New York Scientists Take French Partner
Virogenetics, a newly opened vaccine research lab in Troy, N.Y., is an international marriage of scientific convenience - a partnership between a French vaccine manufacturer and a team of New York scientists from the state Health Department's Wadsworth Center for Laboratory and Research in Albany. Several years ago the New Yorkers, led by state research scientist Enzo Paoletti, developed a method, using recombinant DNA technology and the cowpox virus, that might eventually be used as a genetic carrier for immunizations against a number of diseases. With the technology in one hand and a U.S. patent in the other, the Health Department's nonprofit corporation, Health Research Inc., began courting vaccine manufacturers to bankroll R&D. Enter a most willing suitor, Institut Merieux, a worldwide leader in vaccine production with $400 million in sales last year.
The Lyon, France, company, which was founded in 1897 by a student of Louis Pasteur, invested $28.4 million into Virogenetics, getting an 80% share of the company. (Health Research Inc. owns the remaining 20%.) Institut Merieux has also sent two of its scientists to join Paoletti's 30-member team now setting up shop in Virogenetics' recently completed 22,000-square foot research lab in Troy. "The thing that's so exciting to us is . . . we now have the association that gives us the chance to market the technology," says Kent Van Kampen, chief executive officer of Virogenetics.
More Lab Space At Du Pont
Du Pont Co.'s decision to farm out development of its new antihypertensive drugs (The Scientist, Nov. 27, 1989, page 1), doesn't mean the Wilmington, Del., firm is cutting back its pharmaceutical R&D effort. It has recently begun construction of two new drug testing facilities, at its Chamber Works facility in Deepwater, N.J., and at its Stine-Haskell Research Center near Newark, Del. The Deepwater lab, according to Joseph Mollica, Du Pont's vice president for pharmaceuticals, will primarily be used for synthesizing the bulk compounds necessary for technology testing and clinical trials. At Stine-Haskell, the new construction will double the firm's capacity for toxicology testing - and enable the lab to comply with new animal welfare standards. It joins a recently completed lab at the Stine-Haskell Center to be used for drug metabolism and clinical pharmacology activities.