News from our community

<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
  • 11 Jun 2018 7:33 AM | Anonymous

    Over the final two decades of the 20th century and into the 21st, Alabama’s biotechnology sector developed steadily. It rose from the foundation established by the emergence of Birmingham — particularly the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the nonprofit Southern Research — as a leading national center for medical and scientific research.

    By the mid-1980s, UAB and local business leaders were moving to facilitate the commercialization of research and actively support the business climate for startups in biotech and other technology-related fields. That led to the creation in 1986 of the Office for the Advancement of Developing Industries (OADI).

    As an “incubator” for tech-based industries, OADI was successful from the beginning. In 2006, it was merged with small-business incubator The Entrepreneurial Center, and the following year — renamed Innovation Depot — moved into a renovated former Sears flagship in downtown Birmingham, where it has become one of the nation’s leading startup programs. Since 2010 alone, Innovation Depot has housed well over 100 companies, accounting for a combined economic impact of nearly $1.5 billion.

    Meanwhile, other biotech ventures across Alabama were finding success in their own right. Among the highlights:

    BioCryst Pharmaceuticals. Founded in 1986, BioCryst began as a tenant at OADI, developing antiviral drugs. The company went public in 1994, and by 2008 was recognized as one of the fastest-growing tech-based companies in America.

    Brookwood Pharmaceuticals. A spinoff of Southern Research — co-founder Art Tipton would become CEO of Southern Research in 2013 — Brookwood built its business on supplying biodegradable polymers. The company was acquired by Minnesota-based SurModics in 2007.

    HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. Opened in Huntsville in 2008, the nonprofit HudsonAlpha engages scientists, educators, clinicians and entrepreneurs in collaborating to apply genomic sciences to improving human health and well-being around the world.

    Evonik. In 2014, the German-based Evonik — one of the world’s leading specialty chemical companies — chose Birmingham as the site of its first global “Innovation Center.” In an interesting twist on Alabama’s biotech history, the company in 2011 had acquired SurModics, the firm that bought Birmingham’s Brookwood Pharmaceuticals four years earlier. In March 2018, Evonik capped off $50 million in investments over its four years in Birmingham by making its Birmingham facility the site of its global Competence Center for Medical Devices.

    Baxter. A Fortune 500 healthcare company based in Illinois, Baxter acquired Swedish-based medical equipment maker Gambro in 2012. Two years later, Baxter announced a $300 million investment in expansion of the existing Gambro facility in Opelika, adding 200 jobs to the southeast Alabama community.

    Oxford Pharmaceuticals. In 2016, British-based Oxford opened a new $29 million, 200-employee manufacturing and distribution facility in Jefferson County.

    In part, the ongoing — and, of late, accelerating — evolution of Alabama’s biotech sector is an outgrowth of the change in the state’s economic development strategy that also began in the mid-1980s. Especially as it related to biotech and life sciences, a more collaborative and forward-looking approach took hold. Today, the results of that are becoming apparent.

    “By working together across the state,” says Carter Wells, vice president for economic development at HudsonAlpha, “Alabama continues to grow as the biotech hub of the Southeast. Our company is proud to play a significant role in the state’s success.”

    Even so, obstacles remain for Alabama to achieve its full potential in biotech. One is access to capital, not only to fuel the startup culture, but also to encourage companies founded in Alabama to remain in the state. Another is being intentional about workforce development, ensuring the availability of education, training, jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities necessary to develop a true “ecosystem” for the kind of growth that gave rise to tech hubs like Silicon Valley.

    Part of that comes from the presence of an entity like HudsonAlpha. As Wells notes, the institute’s “unique model” enables it not only to attract biosciences companies, but also to “train the next generation of scientists and grow Alabama’s biotech workforce.”

