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April 14, 2020


2020 BioHealth Capital Region Forum Planning Committee Update

We hope you and your families are well. This is a reminder that due to COVID19 the BioHealth Capital Region Forum, originally scheduled to take place this week, April 14th and 15th at AstraZeneca, has been postponed.

We are looking into combining the BioHealth Capital Region Forum with the BioHealth Capital Region Investment Conference which tentatively will be held between October 19th and 21st, 2020. We will advise you of our future direction on these events as soon as we develop our path forward. Please save these dates until we finalize the details as we hope to have an in-person event at that time. Thank you for your patience and understanding during these challenging times.

- BioHealth Capital Region Forum Planning Committee

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Montgomery County wants to spur medical manufacturing to fight coronavirus - Washington Business Journal

The coronavirus outbreak has required all manner of businesses and government agencies to turn on a dime and think creatively — and the Montgomery County Economic Development Corp. is no exception with its new effort to spur medical manufacturing.

In normal times, the EDC focuses primarily on attracting and retaining businesses in the Maryland suburb. But as a global pandemic roils the economy, many companies are simply struggling to survive, not eyeing new office space or a splashy relocation.

Image: Ben Wu, president and CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, is leading an effort to create a new "manufacturing ecosystem" for medical equipment in the county. EMAN MOHAMMED

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MARYLAND Business Relief Wizard

There are numerous local and national programs for businesses in need of emergency support, but understanding which options are relevant for your organization can be a challenge.

The Maryland Business Relief Wizard is a tool that helps connect businesses with the resources and programming for which they’re eligible, streamlining the process of finding support.


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Biotech Beach Emergent BioSolutions Aims to Fight COVID-19 | BioSpace

Biopharma companies are attacking the COVID-19 pandemic from many fronts. Emergent BioSolutions is among those leading the fight. The company has a proven track record, partners and extensive networks to advance vaccines or therapeutics quickly toward trials.

Emergent BioSolutions supplies the Strategic National Stockpile with vaccines against anthrax and smallpox, and treatments against anthrax, botulism and smallpox vaccine complications. Its pipeline includes vaccines against Chikungunya and anthrax (again), treatments targeting Zika and Influenza A, and now, COVID-19.


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The COVID-19 vaccine development landscape

The genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, was published on 11 January 2020, triggering intense global R&D activity to develop a vaccine against the disease. The scale of the humanitarian and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is driving evaluation of next-generation vaccine technology platforms through novel paradigms to accelerate development, and the first COVID-19 vaccine candidate entered human clinical testing with unprecedented rapidity on 16 March 2020.

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Dr. Fauci: ‘We need to put our foot on the accelerator’ to see an end to COVID-19 pandemic |

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ Even though he says the worst is yet to come, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, has seen signs of progress in the country’s fight against the coronavirus.

“The next week we’re going to see a spike in deaths throughout the country, particularly in the hot spot areas like New York, but simultaneously with that, we’re starting to see some cautiously optimistic type signs,” Fauci said.


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Daniels to Johns Hopkins community: 'Our work continues' | Hub

Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels shared a message with the university community today. The full text of the message is below.

Dear Johns Hopkins Faculty, Students, and Staff:

It has been a long and nerve-wracking month since we began to fully prepare for, and mitigate the impact of, the extraordinary challenges posed by COVID-19. Our colleagues from the Bloomberg School of Public Health remind us that we are still likely a few weeks from the peak of the pandemic in Maryland. For the foreseeable future, we will remain under significant strain as we respond in ways that run counter to our normal course of action and to our community's innate desire to connect in person with each other.


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emocha Expanding Remote Monitoring Service for COVID-19 Exposed Healthcare Professionals - emocha Mobile Health Inc.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, emocha Mobile Health has implemented a remote monitoring service powered by human engagement to support health systems including Johns Hopkins Medicine and LifeBridge Health-affiliated hospitals. emocha uses short, asynchronous video check-ins to identify, track, and manage symptoms of healthcare professionals who have been exposed to COVID-19.

Healthcare workers are on the front lines of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, and ensuring their safety and availability is critical. The virus is spreading rapidly across the globe with more than 35,350 confirmed cases in the United States as of March 23. As a result, this highly infectious and novel disease requires strategies to protect the public’s health and to slow the rate of transmission.

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PathSensors, Inc. Announced the Development of a SARS-CoV-2 Biosensor - PathSensors

BALTIMORE, MD March 24, 2020 – PathSensors Inc, a Baltimore biotechnology company, announced today that they are developing a CANARY ™ biosensor to detect the Novel SARS Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), the causal agent for the coronavirus disease COVID–19. The biosensor will be available for research purposes in May 2020 and validation data on the new SARS-CoV-2 product will be available June 2020.

