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WTC Releases 2004 Annual Report



Washington Technology Center released its 2004 Annual Report in October, 2004. The report represents the culmination of a successful year of accomplishments under the organization's five-year strategic plan and showcases many of WTC's unique programs for helping promote technology-based economic development in Washington State.

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Below are a few of the highlights from Fiscal Year 2004:

  • Washington companies attracted 17 dollars for every dollar of state investment awarded by WTC. These companies have successfully leveraged WTC's $2.8 million in support into more than $47 million in additional funding.
  • Through its Research & Technology Development (RTD) Awards program, WTC supported 22 collaborative industry-academic research projects across the state.
  • Added nanotechnology to WTC's Industries of Distinction program. The state legislature appointed WTC to lead the Washington Nanotechnology Initiative, a strategy to determine how to best leverage this latest enabling technology to benefit Washington's core industries.
  • WTC expanded its Regional & Technical Services business line to include two additional programs that cater to the needs of technology companies: WTC Angel Network and Small Business Services.
  • The Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative worked with the Bonneville Power Administration, Washington State Energy Office and Central Washington University to launch the first hydrogen learning center in Washington.
  • The Microfabrication Laboratory added a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and sputter tool to its set of sophisticated process equipment.
  • More than 375 entrepreneurs were reached through WTC's SBIR/STTR outreach programs. In FY04 Washington companies won $43 million of the nearly $1.6 billion awarded annually under these federal funding programs. This was more than double the award amount from FY03.

To read more about WTC's accomplishments, view the full 2004 Annual Report in PDF format on our Web site.

Related WTC links:

  • WTC 2004 Annual Report

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  • Making the case for technology-based economic development in Bellingham and Whatcom County

    Washington Technology Center is leading efforts around a community assessment program for Bellingham and Whatcom County. WTC is working with local community groups, including Bellingham Technical College, the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce, Bellingham-Whatcom EDC, Western Washington University, and the Port of Bellingham on this community assessment study.

    The goal of this collaborative effort is to develop a detailed perspective on the Bellingham technology economy, and from this assessment, determine what form a technology-based economic development (TBED) strategy might take in Bellingham. From there, work will begin to engage key stakeholders from industry and trade, academia, and government in putting together a community-wide plan for making TBED a priority for Bellingham.

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    Why Bellingham?

    There are a number of factors that make Bellingham a logical choice for TBED. While not on par with larger urban areas, the Whatcom County region continues to experience growth in technology jobs, patent generation and financial capacity. These are critical success drivers for a technology economy to be realized.

    Bellingham came onto the radar in 2003, when the WTC's Index of Innovation and Technology reported that this region experienced the highest technology job growth per capita in the state, more than 10 percent. The following year, in 2004, while the growth rate declined, Bellingham still showed an increase in technology job growth even in the face of an overall employment decline. Technology jobs as a percentage of overall employment remains over eight percent, which is a good indicator of future growth potential and the ability to achieve an optimal percentage of 10 percent or more.

    Bellingham also possesses a number of other assets that make the region a good candidate for a TBED strategy. These include:

    * A strong education base via Western Washington University and Bellingham Technical College;
    * Proximity to thriving urban technology centers such as Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.;
    * Existing economic development organizations, business advocacy groups and trade associations;
    * A source of early-stage capital through recently-formed angel groups;
    * The potential for clustering, new company formation and spinouts from existing companies.

    There are also areas where Bellingham could focus efforts and where a solid TBED strategy could ensure resources and support are driven to these areas. This includes a stronger research base, more companies going after state and federal R&D; funding opportunities, and more available capital to support technology company growth.

    These are factors that Washington Technology Center and Bellingham community partners will take into consideration in a community assessment study that will analyze the economic development assets and barriers in the Bellingham/Whatcom County region in order to determine what types of strategies will accelerate the region's economic growth. Outcomes of the study and recommendations should be available by year end.

    Related WTC links:

  • 2004 Washington Index of Innovation and Technology
  • 2003 Washington Index of Innovation and Technology

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  • NIH Event Was a Huge Success

    Washington Technology Center hosted National Institutes of Health representatives for the first all-day conference in Seattle on October 7, 2004.

    Nearly 100 company representatives, academics, researchers and others interested in learning more about funding opportunities offered by NIH attended this daylong event.

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    Participants had the opportunity to learn first hand how to improve their grant writing techniques as well as hear from seasoned veterans on how they were able to manage the NIH system.

