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When it came time to generate a little “buzz” for its latest initiative – Deals on Wheels – the Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer office (JHTT) turned to the popular BioBuzz biotechnology industry happy hour series in Montgomery County. And they weren’t disappointed… January’s happy hour drew more than 100 biotech industry professionals who wanted to learn more about the Deals on Wheels program and have an opportunity to network with colleagues.

Deals on Wheels is an innovative program designed to bridge the geographical gap between Johns Hopkins University’s researchers in Baltimore and biotech companies and entrepreneurs in Montgomery County. Through Deals on Wheels, technology companies and entrepreneurs in Montgomery County will have the opportunity to connect one-on-one with Johns Hopkins representatives to discover potential partnership opportunities that include, licensing agreements, start-ups, core facilities, sponsored research, material transfer agreements, research collaborations, and clinical trials.

Edward M. Rudnic, president and CEO of Advancis Pharmaceutical Corp. will speak at the upcoming biotechnology industry annual convention at the Washington Convention Center this weekend.

A Gaithersburg biotech that’s developing regenerative therapies for wound care has continued to broaden its scope by acquiring a North Carolina company focused on stem cell treatments for stroke and other conditions.

In an all-stock transaction, publicly traded Cytomedix agreed last week to pay $16 million — and up to $40 million, if certain milestones are achieved — for privately held Aldagen of Durham, N.C. As part of the deal, Aldagen investors bought $5 million of Cytomedix common stock in a private placement.

TEDCO

The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) announced the creation of the Maryland Entrepreneurs Resource List (MERL), a listing of Maryland entrepreneurs available to take on a management role with a start-up company within the next 18 months or those interested in mentoring start-up companies. Compiled with the goal of fostering entrepreneurial activity in the State, MERL serves as a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs interested in joining a start-up opportunity or entrepreneurs willing to provide advice and guidance on a pro bono basis. TEDCO is looking to grow the list, which already includes entrepreneurs in the areas of biotechnology, chemistry, medical devices, network and wireless solutions, physics, engineering and software.

"The Maryland Entrepreneurs Resource List will be a tremendous asset for this community as it will nurture new entrepreneurs and start-up companies," said Robert Rosenbaum, president and executive director of TEDCO. "Maryland is fortunate to have a rich network of entrepreneurs spanning various disciplines and industries, and now these individuals have an invaluable resource when looking for guidance, direction and opportunity. With Governor O'Malley's proposed Maryland Innovation Initiative slated to provide additional and much-needed funding to entrepreneurs, we hope this unique and credible list will further connect the entrepreneur community and facilitate growth for an innovation-driven economy."

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Net income at United Therapeutics Corp.    surged more than four-fold in its latest quarter as sales rose and the Silver Spring pharmaceutical firm curbed expenses.

United Therapeutics (NASDAQ: UTHR) maintained the sales growth momentum of its line-up of cardiopulmonary hypertension medicines in the fourth quarter. Total revenue increased 19 percent to $195.2 million.

Derek Gabbard, CEO of Lookingglass Cyber Solutions in Canton. Gabbard's company recently raised $5 million from investors. (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun / February 2, 2012)

Derek Gabbard wasn't dreaming of California when he sought to raise investment capital for his Baltimore-based cybersecurity firm.

But the CEO of Lookingglass Cyber Solutions lucked out with a connection to venture capitalists in the state that dwarfs all others in terms of venture capital. With a San Francisco investment firm taking the lead on the investment and a Maryland firm following, Gabbard recently raised $5 million.

Such deals, where Mid-Atlantic technology companies straddle both coasts for investors, have been cropping up lately, though the dynamics underlying them vary. Leaders of local companies hunting for early-stage financing have made pilgrimages to California and either returned with a big check — or advice to move to that state or New York City if they want to build their businesses.

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About three times each week, an enterprising researcher at theUniversity of Maryland, College Park, takes a step toward patenting an invention. Each year, that results in the creation of about five new high-tech firms, the kinds of businesses often credited with creating good jobs.

That's a good start, but the school's goal is to double that rate in the next few years. With a small but smartly focused investment by the state, we can get there — and all Marylanders can benefit.

Gov.Martin O'Malley's proposed Maryland Innovation Initiative offers a significant advance to our state's tech-based economic development. It commits $6 million to boost commercialization of university research and creates incentives for statewide collaborations that will strengthen our high-tech sector. Additionally, through tax credits, InvestMaryland will raise $70 million to replenish the state's venture capital fund. This gives vital support to start-up firms.

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Hopkins has launched the China STEM program in partnership with Nanjing University, reports a Johns Hopkins University publication, The News-Letter.

Beginning in the summer of 2012, this eight-week long summer program will take place at the Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, and at Peking University in Beijing.

First proposed in 2009, the program will be led by program director Dr. Ninping Yu and be open to Hopkins students, students from other universities, and professionals.

Montgomery County Community College

When you think of artists in the Philadelphia suburbs, scenic Bucks County comes to mind.

Hoping to change that perception and give Montgomery County a leg up as a haven for artists and the arts, the Creative Montco Initiative named Karen Stout, president of Montgomery County Community College, as its leader.