CANARY ™ technology provides a unique opportunity to reduce the impending public health impact of COVID-19 with rapid results and high specificity. The initial application for this PathSensors product will be for testing of environmental swabs and air monitoring in sensitive spaces such as hospitals, offices, food services, etc. PathSensors will continue to advance the assay’s capabilities as the novel virus is further characterized. As the SARS-CoV-2 biosensor is commercialized, PathSensors expects new uses to emerge, such as rapid specimen screening.

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Aphena Pharma Solutions | Maryland Department of Commerce

BALTIMORE, MD (April 13, 2020) – Aphena Pharma Solutions, an industry leading organization that provides packaging and manufacturing solutions for the medical industry, is planning to expand its pharmaceutical manufacturing operations in the Town of Easton. The company, which currently operates within a 110,000 square foot facility at 7978 Industrial Park Road, is purchasing an additional 54,000 square foot facility adjacent to its existing location. Building renovations and the installation of new equipment is expected to begin this year, with an estimated completion time of December 2020. Aphena currently employs 150 full-time workers and plans to add an additional 100 jobs in Talbot County over the next two years.

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ITI Forms Collaboration with EpiVax & PharmaJet to Develop Novel Vaccine Candidate Against COVID-19 Using Its Investigational UNITE Platform – Immunomic Therapeutics

ROCKVILLE, Md. & PROVIDENCE, R.I. & GOLDEN, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering the study of nucleic acid immunotherapy platforms, announced today that it is developing a nucleic acid vaccine candidate against COVID-19 leveraging its investigational UNITE platform for prevention of the novel coronavirus disease caused by SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus. Immunomic will work with leaders from EpiVax and PharmaJet, who have a wealth of immunology and vaccine delivery expertise, to rapidly develop its COVID-19 vaccine. Immunomic’s UNITE platform has been widely applied to create vaccine candidates for rabies, yellow fever, dengue fever, hepatitis C and SARS, a relative to the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus.

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Epidemic Modeling 102: All CoVID-19 models are wrong, but some are useful

This is the second post of the “Epidemic Modeling” series. We will be building up on our discussion from the first post, “Epidemic Modeling 101: Or why your CoVID-19 exponential fits are wrong”, so you might want to start reading there. You can find the notebooks I wrote to implement the models and generate the figures over at the GitHub repository I made specifically for this series:


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Children’s National Hospital Prepares to Admit Adults for First Time Due to Coronavirus | National News | US News

CHILDREN’S NATIONAL Hospital, one of the country's leading pediatric medical centers, is prepared to accept adult patients after expanding its admission criteria for the first time in history to bolster the D.C. region’s hospital capacity during the coronavirus crisis.

In the event that regional hospitals see a surge of adult patients, Children's National will accept patients under 30 years old who are showing respiratory symptoms and who may or may not have tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesperson tells U.S. News. The pediatric hospital, which opened in 1870, will also admit patients in their 20s with cancer or sickle cell disease if other area hospitals become concerned about capacity during a surge.

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Alexandria Real Estate Equities offering life science companies 'Room to Grow'

Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:ARE), an S&P 500® urban office REIT, is the first and longest-tenured owner, operator, and developer uniquely focused on collaborative life science, technology and agtech campuses in AAA innovation cluster locations, including Greater Boston, San Francisco, New York City, San Diego, Seattle, Maryland, and Research Triangle. Alexandria has a longstanding and proven track record of developing Class A properties clustered in life science, technology, and agtech campuses that provide our innovative tenants with highly dynamic and collaborative environments that enhance their ability to successfully recruit and retain world-class talent and inspire productivity, efficiency, creativity, and success. For more information, please visit

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How long do coronaviruses live on surfaces?

One of the most common questions that people search about hashtag#coronavirus is how long it lives on surface. Part of the hashtag#healthcommunication and hashtag#healthliteracy is presenting complicated information in different ways. Kudos to my WebMD colleagues for this inforgraphic

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David Rubenstein Interviews Economic Experts on COVID-19 - YouTube

The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. hosted its fifth virtual event on April 8, 2020. Club President David Rubenstein interviewed economic experts on the state of the economy and the financial forecast. In addition, they discussed the current U.S. and global economy, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Federal Reserve’s response to the pandemic, and the way forward post COVID-19. Additionally, Dr. Kurt Newman provided a medical update on the evolving virus. The interview took place in three segments.

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3 lessons from Children's National Hospital on rapidly setting up drive-thru COVID-19 testing | FierceHealthcare

Just as many schools around the nation began shuttering for the year last month due to the pandemic, top officials at Children's National Hospital were quickly mounting their own response to address COVID-19 concerns among kids.

"We heard from our pediatricians in late February, early March that they were very worried about what they were seeing in the community," said Children's National Chief Operating Officer Kathleen Gorman during a virtual roundtable with FierceHealthcare this week.

