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Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland to build research and science center in East Baltimore

The state's two major research institutions, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, College Park , are partnering to build a research and science center in East Baltimore opening September 2014. The state is spending $27 million and Hopkins is contributing $3 million toward the $30 million public/private venture whose goal is to make Maryland’s universities and private industry more competitive in the sciences.

The High Performance Research Computing Facility will consist of multiple buildings on land leased from Hopkins on its 350-acre Bayview Medical campus, at 4940 Eastern Ave. Expected to break ground in November, the center will be set off from other buildings and have its own separate entrance. The universities will finish site design this month and then bid the project to vendors. 
While the facility is unique in Maryland, other states, notably Massachusetts and New York, have launched similar data centers. Hopkins' vice provost of research Scott Zeger says the facility will allow the two universities to compete in scientific fields. Last year, faculty and administrators at Johns Hopkins and UMCP formed a scientific governing group to oversee the facility. 
“We are building a world-class facility,” he says, that will spur public/private partnerships in scientific research and hopefully create spinoff companies. 

The High Performance Research Computing Facility will be used for fields whose solutions require “extreme computation,” says Zeger. These include big data, cybersecurity, language processing, genomics and molecular chemistry.
The center will consist of a small administrative building for the four to five people who will operate the facility and smaller buildings to hold the computing and storage equipment. The center will initially consist of one building to hold equipment but there is room on the site for up to five such structures. 
Zeger says the construction of subsequent buildings depends on state funding, federal grants and partnerships with other universities in the region and private industry. The facility's operating cost is put at $3 million to $5 million per year, and Zeger expects partnerships and other funding to defray the cost.
According to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, money for the project has been designated in the capital budgets for FY 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Source: Scott Zeger, Johns Hopkins University
Writer: Barbara Pash


Stevenson University begins $9M renovation of former pharma building for science courses

Workers are moving the final pieces of pharmaceutical equipment out of the former Shire Pharmaceuticals manufacturing building in Owings Mills, as Stevenson University gets set to transform the space into science classrooms, offices and labs.

The final cost to renovate this 160,000-square-foot space remains up in the air, but Stevenson Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Tim Campbell estimates it could be around $9 million. The revamped space will open in late 2014 or early 2015 as the new home for Stevenson’s School of the Sciences.

Stevenson purchased Shire’s 28-acre property off Crondall Lane in 2011 to accommodate its growing student body. The $10.5 million dollar purchase price netted the school two buildings – Shire’s former manufacturing plant and Shire’s former administration building —  and a 400 space parking lot adjacent to the school’s Owings Mills campus.

The $1 million renovation of the 18,000-square-foot administration building is nearly complete. It will reopen in September as the new home for Stevenson’s School of Design with three large design studios, classrooms, a sound stage, a broadcast studio, a digital imaging lab, faculty offices and a conference room. More than 200 students are expected to use the building daily.

Stevenson’s own design students and faculty had a lot of input into School of Design’s sleek, new look.

“We worked closely with them and came up with a design we feel is extremely attractive, it’s just a great building,” Campbell says.

Design students and staff also helped with the blueprints for the renovation of the former manufacturing building. Though it will be used primarily as a science facility, it also hold some overflow design classes.

The School of the Sciences and School of Design are both currently on Stevenson’s original campus in Stevenson. The Owings Mills campus, which features residence halls and a stadium, opened in 2004. Shuttle service links the two campuses, which are 6.5 miles apart.

