Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development. If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner.
Vaxin Inc. wins NIH grant to continue work on new anthrax vaccine
Published: Monday, June 18, 2012, 2:47 PM Updated: Monday, June 18, 2012, 2:48 PM
By Martin Swant --- The Birmingham News
Vaxin Inc., based in Innovation Depot in downtown Birmingham, is developing a number of vaccines.
The six-month NIH grant is a Phase 1 Small Business Initiative Research grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Vaxin plans to use for building its "antrax vaccine portfolio of technologies" by creating a more effective and efficient vaccine than is currently on the market, the company announced today.
"Vaxin is continuing to pursue the development of novel, easy to administer, safe vaccines against anthrax" Jianfeng Zhang, the principle investigator on the work at Vaxin, said in a prepared statement. "This grant allows us to further explore novel antigens that may be more effective against this high priority agent."
Last year, Vaxin landed $14.7 million for its anthrax vaccine work as part of a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It also won a $1 million grant in December from the Found Animals Foundation to be used in developing a vaccine that could one day be an alternative to spaying and neutering pets.
UAB to offer master's in biotechnology
Birmingham Business Journal by Evan Belanger, Reporter Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 9:48am CDT
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is elevating its biotechnology offerings to include a standalone master's program.
The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees approved the program at its June 15 meeting.
The program, in the School of Health Professions, had previously been offered only as a certificate option in clinical laboratory sciences.
The addition comes as Birmingham's business and city leaders strive to bolster its biotechnology sector as a core component of the local economy.
Janelle Chiasera, chair of the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences, called "an important step in helping create a vibrant and sustainable biotechnology industry statewide."
more...Birmingham Business Journal
Fourteen Alabama companies named finalists for Manufacturer of the Year Awards
Published: Monday, June 18, 2012, 10:50 AM Updated: Monday, June 18, 2012, 10:51 AM
By Dawn Kent -- The Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Fourteen Alabama companies, from automakers to chemical firms to a pottery studio, have been named finalists for the Manufacturer of the Year Awards.
The Business Council of Alabama and the Alabama Technology Network announced the finalists today. The awards will be presented Wednesday at a luncheon in Montgomery.
The awards program is in its 13th year and recognizes Alabama manufacturers that show excellence in leadership, performance, profitability and work force relations. Awards are presented in small, medium and large size categories.
The finalists range from large companies such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama Inc. in Huntsville, which recently announced an expansion plan, to small firms like Earthborn Studios of Leeds, which provided the dishes for an episode of Food Network's "Iron Chef America" earlier this year.
Here are the finalists:
Small manufacturers (one to 99 employees)
Cascades Sonoco, Birmingham
Earthborn Studios, Leeds
Electrifil Corp., Elkmont
Medium manufacturers (100 to 399 employees)
3M Co., Guin
Daikin America Inc., Decatur
Gambro Rental Products, Opelika
Heritage Wire Harness LLC, Fort Payne
Lear Corp., Montgomery
Prystup Packaging Products, Livingston
Large manufacturers (400 or more employees)
Austal USA, Mobile
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Gadsden
Rheem Water Heating, Montgomery
Sikorsky Aircraft, Troy
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama Inc., Huntsville
New Asian immigrants to US now surpass Hispanics
By Hope Yen Associated Press / June 19, 2012
An expansive study by the Pew Research Center details what it describes as "the rise of Asian-Americans," a highly diverse and fast-growing group making up roughly 5 percent of the U.S. population. Mostly foreign-born and naturalized citizens, their numbers have been boosted by increases in visas granted to specialized workers and to wealthy investors as the U.S. economy becomes driven less by manufacturing and more by technology.
"Too often the policy debates on immigration fixate on just one part -- illegal immigration," said Karthick Ramakrishnan, a political science professor at the University of California-Riverside and a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. "U.S. immigration is more diverse and broader than that, with policy that needs to focus also on high-skilled workers."
"With net migration from Mexico now at zero, the role of Asian-Americans has become more important," he said.
About 430,000 Asians, or 36 percent of all new immigrants, arrived in the U.S. in 2010, according to the latest census data. That's compared to about 370,000, or 31 percent, who were Hispanic.
The Pew analysis, released Tuesday, said the tipping point for Asian immigrants likely occurred during 2009 as illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico sharply declined due to increased immigration enforcement and a dwindling supply of low-wage work in the weak U.S. economy. Many Mexicans already in the U.S. have also been heading back to their country, putting recent net migration at a standstill.
As recently as 2007, about 390,000 of new immigrants to the U.S. were Asian, compared to 540,000 who were Hispanic.
New U.S. Patent Office Branches Will Promote Innovation
John K. Borchardt (Summer 2012)
The overhaul of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) - mandated by last September's passage of the America Invents Act - is aimed at promoting innovation. One statute of the new law requires the USPTO to establish at least three branch offices around the country in addition to the main facility in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The first will open in Detroit in July 2012 with two more satellite offices scheduled to open in 2013.
Creating branch offices is part of a broad effort to speed up the nearly three-year-long patent application process, which encourages face-to-face meetings between inventors and USPTO patent examiners. Regional patent offices could reduce the inconvenience and travel cost of these meetings, particularly for small firms and independent inventors with limited financial and time resources.
Why does speeding up the patent application review and approval process matter? Owning a patent is often an important step in commercializing a newly invented product or process. Accelerating the patent application process will enable inventors to bring their products to market sooner. Additionally, according to Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos, branch offices will also facilitate the hiring and retention of patent professionals.
Birmingham Business Alliance hires research project manager
Published: Monday, June 18, 2012, 3:44 PM Updated: Monday, June 18, 2012, 3:47 PM
By Dawn Kent -- The Birmingham NewsThe Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, AL -- Alan Reeves has joined the Birmingham Business Alliance as a research project manager, a position that will complement the agency's economic development efforts.
Reeves will work with business recruiters by providing research and community data needed to attract and retain companies, said BBA President and Chief Executive Brian Hilson.
Reeves is a recent graduate of Harvard University, with a bachelor's degree in government. He was an intern at the BBA during the summer of 2011 and he also has interned with Rep. Spencer Bachus in Washington and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.
At Harvard, Reeves served as a Presidential Instructional Teaching Fellow.
"We are happy to have Alan back at the BBA," Hilson said in a prepared statement. "We recognized early on his potential and we anticipate him being an integral part of our economic development efforts."
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