News Archive (2010)

Peoria weighs aiding TGen on bioscience site.

By: Sonu Munshi - Jul. 6, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

The Peoria City Council today will consider whether to contribute $200,000 to help TGen establish headquarters for a new international bioscience consortium in the northwest Valley city.

Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute is applying for a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The city money would help TGen cobble together $500,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to receive the maximum federal match of $1 million.

If the effort is successful, TGen and Glendale's Thunderbird School of Global Management would launch the International Bioscience Commercialization Consortium, specializing in genomics, bioscience and life sciences. The consortium would network worldwide to connect typically regional commercialization efforts.

In addition, city officials are in early talks with Phoenix-based Core Institute, which specializes in orthopedics, to run a biotech incubator that might be housed at the same site.

Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett said he's comfortable with the city making the financial commitment because it would bring Peoria to the attention of the medical and biomedical world.

"If we could get on that train, it could turn out to be really good for the city in the long run," Barrett said.

Peoria's economic development chief, Scott Whyte, described the plans as a "bioscience business attraction concept," in which the consortium would share a planned 10,000 square feet of office and laboratory space with the Core incubator. A location is undetermined.
Any further city contribution for land or the facility is in the conceptual stage, Whyte said.
"This is a great way to become a destination for the bioscience industry and for bioscience startups," he said.

James Walbom, director of commercialization at TGen, said the potential partnership with Peoria was "all about timing and availability of resources and opportunities."

The aim of the consortium would be to provide members with global resources to help plug gaps between academic research and its conversion into commercial products and ideas.

Walbom said across the world there are a number of regional organizations, often at universities, that help technology developers commercialize their ideas. But the commercialization groups focus exclusively on their region, he said.

TGen and Thunderbird would aim to better connect those regional groups with global resources.
Peoria's financial commitment to help get the partnership off the ground would come from a half-cent-per-dollar sales-tax fund, and would be paid in two installments, the first of which would be this fiscal year.

A report to the City Council does not quantify what Peoria might get in return for the taxpayer money. The report cited a TGen affiliate in Scottsdale that brought an economic impact of more than $26 million in 2009.

Like many municipal leaders, Peoria officials have considered a state Supreme Court ruling in January that Phoenix's $97.4 million subsidy to the CityNorth project in north Phoenix was an unconstitutional subsidy. The ruling indicated that any gift of taxpayer money must provide a direct benefit from the entity receiving the money.

Le Templar, a spokesman for the Goldwater Institute, which had challenged the CityNorth subsidy, said TGen would have to provide a specific guarantee of revenue to Peoria for its return on investment. "You can't speculate that they might generate future tax revenues or might generate money into the economy," Templar said.

Whyte said he was confident that the investment would satisfy the court ruling because the city would get 80 cents on the dollar with the $1 million it would get from the federal grant.


Needing A Shoulder to Rely Upon.

Needing A Shoulder to Rely Upon

Unlike Moore, who didn't have to look for a trauma surgeon, finding the right doctor was important for Flagstaff resident Daniel Smith, who came to John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital for innovative shoulder surgery.>

And his shoulders needed serious help. Working on the railroad will take its toll, even on the toughest men. During his 30 years with the Santa Fe and later the B&N Santa Fe Railroad, Smith had five surgeries to repair damage to his right shoulder – and four on his left.

"It was putting the trains together, putting on the cars," he said. "I worked in the rail yard for over 17 years and that's a lot of wear and tear."

Smith's most recent surgical solution — something radically different — started a year ago when surgeons at Flagstaff Medical Center repaired a torn chest muscle. But a few months ago, it was clear that the repair hadn't solved the problem.

"They told me I needed a 'reverse' shoulder repair, but they were hesitant to do it because they didn't have the experience. So they referred me to Dr. Wall at Deer Valley Hospital," Smith said.

The Specialized Answer: Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty

According to Bryan Wall, MD, who is part of The CORE Institute and operates on patients at Deer Valley, reverse shoulder arthroplasty — one of his specialties — has only been available in this country for a half-dozen years and not many surgeons are doing it.

In traditional shoulder surgery, the ball at the top of the arm bone is replaced with a metal ball and the shoulder blade socket is replaced with a plastic socket. The reverse repair also uses a ball-and-socket joint, but the ball is attached to the shoulder blade, and the socket is grafted to the top of the arm bone, reversing and reconstructing normal anatomy.