    Another part of that effort is Bronze Valley. Launched in 2018, the Birmingham-based nonprofit is focused on workforce development and access to capital, as well as commercialization of science- and technology-based discoveries made at established research centers around Alabama. Most particularly, the organization is working to create an education-to-opportunity pipeline for ethnic minorities and women, who currently are underrepresented in technology careers, as entrepreneurs and in other fields where innovators will lead the way in creating the jobs of the future.

    “It’s about creating and perpetuating a culture of innovation,” says John O. Hudson III, chairman of the board for Bronze Valley and senior vice president for marketing and business development for Alabama Power. “We have the momentum and the ingredients, and now we’re putting the collaborative infrastructure in place to support transformational growth.”

    This is the last in a series of three articles on the history of biotech in Alabama. Mark Kelly is a Birmingham writer who is a senior market specialist for Alabama Power.

    Read The Original Article Here

  • 8 May 2018 3:11 PM | Anonymous

    Alabama’s multifaceted biosciences industry generates $7.3 billion in economic activity annually while supporting 780 companies and nearly 48,000 direct and indirect jobs across the state, according to a new analysis by researchers at the University of Alabama.

    The comprehensive study underscores the contributions and growth potential of the statewide life sciences sector, a robust combination of research institutions, medical labs, innovative startups, international pharmaceutical manufacturers, and more.

    “We have exceptional strengths in biosciences, including world-class research organizations and a roster of cutting-edge companies, so it’s a natural growth area for the state,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

    “We’re committed to helping accelerate the development of the life sciences sector, and we want the state to become home to more of these high-paying jobs and the talented individuals to fill them,” he added.

    Evonik operates a Global Competence Center for medical devices in Birmingham, where it produces biomaterials. (Image: Evonik)

    Noted Parkinson's researcher Andrew West (Associate Professor, Neurology) working in Neurology laboratory at UAB.

    HudsonAlpha's work focuses on genomics to discover more effective medical treatments and early diagnoses. (Image: HudsonAlpha)

    Researchers work in a Southern Research drug development lab. (Image: Southern Research)

    MASSIVE IMPACT

    The analysis, conducted for the BioAlabama industry trade group, shows that Alabama’s 780 life sciences companies directly employ 17,871 workers, each earning an average annual salary of $67,664. Total expenditures of those companies exceed $3.8 billion a year.

    Other key findings in the University of Alabama (UA) report:

    The bioscience industry’s 47,980 direct and indirect jobs in Alabama support a total yearly payroll of $2.3 billion.

    The industry contributes $3.9 billion annually to Alabama’s gross domestic product (GDP), nearly 2 percent of the state’s total economic output.

    The industry’s earnings impact generates $161.4 million in tax revenue annually, including $74.7 million in state income taxes and $86.7 million in state and local sales taxes.

    In addition, the UA researchers examined the economic contributions of bio-industries such as agricultural feedstock and chemicals, and bioscience-related distribution.

    They found that these activities magnified the impact of the core life sciences sector in Alabama, elevating overall economic output to $11 billion a year with more than 70,000 jobs and annual tax revenue topping $233 million.

    “This analysis confirms the far-reaching impact of Alabama’s bioscience industries throughout the state, and demonstrates why we continue to pursue strategies that allow the sector to continue to grow and create even more high-caliber jobs across the state,” said Blair King, president-elect of BioAlabama and manager of economic development and existing industry at Alabama Power Co.

    DIVERSE ACTIVITIES

    The foundations of Alabama’s bioscience research rest on the work conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Southern Research, the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, and the University of South Alabama’s Mitchell Cancer Institute.

    Their specialties of these organizations include drug discovery and development, genomics, and personalized medicine. They also frequently engage in collaborations such as the Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance, a partnership between UAB and Southern Research that has developed a pipeline of potential therapeutics for diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

    Alabama is also home to multinational companies involved in pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing. In March, Germany’s Evonik, for example, announced plans to expand production of biomaterials and launch a Global Competence Center for Medical Devices at its Birmingham facility.

