Biotechnology

President Trump nominated Dr. Norman Sharpless of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center for the director of the National Cancer Institute.
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center / UNC

President Trump nominated Dr. Norman Sharpless as director of the National Cancer Institute.

Sharpless, who goes by “Ned,” is the director of the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Wellcome Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research at UNC.

Scott Beale / Flickr/ Creative Commons

It is tough out there for biotech companies. The rewards can be big, but the time frames are long and the risks are high. Research Triangle Park-based G1 Therapeutics is the latest hope for the area’s biotech scene.

Mary-Dell Chilton is a pioneer in the field of agricultural biotechnology. As a young scientist at Washington University, she led the team of researchers that produced the first genetically-modified plant. Chilton moved to North Carolina in the early 1980s to begin her corporate career and has continued to conduct research that shapes the agricultural production of corn, cotton, and other crops.

NC Biotech
NC Biotechnology Center

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center is investing $1 million in its budget in bio-defense and agricultural projects. 

The funds come from the legislature's budget adjustments for this fiscal year, which Governor Pat McCrory signed earlier this month. 

The nonprofit had asked for an extra $7.3 million this year, but incoming president and CEO Doug Edgeton says the money will still go a long way to help companies that are developing measures to fight bioterrorism and produce food for the defense industry.

NC Biotech
NC Biotechnology Center

Major cuts have been made to education and training programs at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.  When the latest state budget was signed, the North Carolina Biotech Center was told it had to cut 27% of its budget.  That meant a cut of $4.6 million.

Norris Tolson is president and CEO of the Biotech Center.  He says an example of programs they had to cut were the Summer Workshops for Educators, that trained 200 teachers a year.

NC Biotechnology Center
NC Biotechnology Center

Biotech researchers and entrepreneurs from across the region will gather for a networking conference intended to link researchers to funding partners this week. The first Southeast Venture Philanthropy Summit will take place at the at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill April 3-4, and more than 30 foundations will attend, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.  The summit seeks to help local companies tap into philanthropic venture capital.

Biotechnology leaders in North Carolina are encouraged by a new survey's results.  Officials with the Batelle Technology Partnership say North Carolina's biotech -- or life sciences sector is the third largest in the nation -- behind only California and Massachusetts.  Numbers show that while the state's economy has struggled, biotech has continued to prosper.  The state's biotech industry has grown 23-and-a-half percent from 2001 to 2010..faster than any other state.  Norris Tolson is C-E-O of  the

The unemployment rate for the northeast part of the state continues to top 10-percent. But at today’s “Northeast State of the Region” event, economic developers are expected to show there’s positive progress.

Leoneda Inge: Sixteen counties make up Northeast North Carolina. Vann Rogerson is president of the North Carolina Northeast Commission. He says there are several projects underway that will provide a brighter future for the region, like a major grant to connect communities through broadband.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is introducing a Bio Tech facility later today in Winston-Salem.

Jeff Tiberii: What used to be an RJ Reynolds tobacco manufacturing and storage facility will now serve as Wake Forest BioTech place. The 242-thousand square foot facility will house about 450 people by the end of this year. It’s part of the Piedmont triad Research Park. Medical Center V.P. Doug Edgeton says the new site will have research projects in bio-chemistry, pharmacology, physiology, biomedical engineering and micro-biology.

There is a major move underway to grow the state’s Biotechnology industry by diving for opportunities off the coast.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center has approved a 2-point-5 million dollar grant to establish a Marine Biotechnology Center of Innovation.  Scientists have already been using marine life to develop commercial products, but the four year grant will likely accelerate the process.   Norris Tolson is the president and C-E-O of the Biotech Center.  He says the industry is excited by such a move.

Syngenta Expands In RTP

May 23, 2011

Biotech giant Syngenta will be expanding it's footprint in Research Triangle Park.  Company officials announced they will be spending 71 million dollars to build a lab and greenhouse facility to do crop research next to their present building in RTP.  Syngenta spokesman Steven Goldsmith says the greenhouse will also be green. 

A major effort is underway to grow North Carolina’s Agricultural Technology Industry. Alexandria Real Estate Equities of California announced yesterday it is building a 50-thousand-square-foot Ag-Tech Center near Research Triangle Park.  More than one-third of the space will be a greenhouse. Amber Shirley is director of Biotechnology-Crops Development at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.  She says Alexandria’s greenhouse space will be flexible and collaborative.

The Raleigh Convention Center will be packed today and tomorrow for the annual CED Biotech Life Science Conference.  .

The economy is showing signs of improvement – and organizers of the annual Biotech Conference say that’s good for the life sciences. More than one thousand people are expected to attend – emerging biotech companies, policymakers and venture capitalists – looking for the next big thing. Bill Wofford – a partner at Hutchinson Law Group is a conference co-chair.  He says in a promotional video, there will be a lot of partnering going on.

Biotech Leaders Tout Industry's Benefits

Feb 9, 2011
kaibara87, Flickr Creative Commons

North Carolina's biotechnology leaders want state lawmakers to maintain investment in biotech... and in education.  Maria Rapoza from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center estimates the biotech industry accounts for about 200,000 jobs and creates about 45 billion dollars in revenue for the state annually. Rapoza says, for instance, state investments in the university system over the last quarter century has helped biotech to thrive here.