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Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 04:30pm - 07:30pm

Join us on March 20 at Growlers for another BioBuzz Happy Hour

Join our sponsors, BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI) and the Johns Hopkins University Center for Biotechnology Education, along with many others from our local biotech industry at another exciting BioBuzz event on March 20 from 4:30 - 7 p.m. in Gaithersburg. This month, we're having our event a week early to accommodate BioBuzzers with kids in Montgomery County Public School system who will be on spring break the next week. We're also holding the March BioBuzz event at a new location, Growlers in Old Towne Gaithersburg. We're excited to see all of you soon, so please register today!

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As part of the Wyle-led team, Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] has been selected by NASA's Johnson Space Center to provide biomedical, medical and health services in support of all human spaceflight programs. These services under the Human Health and Performance Contract (HHPC) monitor astronaut health and enable bioastronautics research that benefits life on Earth.

The potential contract value to Lockheed Martin is about $250 million over the expected 10-year life of the contract. Lockheed Martin is responsible for flight hardware development, facilitation of life sciences research conducted on the International Space Station (ISS), human factors engineering to optimize tools and experiments for astronauts in zero gravity, radiation analysis, space food development, flight/ground crew training, and life sciences data archival.

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MedImmune's Gaithersburg headquarters will gain 300 new jobs under a broader U.S. consolidation by parent company AstraZeneca PLC, the companies announced Monday.

The move follows management changes at both companies. Pascal Soriot was named AstraZeneca CEO in August, and early this year carried out a leadership shuffle that included installing Bahija Jallal as MedImmune's new chief. She replaces Peter Greenleaf, who is heading AZ's Latin American unit.

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Roughly three years after announcing that he was expanding his California bioscience incubator to San Antonio, InCube Labs founder Mir Imran may wish he had made the move even sooner.

InCube has found willing investors, as well as corporate and community support, in the nation’s seventh largest city. That has allowed the organization to adjust its expectations and strategies in a way that could prove to be hugely beneficial for the life sciences entity and for San Antonio long-term.

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In laboratory studies, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have found that stem cells from a patient’s own fat may have the potential to deliver new treatments directly into the brain after the surgical removal of a glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of brain tumor.

The investigators say so-called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have an unexplained ability to seek out damaged cells, such as those involved in cancer, and may provide clinicians a new tool for accessing difficult-to-reach parts of the brain where cancer cells can hide and proliferate anew. The researchers say harvesting MSCs from fat is less invasive and less expensive than getting them from bone marrow, a more commonly studied method.

Results of the Johns Hopkins proof-of-principle study are described online in the journal PLOS ONE.

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Every week we give you a countdown of the top five to 10 companies or organizations from one of our Lists publishing in our Friday paper. This week I present to you the top five “Venture capital firms investing the most in Maryland companies,” ranked by total amount invested in Maryland companies in 2012. This information was provided to us by the folks at MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association based on data from Thomson Reuters.

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Known for its ancient castles and seaside mosques, the Turkish city of Trabzon is looking to raise its profile on a new  front—biotechnology.

For inspiration on expanding the Trapzon region’s high-tech and environmental-based industry, a foreign delegation arrived in Baltimore on Tuesday to meet with the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development.

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New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm that's invested some $13 billion in up-and-coming companies, has launched a brand-new design mentorship program to fuel innovation in the design industry. Called NEA Studio, the 12-week program will challenge five designers at a time.

Why the focus on design? "When a consumer gets a product, it's usually because of the design of it," said Dayna Grayson, an NEA partner, to Fast Company. "I feel like, if you're really going to design a product and make it inherent at a company, it has to start at a founder level. So if the designer wants to be the founder, why not?"

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At its annual meeting on March 8, the Maryland Business Incubation Association (MBIA) approved applications for membership for two new full incubator programs and one new associate program:  The Harford Business Innovation Center, Betamore, and The Charles County Innovation Center (planning underway)—bringing current membership to 23 business incubators and innovation centers.

