baltimore-innovation-week-2013

Let’s Celebrate How Baltimore Is Innovating.

The people and organizations represented below are advancing the city in new and inspiring ways, by growing businesses, increasing regional economic activity, publishing high-quality works of media, creating new gateways to the technology community and much, much more. They’re the best of the best in this community. This is the Baltimore region’s only people’s choice award for technology, entrepreneurship and new thinking.

Winners will be determined by online voting counts. Voting closes on Friday, September 13th. Awards will be announced at the Baltimore Innovation Week week closing party on Fri. Sept. 27.

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Due to the global shortage of donor hearts, patients on the waiting list for a heart transplant can wait several months to several years for a match to be found. But for 36-year-old Frédéric Thiollet, who surpassed two years of support with the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart on Aug. 5, he’s enjoying each and every day.

“I feel well and I am confident, having been implanted now for over two years,” said Frédéric Thiollet. “I have recuperated all my physical functions, even my sexual activity, which I had believed was gone forever. In my own words, I have enjoyed an effective resurrection, a new birth. Physically I have no limit. I am as strong and powerful as before, even more so than before.”

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The University of Maryland College Park, which likes to tout itself as a leading public research institution, has added a little more green to its laurels.

Sierra Magazine ranks the state's flagship campus as the 13th greenest university in its latest national rating of "Cool Schools."

UM trailed the University of Connecticut, Dickinson College, Stanford and American universities, among others, while besting the likes of Harvard, Yale and the University of California, Berkeley.

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The FDA has stamped an OK on GlaxoSmithKline's HIV drug dolutegravir--to be sold as Tivicay. The approval marks another key advance for Glaxo ($GSK) on the regulatory front this year, providing a blockbuster candidate that analysts believe should do very well in competing against Gilead's ($GILD) rival therapies.

"HIV-infected individuals require treatment regimens personalized to fit their condition and their needs," said Edward Cox, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a release. "The approval of new drugs like Tivicay that add to the existing options remains a priority for the FDA."

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This conference brings together small businesses, angel investors, venture capitalists, strategic partners, and business leaders from the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. It will feature presentations by top NHLBI SBIR- funded companies with innovative technologies on the brink of commercialization, an expert panel of investors, and opportunities for partnering and networking. Information about the NHLBI Office of Translational Alliances and Coordination, changes in the SBIR/STTR program re-authorization, and other funding opportunities and resources will be presented. NHLBI staff will be available to provide advice to applicants and awardees.

The NHLBI provides global leadership for research, training, and education to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep diseases and disorders and to enhance the health of all individuals so that they can live longer and more fulfilling lives.

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While scientists have struggled for decades to produce an effective malaria vaccine, Rockville-based biotech company Sanaria is encouraged enough by clinical trials that it hopes to have its malaria vaccine on the market in three to five years, The Gazette reports.

The results of a Phase I clinical trial of the vaccine—published Thursday in the online issue of Science magazine—show that the vaccine provided complete protection against malaria in subjects who were exposed to malaria parasites, according to a news release from Sanaria.

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BioBoost, a consortium of OrbiMed Advisors LLC, Johnson and Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (TSE: 4502) has won the tender to establish the life sciences incubator as part of the Office of the Chief Scientist's incubator program.

The franchise for the biotech tender, like the franchise for all incubators since the reform, is for eight years. The consortium members will receive NIS 6.9 million in financing over three years, more than franchisees of incubators in other fields, as part of the government's wish to provide special support for the life sciences. Most of the incubator's companies will develop drugs, and a few will develop medical devices.

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University of Maryland researchers announced last week they have been able to successfully turn a fish known for eating anything, the cobia, into a vegetarian.

While altering any animal’s diet may seem unnatural or even wrong, the biologists said the development could mean big bucks for the seafood industry.

“Aquaculture isn’t sustainable because it takes more fish to feed fish than are being produced,” said Aaron Watson, a graduate assistant at the university’s Center for Environmental Science. “But a new vegetarian diet might change everything.”

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A week after Cleveland's nascent biotech accelerator BioMotiv bumped its financial reserves to $46 million, Torrey Pines Investment has stepped in to offer a $20 million commitment and close ties to the Russian drug development industry to back a joint effort to spawn new translational drug efforts around the globe.

In the pact, Torrey Pines Investment will work with its connections in the Russian and the Ukrainian pharma industry to facilitate the R&D networks that BioMotiv is developing. Far from the mainstream of the biotech industry's global hubs, BioMotiv has been piecing together an effort to get new biomedical advances in academia into the clinic, positioning the programs for an out-licensing deal with a biotech or pharma company that can take them the remaining distance to a potential regulatory approval. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and several individual investors have now bumped its capital reserves as BioMotiv scouts for additional capital to complete its fundraising effort.

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HHS is working to attract entrepreneurial talent to create a culture that supports risk-taking and accelerates innovation.

HHSentrepreneurs is based on the HHS Innovation Fellows Program launched in 2012. HHSentrepreneurs builds on lessons learned during the pilot HHS Innovation Fellows Program, and will:

  • Identify HHS staff who are working on some of the Department’s toughest challenges and
  • Match these talented individuals with External Entrepreneurs for a period of 6-12 months.

HHSentrepreneurs provides a novel framework to attract outside talent in areas including open innovation, agile development, and lean methodologies to accelerate innovation within HHS. Startup organizations have demonstrated that rapid iteration between various versions or features of a product can yield successful results, and HHS would like to promote these methods internally to address high-priority projects.

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No factor defines success and failure for a drug company more than this: Companies that invent more, better drugs at a lower cost do better than those that hemorrhage cash but never get an important product to market. Yet 19 in 20 medicines in experimental development fail, meaning a great many companies fail too.

For years, researchers, including one team from Tufts University and another at Eli Lilly, have estimated the cost of inventing and developing a drug at $1 billion or more. These estimates try to exclude costs not directly related to a drug’s approval and also don’t allow for any comparisons between companies. Last year, for the first time, I did something far cruder: I took the 15-year research spending of a group of big pharmaceutical companies and divided it by the number of new drugs (technically new molecular entities, the Food and Drug Administration’s term for drug molecules that have not been approved in any form for any use previously).

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Some hospitals are turning to technology entrepreneurs to reduce readmission rates and avoid penalties imposed under the Affordable Care Act, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Background

Last year, an ACA provision went into effect that allows CMS to penalize hospitals for excess readmissions of Medicare patients.

The penalties are based on the number of heart failure, heart attack or pneumonia patients above the national average who are readmitted within 30 days to an acute-care hospital.

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by Joseph P. Allen and Diane Palmintera

The Final ReportOn May 20, 2013, the White House Lab-To-Market Inter-Agency Summit was held in Washington, D.C. The Summit was organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Institutes of Health's Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The purpose of the meeting was extraordinary: asking national experts outside of the federal agency system to recommend ways to increase the return-on-investment for the $140 billion annual taxpayer expenditure on federally-funded research and development.

The format for the meeting also was unusual. Research agencies nominated 20 national experts experienced in various phases of technology commercialization to participate in the Summit. The Administration placed no preconditions or limitations on the expert Panel and asked it to focus on "transformative" ideas. We were privileged to be asked to serve as the Summit's co-chairs.

The Administration requested that the Panel address several overarching questions:

  • How can agencies better align themselves to more effectively promote the commercial development of their research;
  • How can effective metrics for various stages of these efforts be developed; and
  • How can we better leverage multi-agency resources to enhance the public's return-on-investment through the commercialization of more federally-funded technologies?