Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007

Forum eyes South Asian community

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Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett hosted a business empowerment forum with business and civic leaders from the county’s South Asian community Thursday in Rockville.

The forum gave 80-plus attendees an opportunity to network and voice their concerns and ideas with Leggett, economic development Director Pradeep Ganguly and other officials.

Montgomery County is home to more Asian-owned businesses in Maryland than any other county, with more than 10,800 firms, or nearly 42 percent of all such companies in the state. Indian-owned businesses account for nearly one-fourth of Asian-owned businesses in Maryland, which ranks ninth in the nation for number of Indian-owned businesses, with more than 6,000 firms generating more than $2.7 billion in sales and receipts, according to county information.

‘‘The Asian-American business community is thriving in Montgomery County,” said Ganguly in a statement, ‘‘and our department stands ready and committed to assist them as they continue to grow and prosper in Montgomery County.”

Gene Logic to work with Merck drug candidates

Biotechnology company Gene Logic Inc. of Gaithersburg has entered into a drug repositioning and development agreement with Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA of Germany. The agreement allows Gene Logic to seek alternative development courses for Merck Serono drug candidates that are not being used further in clinical trials or have been downgraded in priority.

The agreement provides for payment to Gene Logic of success-based milestones and royalties similar to those paid for development-stage in-licensing deals, with discounts to allow for Merck Serono’s contribution as the originator of the compounds. The agreement also provides Gene Logic the option to receive an exclusive license to any drug candidate for which Gene Logic identifies a new potential therapeutic use that Merck Serono chooses not to develop.

Employment authorization extended for Salvadorans

The Department of Homeland Security and the Citizenship and Immigration Services have extended the Temporary Protected Status designation for El Salvador until March 9, 2009.

There are about 234,000 nationals of El Salvador, or immigrants having no nationality who last habitually lived in El Salvador, who may be eligible to re-register their employment authorization documents.

Information: 800-375-5283. Forms: 800-870-3676 or