    “Evonik’s investments in the Birmingham site reflect its commitment to the medical device and drug delivery business as well as the city of Birmingham and its history of world-class medical research and technology,” said Kel Boisvert, Birmingham site manager for Evonik.

    Other manufacturers operating in the state include Kowa Pharmaceuticals (Montgomery), Nektar Therapeutics (Huntsville), Baxter and Pharmavite (both Opelika), and Oxford Pharmaceuticals, Avanti Polar Lipids and Biohorizons (all Birmingham).

    At the same time, a number of innovative startup companies have sprung up in Alabama, with many of them based at HudsonAlpha and Birmingham’s Innovation Depot, the Southeast’s largest technology business incubator.

    Promising startups include Birmingham’s Blondin Bioscience, Huntsville’s GeneCapture, Mobile’s Swift Biotech and Auburn’s Vitruvias Therapeutics.

    “We are fortunate to have started our business in Alabama because we have benefitted from the highly collaborative entrepreneurial spirit throughout the state, including Alabama Launchpad and the various Small Business Development Centers, and especially our connection with HudsonAlpha and the University of Alabama in Huntsville,” said BioAlabama President Peggy Sammon, CEO and co-founder of GeneCapture.

    “We have been able to find highly skilled molecular biologists, chemical engineers, optical engineers and lab specialists,” she added. “Our membership in BioAlabama has connected us with other scientists and business professionals who have significantly helped us advance our business plan.”

    Alabama’s research universities are key players in the bioscience ecosystem and contribute to the industry’s economic impact. The network includes Auburn University, USA, Tuskegee University, Alabama State University Alabama A&M University, and the three University of Alabama System campuses.

    GROWTH POTENTIAL

    The analysis is the first to comprehensively examine the economic impact of the state’s bioscience sector. It was prepared by Senior Research Economist Sam Addy, Ph.D., and his team at the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business, with assistance from BioAlabama.

    Addy noted in the report that investing in life sciences should remain a pillar of the state’s overall economic development strategy.

    “Alabama should continue to keep biosciences as a focus in its economic development strategy since these industries provide high-wage jobs and are highly productive,” he writes.

    WHAT OTHERS SAY

    “Since launching its cancer program in 1946, Southern Research has discovered seven FDA-approved oncology drugs and made many significant discoveries that have helped patients with cancer and other diseases,” said Art Tipton, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Birmingham non-profit. “This highlights the vital importance of the groundbreaking bioscience work that continues to be done in labs in Alabama.”

    “I see UAB as not only the hub for healthcare innovation in Birmingham, but definitely throughout the state and the region,” said Kathy Nugent, Ph.D., executive director of UAB’s Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “That means producing as many companies as possible. It’s harder to produce biotech companies, because it takes time to develop new drug therapies. What we’re trying to do is think about it strategically and give our faculty the resources they need to be entrepreneurial to turn their research into new life sciences ventures.”

    “HudsonAlpha has gone from just a handful of startups and faculty to more than 35 life sciences companies and 15 faculty investigators in just 10 years,” said Carter Wells, vice president for economic development at HudsonAlpha. “It goes to show that Jim Hudson and Lonnie McMillian’s model works, and we’re proud to be a part of the biotech hub in North Alabama.”

    Read the original article here.

  • 7 May 2018 5:48 PM | Anonymous

    BioAlabama is looking to formalize a life sciences network throughout the state to enhance economic development in an important industry that stretches to nearly every corner of Alabama.

    The state’s industry organization is aligned with the national Biotechnology Innovation Organization, or BIO, the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotech centers and related organizations.

    Peggy Sammon, CEO of GeneCapture Inc. in Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, is on the BioAlabama board of directors. She outlined plans for BioAlabama to take the lead in helping grow biotech in the state at the Economic Development Association of Alabama Winter Conference earlier this week.

    A key element of that plan is to formalize a relationship between the state’s nine major bioscience assets in the state – UAB, HudsonAlpha, Southern Research, Tuskegee University, Auburn University, Alabama A&M, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of South Alabama.