MBIA member organizations offer direct support to nearly 450 entrepreneurial ventures throughout the State from a wide variety of sectors.  They foster entrepreneurship and contribute substantially to the Maryland economy through the creation of thousands of jobs and the generation of significant tax revenues.

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Rockville biotech Sequella inc. is looking to raise at least $20 million to advance its lead antibiotic candidate through clinical trials in drug-resistant tuberculosis and the stomach bacteria H. pylori.

If there ever was a time for the company to hit the gas pedal, it’s now. The resurgence of tuberculosis, especially in populous nations such as India and Russia, has brought what was thought of as a 19th century disease back into the spotlight. And the rise of multiple-drug-resistant strains of TB has made that fear very real in the mind of the U.S. consumer.

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As advances in genomics, molecular analysis, and data processing have propelled disease research forward, scientists and drug developers still face a formidable challenge: recruiting patients for their studies.

Genetic Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for people with rare genetic disorders, is launching a new site called Reg4All that aims to entice more patients into clinical trials and disease research by giving them unprecedented privacy controls and greater say in how their data is used for research.

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People looking to start a small business in Montgomery County can have some of their questions answered at a series of seminars focusing on small business in Germantown.

Three seminars will be held between March, April and May by Score DC, a chapter of the U.S. Service Corps and Retired Executives, and will have mentors on hand to discuss successful business practices.

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The following funding opportunity announcements from the NHLBI or other components of the National Institutes of Health, might be of interest:

Request for Applications (RFAs): 

  • RFA-OD-13-004: Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program (Si2)
    This FOA solicits applications for the Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program for the purpose of supporting the research activities during the early stage careers of independent clinical researchers. 
  • RFA-RM-12-022: NIH Director's Biomedical Research Workforce Innovation Award: Broadening Experiences
    The purpose of this FOA is to seek, identify and support bold and innovative approaches to broaden graduate and postdoctoral training, such that training programs reflect the range of career options that trainees (regardless of funding source) ultimately may pursue and that are required for a robust biomedical, behavioral, social and clinical research enterprise. Collaborations with non-academic partners are encouraged to ensure that experts from a broad spectrum of research and research-related careers contribute to coursework, rotations, internships or other forms of exposure. This program will establish a new paradigm for graduate and postdoctoral training; awardee institutions will work together to define needs and share best practices.
  • RFA-RM-13-001: Planning Grants for the NIH Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative (P20)
    The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to encourage institutions with expertise and innovative strategies for developing research and mentoring opportunities for undergraduate students from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research to submit applications for 6 month planning grants for the NIH Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) initiative. The BUILD initiative aims to increase the diversity of the NIH-funded workforce by supporting collaborative programs that include novel approaches for enhancing undergraduate education, training, and mentorship, as well as infrastructure support and faculty development to facilitate those approaches.
  • RFA-RM-13-002: Planning Grants for the NIH National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) (P20)
    The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to encourage organizations with experience in the mentorship of individuals underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce to submit planning grant applications for the NIH National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN). The NRMN will establish a nationwide consortium to provide networking and mentorship experiences for individuals from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research from the undergraduate to junior faculty level.

Program Announcement (PA): 

  • PAR-13-137: Bioengineering Research Grants (BRG) (R01)
    The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement is to encourage collaborations between the life and physical sciences that: 1) apply a multidisciplinary bioengineering approach to the solution of a biomedical problem; and 2) integrate, optimize, validate, translate or otherwise accelerate the adoption of promising tools, methods and techniques for a specific research or clinical problem in basic, translational, or clinical science and practice. An application may propose design-directed, developmental, discovery-driven, or hypothesis-driven research and is appropriate for small teams applying an integrative approach that can increase our understanding of and solve problems in biological, clinical or translational science.

Please note that most links to RFAs, PAs, and Guide Notices will take you to the NIH Web site. RFPs will take you to FedBizOpps. Links to RFPs will not work past their proposal receipt date. Archived versions of RFPs posted on FedBizOpps can be found on the FedBizOpps site using the FedBizOpps search function. Under “Document to Search,” select Archived Documents.