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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 total 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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Join Women In Bio-Capital Region for our annual summer networking picnic on Sunday, August 11th, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Our chapter is providing the food and it will be brunch-style, under a lovely pavilion.

This is an open event, so please feel free to bring your family and friends for an opportunity to network and eat good food with your fellow WIB community. We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming annual summer networking picnic.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – AMPEL BioSolutions today announces a breakthrough in precision and personalized medicine that could revolutionize the way doctors treat chronic diseases, like Lupus. Revealed in the peer-reviewed journal Nature’s Scientific Reports, the paper details our breakthrough machine learning approach to predict disease activity from gene data obtained from patient blood samples. The lab test, only a concept for the last few years, is now ready for development for practical use. AMPEL’s initial focus was Lupus, but the test can be used for many autoimmune or inflammatory diseases.

AMPEL’s innovative machine learning approach, which is now ready to be developed as a decision support biomarker blood test could greatly impact health care, by allowing physicians to identify the cause of patient disease symptoms and select appropriate treatment more precisely. The application of our machine learning approach could assist pharmaceutical companies in drug development and clinical trials.

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Do you have an innovative idea to help solve a health issue affecting moms and kids today? Here’s your chance to make it happen! The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), part of the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), invites you to participate in our four prize-awarded Challenges with a total prize purse of $1.5 million. These competitions seek low-cost, scalable, innovative solutions that improve the health of mothers and children across the U.S.

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On behalf of Bio-Trac, Co-Founder and Director Mark Nardone received a Governor’s Citation for Bio-Trac’s 33 years of service to the scientific community, having provided hands-on training to over 17,000 scientists. At last night’s well attended Stem Cell BioPanel event at the Montgomery College Bioscience Education Center, Mr. Nardone was caught by surprise, not knowing this award was to take place. In a heartfelt address, he mentioned to the audience of scientists that it was exactly the 1 year anniversary of Dr. Roland M Nardone’s passing and how he would have been pleased by the honor but even more so to see a room full of research scientists attending an event to gain knowledge, insight and network among their peers.

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American Gene Technologies (AGT), a leading gene and cell therapy company based in Rockville, MD, selected the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) as a new clinical site for its non-IND study, AGT-CS168, to collect clinical specimens from HIV positive individuals. AGT will use these materials to validate the patient-specific AGT103-T therapeutic manufacturing process. AGT expects AGT103-T will eliminate HIV from the body when infused back into the patient and will decrease or eliminate the need for lifelong antiretroviral treatment.

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AMPEL BioSolutions Co-Founder and COO/CSO, Dr. Amrie Grammer guests on BioTalk to discuss building the Company in Charlottesville, VA, her work and recognition at NIH, and being a leader from the southern part of the BioHealth Capital Region.

Dr. Amrie Grammer is the Majority Owner and Co-Founder of AMPEL BioSolutions, located in downtown Charlottesville Virginia. Amrie is a Translational Immunologist specializing in human Autoimmune Diseases. She trained at UVA (BS Chemistry, MS Pharmacology) before receiving her PhD in Immunology at UTSW Medical Center at Dallas. Amrie was recruited to the NIH to establish the B Cell Biology Group in the Autoimmunity Branch of NIAMS during the human genome sequencing project. She received multiple NIH awards for her work comparing signaling pathways and genes expressed in patients vs healthy individuals, including the prestigious Director’s Award.

Amrie founded AMPEL in 2013 to bring precision medicine to individual patients, especially those suffering from lupus to whom she has dedicated her career. Over the last six years, she has used her knowledge to design and implement a pipeline to predict disease activity and the “right drug for the right patient at the right time”. In addition, top drugs she identified for repositioning into lupus have had positive clinical trials. Amrie is a member of Sigma Xi and Sigma Delta Epsilon. She serves as a Chair of the UVA Alumni Board of the professional Chemistry Fraternity, Alpha Chi Sigma. In December 2016, Amrie was elected to the Board of Directors of the Virginia Biotechnology Association (VA Bio). She is also a board member of the University of Virginia Fralin Art Museum (2011-present).

Listen now on Google Play bit.ly/2CzdnA9, iTunes, apple.co/2Arsfze, TuneIn bit.ly/2M60Wmx.

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The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, announced its recent investments through the Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII). With the latest round of funding, MII’s funding count for FY19 includes 26 technology assessment grants and seven start-up investments for a total of $4.22 million. True to its technology agnostic funding history, this year the startups ranged from Cleantech to AI and Biotech.

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Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, the Greenberg Bladder Cancer Institute, the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, the Brady Urological Institute, and the Center for Computational Genomics at Johns Hopkins have received a $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study new treatment options for early-stage bladder cancer.

