Garden Journal

We are so biotech: To jump-start growth in a promising sector of the economy, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center has awarded a $100,000 grant to an Asheville-based consortium.

“Natural products from across North Carolina hold enormous potential for opening new avenues of treatments in human health and creating jobs throughout North Carolina,” says Annice Brown, an assistant director in the Asheville office of the N.C. Small Business and Technology Development Center. She’s also the planning coordinator for the Bent Creek Center of Innovation for Natural Biotechnology and Integrative Medicine (known as the Bent Creek Institute, headquartered at the N.C. Arboretum).

The BCI places “a scientific foundation under our celebrated regional heritage of medicinal herb therapies [and taps] into the growing international demand for natural products and nutraceuticals,” says Cheryl McMurry, the institute’s executive director.

“This added innovative focus on commercialization of the … institute’s research into products, medicines and services fires the perfect economic booster,” says George Briggs, executive director of the Arboretum.”

The consortium includes the BCI, the Arboretum, N.C. State University, UNC-Greensboro, A-B Tech, Mission Healthcare Foundation representatives, the Center for Marine Science at UNC-Wilmington, MARBIONC, and Western Carolina, Appalachian State and Wake Forest universities. The project also has industry support from Gaia Herbs, Targacept and the N.C. Natural Products As
sociation.

For more info, visit www.ncbiotech.org.

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About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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