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If asked “What’s the most talent competitive city in the U.S.?” few Americans would name the top of our global list: Washington, D.C. (1). Often considered to be a (political) quagmire, the greater metropolitan area actually has a tremendous amount to offer. With an excellent environmental quality, major universities, an impressive number of physicians in the area and, of course, the presence of international global organisations, the greater Washington area provides a complete environment for talent competitiveness.

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A nascent project launched by the Health and Human Services Department aims to spur innovation and help solve an expensive health crisis plaguing millions of Americans: kidney disease.

Developers hope it will one day be used as a model not only for introducing innovators to government, but for addressing other high-cost diseases.

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The BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) is rapidly becoming an industry hub for companies that are developing next-generation therapeutics that focus on personalized and regenerative medicine for the treatment and potential cure of unmet medical needs. Autolus, Inc., a CAR T-cell therapy company, and REGENXBIO, a gene therapy company focused therapies for rare diseases, are two examples of emerging leaders in the personalized medicine field making their imprint on the region.

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Scientists at Tel Aviv University (TAU) have printed the world’s first 3D vascularized engineered heart using a patient’s own cells and biological materials. Their findings appear (“Printing of Personalized Thick and Perfusable Cardiac Patches and Hearts”) in Advanced Science.

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In honor of the new JLABS @ Washington, DC – a 32,000 square foot facility located on the new Children’s National Research and Innovation Campus from Johnson & Johnson Innovation, LLC in partnership with Children’s National Health System[1] (“Children’s National”) - Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS announces the JLABS @ Washington, DC Children’s QuickFire Challenge.

Visionaries within the fields of pediatric oncology, pediatric surgery and influenza are invited to submit innovative ideas for a total of up to $150,000 in grant funding*; one year of residency at JLABS @ Washington, DC with the use of a bench, workstation, and access to the JLABS @ Washington, DC community; and mentorship from experts at the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.

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Emergent BioSolutions Inc. (NYSE:EBS) today announced results from the interim analysis of its Phase 2 clinical study evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of the company’s chikungunya virus virus-like particle (CHIKV-VLP) vaccine candidate across a series of dosing regimens. The interim analysis has shown that with a single dose administered, up to 98% of study participants produced a neutralizing antibody response against the chikungunya virus (CHIKV) by Day 7. Further, the immune response was shown to be persistent through the six-month visit, including in the one-dose regimen.

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Paragon Bioservices, the leading private equity-backed biologics contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) with proven expertise in gene therapy and next-generation vaccines, celebrated this morning the grand opening of its new, world-class and state-of-the-art 200,000 square-foot GMP gene therapy biomanufacturing facility in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County. The event brought together state and regional political and biopharmaceutical industry leaders. Distinguished guests and speakers at the event included:

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Catalent, Inc. (NYSE: CTLT), the leading global diversified provider of advanced delivery technologies and development solutions for drugs, biologics and consumer health products, and Paragon Bioservices, Inc., a leading viral vector development and manufacturing partner for gene therapies, today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Catalent will acquire Paragon for $1.2 billion.

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In mid-November 2018, Amazon grabbed headlines when it announced it will build part of its new headquarters in Northern Virginia.1 The site for HQ2 had been long-awaited after a national "beauty contest." Amazon decided to place major new office complexes in the Crystal City section of Arlington, which is being renamed National Landing. This will rejuvenate an area filled with office buildings that were developed in the 1970s, and once housed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and various patent law firms that have now relocated to Alexandria.

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QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE:QGEN; Frankfurt Prime Standard:QIA) today announced the U.S. launch of its novel therascreen® FGFR RGQ RT-PCR Kit (therascreen FGFR Kit) as a companion diagnostic to help guide the use of the newly approved FGFR kinase inhibitor, BALVERSA™ (erdafitinib), developed by Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen). The test will aid in identifying patients with urothelial cancer whose tumors have certain alterations in the fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) gene. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration co-approved the new test with BALVERSA™, as announced today by Janssen.

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Alexandria Real Estate Equities is accepting applications for two $125,000 Alexandria LaunchLabs Innovation Prizes for entrepreneurs who can win support for their emerging businesses and a year’s worth of space at the Cambridge, MA, startup facility by showing what the urban life-sciences real estate investment trust says is excellence in early-stage science, leadership, and business strategy.

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The uptake of continuous manufacturing, a faster and more flexible production process, has lagged in the risk-averse pharma and biotech industries.

Still, a number of the larger companies have dipped their toes in the water, including GlaxoSmithKline, Vertex, Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly. In addition to its collaboration with CPI, GlaxoSmithKline is working with the Center for Structured Organic Particulate Systems at Rutgers University to expand its knowledge of continuous manufacturing.