NCATS

Over the past decade, collaborative research efforts to support the discovery and development of medicines has increased dramatically. Last month, the National Institutes of Health and Eli Lilly and Company announced a new collaboration: they will generate a publicly available resource to profile the effects of thousands of approved and investigational medicines in a variety of advanced disease-relevant testing systems [1]. In-depth knowledge of the biological profiles of these medicines may enable researchers to better predict treatment outcomes, improve drug development, and lead to more specific and effective approaches.

MedImmune

Pharmaceutical giants AstraZeneca PLC and Amgen Inc. just announced a deal to co-develop and co-commercialize five product candidates, all monoclonal antibodies. No surprise here: LLC    – AZ’s Gaithersburg-based biologics arm that specializes in antibody-based products — will be taking on a good deal of the work.

The Maryland biotech took the lead on negotiating the transaction with Amgen and will lead the development of three of the five compounds, President Peter Greenleaf said in an interview Monday afternoon.

BioBeat

Back in the old days of biotech, the business was pretty straightforward. You’d craft your scientific idea, aim a new drug at patients in need, charm investors to give you some money, run bang-up clinical trials, win FDA approval. Do all that, and you’re good as gold. Charge insurers whatever the market will bear, and count the money.

That model worked for a long time, but there’s another hoop everyone needs to jump through now, and I’m not sure everyone in the industry has fully come to terms with it. No matter what happens with President Obama’s healthcare reform in the Supreme Court or Congress, there are forces now that limit what society will pay for new drugs. We don’t have actual price controls in the law, but the pressure to wring costs out of the $2.6 trillion U.S. healthcare system is intense and will only grow as the baby boomers get older. Drugmakers can’t duck and hide from this issue anymore.

Coffee

Companies like Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) aren’t healthcare companies, but one venture capitalist believes their example can guide personalized medicine.

Bob Kocher, a partner at venture capital firm Venrock, said that these consumer-focused companies have all taken steps toward personalizing their offerings. Personalization increases the value of those offerings and helps the companies make delivery of services and products more efficient.

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Gene scans for everyone? Not so fast. New research suggests that for the average person, decoding your own DNA may not turn out to be a really useful crystal ball for future health.

Today, scientists map entire genomes mostly for research, as they study which genetic mutations play a role in different diseases. Or they use it to try to diagnose mystery illnesses that plague families. It's different from getting a genetic test to see if you carry, say, a particular cancer-causing gene.

But as genome mapping gets faster and cheaper, scientists and consumers have wondered about possible broader use: Would finding all the glitches hidden in your DNA predict which diseases you'll face decades later?

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Fuad El-Hibri has started a financial consulting business. He’s started telecommunications businesses.

But his most challenging venture has been the Rockville biotech he helped launch 14 years ago.

Still, El-Hibri — CEO and board chairman of Emergent BioSolutions — says the challenges are worth it, because the rewards are so great from protecting and saving lives.

 

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Following a considerable contraction in investment dollars in 2008 and 2009, the U.S. angel investor market continued to recover in 2011, a trend that began in 2010 in investment dollars and in the number of investments, according to the 2011 Angel Market Analysis released by the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire.

Total investments in 2011 were $22.5 billion, an increase of 12.1 percent over 2010 when investments totaled $20.1 billion. A total of 66,230 entrepreneurial ventures received angel funding in 2011, an increase of 7.3 percent over 2010 investments, and the number of active investors in 2011 reached 318,480 individuals, a substantial growth of 20 percent from 2010.

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Shares in AstraZeneca ticked up after the Anglo-Swedish drugs giant announced a tie-up with biotechnology giant Amgen to develop and commercialise five treatments.

Under the terms of the agreement, Astra will make a one-off upfront payment of $50m and the companies will share costs and profits on the drugs for a variety of inflammatory, respiratory and auto-immune diseases.

BioPharm

Pharmaceuticals have figured that out that if they can't be as innovative or nimble as biotechs, the next best option is to pay for their good ideas with licensing deals and acquisitions.

And what better way to identify those potential deals than to cozy up to the biotechs?

Invite them into your homes

Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson (NYS: JNJ) opened an incubator within its San Diego campus to house biotech startups. Janssen Labs -- named after one of Johnson & Johnson's drug divisions, Janssen Pharmaceutical -- is a no-strings-attached affair with startups free either to develop the products on their own or partner with Johnson & Johnson or another company.

Johns Hopkins University was tops for research and development spending in 2010.

Surprise, surprise — Johns Hopkins University    spent more money on medical, science and engineering research than any other university in fiscal 2010.

Hopkins topped the research and development spending list, compiled by the National Science Foundation    , for the 32nd consecutive year. The 2010 data is the most recent available.

Hopkins also tops the foundation’s list for federally funded research and development.

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No matter how privatized healthcare is in America, at the end of the day it remains a social sustainability issue and a government concern. That’s why America’s newly minted CTO Todd Park is sparking health care innovation and reform through liberation of data from the vaults of NIH, FDA, CMS, USDA, CDC and other government health agencies.  Park believes that de-centralization and data liberation leads to empowerment and innovation.  In this interview at the Healthcare Experience Design Conference in Boston, Park outlines his initiatives to catalyze the ecosystem of health services by unlocking data.

Prior to being appointed the CTO of America to the White House, Park was a successful health IT entrepreneur who co-founded Athenahealth and Castlight, then served as the CTO at Health and Human Services (HHS). His Health Data Initiative (HDI) is mandating that HHS agency data be publicly accessible in machine readable format using APIs.

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Dingman Center Angels

The Dingman Center Angels connects regional start-up companies seeking seed and early-stage funding with angel investors.

Facts About Dingman Center Angels

  • Over 150 companies submit applications to Dingman Center Angels each year
  • $4M invested in start-ups since our inception in 2005
  • 50 qualified angel investors and venture capitalists comprise our network
  • Partnerships with incubators, economic development orgs and service providers in the region
  • Companies receive coaching to prepare for their pitch

Barbara Mikulski

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.)

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today spoke out in support of Maryland's health research and innovation economy at a fiscal year 2013 oversight and budgetary hearing of the Senate  Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The hearing included testimony from NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, MD.

"I am for being frugal but we must not jeopardize or hamper America's gold standard as the worldwide leader in medical research and innovation," Senator Mikulski said. "NIH invests in the best and brightest scientific minds at universities, in the public and private sector, and with our federal employees."

Umd 30 days

On March 30, the University of Maryland launches its expanding lineup of competitions and activities devoted to innovation, ingenuity and ideas: 30 Days of EnTERPreneurship. Nearly a quarter-million dollars in prizes will be awarded at six events involving UMD faculty, students and alums.

The events honor the best in entrepreneurship at all stages of innovation - from invention to business plans to start-ups. Celebrants will include Gov. Martin O'Malley and one of Maryland's most successful entrepreneurs, Kevin Plank '96, founder and CEO of Under Armour.

Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J. (Loyola University)

Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland  and Wasabi Ventures, a venture capital company in San Mateo, California, have begun a new-business accelerator near the university’s campus. As part of the collaboration, Wasabi’s co-founder Thomas “T.K.” Kuegler, a 1994 Loyola graduate, will serve as the university’s entrepreneur-in-residence.

Loyola says the accelerator will provide opportunities for its students and help the surrounding community. “It creates new opportunities for our students to think creatively about new products, new markets, and the types of business, marketing, and expansion plans that will help young companies grow, and to apply these ideas to real-world organizations and the entrepreneurs behind them,” says Rev. Brian Linnane, Loyola’s president. “For those with an entrepreneurial spirit of their own, it can give them a chance to get their own businesses off the ground.”