Friday, July 24, 2009

Solix Biofuels Begins Large-Scale Production

Solix Biofuels Begins Large-Scale Production of Algae-Based Biofuels at Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility

Solix Biofuels Algae-Based Biofuels

Solix Biofuels Begins Large-Scale production of Algae-Based Biofuels at Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility in Colorado ...

Solix Biofuels, Inc. ("Solix"), an alternative energy technology company for the large-scale commercialization of microalgae-based fuels and co-products, announced today the completion of construction and start of algal oil production at its Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility. Algal oil production began on July 16, 2009 following the inoculation of the facility with microalgae. The Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility will be in full-scale commercial operation by late summer 2009.
The Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility is expected to be producing the equivalent of 3,000 gallons per acre, per year of algal oil by late 2009. During the peak growth season, microalgae can be harvested every 5-7 days. The total facility is located on a two-acre site in southwestern Colorado, on land provided by Solix's partner, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and is fully integrated with an industrial plant producing CO2 and water as waste products. Solix has plans to expand to more acres of production at the Coyote Gulch location in the near future. In addition, as the site expands, the Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility will provide new jobs to the Durango area in southwestern Colorado.

Rich Schoonover, Solix's chief operating officer, oversaw Thursday's inoculation: "Today's inoculation was an exciting moment for Solix, the state of Colorado and our country. We are ready to prove to the world the viability of algae as an alternative to petroleum-based fuels."

"The inoculation of the Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility marks a major milestone for the algal fuel industry," said Doug Henston, chief executive officer of Solix. "We are proud to contribute to this new era of algal fuel production, making Solix an alternative energy industry leader," he continued. Solix's technology responds to the strategic imperatives of the new energy economy, namely renewable sources of energy, diversification from petroleum-based fossil fuels and job creation. We are excited to be creating a viable alternative energy source to petroleum-based fuels and new jobs in the process," said Rich Schoonover.
Marketwire - Solix Biofuels Begins Large-Scale production of Algae-Based Biofuels at Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility in Colorado ...

About Solix Biofuels

Solix Biofuels, Inc., based in Fort Collins, Colo., is an alternative energy production technology company with emphasis on supplying low-cost, scalable photo-bioreactors that will enable the global production of biofuels using microalgae as a feedstock. Solix is an intellectual descendant of the U.S. Department of Energy's Aquatic Species Program, which started in 1978 to explore ways to produce biodiesel from algae. In early 2006, Solix was created to continue this work, with a goal of creating a commercially viable biofuel that will help solve climate change and petroleum scarcity without competing with global food supply. For more information visit

Source: Solix Biofuels, Inc.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Executives camp out early for shot at Maryland biotech tax credits

Executives from 10 biotech companies will call the city’s west side biopark their home for the next five days.

Executives are camping out at the University of Maryland, Baltimore BioPark in hopes of grabbing a slice of the state’s $6 million in biotech tax credits. The tax credits are awarded on a first-come first-serve basis.

The state will start taking applications for the tax credits July 1. But that did not stop Scott Allocco, president of BioMarker Strategies LLC, from showing up at 10 a.m. Friday at the University of Maryland, Baltimore BioPark to claim the bragging rights of being first in line.

“I couldn’t put these tax credits at risk and I decided I needed to protect my investors,” Allocco said. The executives hopes to get $500,000 in tax credits. BioMarker is working with Johns Hopkins University to develop a diagnostic test to detect breast, pancreatic and lung cancers.

Now in its fifth year, the biotech tax credit program became a more critical source of funding during the recession, which has made investors wary of pumping money into startups that can take a decade or more before generating any payoff.

Under the program, for every $1 an investor funds in a biotech company, he receives a 50-cent credit from the state. So someone pumping $1 million in a company would get a $500,000 check from the state.

Last year, biotech executives camped out in front of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development office in Baltimore to apply for the tax credits, which were snatched up in a single day. DBED has since moved its office to the World Trade Center. But DBED officials decided against having applicants show up at the World Trade Center for security reasons, spokeswoman Karen Glenn said.

Though the wait to submit applications will be long, it will not be uncomfortable. UMB BioPark officials have opened up an air-conditioned conference room at 801 W. Baltimore St. for the biotech campers. Executives will have access to a gym and showers in the building. Many executives are also easing the pain by rotating shifts with colleagues and, in some cases, hiring temporary workers to take their spot.

That is a far cry from the conditions last year at 217 E. Redwood St., said Steven Davey, chief operating officer at Zymetis.

Davey had to hire an off-duty police officer to stand guard as employees endured camping out on the sidewalk in the rain. But it was worth it for the biotech firm, which is developing enzymes that would produce biofuels. The College Park company has grown from four to 14 employees, thanks to the tax credit, Davey said.

Rockville-based biotech Sequella hope that the tax credits will help it stay in business and buy additional time to raise more money, Chief Financial Officer Marty Zug said. The company hopes to get $1.8 million in tax credits, the maximum that the state allows.

“A lot of companies are living to fight another day,” Zug said.

The biotech tax credit is a critical component of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Bio 2020 initiative, a 10-year, $1.3 billion plan to boost the state’s biotech industry. The plan includes raising the biotech tax credit from $6 million to $24 million by 2020. The tax credits remained unscathed during the 2009 General Assembly, even as other programs were cut amid a $1.1 billion deficit.

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Obama offers 7-year protection for biotech drugs

The Obama administration said biogeneric drugs should be protected from competition for seven years.

The biopharmaceutical industry has argued that the five years of protection offered by Waxman in H.R. 1427 would stifle innovation. But the Federal Trade Commission in a report earlier this month said the 12 to 14 years that the industry has said publicly that it wants also would hurt innovation and delay patients’ access to cheaper drugs.

Eshoo’s H.R. 1548 calls for a 12-year period of data exclusivity, basically protecting the patents covering innovative biotech therapies.

In a letter to Waxman, Nancy-Ann DeParle, Obama’s health-care reform director, and budget director Peter Orszag said “the seven-year policy in the FY 2010 Budget is a generous compromise between what the FTC research has concluded and what the pharmaceutical industry has advocated.”

The Biotechnology Industry Organization, however, said it is “extremely concerned” that the seven-year plan is “a risky shortcut to biosimilars.”

“We believe this abbreviated period will undermine the incentives necessary for continued biotech research into breakthrough medicines and cures for diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and HIV/AIDS as well as unmet medical needs,” BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood said in a statement.

Besides patent exclusivity, the industry has argued that drugs like those developed by South San Francisco’s Genentech and other biotech companies can’t be copied like pharmaceutical drugs because they are complex to make and the finished products can differ.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rocky Mountain Life Science Investor Conference 2009

The Rocky Mountain Life Science Investor Conference 2009 - Apply Now!

See the the future of bioscience and your role in shaping it! On September 17th in Denver, Colorado, The Rocky Mountain Life Science Investor Conference 2009, co-hosted by AZBio and the Colorado BioScience Association, will bring together leading investors, emerging companies and senior executives of established companies from around the country. Arizona companies are encouraged to participate and apply to present. Presenting companies will have a 20 minute podium presentation (including Q&A) for you to introduce your company, innovation or technology, and the status of your product development. Don’t miss this chance to participate in some of the newest deals and meet those who are shaping the future landscape of the life sciences industry. Click Here for complete conference details.