 | Phoenix Business Journal | Angela Gonzales

In 1984, Robert Penny became the first person to earn an M.D. and Ph.D. simultaneously from the University of Arizona. Back then, it was against the rules of the university to be enrolled in two advanced degree programs at the same time, so he enrolled by reversing the order of his first name and middle name for his Ph.D.

Tucson firm to build new Oro Valley biotech campus
01/25/2012 | Arizona Daily Star | Dale Quinn

Construction on a 160,000-square-foot bioscience and technology campus should begin by the end of the year in Oro Valley. Plans call for the campus to include bioscience research and development companies, emerging technology businesses, medical-device manufacturers and suppliers to those industries, Anthem Equity said in its news release.

Lawmaker: Two bills would help establish Arizona as center for algae farming
01/24/2012 | Cronkite News | Jessica Testa

Anticipating a day when Arizona becomes a leader in producing algae for biofuel, a Tucson lawmaker is pushing to have algae farms and related facilities defined — and taxed — like any corn field or packing plant. Rep. Matt Heinz, a Democrat, has introduced two bills the he said will allow for the growth of algaculture, or algae farming.