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Biotech Investments Across the Union


States make investments in the life sciences.

June 10, 2008 | There are far more players than just San Francisco, San Diego, and Boston throwing their hats in the U.S. biotech ring these days. Dedicated efforts to sustainable biotech clusters and investments are popping up all over the country, with states and regions everywhere vying for big biotech business. Here's a recent sampling:

Washington State is focusing on biology, genomics, and genetics. The state's Life Sciences Discovery Fund issued $22 million in grants to five life sciences organizations. The health research initiatives focus on the areas of medical genetics, autoimmunity, cancer clinical trials, proteomics-based diagnostics and early learning and brain development and were given to researchers from the University of Washington; Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

On the heels of Ohio's second Governor's Cup win (an award recognizing the state with the most new or expanded capital projects in the previous year), the state has announced strong gains in the life sciences sector. Amylin Pharmaceuticals, based in West Chester, announced a $400 million expansion that is expected to create 500 new jobs.

The Buffalo Niagara region in upstate New York continues to win acclaim for the quality of life. But tucked away among the historic architecture and breezy commute is the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus including the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, and the University at Buffalo. The region also boasts more than 130 life sciences companies. Recently, Buffalo-based Cleveland BioLabs won an $8.9 million federal contract in April to develop a drug to treat the effects of acute radiation syndrome, while Kinex Pharmaceuticals gained another $3 million of angel funding ($8 million total) in March for its anti-tumor drug candidate in Phase 1.

With pharma outsourcing to contract service providers (CSPs) increasing, Indiana has claimed a niche with more than 40 CSPs serving big pharma, biotechs, and international firms. In March, one of the largest CSPs, Cook Pharmica announced an $80 million expansion at their Bloomington location, and BioConvergence, another CSP, signed a 10-year agreement with Eli Lilly. Indiana also boasts one of the country's most successful regional health information networks.

Beyond Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts is expanding its life science foothold thanks to Governor Deval Patrick's $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative proposed last year. Merck Serono and its U.S. affiliate EMD Serono-part of Germany's Merck KGaA-are expanding EMD Serono's U.S. foothold with a $50 million expansion at its research and manufacturing facility in Billerica, creating 100 new jobs in the process. 

News compiled by Allison Proffitt.

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This article appeared in Bio-IT World Magazine.

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