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Biotech / Biomedical: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Restriction Enzymes Explained
An explanation of a special class of enzymes known as the restriction endonucleases.
Enzyme Biotechnology in Everyday Life
A list of common products of enzyme biotechnology that are used every day in and around the home, such as paper products, detergents, textiles and foods and beverages. These household items are the result of commercialization of natural and recombinant enzymes produced by genetic protein engineering.
What's an Enzyme, and What Does It Do?
An explanation of what enzymes are, their basic structure, and how they function in cellular processes.
What Are GMOs, and Why Do Opponents Say They're...
GMOs are making news nearly every day and issues surrounding their safety are a source of ongoing debate in the food and biotechnology industry. Read about what GMOs are and why they are a source of bioethical controversy.
How PCR Works
Learn the basic theory behind the polymerase chain reaction, or PCR technique for making multiple copies of a gene from a sample of DNA.
Enzymes Used in the Dairy Industry
A description of the types of enzymes used in the dairy industry and their role in the production of cheese, yogurt and other food products.
How to Make a TAE Buffer in 3 Steps
Simple instructions on making stock and working solutions of Tris-acetate-EDTA (TAE) buffer for gel electrophoresis.
Specific Activity
A definition of specific activity as it applies to proteins and enzyme catalyzed biochemical reactions.
Can Genetically Modified Food Feed the World?
Advocates for genetic engineering of crops used for food point to benefits such as providing better and more nutritious, potentially solving world hunger by increasing crop yields, fortifying foods to ensure the poor are getting proper nutrition. However, genetically modified (GM) foods have been available since the mid-nineties. Has their adoption really impacted world hunger? What's really driving the rapid adoption of GM food and is it part of the answer to feed a hunger world?
World's Largest Biotech Hubs: Boston and the...
Looks at the details of the two regions with the highest density of biotech companies and most people working in biotech—the San Francisco Bay and Boston, Massachusetts regions. How do these two regions compare in terms of the types of biotech companies, size of biotech communities, and amount of biotech investment?
Differences Between siRNA and miRNA
Is there a difference between small interfering RNA (siRNA) and micro RNA (miRNA)?
Make Sodium Citrate Buffer
Six simple steps to make sodium citrate buffer for RNA isolation or antigen detection.
DNA Sequencing Methods
Different DNA sequencing methods described.
Tools for Protein Engineering
Essential laboratory procedures for genetic engineering. Molecular genetics techniques commonly used in biotechnology research that enable gene cloning.
More Everyday Products of Enzyme Biotechnology
More common products of enzyme biotechnology that used every day in and around the home such as leather, plastics and biofuels (bioethanol). These household items are the result of commercialization of natural and recombinant enzymes produced by genetic protein engineering. Page 2.
Methods for Protein Purification
Methods of protein purification for biotechnology laboratory applications.
Make TBE Buffer
Simple instructions on how to make stock and working solutions of tris-borate-EDTA (TBE) buffer for gel electrophoresis separation of DNA.
The Controversy of Genetically Modified Food
Although genetically modified (GM) food has been on supermarket shelves for almost 15 years, there is still extensive controversy about whether it is safe. Anti-GM group continue to sound the alarm regarding its potential risks dangerous. Why is there such controversy about GM food and crops and is there still a reason to be concerned about its safety? Take a look at this article to get an overview of what is driving this discussion.
Pros and Cons of Stem Cell Research
A discussion of the pros and cons in the ethical debate over embryonic stem cell research and biomedical research using other types of stem cells. Page 2.
How is Titer Determined?
A simple explanation of how titer is determined, during bioproduct production in the biomedical industry, for antibodies, other proteins and other biological substances.
Top 5 Reasons E. coli is used for Gene Cloning
Five reasons the microorganism E. coli is so widely used in protein engineering and genetic research.
Reverse Transcriptase PCR
RT-PCR can mean one of two things in biotechnology. Here's one of the definitions.
Make a Phosphate Buffer
Follow these instructions on how to make phosphate buffers for biological applications at near neutral pH, or adapt them for making any other buffer using a weak acid / conjugate base pair.
How do You Participate as a Test Subject in a...
Links to websites listing current and upcoming drug trials and how to become a participating subject. In addition, some sites contain new drug approval news, information on drug interactions, and clinical research job listings.
