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The Maine Algal Research and Innovation Accelerator (MARIA), is planned to be constructed on Bigelow Laboratory of Ocean Science East Boothbay campus this spring and early summer. The Accelerator will be a roughly 3000-square foot greenhouse and research facility that will grow algae to explore new commercial algal-based products and develop universal algal standards. The initial funding included $5,000 provided by MTI, a seed grant that inspired the whole initiative. The project is also funded through a $100,000 federal grant and a $300,000 loan from the Maine Community Foundation’s Farms, Fisheries and Food Fund. “My hope is that the greenhouse will serve as a flywheel that drives innovation. It will accelerate the process of taking ideas for natural products created using micro and macro algae and turning them into concepts” said Mike Lomas, Director of the National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA) at Bigelow Laboratory. Read full story
Earlier this month the Legislature voted to send a bond proposal to the voters seeking authorization for $50 million to help research and development firms in Maine to invest in infrastructure, equipment and technology upgrades. The bill was signed by Governor Le Page on April 15. If approved by voters, the bond will provide $45 million to the Maine Technology Asset Fund, which is managed by the Maine Technology Institute and provides businesses with funding for capital expenditures like buildings and large machinery, and $5 million to the Maine Venture Fund, which provides venture capital to promising Maine startups. Read full article
Officials from the Bar Harbor-based Jackson Laboratory met with a group of Ellsworth city officials and residents earlier this month to lay out the biomedical firm's plans for its ambitious expansion into the city at a former 140,000-square-foot building that once housed a Lowe's Home Improvement. The plan includes converting the old box store into a mouse vivarium and the conversion is scheduled to take 18 months. Later this month, Sen. Angus King and Sen. Susan Collins revealed that Jackson Lab received a 5.8M grant from USDA for research support. The majority of this sum is going to support Jackson Laboratory's Mouse Genome Database. Read about the expansion plans here and about recent grant for research here.
Two Maine biotech companies have announced news regarding recent changes, Portland Press Herald reports. Scarborough based Fluid Imaging Technologies, BAM member and developer of a specialized device which allows for viewing particles in fluid, just introduced the expansion of their highly popular product, FlowCam, in the 50th country, giving the company a footprint in 7 continents. Shifting gears, another biotech startup company, Biovation of Boothbay is closing its doors. After seven years of developing and marketing innovative anti-microbial fiber products, the startup has laid off employees and put its assets up for sale. “With any risk comes the possibility of failure” said Biovation’s CEO Kerem Durdag about the recent development “It is my strongest belief that we as a state have to culturally get comfortable with the idea of risk if we are to be economically viable and have multiplier (effects) for our kids. And hence we have to see the value of failure. We just have to.” Read full article
Earlier this month the Bioscience Association of Maine appointed three new Board members. The new BAM Board Directors include Dr. Janet Yancey-Wrona, Dr. Dennis Leiner, and Ms. Keri Seitz. The new Board members present tremendous knowledge and experience in the biotech and medical device industry. BAM is very excited to benefit from their unmatched expertise.
The Bioscience Association of Maine is excited to announce a new partnership with UniFirst Corporation, an industry leader in the supply and servicing of uniforms, workwear, and facility products, to add managed uniform, protective clothing, and custom corporate image apparel programs to the exclsusive BIO Business Solutions® offerings available for BAM members.
The Make It In America program administered by Coastal Counties Workforce Inc and their service provider Goodwill Workforce Solutions is accepting applications for their paid internships program. Biotechnology is one of the sectors eligible for paid interns. The program, which is funded through the $1,3M Make It In America Grant awarded to Coastal Counties Workforce Inc. by the US Department of Labor, is available for the following counties: Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, York.
