The Center of Innovation for Nanobiotechnology, better known as COIN, is under new leadership and has moved its headquarters to Greensboro.

WRALTechWire talks with Joseph Magno, a business strategist who has worked with the University and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, about the changes.

In a recent newsletter, Mango and Sita Lakkaraju, who is the Business Development Specialist for COIN, discussed the many changes underway at the organization. The group was launched by the North Carolina Bioltechnology Center with the goal of driving economic growth in the emerging nanotechnology sector with an emphasis on biotech. The group receives no state funding.

For the past five years, COIN put on a commercialization conference to highlight N.C.-based firms and business opportunities.

“Over the past few months there have been many changes at the Center of Innovation for NanoBiotechnology (COIN). Along with moving the COIN offices to the Gateway University Research Park we have reviewed progress made over the past few years by the dedicated COIN staff that preceded us, we have initiated conversations with those individuals and entities that had supported COIN over the past few years, and we have drafted a Strategic Plan which will be submitted to the COIN Board shortly,” Magno wrote in the newsletter.

“The Plan we are proposing includes a number of changes in strategy based upon lessons learned and feedback from the Nanobiotech Community at large and has been structured to not only facilitate the growth of the Nanobiotechnology Industry in North Carolina, but also to provide COIN with a more sustainable financial structure.”

North Carolina already has the nation’s third largest biotechnology cluster, and various state as well as private sector leaders have been seeking to grow the nanobiotechnology sector with companies such as Liquidia showing great promise.

Our Q&A with Magno:

Why is COIN important to North Carolina going forward?

The Nano Biotechnology sector continues to grow globally and North Carolina has numerous resources and companies that are in the space. COIN’s original mission is more important than ever to assist in facilitating economic growth in this sector which has implications across many of North Carolina’s industries.

Why move COIN to Greensboro from Durham?

The Durham location was great and served COIN well, however the Gateway Research Park is where the Joint School for Nanoscience and Nanoengineering is located and offered COIN space and other needed resources at a significant savings. Also, it is my understanding that the building owner at the Durham location had a contiguously located tenant that required additional space in downtown Durham for expansion.

Based on the newsletter, many changes from organization to a new office and changes in management as well as its board are taking place. Why is that?

The majority of the changes are based upon feedback from COIN constituents and their expressed needs.

Yes, we will be adding a number of programs to provide more value and also respond to market changes…all within the original mission of COIN to serve North Carolina.

Who is now responsible for the funding of COIN?

Some of COIN’s original funding is still intact, however the initial intent of the grant was to create a self sufficient entity and the changes that will be taking place are part of the original mission.

More directly, COIN and the groups COIN was intended to serve are responsible for funding COIN.

Does the NC Biotechnology Center have any continuing involvement with COIN?

Of course, NCBC will continue to be involved and supportive. Mary Beth Thomas continues to advise both the Administration and the Board as we move forward.

Who are the board members now overseeing COIN?

The Board is in fact undergoing some changes and Board Membership will be announced after a Board Meeting scheduled for next week. Of course the Board will continue to have oversight as specified in COIN’s original Charter and By Laws.

Will there be a nanotech business conference in NC next year?

This is still under discussion and we will announce it as soon as a final decision is made as to time and location.