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WisBusiness Tuesday Trends
May 8, 2007
By Brian E. Clark
Wisconsin has more than 200 representatives from the research and commercial biotech communities at this year’s international BIO convention, which runs through Thursday in Boston. The state and UW-Madison are spending about $250,000 for this year’s event.
Gov. Jim Doyle spoke at the Wisconsin pavilion yesterday and representatives from about 20 companies are giving presentations over the course of the five-day conference, which is expected to attract more than 25,000 movers and shakers from the global biotech community. To see the Wisconsin BIO Blog, go to http://blogs.wisbusiness.com/bio/
A California-based group fighting WARF’s stem cell patents has asked WARF managing director Carl Gulbrandsen to take a temporary leave from a U.S. Patent Public Advisory Committee until a case involving WARF is settled. The group, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer rights says Gulbrandsen has an “obvious” conflict of interest.
Gulbrandsen was appointed in 2005 as one of 12 members of the committee, which advises the patent office on matters of administration, policy and budget. Gulbrandsen was appointed to represent nonprofit groups like WARF. A spokesman for WARF said Gulbrandsen would not step down and noted that other members of the advisory panel groups do business with the patent office.
On the positive side, WARF announced at the BIO 2007 conference in Boston that it has granted an exclusive license to the Madison-based startup Stemina Biomarker Discovery, Inc. to use to Dr. Gabriela Cezar's pioneering stem cell-based technology created at the UW-Madison. The technology uses human embryonic stem cells and metabolomics to detect the potentially toxic effect of drugs in early preclinical stages. Cezar, who is Stemina’s chief scientific officer, developed the technology as a UW-Madison faculty member.
Charging that UW-Madison isn’t living up to its progressive reputation, the Sierra Club has filed suit against the university alleging that it has repaired the Charter Street coal-fired power plant numerous times without retrofitting it with modern pollution controls required under the federal law. Ironically, Sierra Club founder John Muir attended the UW in the 1860s.
The complaint, which also names the state, charges that the university didn't notify the Department of Natural Resources, get the appropriate permits or install required pollution controls when rebuilding the plant.
Sierra Club lawyer Bruce Nilles said he wants the university to replace the plant with one that uses biomass and other cleaner-burning fuels. At the least, it should install technology that could cut smog and mercury emissions by 90 percent, he said. In response, a spokesman said the university is following the law in operating the plant.
Written exclusively for subscribers. Tuesday Trends is Copyright © 2007.