    “In every one of those locations, there is some groundbreaking research happening – whether it’s in human health or genetics or plant science,” Sammon said. “There is also a surprising amount of collaboration between these organizations and institutions, so it’s a good time in Alabama to see the bio-focus happening.”

    BioAlabama fosters economic development in Alabama’s life sciences from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

    In addition to the nearly $1 billion in research dollars coming into these institutions each year, Sammon said investors are putting money behind a number of entrepreneurs starting bioscience companies in the state, and programs like Alabama Launchpad are putting dollars into the industry.

    “The research dollars that pour into the state are a very big part of what’s happening here,” she said. “They are the catalyst that gets a lot of new products to come out of the state.”

    Sammon said Alabama can do more to support the industry and help it grow. She said states like Georgia and Massachusetts have programs and private sector support that Alabama could learn from.

    But, Sammon said, Alabama is already focusing on one important area for the industry to grow.

    “The companies that are coming to Alabama or growing in Alabama are looking for a highly skilled workforce,” she said. “If we look across the state, there are good science and biology programs in a lot of the major universities, of course, but also in a lot of the community colleges, so there is a good drive to bring a workforce into this part of the ecosystem.”

    Local and state economic development groups have identified bioscience as an area where the state is poised to grow.

    “Alabama’s bioscience industry is a vital economic engine for our state, creating high-paying jobs and generating important innovations that improve the quality of life for people here at home and all around the world,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “We’re focused on fostering growth in the bioscience sector and collaborating with the state’s research leaders to make that happen.”

    Sammon said BioAlabama is ready to take a lead role in making that growth happen.

    “In the last couple of years, because there has been so much growth in Alabama – in all of the research centers and in commercial development – this is a time where we’re starting to see the ecosystem is actually having a bigger component in BioAlabama,” she said.

    Read the original article.

  • 3 Apr 2018 5:04 PM | Anonymous

    The bioscience sector is gaining critical mass and attracting top researchers and new industry to the state.

    BIO Alabama is the trade association that represents the biosciences industry across the state. This includes life sciences and biotech from the institutional and industrial sectors. In March, several representatives of BIO Alabama met with state representatives, state senators and the governor’s office in Montgomery to report on the state of the industry.

    The biosciences support jobs in research, manufacturing, distribution and clinical services. Companies and institutions are making advances in genetic engineering, clinical genome analyses, medical device design and manufacture and bio-materials. Clinical applications include pharmaceutical and supplement manufacture and distribution, and many health-related disease solutions and research. We reported to the Legislature that the industry was growing, greater amounts of research funding were entering the state, and a strong level of collaboration was occurring throughout the research institutions.

    Research labs are tackling high impact areas, such as cancer drug therapies, protein engineering, neurodegenerative diseases, implant bio-materials and big data solutions. Applied research is active in health analytics, a growing field that promises to reduce health costs by analyzing rates of disease, behaviors towards therapies and trends developing in urban and rural areas.

    Commercial companies in Alabama are manufacturing drugs and supplements, producing drug delivery products, and designing new medical devices and diagnostic tools. The services sector includes clinical design studies, precision medicine, custom therapies, personalized medicines, health IT, drug design, diagnostics, genome lab services and the state’s first genome clinic.

    Today it is possible to enter the start-up field in biosciences without a huge investment. Many applications are available using DNA tools, wearables, apps and databases that are easy to procure. The field is ripe for innovation from products to physician services. Start-up funding is available from multiple angel investment groups, Alabama Launchpad, university innovation grants, venture capital and SBIR and STTR funding. BIO Alabama is connecting the bioscience ecosystem to smooth the access to capital and mentors.

    Legislators were eager to hear about new discoveries and growing exports from the bioscience field.

    Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida have very established bioscience trade associations and the benefit of industry consolidation around large cities. Alabama has more of a challenge in that the bioscience industry is spread throughout the state with several growing centers. This is an indication of the health of the industry but it makes it more difficult to gain collaborations and build cluster traction. That’s where BIO Alabama comes in — developing and encouraging networks to accelerate new business ventures.

    There are six primary bioscience centers in the state:

    1. Birmingham is the most mature with top research centers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (precision medicine, oncology, drug discovery and genetic studies) and Southern Research (infectious disease, drug development, neuro-degenerative disease). A vibrant start-up culture exists with funding available from several capital networks and established venture groups. Start-ups are launched at the Commercialization Accelerator at UAB’s Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Innovation Depot and others. Commercial firms in Birmingham include Evonik, Avanti Polar Lipids, Biohorizons Implant Systems and Oxford Pharmaceuticals.

    2. Huntsville is home to HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, a public-private partnership that brings research (genetics, genomics, bio-informatics) and over 35 for-profit companies (precision medicine, diagnostics, drug discovery, biotech services) together. Additionally Nektar operates a facility supporting drug development with new chemistry approaches. The University of Alabama in Huntsville is exploring plant and protein sciences and Alabama A&M is active in plant research. NASA’s operation at the Marshall Space Flight Center has funded biotech experiments and research on the International Space Station — one of the U.S. National Labs.

    3. The Auburn-Opelika area is a hot bed of research from Auburn University, specializing in genetics, biomaterials and drug discovery, along with corporate and manufacturing facilities for SiO2 (medical products), Baxter (dialyzer production), Vitruvias Therapeutics (injectables) and Pharmavite (high quality vitamins).

    4. The Montgomery area is represented by two universities, Tuskegee and Alabama State, as well as commercial endeavors Steris (medical equipment manufacturer) and Kowa Pharmaceuticals (pharma products).

    5. In Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama is active in drug discovery and protein engineering, as well as new activity in health IT.

    6. Mobile is represented by the University of South Alabama where fusion protein therapeutics and personalized medicine are being researched and spin offs are encouraged through the USA Coastal Innovation Hub, a high-tech business incubator. Mobile is also a landing spot for new businesses at the Innovation PortAL, a public-private entity for early seed and start-up opportunities. Swift Biotechnology, located at USA’s Mitchell Cancer Institute, is developing early detection techniques for cancer diagnosis.

    BIO Alabama supports Southeast BIO (SEBIO) and Southeast Medical Device Association (SEMDA), organizations that help build bridges to industry and research in our region.

    The biosciences are thriving in Alabama. We are in the top 20 percent of the country for bioscience share of total R&D expenditures. Start-ups are popping up across the state. New intellectual property is coming from the institutions and industry is growing and hiring graduates from our state institutions. The bioscience sector is gaining critical mass and attracting top researchers and new industry to the state. State legislators see this industry as a high value and growing contributor to the state economy.

    To read the original story, click here.

  • 27 Feb 2018 5:23 PM | Anonymous

    Southern Research oncology researcher Dr. Bo Xu, M.D., Ph.D., says new research suggests combining an experimental enzyme blocker and a standard chemotherapy drug could improve treatments for patients with glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer.

    The pairing of the enzyme inhibitor known as SLC-0111 and the chemo drug temozolomide is the focus of a research project led by Anita Hjelmeland, Ph.D., at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Southern Research collaborated on the project.

    A key finding is that adding SLC-0111 significantly improved the effectiveness of the chemo drug in experiments involving glioblastoma. In both cell culture and animal tests, the pairing delivered better results, as measured by regression of the tumor, than either the enzyme blocker or the chemo drug did on its own.

    Treatment usually involves surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, but the cancer tends to recur months later.Glioblastoma multiform (GBM) is an aggressive brain cancer, and its cause is unknown. The median survival rate for patients being treated for glioblastoma is 14.6 months, with a low rate of survival beyond five years, according to the American Brain Tumor Association.

    “There are limited options today for glioblastoma patients,” said Xu, Distinguished Fellow and Chair of the Oncology Department at Southern Research. “There is an urgent need for new drugs for treating this disease.”

