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Biotech Network Designed to Expand Region’s Scientific Work Force

The Life Sciences Summer Institute wants to attract what it considers a “world-class scientific work force” for San Diego.

Developed in 2005 by the San Diego Workforce Partnership and Biocom, the local life science industry association representing more than 550 member companies in Southern California, LSSI connects upper-level high school students, university and community college students, and high school teachers with companies within San Diego’s life sciences industries.

Biocom also sponsors a Web site ,www.BiocomWorkforce.org , designed as a one-stop-shop for biotech education and job information for the region, and for promoting biotech training opportunities such as the LSSI program.

In addition, at the BIO International Conference held May 6 in Boston, the program was also set to launch its Biotech Work Portal, which provides access to a variety of national labor market research reports, and education and training resources.

The information will be available nationwide, including at 15 regional biotech centers, according to Ashley Wildrick, LSSI program manager for the local workforce partnership.

LSSI and the Web site are funded through the partnership by a $2.5 million grant awarded under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.

Other LSSI supporters are Invitrogen Corp.’s California headquarters in Carlsbad, which gives the program lab supplies , many for free , and accepts student interns and hosts teacher externships; the Southern California Biotechnology Center at Miramar College, which provides a “biotech boot camp”; and the Thousand Oaks-based Amgen Foundation, which supplies what is called the Bruce Wallace Biotechnology Lab Curriculum.

According to Wildrick, Amgen also has awarded the program $148,000 in additional funding available through 2008.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Biogen Idec’s San Diego research center donates the use of its Community Laboratory and equipment, and hosts teacher externs and student interns.

Other participating companies and organizations are San Diego-based Accumetrics, Alexion Antibody Technologies Inc., Anadys Pharmaceuticals Inc., Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc., Assure Bioassay Controls of Carlsbad, Bioserv Corp., Burnham Institute for Medical Research, Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc., Conservation and Research for Endangered Species (CRES), Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical Co., eStudySite, San Francisco-based Genentech Inc., Genomatica Inc., Genoptix Inc. of Carlsbad, Gen-Probe Inc., Invitrogen, Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Carlsbad, Karl Strauss Brewing Co., Metabasis Therapeutics Inc., MO BIO Laboratories Inc. of Carlsbad, Nanogen Inc., New York City-based Pfizer Inc., Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego State University Labs, SGX Pharmaceuticals Inc., SCBC Miramar, Sunrise Science Products, and the Scripps Research Institute.

, Pat Broderick

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