November 2013 economic news, notes and commentary from the North Florida region.
Sideris Pharmaceuticals—a spinoff from a UF research lab—has attracted $32 million in venture capital investment as part of an agreement that could be worth up to $300 million. As part of the financing, Sideris has an agreement granting exclusive rights to Novartis Pharmaceuticals to acquire the company and its technology. Novartis is a Switzerland-based health care company with $57 billion in net sales in 2012. Sideris is developing a treatment for iron overload from multiple blood transfusions with technology licensed from UF.
Nanotherapeutics—which uses tiny, nanometer-scale particle technology to make new drugs and to make existing drugs more effective—has broken ground on a 165,000-square-foot facility in Alachua. After starting in UF’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator 14 years ago, the company plans to move into its $135 million Advanced Development and Manufacturing Center in early 2015. The facility is being built to fulfill the company’s contract with the Department of Defense to develop and manufacture drugs to combat bioterrorism and radiological threats. There is talk of 150 new jobs.
Big news for Alachua-based Banyan Biomarkers: It received a $13 million Department of Defense contract to adapt its blood test that diagnoses traumatic brain injury to work with a lab test device made by Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Banyan has 42 total employees; 30 in Alachua and 12 in Carlsbad, Calif. Additional hiring depends on pending grants from the National Institutes of Health. Banyan Biomarkers was founded in 2002 by researchers at the UF McKnight Brain Institute, who discovered proteins from the breakdown of dying brain cells in blood.