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September 2015 Newsletter

Research Park to Explore Expansion

The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Economic Development Administration to study possible science and research park expansion into northern Palm Beach County.

A member institution of Life Sciences South Florida (LSSF), the Research Park at FAU was awarded the grant in partnership with the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners.

LSSF Chairman, Florida International University (FIU) President Mark B. Rosenberg, sent a letter of support for the application.

Determining the feasibility of growing a science and research park in the northern part of the county, near the already-established Scripps Florida Research Institute and Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, is the purpose of the study.

The $290,600 grant was awarded based on Palm Beach County’s rising life sciences industry cluster and its potential economic impact. The study will evaluate areas based on cost of acquisition, cost of development and current marketplace demand, among other criteria. The grant provides the Research Park at FAU one year to complete this analysis.

Andrew Duffell, President and CEO of the Research Park at FAU, said, “Economically diverse, high-wage employment business development and growth, particularly in targeted industry clusters is key to achieving economic sustainability…It is also an important complement to the investment the state of Florida and Palm Beach County have made in biotech.”

As a result of this survey, Duffell said, the Research Park at FAU hopes to be able to make a recommendation on one or more specific sites to begin development of the research park. The next step will be to secure funding for acquisition and development of one of the sites.

The Research Park at FAU, located in the southern part of the county, has generated considerable economic impacts for its county and state already. Its 2014 Annual Report shows that after three consecutive years of growth, employment has increased to 1,798 jobs, with an average salary of more than $87,000 and a total economic impact of more than $755 million.

Florida Students Excel at International Science and Engineering Fair

Each year, millions of students worldwide compete in local and school science fairs, some going on to regional or state fairs. Only the best of the best are invited to the world’s biggest international pre-college science competition, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF).

Florida has had impressive results at the international fair, with two students earning a place in the Top 20 “Best of Category” list. More than 1,700 high school students representing over 75 countries, regions and territories demonstrate their independent research at the event—with more than $4 million in prizes available to the top young scientific minds.

With 86 projects and 92 finalists competing from the Sunshine State, Florida made up the largest contingency of entrants at the Pittsburgh, PA fair. See the results of the 2015 Intel ISEF.

LSSF Symposium Showcases Student Research

For the third year in a row, the Life Sciences South Florida STEM Undergraduate Research Symposium showcased original research from dozens of South Florida students. Held during the Spring 2015 semester at the William and Helen Thomas STEM Center on the Pruitt Campus of Indian River State College in Port St. Lucie, there were 120 people in attendance for the day’s events. A total of 55 entries were presented by 70 students throughout the day, while 28 judges from LSSF member institutions leant their expertise.

Mr. Ken Pruitt, guest speaker and former Florida State Senate President, addressed the students and audience regarding the importance of the life sciences industry and the evolution of efforts to bring the industry to Florida over the past 20 years. Mr. Pruitt challenged the students to take advantage of the opportunities they have and to build on what has been established. He reminded them that they are the next generation who must continue to build the life science and biotech infrastructure in Florida for their families and communities. He lauded the efforts of so many in the Research Coast region who helped bring Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, Vaccine Gene Therapy Institute, Scripps, and Max Planck to the southeastern part of the state.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Richard Houghten, founder and President of Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies in Port St. Lucie, spoke about his entrepreneurial and scientific work. He discussed several issues currently facing the industry, including funding, and outlined the steps students should take to pursue their dreams in the field of science.

The judges faced difficult decisions as they noted that the level of research and quality of the presentations had increased from previous years. Students from the following schools participated: Barry University; Florida Atlantic University; Florida International University; Indian River State College; Miami Dade College; Nova Southeastern University and Palm Beach State College.

Winners in the oral competition were as follows: 1st Place, Tevin Ali, Palm Beach State College; 2nd Place, Victoria Hoelscher, Barry University; and 3rd Place, Lazaro Mesa, Florida International University. In the poster competition, 1st Place went to Johan Sanchez, Barry University; 2nd Place to Divya Pandya, Nova Southeastern University; and 3rd Place, Christine Wipfli, Florida International University.

