[Source: ALAN FISCHER, Tucson Citizen] – Tucson has been labeled an up-and-coming biotechnology center by Business Facilities magazine.
The magazine called Tucson “Arizona’s other rising biotechnology star,” after touting Phoenix’s efforts to pump up biotech activity with facilities such as the Translational Genomics Research Institute.
While lagging behind established biotech centers including Boston and San Diego, Arizona, along with Texas, St. Louis and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, was cited as showing promise in biotechnology.
“Local and state leaders in Arizona are using the state’s strong research base in genomics and personalized medicine to position itself as a major player in the biotechnology industry,” the magazine article said.
Boosting Tucson’s biotech presence is the Technology and Research Initiative Fund, the magazine said.
The fund is supported by Proposition 301, which Arizona voters approved in 2000 to funnel taxes directly into schools and universities in the areas of optics, biotechnology and information technology.
One Tucson hot spot is the University of Arizona’s BIO5 Institute.
BIO5, 1657 E. Helen St., encourages collaborative research by scientists working in different disciplines.
BIO5 is home to the iPlant Collaborative, which is working to design computer systems to tackle the huge amounts of data produced in biotech experiments.
The collaborative received a $50 million grant Jan. 30 from the National Science Foundation.
The grant will be used to develop a centralized database of research information on plant biology.
It will be accessible by researchers and others worldwide, creating scientific collaboration in ways never seen before, officials said.
The collaborative will focus on using advances in information technology and computing to help researchers find solutions to the “grand-challenge” questions they face. The monthly Business Facilities is based in New Jersey and specializes in the business site selection marketplace.