Friday, November 30, 2012

WFU Cancer Research Sparks Cover Story

The work of a team of Wake Forest University researchers developing a novel drug for prostate cancer treatment is featured on the cover of the Nov. 26 issue of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

George Kulik, an associate professor of cancer biology, Mark Welker, the William L. Poteat Professor of Chemistry, and Freddie Salsbury, an associate professor of physics, led an interdisciplinary team with expertise in computational physics, synthetic chemistry and cancer biology.

All cells, both normal and diseased, rely on the PI3K cell signaling pathway for growth, so inhibiting the pathway selectively for cancer cells has long been a challenge for scientists in the fight against cancer. While turning PI3K inhibitors loose in the body would prevent the spread of cancer, doing so would also inhibit growth in lots of cells.

To effectively use this strategy in the treatment of cancer, the Wake Forest team had to target these inhibitors to specific kinds of cells. Using prostate cells as the target, they selected a protein that is specifically recognized by prostate cells and attach that protein to a PI3K inhibitor. Read more.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tech Speaker Series Returns! New Technology Resources to Grow Your Business

“New Advanced Technology Resources to Grow Your Business”
Tuesday, December 11
8:30 - 9:30 a.m. (networking & refreshments follow)

Did you know that within Winston-Salem’s Piedmont Triad Research Park some of the most advanced equipment and resources in the Southeast are now being made available to entire community? Our next Tech Speaker Series event on Tuesday, December 11 at 8:30 a.m. in Wake Forest Biotech Place will tell you all about it! Do you quickly need a prototype for a new product? Or access to cutting-edge medical research equipment? Come learn about what is available and how these items can help take your business to the next level.

  • Eric Tomlinson, DSc, PhD; President, Piedmont Triad Research Park and Chief Innovation Officer, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
  • Luke Burnett, PhD; Chief Science Officer, Keranetics
  • Tom Clarkson, Associate Director, Entrepreneurship; Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
  • Carol Strohecker, PhD; Director, Center for Design Innovation
Wake Forest Biotech Place
575 N. Patterson Avenue
Winston-Salem, NC 27101 Map

Hosted by the Tech Council of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.  Free and open to the public though registration is required.  Learn more and register.

Title Sponsor
·               Cook Medical
Series Sponsors:
·               B/E Aerospace
       Kilpatrick Townsend
    Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Food Sponsor  
          Gallins Foods

Hybrid 3-D Printer Used to Create Cartilage Implants at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Scientists at the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine have pioneered an approach to replace damaged cartilage, combining two low-cost techniques.

The team’s breakthrough mixes electrospinning with medical inkjet printing, also called bioprinting. 

The development has potential for the medical field. Injured natural cartilage is slow and difficult to heal, and has almost no ability to regrow itself. Currently, surgeons treat cartilage damage caused from injury or disease with techniques that remove small pieces of torn tissue or create microscopic grafts. But as of yet, they have been unable to fully regenerate the cushioning, lubricating tissue that keeps joints moving freely and bones from wearing against each other. As a result, degenerative cartilage conditions can eventually result in joint replacement surgery.

This new procedure may effectively eradicate these invasive procedures and spell relief for countless people who suffer from cartilage conditions. Read more.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Nanotech conference coming to Winston-Salem

For the first time, the Nanotech Commercialization Conference will be held in Winston-Salem.

The conference, which is in its fifth year, is aimed at spurring more research and business collaboration. It will be held April 9-10 at Wake Forest BioTech Place.

It is expected to attract more than 250 attendees and more than 50 speakers, of which there will be a significant Triad representation.

Nanobiotechnology is the science of developing materials at the atomic and molecular level and then using them to develop products and devices.

Hosting the conference “gives us the opportunity to again spotlight the opportunities in advanced manufacturing, coupled with advanced materials development that our community offers,” said David Carroll, director of the Center for Nanotechnology Molecular Materials at the university.  Read more

Friday, November 16, 2012

New Inmar Analytics unit looking to put data to use

Retailer software and service provider Inmar generates countless digital bytes of information from its clients each day as it redeems paper and electronic coupons, processes returns and generates promotions. The company’s newest division wants to make sure all that information is put to its best use.

John Ross joined Inmar in August as president of Inmar Analytics, which currently has just four of Inmar’s 700-plus total Winston-Salem employees. The company announced earlier this year that it would relocate its headquarters to the Piedmont Triad Research Park by the end of next year and expand to more than 900 workers.