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) make more than $525 million a year available to small companies for biomedical and behavioral research. Companies can be eligible to win a federal award that will fund R&D; projects, bring prestige and credibility to their research, and help companies attract strategic partners and outside capital investment.

    "This program was well organized and the target audience was a great match for those that we can support and counsel," says JoAnne Goodnight, Program Coordinator with NIH. Companies were asking great questions, they were prepared to meet with us and this is the type of group we love to see."

    Company representatives also shared their appreciation for the event. John Becker, Consultant to IsoRay, says, "This is one of the most well-organized events I have ever attended."

    Related WTC links:

  • SBIR Program

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  • NWETC Hosts Workshop in Spokane on Funding for Energy Technology R&D;

    The Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative (NWETC) is hosting a workshop on October 21, 2004 in Spokane for Pacific Northwest energy entrepreneurs looking to fund their R&D; activities related to new energy technologies.

    This half-day workshop brings federal funding experts to Eastern Washington to talk about opportunities available through the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program for companies who are looking to commercialize energy-related technology products and who need financial assistance in R&D; to move these goals forward.

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    The U.S Department of Energy awards $95 million in funding each year to companies who seek financial assistance with technology research and product development. This in-depth hands-on session will focus on how to effectively compete for research grants that fund energy-related R&D; and how to prepare a compelling proposal to win an SBIR award.

    Agency representatives from the Department of Energy, the Environment Protection Agency, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, the Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative and the Washington Technology Center's Regional and Technical Services Division will be on hand to lead the seminar and answer questions about the SBIR program and how it specifically benefits energy companies.

    What: Move Your R&D; Forward: Tapping into Government Funds for Energy Technology Projects

    When: Thursday, October 21, 2004 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Where: SIRTI Board Room, 665 N. Riverpoint Blvd., Spokane, WA

    Who: Hosted by NWETC in partnership with WTC, INTEC, SIRTI and Avista Corp.

    Related WTC links:

  • NWETC.com

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  • WTC Wins USDA Award to Help Central Washington Company Expand Operations

    Washington Technology Center (WTC) was awarded a Rural Business Enterprise Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a growth strategy for Apples To Go, Inc. (ATGI), an entrepreneurial agricultural enterprise located in East Wenatchee. ATGI produces and distributes fresh sliced apples to retailers in Western Washington. WTC was awarded the grant to help ATGI expand its customer base outside of Washington, and in turn, support overall growth and competitiveness of the state's agriculture industry.

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    "This collaborative strategy represents the true mission of WTC," says Elaine Kong, Manager of Small Business Services for Washington Technology Center. "Our goal is to help Washington companies become successful enterprises and contribute to the state's economy," Kong explains. "We do this by encouraging support at all levels -- local, state and federal -- and fostering the growth of ventures, like ATGI, that make commercial sense for both the region where they operate and the state as a whole."

    Washington State is the leading U.S. supplier for apples, accounting for more than 55 percent of the nation's apple production. Wenatchee and Yakima produce 75 percent of the state's total apple crop. The U.S. market for fresh sliced ready-to-eat apples is currently $600 million annually and growing. Apples To Go® has achieved high brand recognition and status as a leading supplier of top quality product with their distribution and channel marketing partners. However, distribution has been geographically limited due to the perishable nature of its product and restricted to manual operations in order to preserve the quality of the fruit during slicing.

    In 2003, the company was acquired by Berglin Corporation. With the assistance of the Port of Douglas County, where both Berglin and ATGI were commercial tenants, Berglin designed and patented a Premium Apple Slicing System (PASS) process for slicing the apples without damaging the fruit. Pat Haley, Director of the Port of Douglas County, was responsible for initiating the business relationship between ATGI and Berglin, and the Port has continued to assist the company in its development. "Public-private partnerships can be critical in helping early stage ventures come together and evolve into viable commercial operations," acknowledges Haley.

    ATGI is now automating production and is ready to expand its market reach outside of Washington. The USDA funding will allow WTC small business consultant, Elaine Kong, and the Regional and Technical Services team to develop a growth strategy for ATGI to increase its distribution channels to meet demand and capture greater market share regionally and nationally. WTC has a proven track record working with companies in the agriculture industry including Quincy Farm Chemicals, Orchard Rite and Tree Top. As a strategist, Ms. Kong has an impressive history of helping companies develop and successfully implement investment and business growth plans.
    "We're pleased that WTC and the USDA have committed to helping us with our growth strategies," says Scott Berglin, President and CEO of Apples to Go, Inc.

