Friday, May 23, 2008

NewsWatch

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U. Md. business schoolnames new leader

The Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park, will have a new dean on July 1.

G. ‘‘Anand” Anandalingam, now senior associate dean and Ralph J. Tyser Professor of Management Science at the business school, will succeed Howard Frank.

Anandalingam’s ‘‘expertise in the vital area of electronic markets, his experience forming global partnerships, and his teaching excellence will help lead the Smith School to further success in producing graduates who contribute to the state and the nation and who are globally competitive,” Nariman Farvardin, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, said in a statement.

‘‘I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in the Smith School’s rise for the past seven years and I am excited to continue the progress,” said Anandalingam, who joined the school in 2001.

BAE Systems wins spot on $452M contract team

Defense, aerospace and systems contractor BAE Systems of Rockville has been awarded a contract as one of four prime contractors for work on an explosive-device contract with the Department of Defense with a maximum value of about $452 million.

BAE Systems is to provide in-depth and integrated analysis services, subject matter expertise and programmatic support, according to company information. BAE Systems will also provide planning support, training support and operations research.

Argan subsidiary signs $340 million contract

Gemma Power Systems, a subsidiary of Argan of Rockville, signed a $340 million contract with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to design and build a natural gas-fired power plant in Colusa County, Calif.

‘‘Gemma has unique expertise building this size ... power plant, having completed multiple facilities of this type to date,” said Rainer Bosselmann, Argan chairman and CEO, said in a statement. ‘‘Gemma’s project management and construction capabilities and decades of industry experience position us well for the successful, on-time completion of this new power plant.”

AAI lands Air Force deal worth up to $67.5M

Aerospace design and systems company AAI Corp. of Hunt Valley has won an Air Force contract to produce the Joint Service Electronic Combat Systems Tester at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. The award includes an initial order for 25 systems valued at $7.1 million, with four option years and a potential of $67.5 million.

The system is designed to quickly and accurately test electronic warfare and avionics systems for mission-readiness, according to AAI information. The system has been selected for use with several types of aircraft, has been utilized by every branch of the U.S. military and was designated as the standard flight-line electronic warfare test system of the Defense Department, the company said.

Innovative Biosensorsraises $11.5 million

Rockville’s Innovative Biosensors, which develops tests to identify harmful pathogens, has arranged for $11.5 million in financing, which includes equity and debt.

The financing was led by Life Sciences Partners of Boston and involved $9.5 million in equity capital. The company also increased its existing debt facility to $2 million from Silicon Valley Bank of Santa Clara, Calif.

The new proceeds will be used to accelerate the commercialization of the company’s sensitive and rapid biosensor-based technology for detecting hospital and community acquired infections.

‘‘Completing this round of financing ... will ensure the rapid commercialization of our technology in the clinical diagnostic arena,” company president and CEO Joe Hernandez said in a statement.

GenVec gets $546Kfor eye research

Gaithersburg biopharmaceutical company GenVec has received a two-year, $546,000 grant from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health to explore mechanisms regulating pigment epithelium-derived factor, a key regulator of blood vessel growth in the eye.

‘‘We believe that research conducted under this grant may lead to the discovery and testing of improved strategies to treat neovascular diseases of the eye,” Rick King, GenVec senior vice president of research, said in a statement.

Erickson, hospitalsjoin in tech venture

A nonprofit joint venture of Erickson Retirement Communities of Catonsville, Johns Hopkins Medicine, MedStar Health and the University of Maryland Medical System has been awarded $250,000 from the Maryland Health Care Commission to plan for the creation of a statewide health information exchange.

The joint venture, Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients, will develop recommendations on a broad range of policies, principles and designs for the secure exchange of patient information across multiple provider settings, according to information from Erickson.

‘‘Our team is thrilled to work with the Maryland Health Care Commission and all health care stakeholders throughout Maryland to put innovative technology to work for improving our patients’ care,” John C. Erickson, chairman and CEO, said in a statement. The system ‘‘is another stride towards establishing Maryland as a leader in American health care—I applaud the leadership at our hospital partners and in State government for their vision.”

Benefits of the health information exchange are to include improved turnaround times for retrieval of current patient data, reduction in redundant and unnecessary paperwork, and minimization of adverse drug interactions and allergies.

National Golden Tissue picks Hagerstown

After considering several sites, and with funding help from city and state sources, National Golden Tissue has chosen Hagerstown as its first location for operations.

The company, which has invested $1.5 million and plans to invest up to $8 million in the startup operation, will employ about 100 people by the end of the year, according to company information.

The company is producing and selling paper products including hand towels, bathroom tissue and industrial wipes to consumers, restaurants, hotels and offices. It expects to progress toward full production over the next four years and eventually have 400 to 500 employees.

CEO Sam Shahrooz said in a statement that the company considered sites in Frederick, Baltimore, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, but chose Hagerstown ‘‘because of the available building, stable workforce and the friendliness of the people.”

Bankrupt bed store chain sold to rival for $600K

JoAnne’s Bed & Back Stores of Beltsville, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, is being sold to a rival, the Healthy Back Store of Lorton, Va., for $600,000.

The sale includes inventory — worth $1 million, according to a court filing — plus the assumption of eight store leases, including locations in Annapolis, Columbia, Gaithersburg and Rockville.

Healthy Back Store also agreed to offer employment to some JoAnne employees.