June 2016 Notes from the Georgia Research Alliance
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Georgia leads national effort to standardize manufacture of cells

As therapies based on human cells continue to evolve in modern medicine, a need to bring consistency to how such cells are mass-produced has emerged. Now, a national consortium led by GRA and Georgia Tech has completed a road map to create such standards and make the U.S. a world leader in cell therapy manufacturing. Announced this month at the White House, the 10-year national road map reflects the input of 60-plus representatives from industry, government and nonprofit organizations. GRA and Georgia Tech launched the National Cell Manufacturing Consortium last year. • Read more >Get the road map >

FDA approves Emory's imaging agent aimed at detecting recurrent prostate cancer

There’s a new way to diagnose a recurrence of prostate cancer in men after previous treatment — and it was developed by Emory University. The FDA has approved Axumin, an imaging agent used in PET (positron emission tomography) and based on the fluciclovine molecule originally developed by Emory’s Dr. Mark Goodman. Dr. Goodman and his colleagues worked for more than two decades to develop the technology, and their efforts received investment support from GRA. • More >

NIH awards $36M to Emory-led research effort

Emory made more news this month with the NIH announcement that the university will lead a five-year $35.6 million research initiative to develop new ways to prevent and cure HIV/AIDS. An Emory-led consortium of eight other research institutions will work to develop vaccines that protect from retroviral infection as well as refine ways to eliminate the virus in people infected with HIV. GRA Eminent Scholar Eric Hunter and Rama Amara will serve as co-principal investigators, and Eminent Scholars Rafi Ahmed, Max Cooper, and Guido Silvestri will participate as well. • Read about the award >

Article: Scientists push the boundaries of regenerative medicine at UGA center

Ten years after the University of Georgia created what is now the Regenerative Bioscience Center (RBC), diverse teams of scientists are exploring new avenues for the body to heal traumatic brain injury, broken bones and damage from stroke. The current issue of Georgia Magazine profiles the work of the center, which was established by GRA Eminent Scholar Steve Stice and now counts Georgia Tech and Emory among its university collaborators. The RBC attracted more than $7.5 million in research grants in 2014-15. • See what they’re working on >

Urjanet nets national award for data product

A signature offering from Urjanet garnered “Top Product of the Year” in a national program recognizing high-benefit energy and environmental products. Urjanet’s Utility Data Service, which collects and manages information about utility consumption and cost, took the high honor in the annual Product and Project Awards from Environmental Leader, which covers the utility industry. It’s the second time Urjanet, a GRA Venture Fund, LLC company, has captured the award. • More >

Molecule found to influence brain activity 

The presence of a molecule in certain brain cells appears to influence a chemical that enables learning and memory, Augusta University scientists have discovered. GRA Eminent Scholar Lin Mei and colleagues Lei Li and Xiang-Dong Sun found that the molecule, LRP4, plays a role in ensuring healthy levels of the brain chemical glutamate, which is passed between neurons to help one activate the next. Removing LRP4 triggers events that affect several brain functions in mice, the scientists learned. • Explore their findings >
Clearside enjoys successful IPO

Clearside Biomedical, a GRA Venture Fund company, went public this month with an Initial Public Offering valued at more than $50 million. Clearside (NASDAQ: CLSD) develops drug therapies to treat blinding diseases of the eye. • Visit the Clearside website >
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