BioHealth Innovation
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June 9, 2020


Anthony D. Saleh, Ph.D., CEO of miRecule, joins Rich Bendis on BioTalk

miRecule CEO Anthony D. Saleh, Ph.D. guests on BioTalk to discuss his company, his many roles in startup companies, and being an Entrepreneur in Residence with BHI

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BioHealth Innovation Leading Five Digital RESI Conference Virtual Panels

With the LSN Digital RESI Conference approaching quickly, Event Gold Sponsor, BioHealth Innovation (BHI), is stepping up to help lead five panels with some heavy hitters from the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) on June 8-10, 2020.

Great Investment Opportunities in the BioHealth Capital Region

While we adjust to a COVID-19 world, there continue to be great investment opportunities in the BioHealth Capital Region. Join BHCR CEOs as they make short introductions about themselves and companies. Join CEOs from American Gene Technologies International Inc., miRecule, Adaptive Phage, Healion Bio, KaloCyte, Emocha, Tailored Therapeutics, Inc., DEKA, and Ashvattha Therapeutics, Inc.

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Sign Up Now - June EIR Feedback Session

Are you a start-up in Maryland, DC or Virginia seeking feedback on your biohealth business idea, pitch deck, or commercialization plan? Schedule your complimentary virtual feedback session with BHI Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and Analysts on one of the following dates: 6/24, 7/22, 8/26. (45 minute blocks of time beginning at 9:00 in the morning. Pre-registration is required; sign up For questions/more information, contact BHI

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Emergent BioSolutions will produce COVID-19 vaccines in Baltimore, Rockville under $628 million federal contract - Baltimore Sun

Emergent BioSolutions Inc. will help produce COVID-19 vaccines in Baltimore and Rockville under a federal contract.

Gaithersburg-based Emergent said Tuesday it will manufacture vaccines under an existing contract with a division of U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, assisting government efforts to fast-track the vaccine. Emergent has long worked with the federal health agency’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

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Novavax awarded $60M Department of Defense contract for Covid-19 vaccine - Washington Business Journal

Novavax Inc. just scored even more support for its coronavirus vaccine program.

The Gaithersburg company said late Thursday it won a Department of Defense contract worth up to $60 million to help manufacture its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, NVX‑CoV2373. The funding, from the Defense Health Program, would back the production of multiple pieces of the vaccine, to be manufactured in the U.S., according to Novavax’s (NASDAQ: NVAX) announcement.

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Virginia Based AMPEL BioSolutions’ Technology Predicts Severity of Illness in COVID19 Patients and Identifies Treatments

Charlottesville, Virginia. June 9, 2020. AMPEL BioSolutions announces genomic analysis and findings that could improve treatment of COVID19 patients with approved drugs such as Embrel and Stelara. Published on bioRxiv as a preprint, the study reveals a gene-based test that will be able to determine those patients who may progress to severe illness with increased likelihood of morbidity. In addition, AMPEL’s CovGENE approach identifies FDA-approved drugs that may be appropriately repositioned to interfere with mechanisms that cause lung damage in severe COVID19 patients. The paper describes gene expression measured in three body compartments (lung, airway and blood) and integrates information from the blood and lung for a “whole body” understanding of the effects of SARS-CoV2 virus.

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AstraZeneca lays out plans to produce 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine

The drug giant AstraZeneca said Thursday that it has found partners to manufacture and distribute 2 billion doses of the experimental Covid-19 vaccine created by Oxford University, inking a series of deals with non-government organizations and another manufacturer.


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AstraZeneca Approaches Gilead About Potential Merger

AstraZeneca Plc has made a preliminary approach to rival drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc. about a potential merger, according to people familiar with the matter, in what would be the biggest health-care deal on record.

The U.K.-based firm informally contacted Gilead last month to gauge its interest in a possible tie-up, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private. AstraZeneca didn’t specify terms for any transaction, they said. While Gilead has discussed the idea with advisers, no decisions have been made on how to proceed and the companies aren’t in formal talks, the people added.

Image: Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

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Altimmune Launches Clinical Trial for COVID-19 Vaccine for the Treatment of Patients with Early SARS-CoV-2 infection - Biobuzz Directory

GAITHERSBURG, MD, June 1, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Altimmune, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALT), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the Company to proceed with a clinical trial of T-COVID, an investigational agent for the treatment of early COVID-19. Patient enrollment in the Phase 1/2 clinical trial is expected to commence in June, with data readout anticipated in Q4 2020.

T-COVID is based on the same replication-deficient adenovirus 5 (RD-Ad5) vector technology behind Altimmune’s intranasal vaccine candidates, which include NasoVAX for influenza, NasoShield for anthrax, and AdCOVID for COVID-19, but it acts through a different mechanism. In preclinical studies sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, intranasal administration of RD-Ad5 vectors modulated the innate immune response to lethal challenge with a respiratory virus in mice and protected them from death. The immunomodulatory effects resulted in significantly decreased cellular inflammation and lower concentrations of IL-6 and other inflammatory cytokines in the lungs of treated animals compared to controls.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Progress from 14 BioHealth Capital Region Organizations - BioHealth Capital Region - BioBuzz

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 7, 2020. As updates are discovered and advancements are announced regarding the work below, details will be published for accuracy.