What are Transcription Factors?
Transcription factors are important molecules, usually proteins, involved in controlling gene expression by RNA polymerase. In eukaryotic cells they bind to promoter regions on the DNA.
siRNA
What is siRNA, or small interfering RNA and how is it used as a molecular genetics research tool in the process called RNA interference?
Polymorphism
The genetic term polymorphism refers to the discovery that there may be several variations in gene sequence for a specific protein.
Make a Tris Buffer
Tris is a chemical with basic properties, having a pKa of 8.1. It can be used to buffer solutions from drastic pH changes, keeping them in the pH range of 7.0 to 9.0. Make any Tris-HCl buffer in this pH range, at any molarity using these simple steps.
Fine-Tuning the Process
Learn the basic theory behind the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique for making multiple copies of a gene from a DNA sample. Page 2.
What is a SUSAR?
Find out what a SUSAR is and what the list of the qualifiers are for filing a SUSAR during a clinical drug trial.
Hydrolysis
A definition for enzyme hydrolysis, to explain what kind of biochemical reaction hydrolases catalyze and how that is useful to biotechnology applications.
What Are GMOs and How Are They Made?
If you want to understand the basic procedure for genetically engineering plants and animals, take a look at this article.
10 Examples of Agricultural Biotechnology
A list of agricultural applications for biotechnology research.
Microinjection
Use of DNA microinjection techniques for gene transfer and creation of transgenic animals.
Genetically Modified Food: How Did We Get Here?
Starting with the launch of the Flavr Savr Tomato, the first genetically modified organism (GMO) approved for sale as food in the mid-1990s, food containing GMOs has become a significant part of the stock in US, Canadian, and Asian grocery stores. About 70% of US processed food sold contains genetically modified (GM) crops. A revolution in food science and production has been taking place over the past two decades. How did we get here?
Visualizing DNA
A list of the different dyes or stains for visualizing DNA.
Nanoparticles Used in Biotechnology
A list of classes of these microscopic particle of matter,from fullerenes to nanorods, used in nanomedical research and other biotechnological applications.
RFLP
A description of the molecular technique known as RFLP and brief explanation of the theory behind the methodology.
Pursuing a Career in Science and Law
The high demand for legal professionals with science and technology backgrounds is explained and career expectations for individuals studying science and law are discussed.
The Fight to Use Maternal Blood for Prenatal...
A simple blood test of a pregnant woman can now identify fetal genetic abnormalities that can produce conditions such as Down's Syndrome. How was this approach developed and who are the companies involved in developing the technology?
Proteins
A brief explanation of what proteins are, their composition and the many roles they play in cellular processes.
Vectors
Vectors are tools for gene transfer during cloning.
PCR
A definition of the molecular technique known as PCR and its usefulness in various biotechnology applications, forensic science and environmental research.
Run an Agarose Gel for Separation of DNA
Follow these simple steps for running an agarose gel to separate and visualize different size DNA strands.
Nanomedicine and Disease
How nanotechnology is being applied to nanomedicine and the treatment of diseases such as cancer.
Small Business Technology Development Grants...
Federal SBIR grants can provide much needed seed funding for small biotech start-up businesses. What is the SBIR/STTR program, what types of projects are funded, how much can you get, and who's eligible? Michael Weingarten, the Director of the NCI SBIR program presented all the specifics at a recent conference. (Published: July 31, 2013)
What is a Retrovirus?
Retroviruses are a special type of RNA virus, that replicate their genome by reverse transcription of their RNA to form DNA which is then incorporated into the genome and transcribed by the host cells which the virus inhabits.
Requisites for Superior PCR Results
Adjustments to any of the components of a PCR reaction can alter the quality of the outcome, either improving or diminishing the product yield and quality, or reaction specificity and sensitivity. Parameters that influence the end result can be either physical (i.e. temperature, cycle times) or chemical (i.e. nucleotide or template concentration, type of polymerase enzyme used). The following are several key factors that influence the success of PCR.
Titer
A definition for titer as it applies to the biomedical industry and production of antibodies, proteins, antibiotics and other bioproducts.
Fermentation
A broad definition of fermentation in both general and more scientific terms.
