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James Rothman Named Chief Scientific Advisor at VR Laboratories

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla., Nov. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- VR Laboratories LLC today announced the appointment of James Rothman, Ph.D. as chief scientific advisor.  Rothman will head scientific research and development for VR Laboratories, which will manufacture and bring to market world-class botanical consumer, medicinal food and beverage, and pharmaceutical products to foreign and domestic markets. In addition to assisting in product development, Rothman will provide guidance on research and clinical processes, including biological assays and clinical study protocols.

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"Dr. Rothman is one of the world's most distinguished and accomplished biochemists and cell biologists," says Robert Gow, chairman and founder of HerbalScience, which licensed its proprietary technology platform to VR Laboratories. "His experience in scientific research and in the biomedical industry is unparalleled and will help us bring groundbreaking new products to market."

"Seeing the work in the lab transformed into products that will benefit people in their daily lives is very gratifying, and I am very pleased to be a part of that effort at VR Laboratories," says Rothman. "The prospect of working with this new technology and applying scientific knowledge to providing natural solutions is a wonderful opportunity."

Since 2008, Rothman has held the Wallace Professor of the Biomedical Sciences at Yale and served as the Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology of the Yale School of Medicine.

He received his Ph.D. degree in biological chemistry from Harvard Medical School in 1976. He also attended Harvard Medical School and completed a fellowship in the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Rothman has served as a professor at Stanford University, Princeton University, Yale University and Columbia University, where he currently is the Clyde and Helen Wu Professor of Chemical Biology and director of Columbia University's Judith P. Sulzberger, MD Genome Center. He also founded and chaired the Department of Cellular Biology and Biophysics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which he joined in 1991 as the Paul Marks Chair and where he also served as vice-chairman of Sloan-Kettering.

Rothman has also served extensively in industry. In addition to his role at VR Laboratories, he is the Senior Scientific Advisor for Biomedical Research at GE's Global Research Center. From 2003-2007 he was the Chief Scientist of GE's Healthcare division and its predecessor company Amersham Biosciences. He has served on or chaired Scientific Advisory Boards at Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, ARIAD Pharmaceuticals (which he co-founded), and Merck, and was a strategic consultant to the chairman of R&D at Genentech and at GSK.

Rothman has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of this work. These include the King Faisal International Prize for Science of Saudi Arabia (1996), the Gairdner Foundation International Award for Biomedical research of Canada (1996), the Lounsbery Award of the National Academy of Sciences for Biomedical Research (1997), the Heineken Foundation Prize for Biochemistry of the Netherlands Academy of Sciences (2000), the Lasker Award for Basic Biomedical Research (2002), and the Kavli Prize for Neuroscience (2010). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1993) and the Institute of Medicine (1995).

Rothman is renowned for his scientific discoveries in the area of membrane fusion, which is of fundamental importance in the study of cancer, diabetes and diseases of the central nervous system. Membrane fusion is currently the target for the next generation of drugs to control AIDS. His current research is on the biophysics and physiologic regulation of membrane fusion, to which he is applying high-throughput genome-based approaches at the cellular level. In a body of research spanning three decades, Rothman discovered the molecular machinery responsible for transfer of proteins among compartments within cells, provided what is now text book knowledge of such diverse physiological processes as the release of insulin into the blood, communication between nerve cells in the brain, and the growth and replication of the cell's internal organelles in cell division.

"By bringing one of the world's most distinguished scientists to VR Laboratories and Lee County, we are building a leadership team that is well-positioned to recruit top scientists and to grow our world-class research team," says Jeff Kottkamp, CEO of VR Laboratories. "Dr. Rothman is a hands-on scientist who has received industry recognition around the world for his contributions to medicine. It is an honor to welcome him to VR Laboratories."

VR Laboratories is positioned to be the leading global formulator and producer of FDA-approved botanical pharmaceuticals and medicines and proprietary ingredients for medicinal and functional foods and beverages. Medicinal and functional foods and beverages are the fastest growing segments of the global food market. FDA-approved botanical pharmaceuticals, the newest segment of the global pharmaceutical industry, are estimated to achieve a Combined Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 600+ percent.

The Lee County Board of County Commissioners approved financial incentives of $5 million for VR Laboratories in February 2011 based on the recommendation of The Fort Myers Regional Partnership, Lee County's Economic Development Office, and the company's commitment to creating 208 new, full-time jobs in Lee County over the next five years with average salaries of $66,850 plus benefits. The $5 million in county incentives is awarded from Lee County's Financial Incentives for Recruiting Strategic Targets (FIRST) initiative, a county fund created with $25 million in reserves to build Lee County's economy through diversification. VR Laboratories' anticipated economic impact in Lee County is in excess of $40 million per year upon project completion.

About VR Laboratories

VR Laboratories was established to be the leading global formulator and producer of FDA-approved botanical pharmaceuticals and medicines and proprietary ingredients for medicinal and functional food and beverages. The company utilizes the proprietary HerbalScience technology platform, which has fully developed more than 600 medicinal and functional ingredients. For more information, call 239-597-9878. 

SOURCE VR Laboratories LLC
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