In a piece for Bangor Daily News from Feb 16, Tom Keller, Executive Director of Maine STEM Council proposes establishing Maine Academy of Science and Innovation to help keep young talent in Maine. The purpose of the Academy is to enhance collaboration between multiple research institutions throughout the state with groups supporting economic development and innovation. Academies like this one exist in 48 other states. According to Mr. Keller “There is a need for cross-pollination between various sciences and imagining ways to monetize scientific research. […] The Maine Academy of Science and Innovation could broker these connections.” Read full story here
BAM’s Board of Directors’ President, Bryan Bozsik, wrote an opinion piece on how tax conformity limbo in Augusta is harmful for innovative businesses in Maine, and in effect, hinders healthy job growth. The article was published in Bangor Daily News on February 22, 2016. Read full article here
Immucell, an animal health focused company in Portland is planning an expansion, Mainebiz reports. The manufacturer of Mast Out, a drug that treats mastitis in cows, will build a new facility on the land behind its current location in Portland. The company is also planning additional FDA approvals to bring the animal treatment to the commercial market. Read full story here
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences of East Boothbay, Maine, has launched 2 brand new Venture Research Centers that will apply business and project management techniques to its ocean-related research projects to get them into public use faster. One center will focus on research in the Arctic and the other on seafood security. “[T]he centers aim to bridge the gap between what scientists know about the ocean and how that knowledge can be used in policy decisions, for public understanding, for ocean-based products and solutions and ultimately to help boost the state's economy and jobs.” Said Graham Shimmeld, Bigelow Lab’s Executive Director. Read full story
Scientists at Maine Medical Center Research Institute led by Dr. Leif Oxburgh succedeed at growing a tiny piece of kidney in their lab, a scientific achievement that could change the way the world treats kidney disease. This technology could potentially eliminate, or greatly reduce the need for kidney transplants. The minuscule components Oxburgh has grown – held together with silk – could eventually lead to full laboratory-grown organs. Currently the average wait time for those hoping for an organ transplant in the U.S. is 3.6 years. “Some people can’t tolerate the immune therapy, the anti-rejection drugs. This could open up transplants to a huge group of patients who could never get one” said Dr. Oxburgh. Read full story here
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland is receiving a $6.5 million grant from NASA to create a new educational program focused on science knowledge and problem-solving related to climate change. The new educational content will be delivered to 10,000 5th and 6th graders from Maine who visit GMRI each year. Work at GMRI will begin immediately, and new programming content is expected to be available for the 2018-2019 school year. Read full story
The federal government is giving more than $3.3 million in grants for biomedical research and medical device manufacturing to Jackson Lab and the town of Presque Isle. The Economic Development Administration is giving more than $1.8 million to Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor to help build a biomedical facility. It is also giving more than $1.5 million to the city of Presque Isle to develop a city-owned industrial building to accommodate the expansion of an orthodontic and medical device manufacturer Acme Monaco. The grants may help create more than 400 new jobs in the area. Read full story here
A new marine business and research incubator called the New England Ocean Cluster House is being developed on Portland’s waterfront that is modeled after a similar incubator in Reykavik, Iceland. University of New England is co-sponsoring this project, led by Patrick Arnold, the majority owner of the Ocean House. In a written statement, UNE President said "With this new strategic vision at the Marine Science Center, our students focus on the integration of science with the changing nature of coastal tourism, marine policy, aquaculture, fisheries, and entrepreneurship. Experiences afforded them by the New England Ocean Cluster House in research, policy and product development will further them along their career paths and will contribute to the economic vitality of the state and the nation." Read full story
A new program is being launched in Bangor, Maine, to help early stage companies test, improve and figure out how to commercialize their ideas in a short time frame. Scratchpad is a seed accelerator that will allow entrepreneurs fully commit to developing their business fast and with no distractions. The applicants need to have a team of 2-3 people working on their startup full time for a period of 3 months and need to be in Bangor for that time. The awarded will be given funding, daily access to coaches, problem solvers and mentors. The program starts the week of August 31 and the application deadline is August 28. The Scratchpad Accelerator is a University of Maine initiative in collaboration with the Maine Technology Institute. To learn on the application process, please go here. If you are part of an established company and interested in becoming a mentor, please go here.
Seth Berry, a former Maine Legislator and majority leader is transitioning into private sector with Kennebec River Biosciences, Mainebiz reports. Mr. Berry served in the Maine Legislature for eight years (2006–14). In January, Berry was hired by Richmond-based Kennebec River Biosciences as vice president for international business development. "It's really an exciting space, the innovation that's happening in Maine, just as it is in Silicon Valley or the beltway in Boston. Maine is clearly doing some great things" said Mr. Berry. Read full story here
Available through the U.S Department of Labor, the Make It In America Grant provides funds for incumbent workers' training for biotech companies in 8 Maine counties: York, Sagadahoc, Kennebec, Cumberland, Lincoln, Androscoggin, Waldo and Knox. Training must result in an industry-recognized credential within the industry sector for the employee.