Choosing Biotech Stocks
Investing in biotechnology can be a risky business. The following list outlines some suggested criteria to consider when choosing which biotech stocks to buy.
DNA Fingerprinting
Explanation of the term DNA fingerprinting and a brief description of the methodology.
Biotech Business Models
Platform, Product and Vertical strategies make up three major biotechnology business models.
Bioremediation
Bioremediation is explained as a branch of environmental biotechnology in which contaminated soil, air and water are treated.
Six Types of Phytoremediation
Descriptions for six different types of phytoremediation.
Top 6 Suggestions for Financing a Startup
An outline suggesting five funding sources for financing a new startup Biotech company.
IPSCs
A quick discussion on what IPSCs are and how they are used in stem cell research, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.
Make PBS Buffer
PBS is a commonly used buffer for immunohistochemical (IHC) staining, used as a wash solution and for diluting antibodies.
Transformation
Transformation refers to changes in the genetic makeup of a normal cell either through insertion of foreign DNA into a chromosome, or by an alteration that causes tumor cell-like behavior.
What are Bioindicators?
An introduction to bioindicators and how they are used in the biotechnology industry to detect physiological responses to cellular stressors.
The Xenotransplantation Debate
A discussion of the ethical and practical issues surrounding the use of animal organs for human transplants (xenotransplantation). Page 2.
Food Allergies, Intolerance, and Genetic...
Groups concerned about the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) often cite concerns about the dangers of unknown allergies from engineered food sources. How significant is this concern? Is it hype or a real danger? (Published: Dec 19, 2013)
Early Biotechnological Practices
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Food Biotechnology
Many of the changes in food biotechnology have meant indisputable improvements to our safety and health, while others are more controversial.
Lyophilization
A definition of lyophilization as it applies to the preservation and storage of microbial cell cultures.
Roles of Venture Investors
A list of the roles that biotech venture investors play in the development of early- and mid-stage startups. The benefits, and some of the shortfalls, to obtaining venture capital funding for R&D and to promote the growth of a company, are outlined.
Optimizing Enzyme Processes
Four approaches to optimizing an enzyme process for commercial production, ranging from natural selection to fine-tuned molecular-level genetic manipulations.
What is the Concern over Germ Line Gene Therapy?
As the first gene therapy approaches are nearing FDA approval, it is important to make the distinction between somatic cell and germ line genetic manipulation. Although therapies on sperm and egg cells have tremendous potential, they would require a much more thorough understanding than our current science possesses. Will germ line gene therapy ever be an option?
How Were Genes Discovered?
Experiments with chromosomal material that were primarily responsible for the establishment of DNA as the component that encodes for the structures of proteins.
Top 10 Common Biotech Terms You Should Know
You read about advances in biotechnology every day in the newspaper, and hear about it on TV, but sometimes
CRISPR: What's All the Excitement About?
Have you heard of the new genetic engineering tool that generating lots of excitement? Since the discovery of their ability to target and cut DNA, CRISPRs have become the latest rage for genomic researchers. Find out what all the excitement is about. (Posted: Sept 30, 2013)
Knockouts Biotech Style
Gene knockouts are useful tools for studying the causes of genetic diseases, but what exactly are they?
Active Ingredients
Active ingredients refers to the chemical makeup of drugs.
The History of Cloning Research
Twenty years after Dolly the cloned sheep, researchers in Oregon have finally cloned a human embryo. How long have people been working on cloning? Actually, cloning research goes back more than 100 years. Find out about the work leading up to human cloning. (Published: May 21, 2013)
Growing New Bodily Organs in the Lab
Right now the only option for many patients with deteriorating or damaged hearts, lung, livers, kidneys, and other organs, is a transplant. This procedure creates its own host of health issues, not to mention that organs are not easy obtain. However, researchers are working toward an alternative--growing organ out of a patient's own cells in the lab. (Posted: June 29, 2013)
What is a Virtual Business
Virtual companies are formed using a business model that takes advantage of the availability of suitable contract organizations for outsourcing all aspects of the biotechnology business.
Epigenetics
A definition of the term epigenetics, and how epigenetic marks in eukaryotes control transcription. Also discussed are the relationships between studies of how gene expression is regulated, stem cell research, and cloning.
