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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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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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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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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.

 

Dr Fauci We need to put our foot on the accelerator to see an end to COVID 19 pandemic fox8 com

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.

Image: https://fox8.com

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Like many states across the nation, Maryland is preparing for a possible surge of COVID-19 patients.  Johns Hopkins is working with the state and the University of Maryland to erect an Alternate Care Site at the Baltimore Convention Center (ACS BCC). The ACS BCC is planned to open by mid-April and is intended to be used as a post-acute treatment facility.

Johns Hopkins is working on the recruitment, contracting, and credentialing of temporary Physicians and Advanced Practitioners. Compensation will be provided. We are reaching out to you, as a leader within your organization, in hopes that you might forward this to interested parties who may be willing to temporarily assist in treating patients recovering from COVID-19. Please see the attached job posting for details.

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Are you a biohealth start-up in Maryland, DC or Virginia seeking feedback on your biohealth business idea, pitch deck, or commercialization plan? Schedule your feedback session with BHI EIRs through video conference on one of the following dates: 4/22, 5/20. (45 minute blocks of time beginning at 9:00 in the morning.)

Pre-registration is required; sign up here:

For questions/more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 
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BioHealth Capital Region COVID19 Resources:

In these uncertain times, we are proud to have so many BioHealth Capital Region federal, state, local and private sector organizations focused on combatting COVID19.  Please use these links to stay abreast of the last news and resources available for your business.

District of Columbia 

Maryland

Montgomery County, MD

Virginia

US Small Business Administration 

Volunteers

 
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Sean M. Kirk, Executive Vice President, Manufacturing and Technical Operations at Emergent BioSolutions joins Rich Bendis to discuss the COVID-19 Health Crisis, Emergent’s Capabilities in Manufacturing in the BioHealth Capital Region and Beyond

Mr. Kirk joined Emergent BioSolutions in 2003 and has served as executive vice president, manufacturing and technical operations since April 2019. Prior to this position, Mr. Kirk has held various senior leadership roles including senior vice president, manufacturing operations and contract development and manufacturing operations (CDMO) business unit lead from April 2017 to March 2019, senior vice president, biodefense operations from November 2015 to March 2017, senior vice president, biosciences operations from February 2014 to November 2015 and senior vice president, biodefense vaccines and therapeutics development from March 2012 to February 2014. Mr. Kirk also served in multiple roles of increasing responsibility at Emergent’s manufacturing operations site in Lansing, Michigan.

Before joining Emergent, Mr. Kirk worked at Merial, a multinational animal health company, serving in various positions from 1996 to 2001. Mr. Kirk received both an M.B.A. and B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Georgia.

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New Members Continue GSK and NEA’s commitment to the BHI mission and the BioHealth Capital Region

ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, April 6, 2020 The Board of Directors of BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI) unanimously approved the appointments of two new board members, Rebecca Farkas, PhD, Director, External R&D, Scientific Collaborations at GSK, and Sara Nayeem, M.D., Partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA). BHI’s leadership also thanked outgoing Board of Directors members Rip Ballou of GSK and David Mott of NEA for their contributions to the organization and friendship of many years.

 “I am honored to welcome both Rebecca and Sara to our Board of Directors,” said Richard Bendis, BHI President and CEO. “They both bring a combination of experience and fresh vision to our already robust collection of industry leaders. We are excited to to work with them to help grow the BioHealth Capital Region industry cluster.”

Immunomic Therapeutics builds coronavirus vaccine plots IPO Washington Business Journal

Immunomic Therapeutics Inc. is pivoting, as many are, in this new era to work on a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. But it’s also pursuing goals that would be considered ambitious even before the world changed: It’s closing in on a $50 million raise, advancing its brain cancer program — and positioning itself for an initial public offering.

The Rockville vaccine maker secured the first $10 million of this latest fundraising round at the end of January from Korean investment group HLB, and it expects to close on another $40 million-plus in the next couple of weeks, said Bill Hearl, founder and CEO of ITI. That capital would support the immuno-oncology company’s therapy for glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, now heading into a phase 2 clinical trial after a successful phase 1 study that extended the typical 14- to 16-month median survival rate to 41 months.

Image: Bill Hearl is CEO and founder of Immunomic Therapeutics in Rockville. COURTESY IMMUNOMIC THERAPEUTICS

When working remotely constant communication is key to more action Washington Business Journal

Not long ago, working from home was an option for some of us.

Today, it’s the norm for nearly all of us. 

Unless your job absolutely requires you to be on the front lines, the coronavirus pandemic has caused us all to set up home offices and social distance ourselves from coworkers and clients alike. 

That shift has likely carried some stumbling blocks, something even the most seasoned remote worker can attest to.

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GSK AstraZeneca in talks for joint U K COVID 19 diagnostics project Bloomberg FierceBiotech

GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca are considering forming a joint laboratory to help the U.K. government stretch and expand its supplies for COVID-19 diagnostic tests, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Even though diagnostics are not their core efforts, the plan is for the two Big Pharmas to test a range of different reagents, chemical mixtures and other materials for new ways to help detect the spreading novel coronavirus. Successes would be provided to other manufacturers or the U.K.’s National Health Service.

Image: Global supplies of testing reagents and other materials, including swabs, have been faced with overwhelming demand in recent weeks. (NIAID - Rocky Mountain Laboratories)

On April 3rd, 2020, DLA Piper and BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI) presented an overview of the key provisions for BioHealth Capital Region Life Sciences companies in the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act stimulus package via webinar.

The hour-long review and discussion was recorded and is NOW AVAILABLE to access online.