The House passed legislation Friday that aims to speed the development of new drugs and medical devices by increasing health research funding and streamlining the approval process for new treatments. The bill, called 21st Century Cures, was cheered by rare across-the-aisle support from politicians, with 230 co-sponsors nearly evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. The pharmaceutical industry, Biotechnology Industry Organization, patient advocacy groups, and medical organizations also support the bill, which calls for an additional $8.75 billion for the National Institutes of Health. Now the debate on whether the benefits of this legislation are worth its risks moves to the Senate. Read full story
Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor is receiving a $392,463 federal grant to support research for treatment of various diseases, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. "This funding will support the laboratory as it strives to develop medications and treatments for diseases affecting countless Americans and their families every day." U.S. Sens. Suzan Collins and Angus King said in a joint statement. Read full story
Bioscience Association of Maine (BAM), in collaboration with Bioscience Industry Organization (BIO) is proud to announce that 2 new partners have been added to its cost savings program. The new offerings include savings on executive liability insurance through AON Risk Solutions, and environmental waste services through Clean Harbors. BAM members will now be able to obtain significant discounts on services. Read full story
The Maine Technology Institute (MTI) approved four new awards from its Cluster Initiative Program (CIP) for collaborative projects that boost Maine’s high-potential technology-intensive clusters. The awards were given to TechPlace at Brunswick Landing, the University of Southern Maine Cybersecurity Cluster, the Composites Engineering and Research Lab at Southern Maine Community College and the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute at the University of Maine at Orono. “These projects will enhance collaboration and innovation between public and private sector entities and will lead to the development of new businesses, products, processes, skilled workforce, and jobs.” Said Brian Whitney, MTI’s president. Read full story
The Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), the Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA) and the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), a division of National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), commended the House of Representatives for passing legislation to repeal the medical device excise tax. The legislation, H.R. 160 "The Protect Medical Innovation Act," passed with a vote of 280 to 140 on Thursday, June 18. "For far too long, the medical device tax has stymied advancements in patient care and destroyed high tech manufacturing jobs. Repealing this policy will provide an immediate boost for medical technology innovators to continue solving the pressing challenges in the health care ecosystem. MDMA and the broad coalition of stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to repeal the medical device tax will not rest until we get this accomplished once and for all." said Mark Leahey, President and CEO of MDMA. Read full story here
The Bioscience Association of Maine strongly opposes LD 1422, “An Act To Allow Maine Residents To Personally Import Medications as Permitted under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act”. This legislation, if passed, will present a great risk to the public health of Maine residents and will also open the State of Maine to additional costly and unnecessary litigation. BAM is of the opinion that the legislation outlined in LD 1422 is misguided and we feel inappropriately addresses the issue it purportedly seeks to remedy. Read full statement here
Maine Medical Research Center in Scarborough has attracted acclaimed scientists lately, some bringing grants with them, MaineBiz reports. One scientist is Dr. Peter Brooks, who after years of research on cell and cancer growth at prestigious research institutes around the US, decided to go back to his Maine roots in 2007 and continues his work at MMRCI as a senior researcher and lab head. "I always wanted to do research here in Maine. The biomedical research environment here is growing now. Some 10 to 15 years ago I questioned it,” said Dr. Brooks. Another top class researcher who is joining MMRCI this September is a Harvard Medical School postdoctoral candidate, Dr. Michaela Reagan, whose work focuses on multiple myeloma. Dr. Reagan t, who had never been to Maine prior to accepting the position, is bringing grant money with her which is great news for MMCRI’s PI’s who must raise all of the money to run labs. Read full story
The new business incubator TechPlace is already home to 15 tenants, one day before its Grand Opening on May 28 and 5 months into operations, MaineBiz says. TechPlace, Brunswick Landing’s Technology Accelerator, features 50,000 square foot manufacturing space (enough for 25 companies) and 20,000 square foot office space (room for 23 companies).. The incubator is designed for startups in the aerospace, aviation, biotechnology, renewable energy, composites and advanced materials and IT sectors. Kristine Schuman, business development coordinator for Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, said that “most of the tenants have one-year leases, but they're able to leave at any time with a month's notice and without financial penalty. The benefit is aimed to give startups and early-stage companies a little leeway if things don't go as planned.” Read full story
Three bioscience-focused non-profits collaborate to stimulate Maine’s biotech industry, MaineBiz reports. The new collaborative, known as Life Sciences Group (LSG), includes MDI Biological Laboratory in Salisbury Cove, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay and the Foundation for Blood Research in Scarborough. The idea behind LSG is to attract outside investment and entrepreneurial spirit to Maine. Jane Sheehan, President and CEO of the Foundation for Blood Research, says "The three institutions want to convert science to more of a commercial purpose, keep it in the state and work together as a catalyst for economic growth". Read Full Story
Members of the Bioscience Association of Maine who may need support in a variety of core research areas will find that they do not need to travel out of state to access world-class scientists at very competitive pricing. Todd Keiller, Director of Technology Transfer at MMCRI and Claire Deselle, Executive Director of BAM, discussed the advantages and the opportunity in the following interview.
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