The BioFlorida Annual Conference - Florida's Premier Event for the Life Sciences Community

This year's BioFlorida Annual Conference will take place October 11th-13th, 2015 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. The two-day program will focus on Florida's areas of strength, including immunoncology, precision medicine, medical technology, digital health and space research. BioFlorida attracts the largest and most prestigious life sciences community in the state. At this conference, attendees connect with more than 500 life science professionals from around Florida and throughout the US.

Who attends:

Executives and entrepreneurs from emerging and established companies; investors; scientists, researchers, technology transfer employees from university and research institutions; service providers specializing in the life sciences space; economic development agencies; and federal and state lawmakers.

Why Attend:

  • Two-day program featuring scientific advancements, business achievements and public policy debates in life sciences
  • Hear from emerging companies in Florida and experience the NEW BioPitch process with investors as judges
  • Connect with the Who's Who of the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical technology and bioagricultural industries
  • Recognize and celebrate the most successful and growing companies, universities and research institutions in the state

A discounted rate of 40% off of the current registration rate is available for students and faculty. Please use the code 14BFFLsf during the registration process. This rate includes attendance to all conference general sessions, breakout sessions, breakfast, breaks and two lunches. The Monday and Tuesday night receptions are excluded in the student and faculty discounted rate. Proof of full-time academic affiliation will be required upon check-in at the conference.

Featured Tracks:

BioScience: Perspectives on Precision Medicine; Immunoncology: The Next Frontier; Traumatic Brain Injury: Advances in Diagnostics and Treatment; Tissue Engineering

BioBusiness: Spotlight on Innovation; Strategies for Optimizing Reimbursement; Regulatory News & Views; Business Development with the Licensing Executives Society

BioTrends: Innovation in Healthcare: Digitizing Health; Florida Areas of Strength: Space Research; Next Generation Technology

Attend and contribute to the growth of the life sciences industry in Florida! For more information, visit

Lupin Announces New Center of Excellence for Inhalation Research in Florida

Pharma Major Lupin Limited announced the opening of its new Center of Excellence for Inhalation Research in Coral Springs, Florida. Local and state leaders, including Florida Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Director Jesse Panuccio, and Mayor Skip Campbell, were on site to celebrate the opening of Lupin’s new facility with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Bringing 45 highly skilled positions to Broward County, Lupin’s South Florida expansion recognizes the steady growth of Florida’s life sciences industry and the economic potential it holds for the state. Lupin’s new facility will focus on the research and development of inhalation products for the treatment of asthma, allergic rhinitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and other lung diseases.

“We are delighted to be making our mark in South Florida,” said Vinita Gupta, CEO, Lupin Limited. “With the talent and resources this state provides, our Coral Springs expansion will further strengthen our ability to bring quality, affordable pharmaceuticals to patients in the United States and other key markets globally. The new inhalation research and development facility is a significant step forward in our journey to emerge as a global specialty pharmaceutical player.”

“Lupin’s Coral Springs expansion further reinforces Florida’s standing as the number one place to do business,” said Florida Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera. “The opening of this facility is a testament to the strength of Florida’s life sciences industry and the diverse and talented workforce who call this state home. We welcome Lupin to the Sunshine State and look forward to the incredible research and therapies that are developed as a result of their presence in Florida.”

Lupin’s Coral Springs facility was made possible through collaboration among Enterprise Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, CareerSource Florida, Broward County and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said, “The official opening of Lupin Inc. is great news for the City of Coral Springs and the Florida economy. The Scott administration’s pro-growth policies are fostering Florida’s emergent life sciences sector, as companies like Lupin continue to create high-wage, high-skill employment opportunities.”

