Mary Beth Thomas to Oversee NC Centers of Innovation Statewide

Mary Beth Thomas, Ph.D., has joined the Biotechnology Center to manage the organization's newest and largest funding program targeting development of important new business sectors.

Thomas accepted the newly created position of senior director, Centers of Innovation (COI) Operations, after serving as former statewide director of technology commercialization with the Small Business and Technology Development Center in Raleigh.
About the Centers of Innovation

The Biotechnology Center, backed by funding from the General Assembly, started the Centers of Innovation program in 2007. It is designed to establish research and commercial hubs for products and processes deemed especially well-suited to creating biotechnology-related jobs across the state.

A group of Piedmont Triad institutions received the first $100,000 Phase I planning grant from the Biotechnology Center last November, aimed at establishing a COI focusing on the emerging field of nanobiotechnology.

Another $100,000 Phase I grant announced earlier this month was to help an Research Triangle Park-based consortium plan a COI in Advanced Medical Technologies. Other COI announcements are expected.

The consortia are using the initial funding to develop business plans leading to requests from the Biotechnology Center for four-year, $2.5 million Phase II grants. Thomas' key role will support the interactions among the consortia and the Biotechnology Center.
Work Background

Before working at the Small Business and Technology Development Center , Thomas was assistant director of the neurosensory program at Tranzyme Pharma in Research Triangle Park.

She had also been assistant director of the neuroprotection program at Cogent Neuroscience in Durham.

"We're delighted that Mary Beth Thomas has joined the Biotechnology Center to lead the COI program. She brings an outstanding combination of scientific and commercial experience to this new challenge," said Ken Tindall, senior vice president, Science and Business Development at the Biotechnology Center and a key proponent of the COI program.

"I look forward to serving the people of North Carolina and to working with the highly talented people involved in these Centers of Innovation," said Thomas.

She earned a bachelor of science degree in biotechnology at the Rochester Institute of Technology (New York), a doctorate in developmental biology from the University of Cincinnati (Ohio) and served as a postdoctoral fellow with the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University.
About the Biotechnology Center

The Biotechnology Center is a private, non-profit corporation supported by the N.C. General Assembly. Its mission is to provide long-term economic and societal benefits to North Carolina by supporting biotechnology research, business, education and workforce training statewide.

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