Plasmids
The role of plasmids as vectors for gene transfer.
Genetic Variation, Disease Genes, and Risk...
Genes make us who we are and small variations in genes do more than just define our difference in physical appearance. They determine our unique physiology, influence our social, personality, and intellectual attributes, make us more susceptible or resistant to particular diseases, and determine our responsiveness to treatment. Personalized medicine attempts tailor an individual’s health care and treatment based on their unique genetics.
Freeze Dry a Bacterial Culture
Quick step by step instructions for preservation of bacterial, fungal or yeast cell cultures, by freeze drying (lyophilization).
What is Orphan Drug Status?
Orphan Drug Status is given to certain drugs undergoing development in the pharmaceutical industry. Find out what Orphan Drug Status is and what incentives are available to biotech companies obtaining this designation from the US FDA.
What is Biotechnology and How Did It Make the...
This article provides a summary or overview of biotechnology or biotech with a description of the start of biotechnology, development of commercial biotechnology, and an overview of the biotech industry. It includes brief summaries of the methods that comprise biotechnology and genetic engineering, biotechnology companies, the medical biotech and agricultural biotechnology industry segments, what a biotech start-up is, GMOs, transgenic organisms, and the connection between biotechnology and drug development.
Delivering New Genes to Cure Disease
Gene therapy offers real promise for curing genetic disorders and treating a wider range diseases. How are new functional genes are put into a patients cells? This article describes the main viral DNA vectors used to make the genetic changes required for gene therapy.
Choosing an Electrophoresis Buffer
There are different types of buffers you can use for agarose gel electrophoresis. Here's how to decide which one to use.
Fullerenes
Carbon nanotubes and buckyballs belong to a class of carbon-based nanoparticles known as the fullerenes.
What is Zoning?
An explanation of what zoning is, and how it affects commercial land use.
Myth: GMOs Are All Similar Somehow
Why are GMOs talked about and thought of as a category? Genetic modification refers to how the strain of plants were made, not what they are. GMOs really have no distinct characteristics as a class yet there are constant debates about whether they are safe, if they should be cultivated, why they should be labeled. It's about time to drop the myth that all GMOs are somehow similar. (Posted: Dec 4, 2013)
Ernst and Young 2013 Global Biotech Report
The EY 2013 report on the biotech industry was released at the BIO 2013 Conference. The study shows that, while the sector saw record profits this past year, there are a couple worrying trends. (Posted: April 25, 2013)
Write a Business Plan
Every biotech startup should begin with a thorough business plan to guide the achievement of milestones and obtaining research funding by satisfying potential venture and angel investors, granting agencies and loan institutions. Check this planning outline for a list of items to include in your business plan.
Polymers
An explanation for what polymers are and their monomer composition. A definition including descriptions of different types of natural (carbohydrate, protein) and synthetic (plastics) polymers.
Transcription
Transcription is the first step in gene expression, resulting in the formation of RNA and, ultimately protein synthesis.
Novozymes
A case study on the Danish bioproducts company, Novozymes, a global leader in enzyme technology, and producer of recombinant enzymes for industrial uses such as detergents, animal feed and biofuel production. The former leader in insulin production is renowned for its focus on environmental and social sustainability.
Molecular methods that Make RFLP Possible
Molecular techniques that make it possible to perform RFLP analysis.
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is defined in terms of corporate activities and sustainabile business approaches that take into account the environmental, social and economic impacts of decisions and processes.
What is Biotechnology?
Definition of biotechnology and a description of the various aspects of the biotech industry.
Pipelines
An explanation for what pipelines are as they apply to new drug development in the biotechnology industry and how they are used to describe the research and development progress of biotech companies.
Hepatitis C
An explanation of the viral infection Hepatitis C including causes and symptoms of the disease.
Xenotransplantation
An explanation for xenotransplantation and the bioethical issues surrounding the use of animal organs and tissues for human transplants.
Thermophilic
A definition of the term thermophilic, as it applies to biotechnology research and industrial applications using microorganisms and their enzymes from extreme environments.
Bioethics
The term bioethics defined. Biotech / Biomedical.
Translation
The second step in the protein synthesis process, wherein the genetic code of the transcribed mRNA sequence is translated by ribosomes into a polypeptide sequence.