Stevenson is known for its career-focused education, offering over two dozen degree programs ranging from criminal justice, to nursing. It has 4,212 students, about half of whom live on campus. 
Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Tim Campbell, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Stevenson University 

Maryland VA Hospitals Plan Major Expansion

Seeking to address an increased demand for health care services, the Veterans Affairs (VA) Maryland Health Care System plans to spend $41 million on construction and renovation projects at several facilities in the Baltimore area this summer.
The project includes a renovation to the atrium of the system’s downtown location and construction of a linear accelerator for cancer treatment. Linear accelerators generate high-energy electrons and X-rays. A new rehabilitation and robotics center and an extensive addition to an existing building are planned at the system’s location off Loch Raven Road in Baltimore. 
The upgrades are part of a statewide renovation project for the health care system that includes three inpatient facilities and six outpatient clinics throughout the state.
The system offers medical, surgical, rehabilitative, mental health, and outpatient care to more than 52,000 veterans annually in Maryland.
The construction projects will also add new clinical programs to benefit Veteran patients and increase clinical and administrative space, says chief of public and community relations at the VA Maryland Healthcare System, R. David Edwards. 
At the Baltimore VA Medical Center at 10 N. Greene St., construction and renovations are planned to improve patient access and expand clinical programs. The new space will be used by 400 patients each week, officials say. 

 Construction is ongoing on the linear accelerator suite that will be central to the center's new radiation oncology program. Officials expect construction to be completed by next summer.
Additional administrative and clinical space at the center will be created through a 20,000 square-foot addition to the center's front atrium and a 20,000 square-foot renovation to existing space. A robotics space and a modern media center will be added and is projected to be completed by early fall.
Construction is underway at the Loch Raven VA Outpatient Clinic in north Baltimore which is the site for a new,15,000-square-foot rehabilitation research center. Designed to better serve Maryland veterans who are stroke survivors or in need of physical rehabilitation, the $8.1 million center will include specialized equipment and gym spaces.
At the Loch Raven VA Community Living and Rehabilitation Center, a 23,000 square-foot addition to the facility currently underway will add multi-purpose rooms and expand hospice and therapy areas.
A rise in military enrollments following the 9/11 attacks and conflicts in the Middle East has precipitated a rise in demand for post-service health care services. The VA is also responding to the increasing numbers of women veterans now coming into the system, officials say. 
A recent report from the Associated Press says 45 percent of American's newest veterans, those from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, file for disability benefits for injuries they say are service-related.
Source: R. David Edwards, chief of Public and Community Relations at the VA Maryland Health Care System, Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System. 

Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Advanced Radiology, American, Merge in $40M Deal

The parent company of Advanced Radiology has acquired its major competitor for $40 million, creating one of the largest imaging service providers in the region.
RadNet Inc has acquired the majority of US imaging centers operated by CML Healthcare, including CML's subsidiaries American Radiology and the Imaging Institute.
“Our hope is that it is good news for the Baltimore market in that RadNet can bring its operating expertise to the area with these centers and improve what they're doing for the future.” says RadNet Executive Vice President Steve Forthuber.
RadNet operates 233 radiology centers in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and California. The acquisition of American Radiology adds 2,000 employees and 61 radiology and imaging centers to RadNet's portfolio in the area.
"We're hard at work understanding all aspects of the (American) operation in Maryland so that we can make sure that we're providing high quality services, ” Forthuber says. “We plan on operating all of the centers with the objective of enhancing operations.”
RadNet says it intends to keep all of its Baltimore area centers open and maintain the same radiologists and staffers at all of the newly acquired American Radiology centers. The company may cut corporate positions where there is overlap.
Source: Steve Forthuber, RadNet
Writer: Amy McNeal

Sinai's Inpatient Pediatric Unit to be Completed in a Year

Sinai Hospital's multimillion-dollar inpatient pediatric unit, which began in July, is expected to be finished in April 2012.

The expansion will give patients bigger rooms, more privacy and enhance patient safety that will hopefully reduce hospital readmissions, says

Dr. Joseph Wiley, chairman of the pediatrics department at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai.

The new inpatient center is part of a $30 million pediatric expansion that included a $2.3 million outpatient center. It will also include a children's diagnostic center, to begin construction once the inpatient facility is completed next year.

The new inpatient center will contain 26 rooms, up from 16 rooms. Rooms will be about 50 percent larger, at 350 square feet, and contain pull out beds and tables where families can eat. Each room will be private, allowing caregivers to consult with patients' families in the privacy of their rooms, Dr. Wiley says.

"We're adding a lot of features will enhance the overall experience for families," Wiley says.