“We’re trying to represent the entirety of Montgomery County,” said Laura Burnham, executive director of Abington Art Center, a member of the Creative Montco Steering Committee. “We were looking for someone who has a broad perspective. Karen really has an amazing expertise and network across the county, both in the business community and the education community and that’s really important to arts and culture.”

Greg Cangialosi (right), Sean Lane (center) and Mike Brenner are looking for up to five companies for their accelerator.

Greg Cangialosi’s new business accelerator will soon be looking for Baltimore’s next crop of startup tech firms.

Cangialosi, who sold Baltimore’s Blue Sky Factory    last year, plans to launch his Locust Point accelerator with business partner Sean Lane, CEO of BTS Corp., by mid-April. Cangialosi said he will then start selecting startup companies for the accelerator.

White House

In 2008, federal agencies obligated $28.4 billion to 1,316 academic institutions for science and engineering activities, according to data from the National Science Foundation. Although this represents a 0.9% increase in current dollars over 2007 levels, it represents a 1.4% decrease in inflation-adjusted 2005 dollars. The Johns Hopkins University (including its Applied Physics Laboratory) continued to be the leading academic recipient of federal S&E obligations, followed by the University of Washington and the campuses of the University of Michigan. Together, the top 20 institutions received 34.4 percent of all federal S&E obligations in 2008.

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Today, President Obama will host the second White House Science Fair celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. The President will also announce key additional steps that the Administration and its partners are taking to prepare 100,000 effective math and science teachers and to meet the urgent need to train one million additional STEM graduates over the next decade.

“When students excel in math and science, they help America compete for the jobs and industries of the future,” said President Obama. “That’s why I’m proud to celebrate outstanding students at the White House Science Fair, and to announce new steps my Administration and its partners are taking to help more young people succeed in these critical subjects."

Maryland

The InvestMaryland program will be investing approximately $47-55M into several venture capital firms by mid-2012.  The Maryland Venture Fund Authority (MVFA) will be hiring a consultant to assist in the evaluation and selection of venture firms based on the selection criteria detailed in the InvestMaryland Program annotated code 6-518 – Selecting Applicants.

To be certified

For venture capital firms seeking to apply for investment funds from the Invest/Maryland Program, you must be Certified.

Certification is defined in the Maryland annotated code 6-518c1-c2 as:

(1)   The applicant must have at the time of application, an equity capitalization, net assets, or written commitments of at least $500,000 in the form of cash or cash equivalents; and

(2)   At least two principals or persons employed to direct the investment of the designated capital of the applicant must have at least 5 years of money management experience in the venture capital or private equity sectors.

No later than 90 days after an application is filed, the Secretary shall either:

(1)   Issue the certification; or

(2)   Refuse to issue the certification and communicate in detail to the applicant the grounds for the refusal.

University of Maryland BioPark

The University of Maryland BioPark announced today that Ablitech, Inc., a biotechnology company developing polymer-based delivery systems for gene silencing, has signed a lease for laboratory space in the BioPark’s BioInnovation Center. With its move to Baltimore, Ablitech joins an impressive line-up of commercial tenants in the BioPark, a biomedical research park on the vibrant academic medical center campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). The BioPark’s community of life science companies and academic research centers is commercializing new drugs, diagnostics and devices and advancing biomedical research.

“After thoroughly researching the best location to continue growing Ablitech, the UM BioPark rose to the top of the list among East Coast locations as our ideal choice for relocating,” said Ken Malone, Ph.D., Ablitech’s Chief Executive Officer. “Located in the heart of West Baltimore City and Maryland’s leading biotechnology cluster and offering flexibility of laboratory and office space in buildings developed by Wexford Science & Technology LLC, the BIoPark offers the best of all worlds for a growing biotech organization.”

Legal

The January 2012 issue of Baltimore magazine recognized three Venable partners as being among the top attorneys in the state.  Venable partners Mike Baader, Kevin Shepherd and Ron Taylor each were highlighted as one of the Top 100 lawyers in the state of Maryland in the SuperLawyers ranking that was published in the magazine.

Technology

The issue is called technology transfer, and it has not been one of Maryland’s strengths.

For all of the state’s success in attracting research dollars to an array of universities and institutions with world-class experts and facilities, it has not matched that success in spinning off commercial ventures from that research to generate jobs and economic growth.

This gap has been of growing concern to leaders in business, academia and government. Now Gov. Martin O’Malley has set out to do something about it, albeit belatedly, and we applaud his effort.

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QIAGEN N.V. (NASDAQ: QGEN) has announced results of operations for the fourth quarter and full-year 2011, making significant progress on strategic initiatives to drive growth and innovation.

Net sales in the fourth quarter advanced 17% (+17% at constant exchange rates, or CER) to $334.4 million from the fourth quarter of 2010. Adjusted operating income in the quarter grew 16% to $95.6 million compared to the fourth quarter of 2010 as the adjusted operating income margin was steady at 29% of net sales. Adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) rose to $0.31 in the fourth quarter of 2011 from $0.26 in the same quarter of 2010. Results for the fourth quarter of 2011 included a restructuring charge of $75 million for a project announced in November to enhance productivity by streamlining the organization and freeing up resources for reallocation to strategic initiatives.