    TARGET: CA9

    The UAB research project is targeting a carbonic anhydrase enzyme known as CA9, which GBM cells overexpress it to maintain balance in their microenvironment in the brain. Blocking the enzyme using SLC-0111 could disrupt that balance and allow the chemo drug to better do its work.

    “Our experiments strongly suggest that a strategy to target a carbonic anhydrase that is increased in glioblastoma, CA9, will improve temozolomide efficacy,” Hjelmeland said in a UAB News story. “We believe the drug combination could improve patient outcomes in glioblastomas sensitive to chemotherapy.”

    Southern Research’s role in the project was to help the UAB researchers better understand the possible reason the combination worked better against glioblastoma than they did individually, according to Joshua Fried, a UAB postgraduate student in cancer biology and a researcher in Xu’s lab.

    The evidence pointed to the DNA damage response, a network of cellular pathways that takes action against constant threat posed by of damage to DNA in the body. Because breakdowns in this response can trigger cancer formation, hijacking the pathway has become the foundation of oncology therapies.

    “We saw that there was an increase in the DNA damage response when the SLC-0111 and temozolomide were combined, and that the damage persisted longer than with either treatment alone,” Fried said. “It’s sort of a surprise because you wouldn’t think that something that regulates pH-balance like SC-0111 would contribute to the DNA damage response.”

    Xu said the project illustrates the long-standing collaboration that exists between UAB and Southern Research on these types of projects. The two organizations are partners in the Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance, which has developed a pipeline of potential therapies for several debilitating diseases.

    The study by Hjelmeland’s team was published in JCI Insight. Xu and Fried are listed as co-authors on the paper.

    See original article…


  • 27 Feb 2018 5:15 PM | Anonymous

    Huntsville, Ala. — HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology’s Educational Outreach team is bringing its popular genomics teacher training to a national audience. For the first time, the professional development workshop, Genetic Technologies for All Classrooms (GTAC) will be offered to teachers across the country.

    GTAC is a five-day academy for educators that is in its eighth year of training Alabama Life Science educators.

    “Our GTAC workshops provide a hands-on approach to teaching genetics, genomics and biotech concepts,” said Madelene Loftin, educator development lead at HudsonAlpha. “Teachers attending GTAC National will walk away with not only a number of HudsonAlpha resources, but also new and innovative ways to address those subjects in their classrooms.”

    Thanks to the generous support of corporate and individual donors, tuition is reduced to $1,100. Tuition includes 40 hours of professional learning credit, housing, meals and $800 worth of HudsonAlpha kits, materials and classroom resources including Disorder Detectives, Collecting Cancer-Causing Changes (C4) Kit and Genes & ConSEQUENCES.

    “I was totally blown away by my week at GTAC,” said Lori Roberts, an AP Biology teacher at Muscle Shoals High School. “The labs are engaging and current, and I was so excited to hear what the scientists at HudsonAlpha are doing. Their research is breaking new ground in terms of human health and agriculture. I left GTAC with a renewed zeal and love for genetics.” Roberts attended a GTAC workshop last summer.

    Loftin and members of the Educational Outreach team will share information about GTAC: National and other innovative programs for educators at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference March 15-18 in Atlanta, Ga., at booth 1104.

    In addition, Neil Lamb, PhD, vice president for Educational Outreach, will do a presentation for teachers at the conference Saturday, March 17 at 8 am. Lamb will discuss the top biotech discoveries of 2017 and share ways to bring the ‘’too new for textbooks’’ discoveries to the classroom using student-friendly language. Session attendees will receive a free copy of HudsonAlpha’s 2017 Biotechnology Guidebook.

    “The field of biotechnology is continuously changing so my presentation at NSTA will give educators a preview of what to expect at GTAC: National,” said Lamb.