The Need for Cheaper and Faster DNA Sequencing
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Helicos BioSciences Corporation
A case study and company history of Helicos BioSciences Corporation, specialists in single molecule technology, sequencing by synthesis and the innovators of a technique for true single molecule sequencing.
What are Vero Cells?
An explanation of the vero cell line and the use of vero cells in generating vaccines.
Top 5 Five Reasons to do a Ph.D.
For those considering doctoral studies, here are five reasons to go all the way in graduate school and complete a Ph.D.
Biotechnology Clusters in North America
A list of the top biotechnology hubs in North America. Each cluster is an active site of R&D, job and investment opportunities in the life sciences or agricultural biotech.
Liposomes
Liposomes are phospholipid bilayers that have formed a closed vesicle. Polymeric micelles are a type of nanoparticle that can be used for drug delivery.
Common pH Indicators
Some common pH indicators with near neutral pka values, and pH ranges making them suitable for use in colorimetric bioassays.
Recent Advances in Cancer Research Gives Us...
Researchers are continuously working on new approaches to treat all the various manifestations of cancer. Guest writer Zach Fisher gives a rundown of some recent advances that are providing hope for new and more effective treatments of breast, lung, and gastrointestinal cancers. (Posted March 30, 2013)
How to Invest in Biotech
Pointers on how to invest in biotech with things to consider before investing in biotech companies or buying biotechnology stocks.
Six Advantages to Hydrogels as Therapeutic Agents
Once used for simple encapsulation of cells or drugs, in homogeneous materials, todays hydrogels are more complex smart polymers with different types of ligands and cross-links allowing for highly regulated structures and different bioresponsive functionalities. What makes hydrogels such a great choice for development of therapeutic devices?
SWOT analysis
A SWOT analysis is a business tool for strategic planning.
What do Fireflies Have to do With Biotechnology?
Fireflies are nocturnal flying beetles that generate light in their abdomen, via a chemical reaction. Find out how firefly luminescence has become a widely used tool in biotechnology.
Electrophoresis
Gel electrophoresis is a DNA separation technique, but how does it work?
Molecular methods that Make Sequencing Possible
Molecular techniques that make DNA sequencing possible.
Breeding Versus Engineering to Make Drought...
Three strains of drought resistant corn are current making their way to farmer’s fields. Two of the strains, from Syngenta and Pioneer, were developed using advanced genetic breeding approaches, whereas Monsanto’s corn was developed using genetic engineering. While both approaches were somewhat successful, it is clear these are the first generation of these plant hybrids. It is likely that further improvements could be made using each approach or a combination of the two.
Smart Polymers
An explanation of how smart polymers are specially designed stimulus-responsive macromolecules with an unlimited number of potential applications in biotechnology.
The Many Job Descriptions in a Small Biotech...
Advice to those interested in a career in biotechnology, with a biotech startup, or looking to start their own company. Biotech startups require innovative, versatile people able to fulfill a variety of responsibilities and do a lot of different jobs, like the ones listed here.
The Impact of Whole Genome DNA Sequencing on...
As DNA sequencing costs are coming down to the point where this technology can transition from basic research to a routine medical use, there is a lot of discussion how this new in depth information genetic will really affect health care. A couple new studies demonstrate how this technology could be practically used to improve health care of individuals in the next few years.
Prions, Alzheimer's, Protein Folding, and Mice
Recently a drug was identified that can stop brain degeneration in mice with prion disease. The results have big implications for the treatment of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Why? (Posted: October 14, 2013)
Ligands
A descriptive definition of ligands and the role they play in biotechnology, particularly in relation to enzyme functions and the catalysis of biochemical reactions.
Designer Babies
Developments in stem cell research and in vitro techniques for reproduction have led us to the theory that sometime in the near future, wanna-be parents will be able to create designer babies with the specific traits they desire.
IPO
Initial public offering, or IPO, is a commonly used term when referring to new companies and their entry into the stock exchange, but what exactly is an IPO?
ISO Certification
Explanation of the ISO standards and QMS certification
The Individual Genome Sequencing Business
For several hundred to several thousand dollars, you can go online and order a service kit to have your DNA analyzed. How does this work? What do these companies provide and what do you have to do? This article explains direct to consumer genetic analysis.
