Thursday, May 21 2015
Seaports are the backbone of a thriving 21st century global economy. Yet, a nation’s freight transportation system is only as good as its underlying infrastructure. In the American Association of Port Authorities’ (AAPA) 2015 Surface Transportation Infrastructure Survey - The State of Freight, results indicate that the nation’s unsurpassed goods movement network needs immediate and significant investment in the arteries that carry freight to and from its seaports. Without that investment, the American economy, the jobs it produces and the international competitiveness it offers will erode and suffer, creating predictable and oftentimes severe hardships to the individuals who live and businesses that operate within its borders.
In 2013 alone, some 1.3 billion metric tons of imported and exported cargo, worth nearly $1.75 trillion, moved through America’s seaports, while an estimated 900 million metric tons of domestic cargo with a market value of over $400 billion was also handled through these international gateways.
Thursday, May 21 2015
Growing markets, shifting manufacturing centers and major infrastructure projects keep global trade lanes in flux
Nine years ago, American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) hosted a workshop in partnership with the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) designed to give attendees a look at “Shifting International Trade Routes,” especially those anticipated to occur because of the newly-begun expansion of the Panama Canal. The program proved extremely popular, and AAPA has repeated the program in Tampa, Fla., each January since then. It has become a staple in AAPA’s training offerings each year, though the agenda has grown to look more broadly at what’s happening in global trade patterns and market shifts.
Even with the 2015 program, which was held January 29-30, the subject matter remains evergreen – what is happening with the global market? What’s changed since last year? How are trade lanes shifting throughout the world? And – perhaps most importantly – what does this information mean for public ports?
While mainstream media has focused a great deal on the Panama Canal expansion – and certainly the expansion is a newsworthy item and will likely significantly affect global trade – there are many other factors currently driving worldwide trade trends. One critical factor is the location of manufacturing centers within Asia.
Thursday, May 21 2015
By Yannis Gatsiounis, associate project manager of Angelou Economics
Four years ago, the announcement that Austin would get a Formula One (F1) track was met with much fanfare. It would further put Austin on the map and boost the local economy. Three years after opening, however, the track’s economic benefits are still being debated.
The track, known as Circuit of the Americas (COTA), was constructed at a cost of $300-450 million. The value has since dropped to $271 million, say government officials, and the track started paying $22 million a year for 10 years to Bernie Ecclestone, chief executive of the Formula One Group, which manages Formula One and controls the commercial rights to the sport, according to the Austin American Statesman. The Statesman notes that COTA covers that and other costs – totaling $29 million – with state incentives.
Wednesday, May 20 2015
By JoAnn Crary, Chair, International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and President, Saginaw Future Inc.
The movement towards a green economy has been transforming the economic development profession and the businesses and communities they support. Energy related issues are usually among the top site-selection factors for any relocation project, and increasingly real estate developers and investors are drawn to places with a green infrastructure and culture for relocations and expansions. Results from a 2011 IEDC survey of state economic development leaders demonstrated that the relationship between renewable energy and economic development was robust and would continue to grow. And today, more communities across the U.S. are tapping into energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities.
However, despite the ostensible benefits of developing a renewable energy scheme – from enhancing the energy efficiency of manufacturing facilities and commercial buildings, to driving business competitiveness, to creating jobs, to improving grid reliability, and saving consumers money on energy bills - it does not come without challenges. Lack of investment capital and financing was cited as a top concern for economic development professionals for renewable energy policies in the above mentioned survey, and remains so today. With some cities, counties, and states now enacting mandatory reporting of energy consumption - notably in California and the City of Seattle - more expectations will be placed on builders nationwide.
Wednesday, May 20 2015
By Lisa A. Bastian
Much progress continues to be made worldwide in the biotech areas of food, feed, energy - and especially the life sciences - using pioneering research platforms. Advances in areas such as immuno-oncology, personalized medicine and infectious disease solutions easily grab the media's attention - and often the funding as well. According to Dow Jones VentureSource, biopharmaceutical venture capital investment alone rose 17 percent, from $4.52 billion in 2013 to $5.29 billion in 2014.
Every other day it seems a biotechnology company is publicizing a new planet-shifting concept or beyond-blockbuster drug destined to shake up medical science - or at least garner some investor attention. Sometimes the euphoria is justified; sadly, sometimes not.
Exciting World-Class Bio-Pharma Discoveries
Last year, a World Health Organization (WHO) report warned a "post-antibiotic era" is near due to the increasing ineffectiveness of antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents in every region of the planet. The culprit? The report cites overuse of antibiotics by practitioners and hospitals, and overuse in agriculture/livestock growth programs, has supported the growth and spread of drug-resistant bacteria. It's been found that drug-resistant infections already kill hundreds of thousands of people a year globally, and by 2050 that figure could top 10 million and cost the world economy $100 trillion. Moreover, in July 2014 a U.K.-government report stated 700,000 deaths worldwide are due to resistance to antimicrobials, the class of drugs that includes antibiotics, antivirals, antiparasitics and antifungals.