    GTAC: National will take place July 23-27 at HudsonAlpha. To learn more and register, visit hudsonalpha.org/GTACnational.

    See original article…


  • 27 Feb 2018 5:12 PM | Anonymous

    The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama presented $950,000 — its largest donation to date — to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center on Feb. 2. BCRFA has donated more than $7.7 million to UAB since its inception in 1996.

    BCRFA makes an annual donation to the Cancer Center with proceeds from its fundraising efforts during the previous year, including BCRFA events, corporate and individual donations, and sales of the breast cancer specialty license plate tags.

    “The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama has been central to providing the critical monies for the development and maintenance of the breast cancer research program, making our program one of the most prominent breast cancer programs in the country,” said Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D., the new director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. “BCRFA is a perfect example of motivating the community to support new and evolving research.”

    BCRFA’s pilot funding has provided the seed money for many projects to get off the ground. For example, one research project evaluated a new compound, UAB-30, for its ability to prevent breast cancer. The project has evolved now into a clinical trial and, furthermore, secured additional national funding based on data provided by BCRFA seed money.

    Other projects range from examining biomarkers for immunotherapy response to focusing on inhibitors and their impact on chemo drug effectiveness, to a study on the spread of metastatic breast cancer to the brain.

    “Patients come to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center because they can be seen by clinical breast cancer experts and receive ‘cutting-edge’ therapies based upon the ongoing research program,” Birrer said.

    All BCRFA donations remain in Alabama to support research at the UAB Cancer Center and its collaborative partners, providing a lifesaving impact both locally and globally. Community partners for this year’s gift include Tameron Automotive, Belk, The Thompson Family Foundation, Sirote & Permutt, The Alabama Power Foundation, Renasant Bank, Wind Creek Wetumpka, Protective Life Foundation, Thrivent Financial, Spectrum Reach, and iHeart Media, among many others.

    See original article…

  • 13 Feb 2018 11:37 AM | Anonymous

    HudsonAlpha researchers will join leading genomics experts at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology (AGBT) meeting in Orlando, Fla. February 12-15.

    AGBT is a genome science and technology conference where top researchers, leaders and innovators collaborate and discuss new discoveries in genomics, advances in DNA sequencing technologies and more.

    The meeting format includes daytime plenary sessions featuring invited speakers and abstract-selected talks that highlight cutting-edge research across the broad landscape of genomics.

    Richard M. Myers, PhD, HudsonAlpha president, science director and faculty investigator will present Tuesday, February 13 at 9 am during the Technology I plenary session. Myers will discuss, “Human gene regulation: A journey from basic research to biomedical applications.”

    AGBT also will feature evening concurrent sessions about experimental and computational approaches for effectively utilizing the latest DNA sequencing technologies.

    Shawn Levy, PhD, faculty investigator and director HudsonAlpha’s Genomic Services Laboratory (GSL) and Clinical Services Laboratory (CSL), will present Wednesday, February 14 at 7:30 pm during the Translational Genomics Session concurrent session. Levy will discuss, “Single cell transcriptomics of human pancreatic islets reveals novel cell populations.”

    To learn more about AGBT, visit http://www.agbt.org/.

    See original article…


  • 13 Feb 2018 11:34 AM | Anonymous

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham had $538 million in research expenditures in 2016, and ranked No. 15 nationally among public universities and No. 31 overall in federally funded research in 2016, according to data released by the National Science Foundation.

    “Competition has never been more fierce for research funding, so our increases in funding truly underscore the importance of work being done here,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “UAB will continue to aggressively recruit and support the students, faculty and staff who conduct the transformational work that ensures we stay at the forefront of discovery, making a difference in lives around the world.”

    UAB now ranks sixth among Southeastern universities in federal research expenditures, behind only North Carolina (8), Duke (10), Georgia Tech (11), Vanderbilt (24) and Emory (27). As a state, Alabama received $281.5 million in NIH funding in fiscal year 2016, which makes UAB responsible for more than 85 percent of the state’s NIH-funding dollars.