The Human Genome Project
In 1990, a project was initiated to determine the entire sequence of DNA making up the human genome. The human genome project involved participants from laboratories worldwide and resulted in significant advances in DNA screening and sequencing technologies, in addition to the discovery of thousands of new genes.
Therapeutic Cloning
A definition for therapeutic cloning with an explanation of how stem cell research might be used to cure various diseases and repair damaged cells, tissues and organs.
Biomedical Applications for Smart Polymers
A description of the possible and current uses for smart polymers in the biotechnology industry. Types of stimulus responsive polymers and nanoparticles are explained and their potential for use in biomedicine is discussed.
BGI Plans to Sequence the World
In less than 15 years, BGI has grown from a small research institute in Beijing China to the largest DNA sequence provider in the world. How did this Chinese company, now based in Shenzhen, become a DNA sequencing powerhouse, and what does its future look like? (Published: Sept 18, 2013)
Bioplastics
Like biomass plastics, bioplastics are made by fermentation of sugars obtained from plants, but bioplastics are biodegradable because their polymers are different from petroleum-derived plastics.
Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing
Find out about the growing niche of companies that offer personal genetic analysis which provides information about disease risks, health conditions, ancestry, and other individual traits. This developing direct-to-consumer (DTC) DNA analysis business breaks old models of how health tests are provided and offers any individual direct access to sophisticated DNA results.
Pluripotent
Definition for the term pluripotent as it relates to stem cells and their differentiation.
Sequester
An explanation for the word sequester as it is applied in scientific terms in the biotechnology and bioremediation industries.
Top 5 Reasons to Consider Biotech
For anyone interested in investing in, or thinking of pursuing a career in biotech, whether at a large company or a small startup, here are five positive indicators of how viable the industry is today.
Nanoshells
Nanoshells are used in nanomedicine as a tool for radiation therapy because of their ability to target tumors.
You May Inherit Epigenetic Mark-ups with Your...
Can a parent's life experience affect the genetic traits they pass onto their children? While gene sequences don't change with life experience, epigenetic mark-ups that specific gene expression patterns do, and these changes are sometime heritable.
Discoveries that Made PCR Possible
Discoveries that lead to the molecular techniques that make it possible to amplify genes using PCR.
Electroporation
Electroporation is one of the most popular methods for transforming bacterial cells and making recombinant organisms.
Parkinson's Disease
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IP
An explanation for IP as it relates to the biotechnology industry.
Labile
Labile has different meanings in the various scientific disciplines. Find out the biomedical definition for labile as it relates to protein stability and degradation.
Synthetic Biology: New Critters from Genetic...
How difficult is it to make a new organism from scratch? It is routine now to synthesize whole genes, so why not whole genomes to make completely new organisms. Synthetic biology attempts to emphasize the engineering aspect of genetic engineering to design and produce biologically engineered solutions to pressing global problems. How feasible is this? (Posted: Nov 5, 2013)
The Value of Personal Genomic Analysis
Genes define our individual traits, predispositions, and characteristics, but how much do they actually reveal? What insight about yourself does having your DNA analyzed provide? Science has started to make inroads toward understanding the implication of different genetic variations between individuals but how useful is this information when applied to a single person’s DNA?
Before You Buy Laboratory Equipment
A list of resources and suggestions for finding used lab equipment.
Extremophiles
A definition for the term extremophile.
Recombinant
Recombinant is a term used to describe a bioengineering technique which involves combining DNA strands from different origins.
Conjugation
Conjugation in bacteria is defined with an explanation of how genetic material is shared between cells.
Pesticides in GMOs? Yes. So What?
Have some genetically modified crops have been genetically engineered to express insecticide? Yes. Some GMOs express a protein from a bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that kills insects. Is this a reason to be concerned about eating these GM-crops? Not really. Read why there is little reason to be concerned about Bt-GMOs. (Posted: Dec. 30, 2013)
Before You Lease Laboratory Space
Practical items to consider before agreeing to lease a laboratory space for your new startup biotech company.
Process Intensification
Process Intensification is an engineering term applied to process design, to improve sustainability, in the bioproducts manufacturing sector.

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