Each room will contain a pharmacy lockbox where medicine will be delivered personally, reducing the risk of medication errors.

Sinai is part of LifeBridge Health, which includes Northwest Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital and Courtland Gardens Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. The Baltimore Hospital employs 4700.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Dr. Joseph Wiley, Sinai

Two Research Centers Renew Lease at UMBC Tech Park

Two technology research divisions of the University of Maryland Baltimore County have renewed their lease at the school's Catonsville campus.

The Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center (GEST) and the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET) signed a five-year lease with Merritt Properties for a 5,000-square-foot space at UMBC's research and technology park.

The two centers employ 20 people who work at [email protected] Research and Technology Park and 200 overall, says Raymond Hoff, director of both centers.  

The centers run satellite missions in conjunction with NASA that observe everything from hurricanes to the melting of the ice cap in Antarctica to the amount of air pollution in space.

Center officials like the modern building at 5523 Research Park Dr., with its free parking and easy access to Interstate 95, Hoff says. It also contains plenty of meeting space, which is tough to find at the main campus during the school year as students and faculty members jockey for space.

Located at the edge of campus, the research park is still close enough to the school's faculty and students, says Hoff, who is also a UMBC physics professor.

The 71-acre [email protected] Research and Technology serves as an incubator for startup firms and a research center. Tenants include the Erickson School of Aging Studies, RWD Technologies, and Encore Path.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Raymond Hoff, GEST and JCET

University of Maryland to Build $200M Cancer Treatment Center on Baltimore's West Side

The University of Maryland School of Medicine is building a $200 million proton therapy cancer treatment center, the first of its kind in the area to offer a certain type of radiation treatment.

The 100,000-square foot building will be built at the University of Maryland BioPark on the city's west side. The cancer center will break ground in August and faculty members could begin providing treatments as early as 2014. The center will serve 2,000 patients annually.

The medical school's radiation oncology practice plan has signed a letter of intent with Advanced Particle Therapy LLC of Minden, Nev., to create the Maryland Proton Treatment Center LLC. The center will design, own, and operate the center while the University of Maryland faculty will provide clinical management and therapeutic services.

The center will create 435 jobs, including 325 construction jobs and 110 jobs in the life sciences industry. Those jobs include radiation
oncologists, medical physicists, radiation technologists, other medical support personnel, and administrative staff.

Proton therapy uses a proton beam to deliver radiation more precisely to the tumor site than with standard X-ray radiation, resulting in less overall radiation exposure. The treatment is used for many common cancers as well as for some rarer instances of the disease.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: University of Maryland, Baltimore

Martek expanding headquarters, renovating lab space

Columbia life sciences company Martek Corp. is expanding its headquarters and renovating its laboratory space as it continues to grow.

The company is taking an additional 22,000 square feet at 6480 Dobbin Rd., where it employs 220 of its 585 employees worldwide. That will give it a total of 88,000 square feet at the Columbia Business Center. The company did not disclose financial terms of the lease.

Martek makes nutritional oils derived from algae that are used in baby formula, dietary supplements and food products, such as yogurt, olive oil and juice.
The company recently acquired Connecticut health and wellness company Amerifit Brands Inc. But Martek spokeswoman Cassandra France-Kelly says the new office space will accommodate recent hires. The company has hired nearly 60 employees in the past 12 months with plans to add five more in the areas of research and technology.

It is also renovating its 23,000-square-foot lab at its headquarters to support new biofuel programs. Last year, Martek struck an agreement with BP PLC to produce biodiesels made from sugar. The renovation will allow it to identify new products for the pharmaceutical and food industry.

France-Kelly says the company stayed in its space because Columbia is a convenient location. Sandwiched in between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., Columbia can attract employees from both locations, she says. Known for its public schools, Columbia is a good community to sell to prospective employees, she says. The spot is also accessible to the airport and train station.

"The community has been our home for a long time," France-Kelly says. "We've continued to enjoy being here."

Source: Cassandra France-Kelly, Martek
Writer: Julekha Dash

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