Industry News and Notes – December 2011

Washington Report

BIO Applauds Congress for Reauthorizing SBIR/STTR Programs

WASHINGTON, DC — The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) on December 16 praised the House and Senate for passage of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) reauthorization as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (HR 1540).

The passage of this Act reauthorizes and amends the SBIR/STTR programs, which help fund small innovative companies on the brink of new technologies and discoveries.

BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood issued a statement: “BIO and our members have long advocated for the reauthorization of, and changes to, SBIR/STTR, which are critical sources of funding for emerging biotechnology companies in the early development stages of medical research for serious and life-threatening diseases, including cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and Parkinson’s.

“We especially are pleased that this Act will allow majority venture-capital–backed companies to once again compete for SBIR/STTR funds, which will help level the playing field for small biotechnology companies so that they can continue to bring innovative medical treatments and cures to market. Allowing companies that are primarily funded through venture capital to compete once again for SBIR/STTR grants will increase the number of new medical discoveries and innovations available to patients.”

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Biotech Leader Provides Testimony on Bioethical Issues in International Clinical Trials

WASHINGTON, DC — Russell M. Medford, MD, PhD, President and CEO of Salutria Pharmaceuticals, LLC, provided testimony on November 16 to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues on BIO’s Principles Regarding Ethical Performance of International Clinical Trials. Dr. Medford is co-chair of BIO’s Board Standing Committee on Bioethics.

“BIO members support appropriate oversight of clinical trials and medical research, whether conducted in the United States or elsewhere in the world,” said Dr. Medford. “Performing important research and protecting research subjects are mutually attainable goals, and decisions regarding whether and how to use medical products and technologies must always be made with profound respect for the rights of patients.”

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News from Our Colleges and Universities

A Few Spaces Remain for the Following Rutgers Mini-MBA Program

One-week BioPharma Innovation Mini-MBA
January 23-27 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

One-week BioPharma Entrepreneurship Mini-MBA
February 27 – March 2 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Start-up Spawned by Rutgers Researcher’s Technology for Genetic Transformation in Plants – Boosting Yields in Biofuels and Cereal Crops for Food Is the Goal

An accomplished scientist and teacher, Pal Maliga holds the highest faculty rank at Rutgers University: Professor II (distinguished professor). He also holds 17 patents and received the “Inventor of the Year” award this fall from the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame.

Now Maliga is commercializing his research, which is one of his long-held goals, through an alliance with a Texas start-up. Leveraging his novel techniques for genetically transforming plastids, a key component of plants, Maliga recently helped launch Plant Transformation Technologies LLC of Dallas. He is chief scientific officer of the company, which is headed by Erich Spangenberg, founder and chairman of IP Navigation Group, also in Dallas.

“PTT is an exciting venture for us, bringing together Professor Maliga’s brilliance, Rutgers’ support for entrepreneurial endeavors, and IP Navigation Group’s skills in analyzing and monetizing intellectual property,” Spangenberg said. “We look forward to working with industry, Rutgers, and others to make Professor Maliga’s work a tremendous commercial success. While our initial focus will be on maize (the corn family), we intend to expand into work with soybean and canola.”

As part of this collaborative effort, IP Navigation Group has committed $1 million to sponsor further research in maize by Maliga’s laboratory.

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Items of Note

Use your industry knowledge to help shape a virtual data room to the life sciences industry. RR Donnelley is looking for feedback from companies involved in clinical trials, R&D, or other processes that require managing and sharing confidential information and other communications. Read more about the virtual data room, Venue™. Email Jeff Levy to set up a test drive.