accelerating-innovation

It's been almost a decade since the Human Genome Project was completed, yet despite the best efforts of thousands of scientists around the world, hopes for cures for a wide range of diseases remain unfulfilled.

Last fall, a remarkable group of leaders came together to find new ways of overcoming the barriers that have prevented more progress in medical research. A report from the Milken Institute, released today, Accelerating Innovation in the Bioscience Revolution, recaps the discussions from that gathering – the 2011 Milken Institute Lake Tahoe Retreat.

BIO Boston

BIO International Convention organizers are hoping for the usual surge in attendance provided by the Boston biotech community at the event scheduled for June 18-21 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. While it may not reach the 22,000 level achieved at the last Boston BIO in 2007, it should surpass the 15,600 who came to last year's event in Washington, D.C. Exhibitors will occupy more than 215,000 sq. ft of exhibit space.

Attendance for the event has been off its historic highs since the Atlanta event in 2009 which drew about 14,000. Organizers attribute the drop that year to the H1N1 influenza epidemic which surfaced a few weeks before the convention and to the economic downturn. Attendance has been slowly recovering since 2009.

Pharma Investing

Pharma corporate venture was back in the biotech news today with the release of Burrill & Company’s June 2012 report.  An interesting article by Vinay Singh evaluated the impact of Pharma corporate venture capital (CVC) investing, and the key takeaway is that CVC-backed companies have a higher rate of overall success than those without their involvement.

While a similar takeway has been published before by Windhover’s StartUp about a year ago, these data suggests a fairly robust effect from a large dataset.  The analysis includes 2907 therapeutics companies that raised venture capital dollars between 2000-2010 across 5100 rounds of financing.  Corporate VCs were investors about 10% of companies, and this pool of 286 companies had what appears to be a markedly higher hit rate: a ~60% higher rate of licensing deals, M&As and IPOs. 

Laurie Boyer

Laurie Boyer, president of the Maryland Economic Development Association, is the new executive director of Rockville Economic Development Inc.

Boyer has more than 15 years of government and economic development experience, according to a statement from REDI.

She served more than five years as director of the Frederick County Office of Economic Development and earned her certified economic developer designation from the International Economic Development Council in 2006.

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Only a few companies have ever been successful enough to call themselves Big Biotechs. If boards and shareholders lack vision and guts, we’ll look back in few years and wonder why the Big Biotechs went extinct.

The group of Big Biotechs includes companies like Amgen, Gilead Sciences, Biogen Idec, and Celgene. They grew from scrappy venture-backed startups with a dream into big, independent, profitable, diversified enterprises. They have enduring ability to create new jobs and new medicines. They are like ballasts in a stormy industry.

Notre Dame

Following on the heels of two hospitals, the University of Notre Dame has become the first university to strike a collaboration with Cleveland Clinic aimed at commercializing medical innovations from its faculty and researchers.

Through the collaboration, Cleveland Clinic Innovations will essentially do for Notre Dame what it does for the Clinic — help turn employee ideas into marketable products that generate financial returns for the organization.

Osiris

Osiris Therapeutics Inc. in Columbia has become the world’s first company to receive market approval for a manufactured stem cell product.

Health Canada, the country’s department responsible for overseeing pharmaceuticals, approved for commercial sale Osiris’ Prochymal, which uses stem cells from healthy donors to treat a fatal children’s disease.

“While today marks the first approval of a stem cell drug, now that the door has been opened, it will surely not be the last,” Osiris CEO C. Randal Mills said.

emergent-logo

Rockville-based Emergent BioSolutions Inc. , which makes the only vaccine licensed by the Food and Drug Administration to protect against anthrax infection, has received FDA approval for a new, shorter-dosing schedule.

The new, supplemental biologics license application, follows trials to determine if the company's BioThrax vaccine would be effective with as few as three doses over six months.

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United Therapeutics, which has has greatly expanded their downtown Silver Spring presence as of late, is reportedly set to purchase from the county the parcel located at the corner of Colesville Rd. and Spring Street. The parking garage that current occupies this space abuts an existing UT building, and has been closed for some time due to safety issues. (Surprisingly, it has its own Yelp page. Who uses their limited time on Earth to rate a public parking garage?)

I'm a big fan of the existing United Therapeutics buildings, what with their skybridge and giant external TV's and all. I also like the touch of the ground lights representing individual elements from the periodic table. The planning and construction of the new building could take five years (or more, because construction delays tend to happen around here), so we won't be seeing it anytime soon. Hopefully they will choose to incorporate some street-level retail into their design.

Human Genome

Human Genome Sciences Inc, which has rejected a hostile $13-per-share offer from GlaxoSmithKline, has adopted a short-term stockholder rights plan to fend off such unwanted attention.

Rockville-based Human Genome (NASDAQ: HGSI) said in a statement announcing the plan that it had declared a dividend of one share purchase right for each share of the company's common stock held of record at the close of business on May 29.

jhu-award-winners

When Adam Steele worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), he and two other colleagues invented a technology that Steele believed had commercial potential. But Steele, a physicist, didn’t have a business background. He said he had no idea how to take the technology out of the lab and build a company around it. His colleagues recommend he apply for the JHU Carey Business School INNoVATE program. He did so, and was soon accepted into the program’s Class of 2011.

Now he and fellow INNoVATE student Brenton Knuffman, who is one of the technology’s inventors, are quickly becoming a success story for the program. The duo, who both currently work for the University of Maryland NanoCenter, recently won first-place – and $10,000 – in the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute’s 2012 Business Plan Competition in the Graduate Student, Faculty and Researchers Category.

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“You do a really good job with complex trials.”

We’re lucky to say that we’ve heard this from several clients over the years. But, while we’re glad for the recognition, it made us ask ourselves a key question. What is it that makes a trial complex?

For pharmaceuticals, trials can be relatively simple. A company makes the drug, the drug is administered to the trial patients and the effects are monitored. There are very few moving parts involved. Medical devices, which can be complex machines in and of themselves, will require training and retraining of all parties that are involved with implementation and monitoring of the device– there are numerous moving parts and numerous opportunities to fall out of FDA compliance.

human-genome-sciences

Human Genome Sciences, Inc.oday announced that its Board of Directors, after careful review and consideration with the assistance of the Company's management and financial and legal advisors, has unanimously determined that the unsolicited tender offer from GlaxoSmithKline ("GSK") to acquire all outstanding common shares of HGS for $13.00 per share in cash (the "Offer") is inadequate, undervalues the Company and is not in the best interests of HGS and its stockholders.

Accordingly, the Board recommends that stockholders reject GSK's tender offer and not tender any of their shares to GSK. The basis for the Board's decision is set forth in the Schedule 14D-9 being filed by HGS today with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), which will also be mailed shortly to stockholders.

CapitalConnection

Capital ConnectionTM, one of the nation’s most respected industry conferences, brings together high-growth and innovative technology companies from some of the most noted technology sectors and couples them with top business resources, including one of the largest concentrations of private financing sources of venture and private equity investors in the country.  The event is presented by the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA) and will be held on May 23-24 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

More than 800 attendees from throughout the United States attend each year to connect with other established companies and aspiring entrepreneurs and peers who share a common focus on building, investing, or serving some of the country’s most promising companies. For 25 years, Capital Connection and now TechBUZZ, have brought together a high-powered cross section of the nation’s technology-based, high-growth ecosystem.  Attendees include senior players from across the industry – investors across the continuum of capital, professional advisors, technology product and service firms, and, at the center of it all, innovative entrepreneurs.