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At the close of the 2019 BioHealth Capital Region Forum in April, Floreo Inc. was announced as the winner of the BioHealth Innovation’s 4th annual Crab Trap Competition and the $10,000 grand prize provided by WSGR. Floreo, Inc., which is “…using the power of virtual reality to deliver immersive, fun, and affordable lessons for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)…”, was selected by the judges from a group of five finalists.

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Access to capital has been an ongoing challenge for biohealth companies in the BioHealth Capital Region (BCHR) and throughout the Mid Atlantic, though recent investment data suggests that capital market access is improving. “PwC/CB Insights ranks the region fourth with $944.07 million in 44 deals and Jones Lang Lasalle tallies $1.1 billion, good enough for third,” stated Rich Bendis, CEO of BioHealth Innovation (BHI), in his keynote speech at the recent The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Technology Transfer Showcase. 

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Arlington Capital Partners (“Arlington” or the “Firm”), a Washington, D.C. area based private equity investment firm focused on government-regulated sectors, today announced that it has successfully raised its latest fund, Arlington Capital Partners V, L.P. (“Fund V” or the “Fund”) with total capital commitments of approximately $1.7 billion – hitting the Fund’s hard cap. The fundraise, which was significantly oversubscribed, successfully reached its final closing in three months from its launch. The Fund sourced capital commitments from a hand-selected, globally diverse group of marquis investors, including public pension funds, corporate pension funds, insurance companies, fund of funds, and foundations.

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Dr. Marco Chacón sits down for a new episode of BioTalk to talk about his Founding of Paragon to its recent sale to Catalent, his current role with the University of Maryland Baltimore, and being a Leader in the BioHealh Capital Region

Marco A. Chacon, Ph.D., is the Assistant Vice President of Industry Alliances at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. As a seasoned biopharmaceutical executive and entrepreneur, Dr. Chacon works with the leadership team at UMB leading special projects to grow the BioPark tenant base and to strengthen the University’s research collaborations with industry.

Dr. Chacon is the Founder and Chairman of Paragon Bioservices, Inc., a Contract Development and GMP Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) located at the University of Maryland BioPark in Baltimore. With  ~500 employees and 230k square feet of space, Paragon specializes in the development and GMP manufacturing of viral vectors and vaccines.

Dr. Chacon is also the Founder of IRAZU Biodiscovery, a regenerative medicine company seeking to develop therapeutic interventions to induce hypoxia tolerance and neuroprotection as described in experimental models of caloric restriction and hibernation, as well as during the neonatal period in mammals.

Dr. Chacon’s academic interests include control of metabolism, oxygen homeostasis and the regenerative potential of tissues and organs.

Dr. Chacon received a B.S. degree from Youngstown State University and a Ph.D. Degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the UMB Foundation and was appointed in 2016 to the Life Sciences Advisory Board by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr.

Listen now on Google Play bit.ly/2CzdnA9, iTunes, apple.co/2Arsfze, TuneIn bit.ly/2M60Wmx.

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Sometimes a Eureka moment sparks a breakthrough in innovation; other times it’s a rush to solve a crisis plaguing society — and the ones you love. That was the case for Martine Rothblatt, CEO of United Therapeutics, a Maryland-based company she founded in 1996, and former CEO of GeoStar and creator of SiriusXM Radio.

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If biopharma firms want to get the most out of continuous manufacturing, they must rethink their viral safety strategies. Existing strategies work well for batch-mode production, as hard-won experience attests. These strategies, however, are still being adapted to continuous-mode production, where protocols and equipment preferences are in flux.

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By Dr. Kurt Newman, CEO of Children’s National Health System

We have come a long way in pediatric medicine, but not far enough.

For nearly a decade, the chief executives of the nation's children's hospitals and health systems have discussed challenges we face in caring for America's very sickest children, whose life-threatening diseases and congenital conditions put overwhelming burdens on their families.

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Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX), a late-stage biotechnology company developing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, and Catalent Biologics’ Paragon Gene Therapy unit, the leading viral vector development and manufacturing partner for gene therapies, today announced an arrangement under which Paragon Gene Therapy will assume the leases to two Novavax product development and manufacturing facilities, giving it immediate access to state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, people and space to accelerate the growth of its gene therapy development and manufacturing business.

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As the dominant economic geography of America, metropolitan statistical areas largely determine our success as a nation. These groups of counties with a large central core account for 88.6 percent of jobs, 89.1 percent of wages and 90.0 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Further, metropolitan statistical areas account for the bulk of innovation such as research and development and patenting activity. Understanding the mechanisms underpinning the growth of top-performing metropolitan areas, and sharing best practices, could assist other communities in boosting their economic fortunes. The Most Dynamic Metropolitan Index, ranking 379 metropolitan areas, seeks to provide an objective measure of the economic vibrancy of communities where the lion’s share of Americans work and live.