Image: Here's a look at the advice Children's National had to offer other hospitals about lessons learned from standing up a drive-thru specimen collection site within one week. (Children's National Health System)

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Women’s Venture Competition - AIM-HI

The AIM-HI Accelerator Fund’s Women’s Venture Competition is a high-profile initiative among women-led oncology start-up companies or venture teams aspiring to soon establish such firms, in which all participants are offered access to intensive accelerator boot-camp programming by one of the world’s most renowned women entrepreneur accelerator and business training service providers, Springboard Enterprises, and—subject to due diligence and negotiation—the winning business will receive up to $300,000 in AIM-HI investment.

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Pediatric Medical Device Pitch Competition Pivots to Virtual Format Amid COVID-19 Crisis · BioBuzz

COVID-19 wasn’t about to stop the important work being done to meet the large unmet need for pediatric medical devices among patients younger than 18. NCC-PDI’s annual “Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!” pitch competition moved to a 100% virtual event format to keep pediatric medical device innovation moving forward while complying with social distancing recommendations that will help to flatten the curve.

In late March, 30 outstanding companies pitched their pediatric device innovations in cardiovascular, orthopedic, spine and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) devices — areas where the need is greatest — to judges in a virtual meeting room setting.


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Will JPM21 be safe to attend? Plus: Layoffs at Sage and a deal brokered over Zoom

Just three months ago, thousands of biotech types blotted out the streets of San Francisco for the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, four days of crowded rooms, overstuffed bars, and double-booked meetings. Today, with the coronavirus forcing the industry to interact via videoconference, that kind of physical proximity is difficult to imagine. And it might still be unsafe by the time JPM 2021 rolls around.

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The DMV region's life sciences sector jumped into the fight against COVID-19. Here's why it could move quickly - Baltimore

A new coronavirus was spreading in the U.S., and with social distancing orders going into place, talk immediately turned to finding a treatment that could stop the spread. In Maryland, companies jumped into action. Work began on a vaccine at Gaithersburg-based Novavax, and the company partnered with Emergent Biosolutions on initial development and manufacturing. Gaithersburg’s Altimmune is also developing a vaccine, and announced plans last week for a preclinical testing collaboration with the University of Alabama Birmingham.

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MD National Capital Region Economic Development Alliance Press Release — MCEDC

Rockville, Md. — In a greater effort to ensure that the Maryland National Capital Region can emerge as quickly as possible from the expected economic hardships of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) announced today that it has joined with its state peers in the Greater Washington metropolitan area to form a regional alliance to support an economic recovery.

A Joint Statement of collaboration formalizing the Maryland National Capital Region Economic Development Alliance (MNCREDA) was signed virtually by the leaders of the economic development organizations representing six counties. The Joint Statement document and a photo of its virtual signing are attached.


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Coronavirus updates: Nursing homes surge in deaths, Italy daily death toll

Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Shiller warns a pandemic of fear could tip the economy into an undeserved depression.

Shiller, an expert in how our emotions drive financial decisions, finds the sheer volume of chatter surrounding depression risks due to the coronavirus could severely hurt the economy.


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These 8 maps show the massive drop in smog caused by the coronavirus

As streets have emptied of traffic during the coronavirus crisis and airlines have cut flights, the changes have temporarily helped another public health crisis—air pollution. In the Northeastern U.S., nitrogen dioxide pollution (the air pollution caused by internal combustion engines burning fossil fuels) fell 30% in March as lockdowns began. Los Angeles’s usual smog has nearly disappeared. The same pattern happened earlier in China and Italy as mobility slowed, factories shut down, and hazy skies cleared.

Image: These maps show the air pollution levels in late March 2019 and the late March 2020. Map: courtesy Descartes Labs

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The 6-feet office is designed for work after COVID-19

It’s hard to imagine now—as most of us are reading this in quarantine, with our feet propped on Costco boxes of spaghetti noodles—but we will one day have to go back to our offices. COVID-19 won’t be eradicated, and not everyone will be immune. But we’ll still be expected to sit at a desk and work. So how will work…work?

Image: courtesy Cushman & Wakefield

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'We need an army': Hiring of coronavirus trackers is likely set to soar

K.J. Seung is surprised to be hiring and training new workers in Boston.

His public health nonprofit, Partners in Health, specializes in helping the poorest people in developing nations — tracking down contacts of Ebola patients in Liberia and Sierra Leone; running child health and HIV clinics in Haiti; and operating tuberculosis control programs in Peru. But now it is advertising for 500 people to help do what’s known as contact tracing to try to control Covid-19 in Massachusetts.