“The City of Coral Springs is excited to welcome Lupin,” said City of Coral Springs Mayor Skip Campbell. “Our community is well positioned to support world-class companies, like this one, and we look forward to playing a role in their continued growth and success.”

“Lupin’s grand opening in Broward County is an example of how our area is creating, attracting and expanding high-wage jobs,” said Bob Swindell, President and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. “The company’s South Florida presence strengthens our state’s robust life sciences industry cluster and we wish them every success.”

About Lupin Limited

Headquartered in Mumbai, Lupin is an innovation led transnational pharmaceutical company producing and developing a wide range of branded & generic formulations, biotechnology products and APIs globally. The company is a significant player in the Cardiovascular, Diabetology, Asthma, Pediatric, CNS, GI, Anti-Infective and NSAID space and holds global leadership positions in the Anti-TB and Cephalosporin segment. Lupin is the 6th largest and fastest growing top 10 generics player in the US (5.5% market share by prescriptions, IMS Health) and the 3rd largest Indian pharmaceutical company by sales globally. The company is also the fastest growing top 10 generic pharmaceutical players in Japan (ranked 8th) and South Africa (ranked 4th – IMS Health).

Visit for more information.

About Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is dedicated to delivering high-quality, affordable generic medicines and branded formulations trusted by healthcare professionals and patients across geographies. For more information, please do visit

Q&A: Ocean Ridge Biosciences

LSSF recently spoke with Dr. David Willoughby, owner and senior scientist at Ocean Ridge Biosciences (ORB) in Palm Beach Gardens, to gain insight from a business perspective on life sciences in the region. The Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter area is home to The Scripps Research Institute, Max Planck Institute for Neuroscience, Palm Beach State College’s Eissey campus, Florida Atlantic University’s Wilks Honors College and several biotechnology companies.

LSSF: What are some of the issues scientists should consider before becoming an entrepreneur?
Dr. David Willoughby: While the life sciences market enables a scientist to continue learning and expanding, this market space is not immune to the inherent challenges of entrepreneurship. Numerous skill sets are essential to be a successful entrepreneur, and development of the requisite skills demands time and energy. However, the translation of a solid scientific idea into a viable venture, is something akin to the design and execution of a laboratory experiment. It’s just that there are many simultaneous experiments always occurring.

LSSF: Where do you find talent? Are you able to meet ORB’s workforce needs locally? 
DW: Recent hires have resulted from both in- and out-of-state searches. For the most part, successful ORB staffing has been supplied with local workers from the Scripps Research Institute and Palm Beach State College’s Biotechnology program.

LSSF: What would you like to see happen in life sciences in the region in the next 5-10 years? 
DW: South Florida would benefit greatly from the addition of more pharmaceutical, biomedical and biotechnology companies. Repeatedly, in thriving biotech clusters, incubator space is available for startup biotech companies. A facility in South Florida such as the Sid Martin Biotechnology Development Institute in Alachua would allow for the influx of companies capable of staffing graduates of biomedical and biotechnology programs.

LSSF: Who are your best partners in the region? Are there any groups that you’d like to partner with?
DW: We have worked with several local academic and private sector clients in the basic research and clinical disciplines, including The University of Miami, Immunosite, and Scripps Research Institute. ORB is always looking to collaborate with forward thinking companies and researchers to develop new technologies and contribute to scientific publications and grant funding opportunities.

LSSF: What new technologies are you interested in? 
DW: With personalized medicine now of paramount importance to all major pharmaceutical companies, we are constantly seeking to provide biomarker discovery services using the lowest volumes of biofluids and fewest cells possible. ORB anticipates adding methylation sequencing, cell culture services, and expanded data analysis capabilities to the current suite of services by mid-2016.