As the U.S. continues to find its way through a tough fight against this global pandemic, a number of BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) biotech companies are making significant contributions to stem the COVID-19 pandemic. With people across the U.S. and the world making sacrifices to flatten the curve — along with nurses, doctors and first responders who stand heroically at the front lines — life science companies in our region are doing everything in their power to make COVID-19 vaccine progress with celerity, safety and efficacy top-of-mind.

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U.S. gives AstraZeneca $1 billion for COVID-19 vaccine candidate -

May 21 (UPI) -- European pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Thursday it has received more than $1 billion from the U.S. government to develop its coronavirus vaccine candidate.

The drugmaker has partnered with the University of Oxford on its "AZD1222" vaccine, one of several candidates worldwide in clinical trials.

The funding came from the the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Image: AstraZeneca plans at least 400 million doses and has lined up manufacturing capacity for one billion doses with first deliveries set for September. File Photo by Drago Prvulovic/EPA

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AstraZeneca Ranked Most Inventive, Roche Most Innovative

AstraZeneca (AZN) was ranked the most the most inventive pharmaceutical company for the second year in a row by IDEA Pharma's Invention and Innovation Index for 2020. Meanwhile, Roche (RHHBY) jumped seven places from its 2019 ranking to capture the top spot in the list of most innovative pharma firms.

IDEA is an international consulting firm that works with pharma companies to position their products in the early phase to maximize market success and consult on innovation. The firm bases its Innovation Index on the answer to the following question: "If two companies had the same molecule, who would be more successful with it?" It also considers their ability to bring products from phases 1 and 2 to market and commercialize them successfully, according to CEO Mike Rea.

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CEOs, Academics Step Out to Fill National Leadership Void – Maryland Matters

Amid a wrenching series of crises that have riven the nation, particularly over matters of race and law enforcement, corporate leaders throughout Maryland have voiced support for the social justice movement that has become more urgent and grown after the death of George Floyd.

Over the last few days, corporate CEO’s, university leaders and others have acknowledged the pain that Americans of all stripes are experiencing, and have pledged to be part of the solution.

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NodThera Announces Close of $55 Million Series B Financing

Financing round led by Novo Ventures and includes new investors Cowen Healthcare Investments and Sanofi Ventures, as well as existing investors 5AM Ventures, F-Prime Capital, Sofinnova Partners and founding investor Epidarex Capital

Proceeds to support advancement of pipeline of small molecule NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors, including continued progression of NT-0167 through clinical development

CAMBRIDGE, UK, BOSTON & SEATTLE – June 3, 2020 – NodThera, a clinical stage biotechnology company developing a new class of medicines that inhibit the NLRP3 inflammasome to treat diseases driven by chronic inflammation, today announced that it has secured $55 million (£44 million) in a Series B financing. NodThera's lead candidate, NT-0167, is being evaluated in a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers.

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Pfizer Establishes New Program to Support Continued Biotechnology Innovation | Business |

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) today announced the establishment of the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative, through which Pfizer will invest up to $500 million in biotechnology companies to help provide funding and access to Pfizer’s scientific expertise to ensure continuity of the biotechnology companies’ most promising clinical development programs.

“There has never been a more important moment to pursue new collaborations in our industry," said John Young, Pfizer's Chief Business Officer. “The Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative seeks to do just this by injecting crucial capital into biotechnology companies that share our commitment to delivering transformative therapies for patients.”

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Global Deaths Due to Various Causes and COVID-19

Always good to see a new relational perspective. #perspective #thinking #reflection #designthinking #innovationculture

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VCs Cautious of “COVID-19 Contortionists” and Telemedicine “Gold Rush” · BioBuzz

COVID-19 is fundamentally changing how we live, how we do business, and how we approach and deliver our healthcare. In the past 14 weeks, there has been unprecedented growth for a segment of companies who were positioned to meet these rapidly sweeping changes to our lives, while so many others have had to close their doors or are fighting to stay in business. COVID-19 has sparked millions of job losses.


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SARS-CoV-2 Infection Mapped through Respiratory Tract

SARS-CoV-2 is known to infect cells of the respiratory tract. A deeper understanding of which cells support the infection, and to what extent, could lead to insights into disease progression and severity. Scientists at the UNC School of Medicine sought to understand which cells in the airway the virus infects, and how it gets into the lungs in the patients who develop pneumonia. To this end, they have characterized some of the ways in which SARS-CoV-2 infects the nasal cavity and infects and replicates progressively less well in cells lower down the respiratory tract—including the lungs.

Image: SARS-CoV-2 (red) infected ciliated cells in the COVID-19 patient's bronchi. (Takanori Asakura, PhD, UNC School of Medicine)

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Novavax Awarded Department of Defense Contract for COVID-19 Vaccine Nasdaq:NVAX

GAITHERSBURG, Md., June 04, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX), a late-stage biotechnology company developing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, today announced that the company has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) for the manufacturing of NVX‑CoV2373, Novavax’ COVID-19 vaccine candidate. NVX‑CoV2373 consists of a stable, prefusion protein antigen made using its proprietary nanoparticle technology and includes Novavax’ proprietary Matrix‑M™ adjuvant.

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