The reverse procedure was specifically designed for patients such as Smith who have had traditional shoulder surgery complicated by shoulder arthritis and a torn rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint. In these patients, the traditional artificial shoulder socket may loosen, causing excruciating pain.

Smith came to Deer Valley on March 18 where Dr. Wall had to break the artificial ball from the top of his arm to rebuild his joint.

"This is the first broken bone I've had in my whole life," Smith said, "and after two months, it's still a bit sore. But it's nothing compared to the pain I had been living with, and the difference is that I know this pain is going away. I really thank Dr. Wall for his work."

Healing is extra important now, because Smith's wife and daughter are nurses at Flagstaff Medical Center, which means his job is at home caring for his grandchildren, 4-year-old Jaylee Rose and baby Zach. "I've always been good with kids, cousins, nephews or others," he said, "so this is good. But I have to heal. Babies get heavy!"

The "Carpenters of Medicine"

Being able to solve Smith's problem is the kind of thing that initially appealed to Dr. Wall during his medical training. "I was attracted to orthopedics and specifically to shoulder work during my residency because it is so concrete, something that can be fixed. I like a problem I can solve," Dr. Wall observed.

Dr. Wall worked his way through college as a carpenter. "There are a lot of similarities to what I do now," he mused. "You could say that orthopedic surgeons are the carpenters of medicine."

Peoria in talks to create biotech incubator with TGen.

Peoria in talks to create biotech incubator with TGen
by Sonu Munshi - Jun. 21, 2010 09:22 AM
The Arizona Republic

Peoria may have found the catalyst to diversify its economy. City economic developers are in talks to create a biotech incubator with downtown Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute, referred to as TGen, and the Core Institute, which specializes in orthopedics.

Councilwoman Cathy Carlat described the news as "the thing we've been waiting for all along."
"This is like bombshell kind of good news for us," she said.

City officials were reaching out to "just about anybody that has a pulse" to find a strategic alliance for biotech and bioscience because these are "industries of the future," Economic Development Director Scott Whyte said.

On July 6, the City Council is expected to consider a letter of support for a proposed partnership with TGen to help get a federal grant. The federal money would "bring considerable resources to make this possibility a reality," Whyte told the City Council this week.

TGen aims to use "academic research toward life sciences for commercial application," Whyte said.

The Phoenix institute is partnering with Glendale-based Thunderbird School of Global Management and other organizations to create an International Bioscience Commercialization Consortium in the areas of genomics, bioscience and life sciences, Whyte said.

He said he hopes to see the incubator set up in Peoria, with or without the federal grant. City officials have been working with the Core Institute to bring a biotech startup program. Whyte sees this as a chance for both groups to use the same facility, saying it would give the city a "tremendous foundation from which to build on."

Incubators generally help fledgling businesses get research and office space as they work to transform new technologies and ideas into commercial ventures. No Peoria site has been identified for the facility, Whyte said. He said TGen is "very interested" in the city's efforts to recruit a university. The city hired a consultant to help land a residential campus university or college.

Steven Stralser, clinical professor of entrepreneurship at the Thunderbird school, said the consortium is in a "talking stage right now," so he was unable to give any details "until it's fleshed out."

He confirmed there is discussion about working with Peoria.

"TGen may be talking to Peoria to house this relationship," Stralser said.

A TGen spokesman said he didn't have anyone who could comment on the matter. The Core Institute did not respond to requests for comment.

Whyte later told the Republic the city would "partner" with TGen, although he said they haven't fully figured out the nature of that partnership.

Mayor Bob Barrett said if the letter of support is about whether the city is willing to begin talks, he anticipated no problems. Any other commitments would depend on what Peoria can legally and financially do, he said.

"There's no point in opening negotiations if whatever is generally proposed does not comply with the CityNorth case," Barrett said.

The reference is to Phoenix's controversial $97.4 million subsidy to the CityNorth project in north Phoenix, which the state Supreme Court in January ruled to be an unconstitutional subsidy. The court ruled that government funds or credit to companies must provide a direct benefit of equivalent value to taxpayers.