The kind of data that Inmar generates companywide about shopper behavior could give brick-and-mortar retailers a “dot-com-like view of what’s going on in the business,” down to how a recommendation of one product impacts sales of another product, Ross said. That’s the kind of information that and other online retailers rely on routinely but is difficult for physical retailers to replicate, Ross said.  Read more. 

Wake Forest Doctors Working To Heal Wounded Warriors

Almost 50,000 American servicemen and women have been wounded while serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq. Of those, nearly 450 are from North Carolina.

At the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), doctors are researching ways to help these wounded warriors.

"It's a very simple concept, we're trying to repair these massive muscle loss injures."explains Dr. George Christ, WFIRM.

Wake Forest joins 34 universities on a more than $300 million mission to change the way wounded soldiers are treated on the battlefield.

Dr. Christ is the lead researcher for a project on muscle reconstruction. When these muscles are implanted into the body, the chances of healing are much greater, actually 70 to 80% greater, but that's just the beginning.  

"This is something that maybe can be injected into the muscle, provide a water-based source of oxygen." Dr. Christ hopes an oxygen gel they're developing can be applied to open wounds on the battlefield and save limbs, and maybe even lives because it buys the soldier crucial time keeping tissue alive until surgery.  Read more.

Caterpillar playing role in economic remaking of Winston-Salem

The first year of Caterpillar Inc. in Winston-Salem was filled mostly with sunshine.  The $426 million plant officially began a year ago today axle-assembly production for the massive Caterpillar trucks used in the mining industry.

Caterpillar is an important part of the economic remaking of Winston-Salem and the Triad, said Michael Walden, an economics professor at N.C. State University.

The company committed to have 510 total jobs -- 392 full-time and 118 contract workers -- when the 850,000-square-foot plant is at full capacity.  Read more.

Winston-Salem's Targacept names new CEO

Dr. Stephen Hill, a surgeon and the former CEO of both Solvay Pharmaceuticals and ArQule Inc., has been named the new president and chief executive officer of Targacept Inc.

Hill's background includes leading the U.S. arm of the Belgian company Solvay Pharmaceuticals and its 1,200 employees in the period leading up to its acquisition by Abbott Laboratories in 2010.

At the Massachusetts-based ArQule, Hill led the transition from a fee-for-service discovery chemistry model to one with the company's own proprietary pipeline, according to an announcement from Targacept. Read more.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tech Briefing iBook

The Winston-Salem Chamber's Tech Briefing convened designers of airplane seats, clothing, medical devices, solar cells, beet juice, mobile apps, and more. See them on an iBook created by Josh Tan (or choose the .pdf).

Read more and view iBook

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Biotech center will benefit with Doug Edgeton on board

It’s always good to see seasoned professionals land a new position where they can be all the more beneficial. That’s the case with Doug Edgeton, who has landed an executive position with the N.C. Biotechnology Center.

Edgeton, the former president of the Piedmont Triad Research Park, was instrumental in helping to build that park into the biotech foundation it has become. He had been the park’s president since 2007, a time in which he energetically led the park in growth and prestige. Although the park will continue to shine under new leader Eric Tomlinson, we hated to see Edgeton leave.

But we’re glad he’ll now be putting his considerable talents to use at the biotech center.

The center, a nonprofit financed by the legislature, seeks to help create jobs by supporting biotechnology research, business, education and strategic policy statewide. It’s based in Research Triangle Park, but has regional offices in Winston-Salem, Asheville, Greater Charlotte, Greenville and Wilmington.

Edgeton will be the senior vice president for financial planning and development. Norris Tolson, the head of the center, told the Journal’s Richard Craver that Edgeton’s job will include educating legislators about the importance of the economic impact of biotech. Tolson said Edgeton is “tailor-made to do the things we do here.”

Indeed. Edgeton should make the center shine in the same fashion that he made the Piedmont Triad Research Park shine. Edgeton should help ensure that biotech continues to help build our future.  Read more.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Google Search for Drug Discovery

It’s what scholars dream about: getting to work with the latest technology and leading researchers in the industry to develop a scientific breakthrough.

For Jason Gagliano, a biology graduate student at Wake Forest University, it’s a reality.

Gagliano is part of the physics department team at Wake Forest developing a technology called Next-Gen Lab-on-Bead. The tool uses next-generation genetic sequencing to make the drug development process thousands of times faster, much like a Google search.
“I usually just tell people I am trying to find new drugs for cancer,” he said.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded the team a $700,000 grant to bring Next-Gen Lab-on-Bead to market. The NIH awarded the funding through its Small Business Innovation Research program, and Wake Forest will share the funds with partner NanoMedica, a Winston-Salem company that has licensed the patent for Next-Gen Lab-on-Bead. Read More.