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Corporate Report: August 31

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  • | 6:23 a.m. August 31, 2012
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Tampa Electric expanding Polk Power Station, will self-build project
Tampa Electric has decided to expand its Polk Power Station.

The company says the station expansion was necessary to meet customer growth and to replace power it purchases from others in agreements that are due to expire around 2017. It reviewed several competitive bids, and determined the self-build option was the best and most cost-effective way to address those energy needs.

“Expanding the Polk Power Station provides the best value to customers based on cost, reliability and flexibility, as well as environmental performance,” Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric, says in a press release.

In coming weeks, the company plans to file a petition of need with the Florida Public Service Commission and a site certification application with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

If the project is approved, Tampa Electric will expand the plant by about 460 megawatts, or enough electricity to power more than 100,000 homes. The expansion would convert the four existing simple-cycle natural gas units to a more efficient combined-cycle unit by January 2017. At the peak of construction, the project would create about 500 local jobs.

The new design will capture the wasted heat of the existing combustion turbines and increase the output of the gas-fired units by 70%. The project also would improve transmission reliability and dramatically reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide.

Retina Health Center-supported trial leads to FDA approval
Following a three-year clinical study at Fort Myers-based Retina Health Center and other participating eye centers around the country, the FDA has approved the use of the injectable drug Lucentis for the treatment of diabetic macular edema.

Until now, there has been no approved drug to treat diabetic macular edema, which causes swelling or thickening of the retina, blurring vision over time. For the past 30 years, the condition has been treated with laser surgery or with unapproved drugs such as Avastin or Triamcinolone.

The approval is based on the results of two randomized, double-blind studies involving more than 750 patients. Patients in the study received a monthly injection of Lucentis or a placebo for 24 months, and were followed for 36 months. Patients who received Lucentis improved their eye chart test scores by at least 15 letters after 24 months of treatment.

In addition, 54% of patients receiving the lower dose, and 62% of those on the higher dose achieved 20/40 vision or better. Lucentis is already approved to treat age-related macular degeneration and retinal vein occlusion.

Retina Health Center and its research branch, the Macular Degeneration Research Center, were created in 2002 by Dr. Alexander Eaton, who has been the principal investigator for numerous studies to prevent and treat macular degeneration.

Minnesota's largest private university hires Bisk Education for online program
The University of St. Thomas in Minnesota has selected Tampa-based Bisk Education's University Alliance division to assist in developing and delivering an online degree and certificate program.

The university, which offers more than 90 undergraduate and 60 graduate degree programs on its campuses, plans to launch its first online degree program, a Master of Arts in public safety and law enforcement leadership, in March 2013.

Bisk Education creates online degree and professional certificate programs for universities.

The online programs will follow the same curriculum requirements as other St. Thomas programs, and online students will receive the same diploma. The university plans to offer additional programs online from its Schools of Social Work and Engineering, and its Opus College of Business.

St. Thomas faculty will provide all course content. The university also will have complete control over admissions, tuition rates, academic records, copyrights and intellectual property rights in course content.

“The addition of St. Thomas' degree programs to Bisk's University Alliance division brings diversity to the current graduate level offerings and provides that audience with new opportunities,” Nathan Bisk, founder and chairman of Bisk Education, says in a press release.

Founded in 1885, the University of St. Thomas is a Catholic university based in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and is the largest private university in Minnesota.

Tampa book publisher creating local book promo video
Ruskin-based Cloverleaf Corp. Publishing has hired Bradenton-based 360 Degrees PR & Marketing and Sarasota-based HuB Studios to create and promote a video trailer for the first book in the award-winning Montooth Book Series. It is being timed to coincide with the autumn publication of the third book in the Montooth series, “Montooth 3: Red Cross of Gold.”

The Montooth Books are written by businessman and Anna Maria Island resident Robert Jay, who has sold more than 20,000 books in his series worldwide.

HuB studios will cast, direct and produce a professional video trailer of the first book, “Montooth and the Canfield Witch.”

“We plan on casting all local actors and using very familiar places around Sarasota and Manatee counties for our locations to set the tone of old Florida...,” Lucas Colavecchio, president of HuB Studios, says in a press release.

