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:


Decatur in running for rocket engine plant

By Briana Harris Staff Writer | 

April 9, 2015


Decatur remains in the running for a plant that will build the engines to power a new line of rockets, United Launch Alliance's chief executive officer said.


Some modifications will be made to ULA's plant on Alabama 20 when the aerospace company begins production of its next rocket, referred to as the Next Generation Launch System.


ULA has partnered with Washington state-based aerospace company Blue Origin to build the rocket's engine, the BE-4. A production factory must be built and operational within three years, ULA CEO Tory Bruno said.




[Decatur Daily]


Mercedes' Vance-made GLE Coupe combines SUV, sports car

By Angel Coker

Staff Writer
April 8, 2015 

VANCE | Mercedes-Benz U.S. International on Wednesday rolled out its new GLE Coupe, a new model that is a cross between an SUV and a sports car.


Mercedes is calling the car "The Beauty and The Beast" because of its sports car look with sport utility vehicle capabilities. It has raised seating position and an all-round view like an SUV but has the look, sound and feel of a coupe with response to direct and spontaneous commands.

"It's an SUV. It can climb hills. It can master the red clay, but you can also take it to black-tie events in the evening," said Markus Schaefer, a member of the Division Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management. "It can do it all. This car is a winner."




[Tuscaloosa News]







DiscoveryBioMed receives $1.6M grant to fight metabolic diseases
Alan Alexander Reporter-Birmingham Business Journal
Apr 8, 2015

Birmingham biotech firm DiscoveryBioMed has received a $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to fight multiple diseases caused by high blood pressure, such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.


The Small Business Innovation Research grant will help fund the development of small molecule drugs that will increase the regulation of adiponectin, a beneficial hormone secreted by fat cells that steadily decreases in those with type 2 diabetes or obesity.


"Evidence has suggested that reduced adiponectin levels lead to loss of insulin sensitivity and hyperglycemic injury in many human tissues at risk, such as the heart, eye, kidneys, liver and skin, making diabetes and obesity progressively worse," said Dr. Deborah Mai, chief biological officer at DiscoveryBioMed.





NASA courts Montgomery businesses to help with Mars trip

Brad Harper, Montgomery Advertiser
April 8, 2015

Standing beside photos of the red planet, NASA officials made it clear Wednesday that they're aiming high and that Montgomery businesses can come along for the journey.


"While NASA's going to Mars, our trip to Mars is going to be successful because of Alabama," said Johnny Stephenson of the Marshall Space Flight Center. "I'd like to see some of these companies here today participating and supporting us on the trip."


About 150 people gathered downtown to hear about the products and services that NASA needs and how they can land those contracts. Administration officials and current contractors met one-on-one with local business people to help ease the process, while explaining some of the extra help available for small, women-owned or minority-owned businesses.




[Montgomery Advertiser]






SSAB announces 6-figure pledge to USA College of Engineering
on April 08, 2015 

Global steel company SSAB, which operates a mill in Mobile County, announced a $110,000 pledge to the University of South Alabama to establish the SSAB Scholarship Endowment Fund on Wednesday, per university spokesman Bob Lowry.


The fund will go toward scholarships benefiting full-time junior and senior level students in USA's College of Engineering, with preference given to Alabama resident students and those majoring in mechanical, electrical and civil engineering.


 Through the University's Mitchell-Moulton Scholarship Initiative, USA will match the $110,000 gift dollar-for-dollar as the funds are received from SSAB over the next four years. SSAB previously supported the University with generous donations toward the inception of USA's new engineering facilities in Shelby Hall.


 "I am excited to continue our partnership with the University of South Alabama," said Chuck Schmitt, president of SSAB Americas via press release. "Well-educated engineers are an invaluable asset to our company and to our industry. USA has done a remarkable job preparing these students for important roles that are shaping the future of manufacturing in this country."



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