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The lack of treatment options for COVID-19 patients, potential promise in repurposing drugs, and controversy surrounding the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine have created a storm of questions about the drug’s efficacy that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is ready to answer. To do that, the organization is sponsoring a large randomized, controlled clinical trial to determine whether hydroxychloroquine, given in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin, can prevent hospitalization and death due to COVID-19.

Image: Hydroxychloroquine freebase molecule - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroxychloroquine

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The NCI Board of Scientific Advisors has approved concepts for an RFA and an RFP to support research in serological testing.

The plan presented to BSA May 12 is intended to distribute $306 million in new money the institute received “to develop, validate, improve, and implement serological testing and associated technologies” under the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (P.L. 116-139).

 

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At North Dakota State this semester, I took a course titled “Economics of Entrepreneurship”. It was a deep dive into economic theory with a focus on entrepreneurship. Throughout the course, it surprised me how often I was able to connect anecdotes from sports to the various theories we were learning about. When it came time to write a research paper for the semester, I was able to take an in-depth look at the relation between economic theory and MLB front offices, especially since Billy Beane. Following a few excerpts from what I wrote, I’ll take a look at the Levine-Falvey administration in this context.

 

Council funded grants support local businesses to pivot to PPE emergency response Hans Riemer CouncilmemberHans Riemer Councilmember

ROCKVILLE, Md., May 15, 2020—Supported by a special appropriation by the Council, the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) has awarded 25 local businesses with funds totaling $200,000 for the manufacture of Covid-19-related personal protective equipment (PPE).

Councilmember Hans Riemer initiated the appropriation and partnered with MCEDC to create the Local Production Fund. MCEDC administers the fund and matched the Council’s $100,000 appropriation with $100,000 from their budget.

Image: http://councilmemberriemer.com

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Silicon Valley Super Angel Angel Investor, Dr. Faz Bashi, M.D., joins BioTalk from the West Coast to discuss the Venture Capital, partnerships and staying connected in the age of COVID-19

Dr. Faz Bashi, M.D., has a background in Immunology and Virology from UCSF. Faz is an active member of the LSA screening committee for Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals as well as the Medical Device + Digital Health Screening Committee. He is the Emeritus Board member of the Angel Capital Association (ACA), and Chair of the ACA’s Life Sciences Syndication Group, and Affiliate Partner at Boston Millennia Partners and Lead Venture Investor at Portfolia's FemTech Fund

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As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on both government and business operations, under the authority of executive order, the Maryland Department of Commerce (Commerce) has delayed the application process for the FY21 BIITC until mid-August 2020. BIITC provides an income tax credit equal to 50% (more in certain locations) of an eligible investment in a QMBC up to $250,000 for each QMBC per fiscal year. Total credits issued during the fiscal year cannot exceed the budget amount and are, therefore, issued on a first come basis. The credit is refundable if the investor has no Maryland income tax liability. Please stay tuned to the Commerce website for updates regarding the new application system and dates. 

 
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Are you working with a technology that may be valuable to the fight against COVID-19? BHI has expanded its federal funding assistance program to provide resources to assist early stage companies seeking funding through the NIH, NSF, DOD, MTEC, and BARDA.  BHI also continues to support SBIR and STTR applications (with a win rate that is twice the national average).

To learn how the BioHealth Innovation team can help you advance your technologies, please contact BHI to schedule a conversation.

 
bhi logo

Are you working with a technology that may be valuable to the fight against COVID-19? BHI has expanded its federal funding assistance program to provide resources to assist early stage companies seeking funding through the NIH, NSF, DOD, MTEC, and BARDA.  BHI also continues to support SBIR and STTR applications (with a win rate that is twice the national average).

To learn how the BioHealth Innovation team can help you advance your technologies, please contact BHI to schedule a conversation.

 
Fina Bio Andrew Lees

Rockville, Maryland’s Fina Biosolutions recently was awarded an SBIR grant to develop a genetically detoxified tetanus toxin as a carrier protein for conjugate vaccines.  The NIAID funded grant is for $289,000 and will use a mutant toxin engineered by Dr. Joseph Barbieri of the Medical College of Wisconsin.  FinaBio’s Scientific Director, Andrew Lees, noted “We are very appreciative of the help from BHI in securing this grant which will help us to commercialize a new genetically detoxified vaccine carrier protein that complements our existing conjugate vaccine portfolio.” FinaBio has created an E. coli strain with an oxidative intracellular environment that grows to very high densities and can express soluble disulfide bonded proteins. The mutant tetanus toxin will be produced in this E. coli strain and compared as vaccine carrier protein with the chemically detoxified protein.  Fina Bio received assistance from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in preparing the SBIR grant application through its Federal Funding Assistance program.

 
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Early reports of the COVID-19 pandemic, created an initial widespread impression that children were not severely affected by the virus. This understanding was framed by data from China which showed that less than 1 percent of cases occurred in children younger than 10. However, this consensus is now being challenged by new reports, including one in the New England Journal of Medicine from Wuhan Children's Hospital, which found a pediatric infection rate of more than 12 percent.

 

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About 48 hours after a Seattle woman received the first dose of an experimental vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, scientists in China—not to be outdone—announced that they had regulatory approval to launch an ambitious vaccine trial as well. The Seattle volunteer received a messenger RNA vaccine that Moderna Therapeutics developed to prevent infection with the pandemic virus. The Chinese scientists, representing CanSino Biologics, described their plans to evaluate a recombinant vaccine.

 

UM Ventures Backed Startup Breethe Acquired by Abiomed to Bring Better Solutions to Patients Suffering from Lung Failure UM Ventures

BALTIMORE, May 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Pumas-AI, a University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) startup company, has been granted worldwide, exclusive rights to Lyv, a cutting-edge clinical decision support system designed to help health care professionals personalize treatment trajectories for patients in real-time.

The Lyv platform leverages clinical research and Electronic Health Record (EHR) data from millions of patients to derive algorithms that can personalize health care delivery. Lyv will have modules for anti-infectives, anti-epileptics, anti-coagulants, and anti-cancer that can be used in a hospital setting, and can also incorporate algorithms during new drug development. By personalizing treatment, Lyv can help improve therapeutic success rates and minimize dosing errors.

 

Breethe

Last week, Abiomed acquired Baltimore-based startup Breethe for its innovative respiratory device. Breethe is a startup out of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) that was founded by Bartley P. Griffith, MD, the Thomas E. and Alice Marie Hales Distinguished Professor in Transplant Surgery and director of the cardiac and lung transplant programs at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM).

Image: https://www.umaryland.edu