About Ocean Ridge Biosciences: 
Ocean Ridge Biosciences (ORB) is a contract research laboratory that provides reliable, efficient, and innovative RNA Profiling and Biomarker Discovery services. ORB provides microarray-based mRNA profiling services using industry standard platforms including Affymetrix and Agilent, as well as superior long-mer oligonucleotide deposition arrays developed by Microarrays Inc. In addition, ORB offers affordable mRNA sequencing services utilizing the Illumina HiSeq 2000 and 2500. ORB's signature product is a proprietary microarray-based service for microRNA profiling.

ORB's microRNA microarray is regularly updated with the latest mirBASE releases. The service has been optimized to handle a wide variety of sample types including microvesicles, serum, bronchial lavage, whole blood, and FFPE samples.

Q&A: City of Hollywood

Brian Rademacher, Corridor Redevelopment Manager for the City of Hollywood, recently spoke with LSSF to provide insights from a civic perspective on the current and potential impacts of the life sciences on the region. “The City of Hollywood is home to the Nova Southeastern University Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center, Barry University College of Nursing and Health Sciences and Memorial Regional Hospital,” Rademacher said. “Marine and life science companies equally find opportunity to thrive. To that end, the city is actively linking networks and leveraging regional assets within the public and private sector to nurture the life science cluster both locally and regionally.” The question and answer session is transcribed below:

LSSF: How will the life sciences spur further community and economic development in the City of Hollywood?
Brian Rademacher: Two of the four pillars of our economic development strategy focus on business development and promoting a positive business climate. Linking and leveraging our existing networks and assets is the third pillar that rounds out and supports economic development... The life sciences is one of the four targeted industries that we concentrate on. We look at how we can support the private life sciences companies that are in Hollywood, while supporting and collaborating with the research and educational institutions locally and regionally. Our reasons for doing this are two-fold: 1) to link and leverage networks with existing partners, and 2) to show businesses interested in moving to Florida that Hollywood has resources for them. Companies can plug into Life Sciences South Florida (LSSF), for example!

LSSF: As corridor redevelopment manager, what is your hope for the life sciences in the City of Hollywood?
BR: From the 30,000 foot level, I hope for increased fluidity between businesses, research institutions and hospitals. Our goal should be an environment in which the life sciences is nurtured on both the research and the business side. And this is something that LSSF can help foster.

LSSF: What would you like to see in 5-10 years?
BR: My goal is to see strong, vibrant life sciences clusters that would benefit the greater South Florida region, which creates momentum for businesses to relocate to.

LSSF: Which life sciences organizations are you in conversations with now? 
BR: We are engaging in conversations with Nova, Barry and Memorial Regional Hospital. When sitting with them, we learn what their activities are and the opportunities and trends they are seeing. Due to their presence, we have the opportunity to nurture and grow a life sciences cluster. From the city viewpoint, we can offer assistance and provide insight and help develop strategies that allow us to work together.

LSSF: Any key partnerships you’d like to mention? 
BR: We are in the nascent stages still. We have met with many life sciences players in Hollywood, and have started to generate ideas. Our next steps will come over the course of the coming months.

LSSF: What will such partnerships bring to your community? 
BR: A growth in business and the workforce. The research and educational pieces are integral to this as well. The work that the Oceanographic Center is doing around sharks, coral and turtles, for example, is promoting key environmental awareness. It is spurring on volunteerism and increasing the feel of community. From an economic development stand point, such partnerships recognize and strengthen our current anchors as generators of future business and growth.

LSSF: How will participating with LSSF help Hollywood? Help other cities?
BR: It is important for our city to be engaged in regional-level efforts as there are important strengths and assets to tap into. LSSF helps us to share our story and opportunities, to network with universities and other institutions to keep regional-level collaboration going. I encourage other cities to be involved in the conversation as well. Life sciences is a growing cluster and topic—everyone—civic, industry, research and education should be involved in some respect.

About the City of Hollywood: 
The City of Hollywood is a beachfront community located in southeastern Broward County about midway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Founded by Joseph Young in 1925, Hollywood is approximately 30 square miles in size and is Broward’s third-largest municipality with a population of roughly 143,000 residents.