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Adaptive Biotechnologies has raised the price for its initial public offering, putting itself in a position to raise more cash than any other biotech IPO this year. The Seattle-based company, which makes technology that can read the genetic information of the human immune system, increased its target price to $18 to $19 per share and could raise as much as $327.5 million from investors, according to a new SEC filing.

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Health Tech early stage (below $10 million) investing grew consistently from 2010 - 2017, but then stalled in 2018 showing declining deal count in every quarter over the previous year. At the same time, total capital invested was flat. Was it a correction?

Results from Q1 2019 show the segment is back on the growth track. Deal counts won’t yet match 2016 and 2017 levels, but they will be up from 2018 and capital invested in U.S. early stage health tech is likely to be the highest on record.

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The company that makes Botox is the subject of the latest biopharma mega-deal.

Chicago-based AbbVie said Tuesday it would acquire Ireland-headquartered Allergan for $63 billion, or $78.45 per share, equal to the former’s Monday closing price. The companies said the deal would provide immediate scale and profitability for AbbVie while allowing the company to diversify into new therapeutic areas like aesthetics.

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The Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology (PIC MC) signed a development agreement today to add a state-of-the-art life sciences office building to the Montgomery College Germantown Campus.

19710 Observation Drive, LLC, a joint venture between Rockville-based, South Duvall and Germantown-based Minkoff Development, will build a $40 million facility on a 5.67-acre parcel at 19710 Observation Drive in Germantown. The 120,000 square foot building will include lab, office, manufacturing and distribution space aimed at companies focused on areas such as biotech, life sciences and cybersecurity.

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Investigators at the University of Central Florida (UCF) have just identified the molecular changes that happen when neuronal stem cells are exposed to high levels of an acid commonly found in processed foods. The research team has taken a step closer to showing the link between the food pregnant women consume and the effects on a fetus’ developing brain. Findings from the new study—which described how high levels of propionic acid (PPA), used to increase the shelf life of packaged foods and inhibit mold in commercially processed cheese and bread, reduce the development of neurons in fetal brains—were published recently in Scientific Reports through an article titled “Propionic Acid Induces Gliosis and Neuro-inflammation through Modulation of PTEN/AKT Pathway in Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

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Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. ("Alexandria" or the "Company") (NYSE: ARE) announced today the pricing of its upsized public offering of 3,850,000 shares of common stock at a price of $145.00 per share in connection with the forward sale agreements described below. The Company also granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 577,500 additional shares. The offering is expected to close on or about June 25, 2019, subject to customary closing conditions.

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Women Who Tech, one of the largest nonprofit organizations that funds and showcases women-led ventures, today opened the call for applications for the European-leg of its flagship Women Startup Challenge. Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS, the Office of the Mayor of Paris, and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, 10 early-stage women-led startups with a focus on healthtech will be selected to compete for a $50,000 grant, equity-free, on October 7th at Paris City Hall, Hôtel de Ville.

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Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (ITI), a privately held, Maryland-based biotechnology company, announced today the promotion of Teri Heiland, Ph.D. to Chief Scientific Officer. In her new role, Dr. Heiland will oversee all of research and development and will play an integral role in business development and the management of ITI’s existing and future partnerships. Dr. Heiland is a co-founder of ITI and has amassed over two decades of executive leadership experience in the biotechnology and life sciences sector. Dr. Heiland’s focus at ITI stems from her background in DNA vaccine design, optimization and development, which has created a broad pipeline of vaccines in oncology, allergy and animal health and has driven licensing deals for ITI with Astellas and Zenoaq. ITI’s investigational UNITE technology platform has the potential to utilize the body’s natural biochemistry to develop a broad immune response and is currently being employed in a Phase II clinical trial as a cancer immunotherapy.

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Are you looking to increase the success rate of your state’s SBIR/STTR proposals? If so, a reminder that applications for the Small Business Administration’s Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program are due next Friday, June 28, at 4 p.m. EDT. This program provides one-year funding to organizations executing programs related to SBIR/STTR outreach, technical assistance, or financial support. As a way to help inform these proposals, SSTI has updated the data from a January Useful Stats article on NIH SBIR/STTR success rates to include the most recent year available, FY 2018.

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Jolene Gurevich was going to be an investment banker on Wall Street. But her roots as a competitive Latin ballroom dancer in New York gave her the inspiration to make a move toward entrepreneurship, and Venture for America provided her a clear path into the startup ecosystem in Baltimore. Now manager of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech Ventures) incubator at the University of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund, Gurevich guides the trajectory of scientists-turned-entrepreneurs.