Raleigh-Durham Roundup: LabCorp, UNC, HQ Greensboro, & More

Xconomy Raleigh-Durham — 

Here are the week’s headlines in North Carolina tech and biotech news:

—Diagnostics and laboratory testing company LabCorp (NYSE: LH) is expanding its DNA testing capabilities by acquiring Bode Technology. Burlington, NC-based LabCorp disclosed no financial terms for its purchase of Bode Technology from SolutionPoint International.

Bode Technology specializes in forensic DNA analysis, proprietary DNA collection products, and relationship testing. LabCorp is integrating Bode Technology into its specialty testing group, a division that includes the former Orchid Cellmark, an identity testing company LabCorp acquired in 2011. LabCorp says Bode Technology strengthens the company’s forensics and DNA identification testing services. The combined Cellmark Forensics and Bode Technology will provide DNA testing services to government bodies, law enforcement, crime laboratories, and disaster management organizations, among other users.

Bode Technology is LabCorp’s second acquisition announcement in the last month. In early November, LabCorp said it is acquiring contract research organization Covance (NYSE: CVD) for $6.1 billion.

—The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy, which has generated more than 130 patents and created 15 spinoff companies in the past decade, now has tens of millions of new dollars to spur more innovation. Fred Eshelman, the founder and former CEO of contract research organization PPD, committed $100 million to the university from which he graduated in 1972, and to the pharmacy school that bears his name.

UNC says Eshelman’s gift is the largest in the university’s history and the largest ever made to any U.S. pharmacy school. The gift will be used to create a center within the pharmacy school, to be called the Eshelman Institute for Innovation. UNC says the institute will support collaborative relationships across the university, including partnerships with the schools of medicine, public health, and college of arts and sciences.

—Startups in Greensboro, NC, will soon have a new launching pad. HQ Raleigh, the co-working space in downtown Raleigh, announced plans to open a similar space in Greensboro. HQ Greensboro is scheduled to open on May 1 in the city’s Railyard District. Organizers say the 10,000 square-foot flexible space will feature exposed brick and original wood from the former stable and carriage house structure. It will include more than 20 private offices, three to four meeting and conference rooms, two outside patios, and co-working space with desks and lounge space. HQ Raleigh will initially provide consultative support to HQ Greensboro. When the new space opens, members of HQ Raleigh and HQ Greensboro will benefit from the space of each location through a reciprocal arrangement.

—Agricultural microbials startup AgBiome announced a research partnership with Syngenta Biotechnology. Syngenta, which AgBiome recently disclosed is an investor in the Research Triangle Park, NC, company, will fund AgBiome’s multi-year discovery research program. AgBiome has a proprietary technology to identify microbials that could be used in agricultural applications. Under the terms of the research partnership, Syngenta will choose potential development candidates from the research program, based on the achievement of technical milestones. No financial terms of the partnership were disclosed.