    Berglin learned of WTC's services through the Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance (GWATA). As a statewide organization, WTC collaborates with regional organizations like GWATA to build community-based programs that encourage economic development, especially with respect to technology industries. The ATGI project illustrates the value of regional and state partners working together to support Washington industry growth through technology.

    "WTC is a vital resource for our region," says Don Stone, president of GWATA, "They are able to provide young technology companies with the tools necessary to grow and thrive as a business -- whether it is connections to investment sources, expert business counseling, federal grant assistance, or access to research facilities."

    "Our goal has always been 'sell globally, spend locally,'" Berglin explains. "The WTC-USDA partnership will allow us to achieve this."

    Related WTC links:

  • Apples To Go is a WTC client
  • Business Consulting

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  • New Angel Investor Group Launches in Bellingham

    A group of individual investors have formed a formal angel group in Bellingham, Washington. The Bellingham Angels formally announced their formation at an Eye of the Investor event on Sept. 23. The group currently has more than 20 active accredited members, and is part of the WTC Angel Network, a statewide alliance of angel groups in communities across the state.

    Private investors, or "angels," are critical to the success of start-ups. They often fill funding gaps for early-stage companies who need financing beyond what they can raise from family or friends and who are not yet ready to go after venture capital.

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    "It takes capital to grow a company," says Paul Grey, CEO of AudienceCentral, a Bellingham company that develops and implements industry-leading advanced communication management technology. "Beyond friends and family, angels are the next source," he notes.

    Bellingham and Whatcom County have a number of high net-worth individuals with vast business experience who have the ability to be successful, active angel investors. In forming the Bellingham Angel Group, these individuals are creating a powerful investment resource for their community.

    Entrepreneurs are going outside the region for seed capital because they don't know how to connect with investors in their area. Formalizing their investment activities gives these individuals more visibility and, in turn, allows them to attract better deals by teaming up on due diligence, proposal review, and by pooling resources for larger investments.

    For the companies, angel groups allow entrepreneurs to approach several investors at a time. "While an angel network wasn't available at the time AudienceCentral was raising capital, I'm pleased that such a network is forming now," Grey adds. "Had a network been in place, it would have saved a lot of my time that could have been focused on growing the business."

    Like most angel groups, the Bellingham Angels will strive to focus their investments on early-stage technology companies in their own community. Entrepreneurs interested in being considered by the Bellingham Angels for investment can submit a request on their website: www.bellinghamangels.com. If selected, the company would present, by invitation only, to the group at its quarterly meeting.

    Through the WTC Angel Network, the Bellingham Angels will also have the opportunity to collaborate with fellow member angel groups across the state. The network provides the framework for individual groups and member investors to access the latest research, industry resources, and investment opportunities screened or endorsed by other angel groups.

    WTC's Angel Network helps angel groups get started and provides ongoing resources and services to these groups. Washington Technology Center created the WTC Angel Network as a result of community outreach and focus group studies that pointed to a need to develop seed capital groups outside the Puget Sound region to help young technology companies move from the R&D; phase to commercialization.

    Currently the WTC Angel Network is helping angel groups get started in four communities in Washington including Wenatchee, Tri-Cities and the San Juan Islands. For more information, link to WTC Angel Network on the WTC Web site.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Bellingham Angel Group

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Angel Network

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  • Best Foot Forward: Let the Pros Guide First Steps

    Sponsored Guest Article by Vincent Stevens of Clark Nuber

    Even a life sciences company starting on a shoestring deserves the advice of seasoned pros at critical points. Entrepreneurial venture needs professional guidance -- to secure funding, meet compliance requirements, build equity, foster relationships, and provide a foundation for future decisions.

    Starting a relationship with a CPA and an attorney is a priority, not a luxury to defer until revenue grows. Here are a few of the ways a startup can benefit.

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    Federal tax elections. An entrepreneur may be tempted to make filing tax returns a do-it-yourself project. However, federal tax elections related to research and development must be done in the first year that the R&D; occurred. If an election is done wrong, or not at all, the fledgling business will be saddled with a permanent handicap.

    State tax incentives. Some state and local tax credits and incentive programs are available only to those who apply in advance. An entrepreneur who fails to engage advisers who know the ins and outs of the state tax code invariably will pay too much.

    Working capital. Why borrow money or issue more shares of stock if free funding is available? Many life sciences startups are doing work that's important to the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security. A CPA with the right expertise can help the company complete a federal Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology Transfer grant application, and once the funding is approved, to meet all compliance requirements.