    UAB researchers have contributed breakthrough scientific research throughout its 49-year history, and this recent year is no different.

    From advancements on the cutting edge of precision medicine research to showing how plants sense the world and securing data sent via voice over internet, to new research showing how a component of neurons may protect against Alzheimer’s disease, UAB continues to produce game-changing scientific breakthroughs throughout its diverse research portfolio.

    The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research also reports that UAB’s National Institutes of Health funding reached $238 million in fiscal year 2016, including $186 million to the School of Medicine. That number is expected to top $195 million in School of Medicine funding in 2017, as the school also exceeded 300 principal investigators for the first time in two decades.

    “UAB is Alabama’s largest single employer, with more than 23,000 employees and an economic impact exceeding $7.15 billion a year; but we have no greater impact than when our innovations improve and save lives,” said Christopher S. Brown, Ph.D., vice president for Research. “We have the right people and priorities to maintain the momentum we have built to ensure we are among the world’s leading comprehensive research universities, and these new data further affirms our efforts.”

    Read more UAB Research news at www.uab.edu/news/research.

    See original article…


  • 6 Feb 2018 12:50 PM | Anonymous

    BIO Alabama is looking to formalize a life sciences network throughout the state to enhance economic development in an important industry that stretches to nearly every corner of Alabama.

    The state’s industry organization is aligned with the national Biotechnology Innovation Organization, or BIO, the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotech centers and related organizations.

    Peggy Sammon, CEO of GeneCapture Inc. in Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, is on the BioAlabama board of directors. She outlined plans for BioAlabama to take the lead in helping grow biotech in the state at the Economic Development Association of Alabama Winter Conference earlier this week.


    A key element of that plan is to formalize a relationship between the state’s nine major bioscience assets in the state – UAB, HudsonAlpha, Southern Research, Tuskegee University, Auburn University, Alabama A&M, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of South Alabama.

    “In every one of those locations, there is some groundbreaking research happening – whether it’s in human health or genetics or plant science,” Sammon said. “There is also a surprising amount of collaboration between these organizations and institutions, so it’s a good time in Alabama to see the bio-focus happening.”

    BIO Alabama fosters economic development in Alabama’s life sciences from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

    In addition to the nearly $1 billion in research dollars coming into these institutions each year, Sammon said investors are putting money behind a number of entrepreneurs starting bioscience companies in the state, and programs like Alabama Launchpad are putting dollars into the industry.

    “The research dollars that pour into the state are a very big part of what’s happening here,” she said. “They are the catalyst that gets a lot of new products to come out of the state.”

    Sammon said Alabama can do more to support the industry and help it grow. She said states like Georgia and Massachusetts have programs and private sector support that Alabama could learn from.

    But, Sammon said, Alabama is already focusing on one important area for the industry to grow.

    “The companies that are coming to Alabama or growing in Alabama are looking for a highly skilled workforce,” she said. “If we look across the state, there are good science and biology programs in a lot of the major universities, of course, but also in a lot of the community colleges, so there is a good drive to bring a workforce into this part of the ecosystem.”

    Local and state economic development groups have identified bioscience as an area where the state is poised to grow.

    “Alabama’s bioscience industry is a vital economic engine for our state, creating high-paying jobs and generating important innovations that improve the quality of life for people here at home and all around the world,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “We’re focused on fostering growth in the bioscience sector and collaborating with the state’s research leaders to make that happen.”

    Sammon said BioAlabama is ready to take a lead role in making that growth happen.

    “In the last couple of years, because there has been so much growth in Alabama – in all of the research centers and in commercial development – this is a time where we’re starting to see the ecosystem is actually having a bigger component in BioAlabama,” she said.

    See original article…


<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 

Connecting the Bioscience Ecosystem in Alabama

BIO Alabama
601 Genome Way
Huntsville, AL 35806

Email: administrator@bioalabama.com

© BioAlabama

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software