William Fredrick, president of Wadley-Donovan Growthtech LLC, who is working on a big-picture economic-development study for Peoria, described the potential partnership as a "fantastic" opportunity.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/community/peoria/articles/2010/06/21/20100621peoria-biotech-incubator-tgen.html#ixzz0sGDsd4nn

Labor Department releases its predictions for the top jobs in 2018.

PHOENIX - The Labor Department has released its prediction for what jobs will be in top demand in 2018.

A bulk of them are in the computer field and healthcare industry.

By studying which fields will have fast growth, recent graduates or workers seeking a job change can learn which skills they can be developing now to land a great job later.

According to the recently released statistics , biomedical engineering leads the pack as the occupation with the fastest growth.

According to the handbook, the U.S. economy is continuing its shift away from making durable goods toward industries that produce a service.

So-called service-providing industries such as healthcare, social assistance, educational services and food services, "are anticipated to generate approximately 14.5 million new wage and salary jobs."

Employment in the utilities sector is expected to decline 11 percent through 2018 due to improvements in technology which increases worker productivity.

By contrast, "employment in the water, sewage, and other systems industry is anticipated to increase 13 percent by 2018."

Healthcare workers are projected to be in demand as the "Baby Boomer" generation continues to age.

Also, increased healthcare costs means more staff members like physician assistants are being utilized to tackle responsibilities that used to be handled by a doctor.

Home aids are also on the rise, something reflected throughout the recession in the local Arizona economy.

The economy will continue to need people who know how to network computers and fix them as more companies, even smaller ones, find they need to incorporate changing technology to stay in business.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook also claims that the, "U.S. workforce is expected to become more diverse by 2018. Among racial groups, Whites are expected to make up a decreasing share of the labor force, while Blacks, Asians, and all other groups will increase their share. Among ethnic groups, persons of Hispanic origin are projected to increase their share of the labor force from 14.3 percent to 17.6 percent, reflecting 33.1 percent growth."

Women will also get a boost in the labor force, and "will grow at a slightly faster rate than the number of men. The male labor force is projected to grow by 7.5 percent from 2008 to 2018, compared with 9.0 percent for the female labor force."

Also seeing a boost? Workers aged 55 years and older, who "are anticipated to leap from 18.1 percent to 23.9 percent of the labor force during the same period."

So what did the handbook have to say about scientific fields and healthcare?

Professional and related occupations, which includes a wide variety of skilled professions, is expected to be the fastest growing major occupational group, at 17 percent, and is projected to add the most new jobs -- about 5.2 million.

Computer and mathematical science occupations are projected to add almost 785,700 new jobs from 2008 to 2018. As a group, these occupations are expected to grow more than twice as fast as the average for all occupations in the economy.

Employment in professional, scientific, and technical services is projected to grow by 34 percent, adding about 2.7 million new jobs by 2018. Employment in computer systems design and related services is expected to increase by 45 percent, accounting for nearly one-fourth of all new jobs in this industry sector.

Employment in management, scientific, and technical consulting services is anticipated to expand at a staggering 83 percent, making up about 31 percent of job growth in this sector. Demand for these services will be spurred by businesses' continued need for advice on planning and logistics, as well as the implementation of new technologies.

About 26 percent of all new jobs created in the U.S. economy will be in the healthcare and social assistance industry. Employment growth will be driven by an aging population and longer life expectancies.

Employment among healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, a subgroup of the professional and related category, is expected to increase by 21 percent. This growth, resulting in a projected 1.6 million new jobs, will be driven by increasing demand for healthcare services.

Employment in community and social services occupations is projected to increase by 16 percent, growing by roughly 448,400 jobs. As health insurance providers increasingly cover mental and behavioral health treatment, and as a growing number of elderly individuals seek social services, demand for these workers will increase.

Occupations with the fastest growth?

Of the 20 fastest growing occupations, half are related to healthcare. Healthcare is experiencing rapid growth, due in large part to the aging of the baby-boom generation, which will require more medical care. In addition, some healthcare occupations will be in greater demand for other reasons.

As healthcare costs continue to rise, work is increasingly being delegated to lower paid workers in order to cut costs. For example, tasks that were previously performed by doctors, nurses, dentists, or other healthcare professionals increasingly are being performed by physician assistants, medical assistants, dental hygienists, and physical therapist aides.