But medical miracles are here or on the horizon.
In January, the amazing discovery of Teixobactin was announced in Nature. NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals of Massachusetts owns the patent rights to this new "game-changer" class of antibiotic, yet to be tested on humans, which destroys a wide range of drug-resistant bacteria including MRSA, tuberculosis and countless other life-threatening infections. Then there's community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP), the number one cause of death from an infection. Each year five to 10 million Americans get CABP. To the rescue is Austria's Nabriva Therapeutics AG, which has attracted $120 million in funding commitments (led by U.S.-based investors Vivo Capital and OrbiMed), much of which will push its unique bacterial-pneumonia therapy toward regulatory approval. Later this year the firm expects to start Phase III clinical trials for CABP patients with Lefamulin, its drug in the new class of antibiotics called pleuromutilins. Another dog in the fight is Cempra of North Carolina, a pharma company developing new antibiotics to treat drug-resistant diseases, too. Its two lead product candidates in advanced clinical development include Solithromycin (for CABP), and Taksta (for refractory staphylococcal infections in bones and joints).
"Personalized medicine" is often defined as “the right treatment for the right person at the right time," but it's actually a layman's phrase used to describe pharmacogenomics, a science exploring the relationships between a person's genetics and targeted, individualized diagnostics/therapies resulting in better patient outcomes. In the past decade apprehensions about it have been fading, as more and more pharma companies implement some aspect of it in clinical trials of promising drugs.
Personalized medicine in particular is redefining the fight against cancer as many but not all cancer tumors can be battled with this treatment approach. New centers focused on personalized cancer care are popping up every year; most are at major cancer facilities. A renowned one is MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy, which employs T-200 (an “ultra-deep research platform”) to analyze a patient’s tumor against 200 different genetic aberrations. The Center also created a public website for doctors to search to find out if there is an approved drug or clinical trial in existence that can be used to target a patient's unique genetic mutations causing a health problem.
Finding the right cancer drug (from among up to 100 or so options) to kill an individual's tumor has always been tricky - until now. Earlier this year it was reported that chemical engineers at MIT's Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, have invented a rice-sized implantable device used to deliver small doses of up to 30 different drugs into a tumor. Researchers then monitor the tumor to find out which drugs are most effective at treating the cancer cells, and then select the one (or ones) that work best for that patient.
Immunotherapy is an innovative treatment using certain parts of a person's immune system to fight diseases, such as cancer, by targeting and destroying the rogue cells. New "checkpoint inhibitors" are drugs that prevents cancer from putting on an "invisibility cloak" that shields it from the body's immune system. For some people they seem to work well against multiple cancer types, including cancers of the kidneys, bladder, head and neck, and even the breast.
For example, Merck's new Keytruda (pembrolizumab) drug was approved by the FDA last September to treat metastatic melanoma. But it's also being studied for its impact on over 30 types of cancers, so more good news may be in the future. Dendreon's Provenge is the first and only FDA-approved immunotherapy for advanced prostate cancer. And in Iowa State University Research Park, NewLink Genetics has a promising pipeline of immunotherapies as well as pathway inhibitors (they work similar to immune checkpoint inhibitors) to help kill tumors associated with pancreatic, melanoma, prostate, renal and/or metastatic breast cancers, among others.
GEN'S Top 10 Biotech Clusters
Here's a summary of GEN comments about the winners:
Biotech Incentives of Note
After the forum, conference-goer Ellen Harpel, Ph.D., wrote a recent blog post on smart incentives needed to grow a successful "biotech ecosystem." (This founder of Smart Incentives is also president of Business Development Advisors, an economic development and market intelligence consulting firm.) Harpel cited a few incentives tips shared by conference participants:
"Our [company's] takeaway is that while incentives can’t create the essential elements of a successful biotech cluster," noted Harpel, "they do play an important role in facilitating company formation and expansion in the ecosystem."
Bio: Veteran business communicator Lisa A. Bastian is an award-winning journalist and editor who has authored well over 500 articles for national magazines focused on economic development, global trade and related industries. Since 1986 she has served clients nationwide with her editorial and copy writing skills (see BastianPR.com). Lisa lives in San Antonio, TX, with her family, and is a former president/board member of the local chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.
Wednesday, May 20 2015
By Jay Garner, CEcD, CCE, FM, HLM,
If there is such a thing as a recession-proof industry, the Food and Beverage (F&B) Industry is it. During good times and bad times, people eat and drink. Whether the economy is experiencing unprecedented growth or recession, folks continue to consume food and drink products. Some eat to live, while others live to eat. Some eat in, while others eat out. Today, the F&B Industry continues to expand and to evolve in order to meet the ever-changing demands of consumers.
In the United States 30,135 companies are defined as F&B process manufacturers (up by more than 1,500 companies since 2010). These businesses employ more than 1.4 million employees. However, a 47,000 decrease in employees since 2010 demonstrates how innovative manufacturing processes and automation can mean fewer jobs.