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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


In this issue:
Birmingham's Vivo Biosciences honored for innovation
Alabama spends $227 million a year on corporate incentives
U.S. auto sales pace rises to nearly a five-year high
Swift Biotechnology chief to leverage industry expertise



Birmingham's Vivo Biosciences honored for innovation

By Stan Diel | sdiel@al.com

Published: Monday, December 03, 2012, 10:47 AM    


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Birmingham-based biotech company Vivo Biosciences has been credited with one of the top 10 innovations of 2012 by The Scientist magazine.


Vivo Biosciences and Charlottesville, Va.-based Global Cell Solutions were honored for HubioGEM, a gel that emulates the biology of human tissue for use in drug research.


Eric Murphy, a cancer researcher at Genomics Institute of the Novartis Foundation in San Diego, told the magazine that the gel is a new and improved platform for tests.


"We do a lot of our drug combination screens in this format now, and we're seeing a lot of therapeutics you would have skipped over in our traditional screens," he told the magazine.





Alabama spends $277 million a year on corporate incentives, NYT says

Published: Monday, December 03, 2012, 10:21 AM    

By Alex Walsh | awalsh@al.com 


Alabama spends more than $277 million a year on corporate incentive packages, used to attract and keep companies within the state, according to a new analysis conducted by the New York Times' Louise Story.


That's the smallest amount for any state in the region, according to Story's research. Mississippi spends at least $416 million a year on incentives, which is the second-smallest total in the southeast.


Proponents of economic incentive spending say those dollars are crucial for job creation. And it appears Alabamians are buying that argument: last month, voters provided an additional $160 million to similar economic development efforts by approving Amendment 2.







U.S. auto sales pace rises to nearly a five-year high

Published: Monday, December 03, 2012, 4:21 PM    

By Dawn Kent | dkent@al.com 


Pent-up demand and the need to replace cars lost in Superstorm Sandy helped November's U.S. auto sales reach a pace not seen in nearly five years, automakers said today.

The Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate, or SAAR, is expected to land between 15.35 million and 15.4 million, the highest since February 2008, according to Edmunds.com.

In terms of growth, sales were up 4 percent from October and up 15 percent from November 2011.

Combined sales of Alabama-made vehicles also grew. November sales of the eight models built in the state totaled 60,535, a 6.6 percent improvement from a year ago.







Swift Biotechnology chief to leverage industry expertise, chair Minnesota's ProUroCare

By Kelli Dugan | kdugan@al.com 
December 03, 2012 at 4:40 PM


MOBILE, Alabama - Local businessman, entrepreneur and attorney Michael Chambers has been named chairman of the board of directors for ProUroCare, a Minnesota-based medical imaging developer.


"Dr. Chambers is uniquely qualified to lead our executive team as we move towards commercialization of our technology," said Rick Carlson, ProUroCare's chief executive officer, director and immediate past-chairman.


"(Chambers') knowledge of the industry and years of experience building medical product companies make him an ideal leader as we enter a critical stage in the development and commercialization of our technology and consider potential options to deliver value to our investors," Carlson said.


Indeed, Chambers serves as president and CEO of Mobile-based Swift Biotechnology where - in collaboration with Drs. Lewis J. Pannell, Michael Finan and Rodney "Rod" Rocconi at the University of South Alabama's Mitchell Cancer Institute - clinicians are working alongside entrepreneurial scientists to develop early-stage, targeted screens and diagnostics for ovarian and endometrial cancers.


"(The Mitchell Cancer Institute) was built to foster these types of relationships, and it's in that culture that true innovation takes place," Finan said in a prior interview.






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Val Walton
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