European Biotech Company to Locate at UAlbany East Campus

Contact: Vincent Reda, 518-437-4985

The University at Albany announced today that a Switzerland based biotechnology company, SmartGene, will locate its drug discovery operations at the University at Albany's East Campus Biotech Incubator, located in Rensselaer County.

SmartGene, which also specializes in data-mining/bioinformatics, was attracted to the East Campus by the facilities available in the Center for Comparative Functional Genomics, according to Dr. Stefan Emler, CEO of SmartGene. The facilities will allow the company to isolate targets for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic agents.

UAlbany President Karen R. Hitchcock said, "the fact that this company was attracted to our East Campus from Europe shows how powerful our model of co-locating University research scientists and private enterprise in the same facilities can be. We are thrilled to welcome Smartgene to our Campus."

The East Campus presence of Taconic Biotechnology, Inc., and the potential for collaboration with Albany Medical Center served as an additional incentives for SmartGene to locate at UAlbany, according to Eugene Schuler, UAlbany director of technology development.

"Taconic Biotechnology offers services that are necessary for SmartGene's drug discovery effort," said Schuler, "and Albany Medical College is an important part of this equation as well, since any pharmaceutical products that are discovered can then be tested in clinical trials, which could be managed at the Medical Center."

Dr. Emler, stated "The combined presence of UAlbany scientists, Taconic Biotechnology, and Albany Medical College provided the incentive for SmartGene to locate on the East Campus. There, our company will pursue ventures in design and development of both new diagnostic tests and drugs for industrial customers through strategic partnerships."

SmartGene is a start-up company that initially will have two employees on the East Campus. "In 1997, Taconic Biotechnology was also a start-up on the East Campus with two employees," Schuler pointed out. "Today, it employs close to 100." He said that the 29-acre expansion of the East Campus announced last October will provide adequate space should SmartGene experience similar growth within the University's High Technology Business Incubation Program.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said: "SmartGene's drug discovery operation will be an excellent addition to the East Campus. There is a tremendous amount of economic opportunity in the fields of biotechnology and biomedical research that we are seeing right here in the Capital Region. I welcome SmartGene and wish them a future of growth and prosperity."

Bruno added that the Senate's Gen*NY*sis plan, which he unveiled last month, would provide additional state incentives to attract even more biotech companies like SmartGene to biotech centers throughout the state.

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February 2, 2001


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