Image: Riders on the New York City subway last week wear personal protective equipment. JOHN MINCHILLO/AP

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The "Newest Normal"​: The Six Pivots for Economic, Skills, Investment-Resilient Strategies | LinkedIn

First went the energy sector, second the stock-market, then the health-pandemic outbreak, soon flood and storm season return. These persistent shock waves of challenges and disasters do not allow for economies, companies, institutions nor individuals to absorb much less pause operationally, financially, nor emotionally. The "New Normal" is survival - not of the fittest but of those able to pivot their strategies and visions the fastest. Here are six economic, skill, and investment resilient strategies for the 21st Century Pivot. (And yes, you and your team have little time to conduct the typical whiteboard session, report preparation, spreadsheet development because The Pivot is now!)

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VA 30 Day Fund - Home

The COVID-19 crisis has put millions of small business jobs at risk. These small businesses are experiencing a near-fatal cash crunch as they struggle to keep their doors open and jobs intact. These next few critical weeks will impact millions of jobs.

The non-profit Virginia 30 Day Fund provides forgivable loans for Virginia-based small businesses. The forgivable loan is intended to provide immediate financial assistance (within maximum three days) to meet payroll, preserve healthcare coverage for employees and save jobs while they await recently approved federal funding.

The Virginia 30 Day Fund is designed to be quick, easy, and free of red tape, as small business owners work to keep employees on board in the near term. All we ask in return: if you can, pay it forward.

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Danaher raises $825M to pay down debts, days after closing acquisition of GE's biopharma business - Washington Business Journal

Danaher Corp. (NYSE: DHR), the massive D.C. conglomerate of industrial and commercial manufacturers, said Wednesday it has raised $753.7 million euros, or the equivalent of $825.3 million, through the issuance of new shares and will use proceeds to pay off debts, according to a Securities and Exchange commission filing.

The raise was disclosed just days after Danaher finally closed its $21.4 billion acquisition of the biopharma business of General Electric Co.’s life sciences division. Danaher announced its intent to purchase the business in February 2019, and the deal necessitated regulatory approvals in several countries and a substantial stock sale to finance the acquisition.

Image: Danaher Corp. closed its $21.4 billion acquisition of GE's biopharma business March 31. IGOR GOLOVNIOV

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NIH begins study to quantify undetected cases of coronavirus infection | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

A new study has begun recruiting at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, to determine how many adults in the United States without a confirmed history of infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), have antibodies to the virus. The presence of antibodies in the blood indicates a prior infection. In this “serosurvey,” researchers will collect and analyze blood samples from as many as 10,000 volunteers to provide critical data for epidemiological models. The results will help illuminate the extent to which the novel coronavirus has spread undetected in the United States and provide insights into which communities and populations are most affected.

Image: Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (blue) infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (yellow), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. NIAID

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6 Ways To Doom Your Startup Despite A Great Solution - Startup Professionals Musings

As an entrepreneur mentor and startup investor, I see with sadness the 50 to 90 percent that fail. If you ask them for a reason, most will insist that they couldn’t get funding, or they ran out of money too early. But I’m not convinced that it’s as simple as that. Many are just not facing the reality that their passion had a critical business flaw.


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8 Tips for Running a Startup Like a True Leader

Everybody thinks they’re a leader, but most are far from it. Successful startups, at all levels, depend on leadership and the ability of a few to organize both day-to-day and long-term goals. On the face of it, this sounds simple, but the reality is that not everyone is cut out to lead and to run a successful startup. It requires a certain mindset and armory of skills. These eight tips can help you lead your team.

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Good Time to Invest in Health Care in China: Qiming Venture Partners - Bloomberg

Gary Rieschel, founding managing partner at Qiming Venture Partners, one of China’s most prominent venture capital firms, discusses the opportunities he sees in the market. Qiming has closed a new $1.1 billion fund, even as uncertainties around Covid-19 depress startup funding. Rieschel speaks with Selina Wang and Rishaad Salamat on "Bloomberg Markets: China Open." (Source: Bloomberg)


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We Need Imagination Now More Than Ever

The idea of “crisis management” requires no explanation right now. Something unexpected and significant happens, and our first instincts are to defend against — and later to understand and manage — the disturbance to the status quo. The crisis is an unpredictable enemy to be tamed for the purpose of restoring normality.

But we may not be able to return to our familiar pre-crisis reality. Pandemics, wars, and other social crises often create new attitudes, needs, and behaviors, which need to be managed. We believe imagination — the capacity to create, evolve, and exploit mental models of things or situations that don’t yet exist — is the crucial factor in seizing and creating new opportunities, and finding new paths to growth.

Image: Illustration by Kirsten Ulve

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We should stop categorizing careers as academic vs. nonacademic (opinion)

About a year ago, I made a career transition into professional and academic development support for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. I have found the work immensely fulfilling, and as with any other new position, I spent quite a bit of time in my first several months trying to catch myself up to speed on the lingo of the profession.

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