WASHINGTON, D.C., June 4, 2001 -- The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute now employs 25 researchers in such disciplines as physics, mathematics, biology and engineering, working together to solve some of most difficult problems of computational biology. The institute plans to double again next year and eventually employ 200 to 300 researchers. It hopes to attract biotech firms to the region, spin off companies and form partnerships, such as its recent agreement with Sun Microsystems Inc., said Bruno Sobral, the Institute's director. 

Blacksburg is also home to several firms that specialize in developing genetically engineered plants and animals, including CropTech Corp. and the U.S. subsidiary of PPL Therapeutics PLC, the Scottish company that created Dolly the cloned sheep in 1997.

CropTech, founded by Virginia Tech professors Carole Cramer and David Radin in 1992, is developing tobacco plants that have been genetically altered to produce human proteins when cut. The company hopes the plants could be used to mass-produce biological pharmaceuticals to treat human disease.

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Published by Public Relations, June 03, 2001