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The Golden State is living up to its nickname, with California ranking as the most innovative economy in America.

That’s according to Bloomberg’s newest U.S. State Innovation Index based on six equally-weighted metrics: research and development intensity, productivity, clusters of companies in technology, “STEM” jobs, populous with degrees in science and engineering disciplines, and patent activity.

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It has four chambers, blood vessels and it beats — sort of.

In a first, scientists have 3D printed a heart using human tissue. Though the heart is much smaller than a human's (it's only the size of a rabbit's), and there's still a long way to go until it functions like a normal heart, the proof-of-concept experiment could eventually lead to personalized organs or tissues that could be used in the human body, according to a study published Monday (April 15) in the journal Advanced Science.

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Viela Bio today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) for the Company’s anti-CD19 monoclonal antibody inebilizumab, an investigational monotherapy for neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). NMOSD is a rare, life-threatening autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system.

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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.

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Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. Buying under-rated businesses is one path to excess returns. For example, long term QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE:QGEN) shareholders have enjoyed a 94% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 47% (not including dividends). On the other hand, the more recent gains haven’t been so impressive, with shareholders gaining just 27%.

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The wisdom of Warren Buffett reflects a value-based philosophy about investing that says investors are buying shares in a business, and encourages strategic thinking about investment time horizon. Before placing a buy order for a stock, a great question we can ask is whether we would still be comfortable making the investment if we couldn’t sell it for many years?

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Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: AUPH / TSX: AUP) (“Aurinia” or the “Company”), a late clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the global immunology market, today announced the appointment of Mr. Peter Greenleaf as Chief Executive Officer and as a Director on the Aurinia Board. The Company also announced the elevation of George M. Milne, Jr., Ph.D. to Chairman of the Board of Directors. Dr. Richard M. Glickman, who previously announced his plans to retire on November 6, 2018, will step down from his role as Chairman and CEO concurrent with Mr. Greenleaf’s appointment on April 29, 2019, and will remain an advisor to the Company for a period of 12 months.

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April 17, 2019 @ 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Join Mtech’s Biotechnology Research and Education Program (BREP) for a special launch event at the University of Maryland IBBR Building in Rockville on April 17th, 2019. Learn about this new industry-relevant new course and enjoy an evening of traditional BioBuzz networking with others in the regional biotech ecosystem.

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The 5th annual Biohealth Capital Region (BHCR) Forum was held on April 8th and 9th at AstraZeneca in Gaithersburg, MD. Biotech and life science executives and expert speakers from industry, academia, healthcare, government, finance and real estate development, among others, converged to discuss the BHCR’s path forward to becoming a top three U.S. biotech cluster by 2023.

Rich Bendis, CEO of BioHealth Innovation, and host of the forum welcomed the 1,200 registered attendees (double the number of the first forum) with the annual update on the region’s progress towards that goal.  After moving up one spot in 2018 to number four, according to GEN Biotechnology’s annual rankings, the BHCR is building momentum fueled by record VC investment, new lab space and multiple new companies moving into the region.

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Baltimore is brimming with entrepreneurial talent. A new generation of CEOs and inventors are emerging right here in Baltimore with companies that are revolutionizing the life science & healthcare industries. The local community of universities and investors, coupled with the broader assets of the BioHealth Capital Region, has provided a lush ecosystem for innovators to take their ideas to the next level.

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Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:  ARE), an urban office REIT uniquely focused on collaborative life science and technology campuses in AAA innovation clusters, today celebrates the inaugural member class of seed- and early-stage life science companies at the Alexandria LaunchLabs® – Cambridge with a highly curated Grand Opening event. The 20,000 RSF space, located at the Alexandria Center® at One Kendall Square, is now home to 13 new member companies rigorously selected from a deep pool of applicants based on the quality of their science, leadership teams and business strategies. Alexandria also offers a unique opportunity to access capital through the Alexandria Seed Capital Platform, which is led by Alexandria Venture Investments and supported by a preeminent group of member biopharmaceutical and venture entities. The Alexandria Seed Capital Platform recently closed on its first investment in a Cambridge‑based company.

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Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE American: RNN), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative therapies to improve patient outcomes in cancers that are difficult to treat, today announced that its Board of Directors has approved a one-for-twelve (1-for-12) reverse stock split of its common stock that will become effective Friday, April 12, 2019, upon the filing of a Certificate of Amendment to its Certificate of Incorporation with the Secretary of the State of Delaware. Beginning on April 12, 2019, Rexahn’s common stock will trade on NYSE American on a reverse split-adjusted basis under the new CUSIP number 761640309.

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– Winning company focused on learning solutions for those with Autism.

Other finalists presented innovative technologies related to Multiple Sclerosis, Spine Alignment, TBI and Oncolytic Immunotherapeutics 

Competition sponsored by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati held during 2019 BioHealth Capital Region Forum –

Judges of the 2019 Crab Trap competition present Floreo Inc. CEO and Co-Founder, Vijay Ravindran their award 

ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, April 9, 2018 – Floreo Inc., an early stage startup founded in 2016 which is leveraging the power of virtual reality to deliver immersive, fun, and affordable lessons for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), was chosen from five finalists as the firm with the most commercial potential at the 4th Annual Crab Trap Competition. This year’s judges included industry leaders John Rubin of JP Morgan Private Bank, Charles J. Andres of Wilson Sonsino Goodrich & Rosati’s, Raghav Bhargava  of New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Ethel Rubin of NIH/BHI, John Trainer of AstraZeneca, and Norm Marcus, MD. Of Sanderling Ventures.

The Judges were impressed with Floreo’s CEO and Co-Founder, Vijay Ravindran, presentation of his company’s technology which was inspired by his autistic son’s reaction to virtual reality. Floreo’s library of lessions are currently used in schools, therapy, and homes while providing a supervising adult the opportunity to monitor and track the learner’s progress. Floreo joins previous Crab Trap winners Galen Robotics (2018), LifeSprout (2017) and Sonavex (2016).

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UMBC’s underdog basketball team did not pull off another stunning upset this year, but the school’s scientists continue to conquer the STEM world.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, just announced that they will put part of their enormous wealth behind an effort to spread the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s successful STEM honors program to two University of California colleges.

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Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC and Children’s National Health System (Children’s National) today announced a collaboration to launch JLABS @ Washington, DC, a 32,000-square foot facility to be located at the new Children’s National Research and Innovation Campus in Washington, D.C. This Children’s National expansion is set on a nearly 12-acre portion of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus in the nation’s capital. The co-location of the Research and Innovation Campus with key partners in the areas of public health research, innovation and incubator space is critical to accelerating the translation of potential breakthrough discoveries into new treatments and technologies. The JLABS @ Washington, DC site will be open to pharmaceutical, medical device, consumer and health technology companies that are aiming to advance the development of new drugs, medical devices, precision diagnostics and health technologies, including applications in pediatrics.

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You’re about to go under the knife and the anesthesia is taking hold. Is it better to look up and see a robot surgeon with autonomous capabilities looming over you, or an old-fashioned human doctor?