    Grant negotiations. Federal grants typically pay the direct costs of research but allocate minimal coverage for infrastructure and overhead. A smart entrepreneur goes into the application process armed with a professionally prepared cost allocation plan and an indirect cost proposal. Such a formal plan will clearly delineate and justify the overhead rate, helping to ensure that the final negotiated rate is adequate.

    Financial audit. At first glance, an audit may seem like a mundane service. But it can be a tool to provide credibility to existing and future investors, bankers and strategic partners. A startup executive team projects solidity when they walk into a meeting with a stack of crisp, bound audit reports bearing a respected CPA firm's stamp of approval.

    Exit strategy. Getting a life sciences business up and running involves selling the concept over and over: to investors, bankers, strategic partners, and the federal government. Years down the road when the company's technology or product has been developed, the same contacts may help facilitate an acquisition or merger. It pays to look sharp to them from Day One by keeping your financial act polished with professional advice. Always have a ready answer to how you might want to structure a deal, and how you expect to value the company's intellectual property.

    Vincent Stevens, CPA, is a shareholder in Clark Nuber of Bellevue, rated one of the nation's top 25 accounting firms by Bowman's Accounting Report.

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    Governor Locke appoints three new members to WTC board

    Governor Gary Locke recently appointed three new members to the Washington Technology Center (WTC) board of directors. Two members, Roger Gulrajani and Kim Pearman-Gillman, represent the Washington business community, and one, Dr. Arlan Norman, is an academic appointment. Dr. Norman is completing the term of former board member Dr. Yash Gupta. Victor Vasquez also recently joined WTC's Board of Directors as an ex-officio member.

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    Roger Gulrajani is Product Unit Manager for Microsoft Corporation. As the product unit manager for the DirectBand Product Group in Microsoft's Smart Personal Objects Technology ( SPOT ) team, Mr. Gulrajani and his team are responsible for software development, program and product management, business development and marketing for the network in North America and internationally. He originally joined Microsoft in 1997 as Group Product Manager for Windows CE. A 15-year software industry veteran, prior to joining Microsoft, Mr. Gulrajani held a number of senior management positions with Aldus, MediaLink and RealNetworks. He is a graduate of the University of Washington .

    Kim Pearman-Gillman is Senior Vice President at Avista Corporation. She is currently spearheading the development of Spokane's downtown University District at Riverpoint. She served as the City of Spokane's first Economic Development Advisor as a loaned executive from Avista and established this key role and department in the city. Before that engagement, Ms. Pearman-Gillman was the founding CEO of the Inland Northwest Technology Education Center (INTEC). Prior to Avista, she held sales positions with Berkshire Corporation, Lederle Laboratories, and Pillsbury Corporation. Ms. Pearman-Gillman attended Rutgers University and graduated from the University of Houston with a BA in English.

    Dr. Arlan Norman is Dean of the College of Sciences and Technology at Western Washington University. In 2003, Dr. Norman became the founding dean of Western's College of Arts and Sciences. Prior to WWU, he was associate dean for Natural Sciences at the University of Colorado. He was also a chemistry professor and department chair from 1980 to 1983. Dr. Norman has been a visiting professor at Pennsylvania State University and the University of Bristol in England. Norman received his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Indiana University and did postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, as a Department of Energy Fellow. His bachelor's degree in chemistry is from the University of North Dakota.

    Victor Vasquez is the Director of the Economic Development Division of the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED). In this role, Mr. Vasquez is responsible for the overall management of the state's economic development programs with a biennial budget of $37.5 million. His experience includes fifteen years of State and Federal Government in the area of Community and Economic Development. His past positions include Director of the WorkFirst Program at Washington State's Employment Security Department, and in Washington, D.C., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Military Community and Family Policy Office under the Clinton Administration and Assistant Administrator for the Department of Agriculture. Mr. Vasquez holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science from the University of Oregon.

    The WTC Board is made up of a combination of leaders in industry and academia. There are 25 members total, 13 from the business community, eight from state universities and four ex-officio members. Click on the WTC Board of Directors link for a current list of board members.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC's current board of directors

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  • WTC Welcomes Applied Micro Optics, Inc.

    Applied Micro Optics, Inc. recently became a new client of WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory. Founder and president, Hansuk Lee, begin working in the Microfabrication Laboratory in September. Applied Micro Optics is an early-stage company focused on micro-optics design and fabrication.

