Biotechnology

November 16, 2008

Amylin to slashe 340 jobs in San Diego

Amylin Pharmaceuticals will lay off 340 employees in San Diego, a decision expected to save the company more than $100 million. fter the job reduction, Amylin will have 1,800 employees, about half of which will be in San Diego.   Amylin says its priorities are to increase sales of Byetta and Symlin — its product for Type 1 diabetes.

Filed under Biotechnology, California Economy by

February 23, 2007

Grower group calls for moratorium on genetically modified rice

“A California rice grower group today called for a moratorium on any outdoor production of genetically modified rice based on the results of a new study. The Rice Producers of California, a group of 200 Sacramento Valley rice growers, advises a ban to protect key export markets worth more than $200 million in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Turkey. Those markets account for 40 percent of California’s annual rice crop, the report states.”

Filed under Agriculture and Food, Biotechnology by

February 20, 2007

Merck to register Gilead AIDS pill in poor countries

“Drug giant Merck & Co. plans to begin selling the three-in-one AIDS pill developed with Gilead Sciences Inc. in poor countries with high rates of HIV infection. Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck will set the price of the pill on a sliding scale based on how poor a country is and how many of its population are infected with HIV. The tablet combines three drugs in one pill — Viread and Emtriva from Gilead, and Sustiva from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. Foster City-based Gilead agreed to the low-cost sales in poor countries in August. Under that deal, Gilead will make the pills, while Merck will distribute them.”

San Francisco Business Times

Filed under Biotechnology, Health and Medical by

February 18, 2007

California Stem Cell Program Finally Underway

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine approved nearly $45 million in research grants on Friday to about 72 human stem cell research projects around the state. This amount far exceeds the U.S. government’s spending on this type of research making California the biggest financial backer of human embryonic stem cell research in the nation and possibly the world. President Bush had slowed American progress in this research area by limiting federal funding on the research. He and his supporters believe that blastocysts- microscopic embryos that are sometimes destroyed as during this research, are human life and have successfully blocked or delayed these projects. Proponents, however, point to the multitude of human diseases that have the potential to be treated by this technology including leukemia, cancer, parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injuries.

The California stem cell initiative, known as Proposition 71, passed 59 percent to 41 percent in November 2004, but the state’s ability to issue the bonds to support that research has been blocked for two years by lawsuits challenging its legality. While some legal issues remain to be settled, Governor Schwarzenegger authorized a $150 million state loan to the institute so it could begin funding grants without being delayed further by legal complications. The institutes’s board had originally expected to award 30 grants, for a total of about $24 million but a working group reviewing the applications was so impressed with the proposed research that it recommended raising the total to $45 million.

Governor Schwarzenegger, making a brief appearance at the board meeting thanked California scientists and doctors who will use grant money to try to unravel the mystery of stem cells’ ability to morph into the many different cell types in the body. “They are the new action heroes,” Schwarzenegger said, drawing laughs from the board members standing behind him and from people in wheelchairs flanking his lectern. “Thanks to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine for making California a world leader in stem cell research,” the governor said, “Today, we are making history”

Filed under Biotechnology, California Government, Governor Schwarzenegger by

February 15, 2007

Alliance formed to fight Genetic Engineering of crops in California

“The Genetic Engineering Policy Alliance, a group representing California businesses and organizations concerned about genetic engineering, was launched today to push for laws protecting the state’s agriculture from genetic engineering (GE). More than 50 members have signed the platform, including the Breast Cancer Fund, California Council of Churches, Consumer Action, the California Farmers Union, Whole Foods Markets, United Natural Foods Inc. and Bon Appétit Management Company. The Genetic Engineering Policy Alliance platform, released today, calls for public notice of all plantings of GE crops in California, labeling of all food that contains GE ingredients, liability protection for farmers whose crops are unintentionally contaminated, and a ban on the planting of industrial and pharmaceutical crops.”

Filed under Agriculture and Food, Biotechnology, California Politics by

February 14, 2007

Bridge Pharmaceuticals raises $35M for China Operations

“Bridge Pharmaceuticals, which does contract drug research in China for other companies, said Tuesday it raised $35 million in its second round of venture funding. A new investor, Granite Global Ventures, gave money in this round, as did investors from its previous round. Helen Wong of Granite Global took a seat on Bridge’s board as part of the deal. She works out of Granite Global’s office in Shanghai. Bridge will spend the money raised on its research operations in China.”

Filed under Biotechnology, China, Venture Capital by

Dairy waste-to-energy project planned for San Joaquin Valley

“Human BioSystems announced today that HBS BioEnergy, has formed a joint venture with Visalia based Dairy Development Group and Agrimass Enviro-Energy to build an Energy Park in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The Energy Park will utilize waste from surrounding dairies to provide the power needed to fuel a proposed ethanol plant to be located on site. ‘The joint venture involves developing and operating an innovative agricultural waste-to-energy park,’ explained Len Chapman, Founder and CEO of Agrimass Enviro-Energy and Dairy Development Group. ‘This is the perfect model for agricultural production because it takes a problem – manure – and turns it into power and other energy products, which then fuels the ethanol plant that produces cleaner-burning fuels. This is the kind of green industry we need in the Valley.’ “

Filed under Agriculture and Food, Biotechnology by

February 2, 2007

UC Berkeley wins $500 million biofuels center

“Officials of oil giant BP awarded a $500 million biofuels research program to a consortium led by researchers at the QB3 facility at the University of California, Berkeley. The consortium includes the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Lab in Berkeley and the Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek as well as the University of Illinois, which will provide agricultural expertise. In June, BP said it will spend $500 million over the next 10 years to establish the BP Energy Biosciences Institute, which it described as the ‘first facility of its kind in the world.’ The facility will be a dedicated biosciences energy research laboratory attached to a major academic center in the United States or the United Kingdom.”

Filed under Biotechnology, Energy Industry, United Kingdom by

Ligand Pharmaceuticals slashes 267 Jobs

“Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., a San Diego public company developing a variety of new drugs to treat different diseases, slashed 267 people, or about 76 percent of its total staff, in a stunning move announced Jan. 31.”

Filed under Biotechnology, California Economy by

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