The first of five books in the Carty Andersson young adult series is set in the Florida swamps near Sarasota in the 1950s.

Makeup artist Trish McEvoy bringing beauty line, videos to HSN
Makeup artist Trish McEvoy, and founder of Trish McEvoy Beauty, is debuting an exclusive line of products on multi-channel St. Petersburg-based retailer HSN. Launching during HSN's Fall Fashion “Ultimate Trunk Show” presented by ELLE magazine, customers will learn about the makeup products and techniques of McEvoy through on-air teaching demonstrations and exclusive “how-to” videos on

The collection found on HSN will consist of exclusive product bundles including the Trish McEvoy Makeup Planner. Additional bundles include, McEvoy's popular “Triangle of Light,” “Brighten and Define” and the “Easy Smokey Eye.” An extended assortment of McEvoy's skincare, makeup, tools and fragrances, will also be available on and HSN mobile.

ITC Global Inc. buys last piece of West Africa ITC firm
St. Petersburg-based ITC Global Inc. has acquired the remaining 10% interest in ITC Guinee SARL. As a result, ITC Global now owns 100% of the West African company.

ITC Global will continue to operate the company, providing networking solutions worldwide and with a particular focus on Africa-based client sites.

“Increasing ownership in one of our key markets is a core strategic objective for ITC Global,” Joseph Spytek, co-founder and CEO of ITC Global, says in a press release. “We will continue to increase our investment in Africa in the near term. This transaction solidifies our strong position in the attractive African market.”

ITC Global is a global satellite telecommunications service provider. Its Guinea office has been fully operational since 2005.

Arnstein & Lehr attorney Cohn elevated to Tampa managing partner
Arnstein & Lehr LLP has promoted Ronald Cohn to managing partner of the law firm's Tampa office. Cohn, who focuses primarily on business/commercial litigation, real estate law and creditor's rights, joined the firm in 2005 as a partner when his prior firm, Cohn & Cohn PA, merged with the company.

Arnstein & Lehr LLP has offices in Illinois, Florida and Wisconsin.

SC&H CPA group names Florida principal
CPA and management consulting firm SC&H Group LLC announced that Scott Tyler has joined the firm as a principal in its state and local tax practice in the firm's recently opened Tampa office.

Tyler has nearly 20 years of national experience in state and local tax, with a focus on property tax. Prior to joining SC&H, he led Crowe Horwath's southeast property tax practice, and was the national practice leader for personal property. Tyler has also held state and local tax leadership roles at General Electric and Ernst & Young. In his capacity with SC&H, Tyler will continue to be an adviser to privately held Fortune 100 companies on state and local tax matters, while contributing to SC&H's national reach.

With 300 employees, SC&H Group has offices in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Colorado and Florida that provide services throughout the United States.

HuB Studios YouTube videos rack up 1 million views
Sarasota-based video production and editing studio HuB Studios hit a key milestone in August: 1 million views between its several YouTube channels.

HuB Studios was created by former TV news journalist Lucas Colavecchio and stage actor Joey Panek. The duo created a number of YouTube channels including HuB Studios, Saratopia, HowBoutJoey, Three Kitcheneers, Art Whisperer, Dealers United and Sarasota Day.

Biovest, FDA meet, agree on new trial for cancer vaccine

Biovest International Inc., a majority-owned subsidiary of Tampa-based Accentia Biopharmaceuticals Inc., has reached an understanding with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the quickest registration plan for its potential non-Hodgkin's lymphoma vaccine. The personalized cancer vaccine called BiovaxID will need to go through a second Phase III clinical trial and a development program to support the filing of a biologics license application.

According to the company at that meeting, the FDA offered to work with Biovest on the design for the new Phase III study. The company expects to accept the FDA's offer to develop a trial that generates the necessary registration data.

At the same time, Biovest will continue to seek marketing approvals for BiovaxID in the European Union and Canada based on evidence from the three earlier human clinical trials conducted with the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Biovest International Inc. develops active cancer vaccines that treat and diminish the aggressiveness of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.


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