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    "When I decided to start a new venture, I was courted from companies all across the U.S.," Lee offered. "However, I was interested in staying in Washington. This is my home," he explained. Once Lee decided to start Applied Micro Optics, he thought about where he might set up shop to conduct his research. "I immediately thought about WTC and the Microfab Lab," says Lee. "It made good business sense for me at this stage in my company."

    Lee said it was a combination of factors that made the Microfabrication Laboratory a good starting place. He was familiar with the facility and its equipment and staff. "It's a very nurturing environment for a young company, Lee says. He also says the lab's environment feeds into his company's growth strategy as well. "WTC has programs that can connect me to funding resources when I'm ready to go for grants or financing," Lee explains.

    Lee plans to market Applied Micro Optics products to industries targeting high power semiconductor diode lasers and fiber-optic telecommunications and eventually develop and market micro-optics products that could be used in biomedical devices and in consumer electronics.

    Lee was also attracted by the flexibilities offered by the Microfabrication Laboratory. "The Microfab Lab allows me to have access to a full range of equipment on a monthly usage fee basis and I can do the work myself at the facility." WTC also has programs in place for shared equipment usage and purchase. This appeals to Lee as well. He has already worked with the lab to purchase and house a spin developer in the facility and hopes to be able to do more shared equipment purchase options in the future. The equipment purchase program works well in the lab because it is such a highly collaborative, highly innovative environment. "Right now, at this stage in my company's growth, it doesn't make sense for me to own a lot of expensive equipment or farm out my processes to various labs," Lee explains.

    Lee says he's pleased that the Microfabrication Laboratory was available for him during the earliest stages of his company's launch. "Being at the lab will allow me to simultaneously conduct R&D; and also conduct small scale production for clients in my target market."

    Related WTC links:

  • Applied Micro Optics is a WTC client
  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Fluke Hall is home to leading research labs; offers collaborative R&D; environment

    Where can you find publicly accessible, full service laboratory facilities dedicated to process development and production at the micro and nano level? Fluke Hall. This state-of-the-art building is located on the University of Washington campus in Seattle and managed by Washington Technology Center (WTC). WTC is a state organization that provides resources to academic researchers and entrepreneurial technology companies to encourage investment in R&D; and technology commercialization.

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    WTC Microfabrication Laboratory
    The main floor of Fluke Hall is dedicated to fully equipped laboratory facilities for the WTC Microfabrication Laboratory and the UW Center for Nanotechnology. In addition to these two user facilities, Fluke is also home to the Human Interface Technology (HIT) lab, the Genome Center, and WTC headquarters.

    Both the Microfab Lab and the Nanotech User Facility are used for academic and industry research and development and have spawned commercial applications in MEMS and nanotechnology. The labs represent millions of dollars of equipment and process capabilities and work in a collaborative manner, bringing researchers together to work on cutting edge R&D; projects.

    Fluke Hall also provides office space for start-up companies using the building's lab facilities. This helps these young ventures save overhead, get liberal access to equipment they use on a regular basis, share resources, and network with academic researchers and industry colleagues.

    For information about office space in Fluke Hall, contact WTC at (206) 685-1920 or info@watechcenter.org.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • UW Center for Nanotechnology
  • UW Genome Center
  • Human Interface Technology (HIT) Lab

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Hjelmstad Joins Microfab Lab Staff

    Washington Technology Center is pleased to welcome Mike Hjelmstad to the staff of the Microfabrication Laboratory. Mike will serve as a Research Engineer for the facility and will be doing photolithography and plasma etching. He will do both contract processing and provide user support for lab clients.

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    Hjelmstad comes to WTC from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Prior to joining WTC, he was a graduate student at the University of Michigan. Hjelmstad holds both a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Science and Engineering from University of Michigan in Materials Science and Engineering.

    Hjelmstad brings to the Microfabrication Laboratory good instructional and technical skills and will be an asset to the lab in both capacities.

    Hjelmstad says he was attracted to the position at the Microfabrication Laboratory because he is interested in working in a cleanroom environment that included silicon manufacturing capabilities. He was impressed with WTC's comprehensive services and the full fleet of process capabilities available through the Microfab Lab.

    He notes that working at WTC also appealed to him because he was interested in being able to include instruction in his career. "I wanted to remain close to an academic environment," says Hjelmstad, "I am interested in being able to work with academic researchers as well as industry clients and hopefully teach at some level as well."

    He will certainly get an opportunity to do that. Hjelmstad led a tour and training session for graduate students at the WTC Microfabrication Lab and adjacent UW Nanotechnology Center on October 27, 2004.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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