Florida Builds its Position in the Life Sciences - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Florida Builds its Position in the Life Sciences
Florida is making its case for pharmaceutical and biotechnology research and development.

Pharmaceutical Technology

Miami-Dade County builds life science muscle

Like its counterparts in other areas of Florida, Miami-Dade County is also seeking to take a piece of the growing life science pie in Florida. The county is home to 91 pharmaceutical manufacturers (includes pharmaceutical and nutritional/nutraceutical manufacturers), 149 research institutions, 187 medical laboratories, and 97 medical-device manufacturers, according to Jaap Donath, vice-president of research and strategic planning at The Beacon Council, the official private-public development agency for Miami-Dade County. In all, these companies generated revenues of $2.1 billion.

Novartis (Basel, Switzerland) and Schering-Plough (Kenilworth, NJ) are examples of two pharmaceutical majors operating in Miami-Dade County. Novartis Latin America has its regional headquarters for Latin America in Miami. "Many European companies use Miami to locate their operations or headquarters to serve Latin America," says Donath. A recent study by The Beacon Council and WorldCity shows that 579 companies have either their global, US, or regional headquarters in South Florida. There are 286 European companies operating in Miami-Dade County.This number is second largest geographic representation of companies, second only to North American companies, which account for 755 companies, according to The Beacon Council.

Schering-Plough (Kenilworth, NJ) announced in January 2008 that it was expanding its manufacturing operations in Miami Lakes, which includes the building out of an additional 10,000 ft2 at its Miami facility. The expansion includes manufacturing, packaging, warehousing, and office space.

Other life-science companies in Miami Dade County include the specialty pharmaceutical company Noven Pharmaceuticals, a developer of advanced transdermal drug-delivery technologies and prescription transdermal products. The company's headquarters for its two business segments, Noven Transdermals and Noven Therapeutics, and the manufacturing facility for its transdermal products are located on a 15-acre site in Miami, according to the company's 2007 annual filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Through its acquisition of Ivax in 2006, the generic-drug company Teva Pharmaceutical (Jerusalem) operates three sites (manufacturing, R&D, and warehousing) in Miami, according to Teva's 2007 SEC annual filing.

Beckman Coulter, a $2.8 billion producer of biomedical testing instrument systems, tests and supplies, and the US business of Swiss Caps AG, a contract solid-dosage manufacturer (soft-gel capsules) are located in Miami. In March 2008, the German contract manufacturer Dragenopharm Apotheker Püschl GmbH and Swiss Caps AG (Kirchberg, Switzerland), the parent company of the US operations, agreed to merge to form Aenova. Both units will keep their status as independent companies and will trade under their own brand names. The new group will have combined revenues of EUR 215 million ($342 million).

Strengthening pharmaceutical R&D

The University of Miami (UM) under UM President Donna Shalala, the former Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration, is playing a pivotal role in raising the caliber of the life sciences in Miami-Dade County. The school is active in fundraising, capital improvements, and the attraction of scientific talent. This is particularly true for the university's medical school.

An important addition to UM is Pascal Goldschmidt, who was previously chairman of the Department of Medicine at Duke University. He became senior vice-president for medical affairs and dean of the UM Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine in 2006. Since his appointment, Goldschmidt has been active in building the research arm of the medical school by securing funding, developing global R&D collaborations, and recruiting national talent, including some of his former colleagues at Duke.

As an example, Margaret Pericak Vance and Jeffrey Vance, both former genetic researchers at Duke, joined the Miller School of Medicine and helped to open the Miami Institute for Human Genomics (MIHG) in January 2007. MIHG consists of five research centers focused on: human molecular genetics, disease models, genome technology, genetic epidemiology, and statistical genetics. Forty-five of their former 200 colleagues at Duke University left Duke to join the MIHG. MIHG was also awarded $80 million from the state of Florida to help fund the institute.

Bart Chernow, vice-president of special programs and resource strategy and vice-provost of technology advancement at the Miller School of Medicine, is another recent recruit. He was formerly vice-dean for research, technology, and corporate relations at the John Hopkins School of Medicine. Andrew Schally, endocrinologist and the 1977 Nobel Prize winner for physiology or medicine, joined the faculty as a distinguished professor in 2006. Schally and his team are investigating the use of growth hormone-releasing hormone antagonists and cytotoxic analogs of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone.

Along with these efforts, UM has increased its take of federal research dollars. The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine received $88.1 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health in fiscal year 2007 (ended September 2007), a 22% increase from fiscal year 2006.


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