State Legislators Showcase Hershey Center for Applied Research - South Central PA emerges as biotechnology leader

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South Central PA emerges as biotechnology leader

HERSHEY, PA – May 15, 2008 – The new Hershey Center for Applied Research (HCAR) was showcased today by a group of Pennsylvania state legislators and pre-eminent bio-tech leaders. The facility is south central Pennsylvania's only research park offering state-of-the-art wet and dry lab facilities, office space, amenities and support services.

The informational meeting and tour was conceived by Rep. John Payne (R-Hershey) as a means for his House colleagues, who are members of the Life Sciences and Biotechnology Caucus, to become familiar with the potential that exists for growth among leading innovators in the life sciences.

"Just one year ago, the first HCAR building opened its doors, thus opening up the opportunity for the central Pennsylvania region to foster unprecedented business and innovation in the life sciences and high technology sectors," Payne said. "Incredible potential exists here, and we want to spread the word across the state. That's why we gathered legislators who have research parks in their areas, as well as bio-tech industry trade representatives together under one roof. I believe an excellent exchange of ideas took place today."

Rep. Scott Petri (R-Bucks), a co-chairman of the House Life Sciences Caucus, noted that the strong partnership that has developed around HCAR should enhance the organization's ability to attract innovation-based organizations from around the state, nation and the world.

HCAR partners include Hershey Trust Company, Wexford Science + Technology, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine, Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC) and Life Sciences Greenhouses of Central PA.

"With a foundation of support as strong as HCAR's, potential clients should embrace the opportunity to become part of a world-class operation," Petri said. "There is a powerhouse behind this operation that is second to none."

"Investments in biotechnology are investments in saving lives, promoting medical innovation, and helping forward-thinking entrepreneurs create high-tech, high-wage jobs in our fastest-growing industry," Life Science Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Todd Eachus (D-Luzerne) said. "HCAR is the perfect place to grow our biotech base beyond the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions and ensure Pennsylvania continues to grow as a national and world research leader."

Representatives of the life sciences and bio-technology fields touted the importance of the relationships between industry and academia and the roles each play in bringing new therapies to the market.

"There is no more exciting and promising industry in the Commonwealth than the biosciences," said PA Bio President Dennis M. "Mickey" Flynn. "Our community has continued to grow, to diversify and to contribute new scientific breakthroughs that have had a significant impact on human health globally. From world-class research universities and emerging biotechnology, medical device and diagnostic companies to mature companies and global pharmaceutical firms, Pennsylvania is home to the continuum of biosciences."

With a campus large enough to house a total of 12 research buildings, HCAR's current tenants include Penn State's College of Medicine's Department of Pharmacology and Office of Technology Development and Apogee Biotechnology Corporation. Apogee is developing chemical compounds that will inhibit the activities of sphingosine kinase, an enzyme known to drive cell proliferation and inflammation.

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