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Patient engagement platform GetWellNetwork announced it has acquired patient-messaging company Docent Health for an undisclosed sum.

As part of the deal, GetWellNetwork will be able to offer Docent Health’s tool as a combined offering with its other services. The messaging service uses artificial intelligence to message patients about their care. Additionally, its platform is able to collect patient data and, in turn, triage patients and find them the right place of care to seek.

Image: https://www.mobihealthnews.com

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Oxford, UK – Vaccitech Ltd announces that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has today recommended the conditional marketing authorisation of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford with its partner AstraZeneca. Distribution will begin across all 27 member states once the decision is ratified by the European Commission. The vaccine was co-invented by Vaccitech and The University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute.

 

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THE BIDEN administration announced Monday that it is investing $230 million in Ellume, an Australian company, for millions of its at-home coronavirus testing kits.

The deal, struck by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense, ensures 100,000 over-the-counter test kits will arrive in the U.S. starting this month through July, acting Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Andy Slavitt said Monday during a White House briefing.

 

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Medical device engineering firm, Engenious Design, partners with Innara Health to design the 2nd generation of their ground-breaking technology designed to improve feeding outcomes in premature infants. Prairie Village, KS: Engenious Design, a 39-person creative product development firm specializing in electronic medical device design, has partnered with Kansas City-based start-up Innara Health to develop Innara’s next-generation NTrainer System ®, designed to improve access to more patients by reducing the size and cost of the system, enabling Innara to expand into new markets and provide better access to life-changing therapy and assessment tools for infants.

 

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The Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus (RIC), the first-of-its-kind pediatric research and innovation hub located in Washington, D.C., now has its first occupant – the Rare Disease Institute (RDI).

The institute, which includes the largest clinical group of pediatric geneticists in the nation, focuses on developing the clinical care field of the more than 8,000 rare diseases currently recognized and advancing the best possible treatments for children with these diseases.

Image: https://innovationdistrict.childrensnational.org/

The proposed $125 million pharmaceutical plant in Petersburg will total 120,000 square feet. (Courtesy of Phlow)

Two young pharmaceutical companies are teaming up to bring a sizable new facility and nearly 200 new jobs to Petersburg.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that Civica Inc., a Utah-based drug manufacturing nonprofit, will build a $124.5 million pharmaceutical plant along North Normandy Drive in Petersburg.

Image: The proposed $125 million pharmaceutical plant in Petersburg will total 120,000 square feet. (Courtesy of Phlow)

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Baltimore-based LifeBridge Health is partnering with Healthworx, the innovation and investment arm of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, to launch a new incubator for startup companies developing healthcare technologies and innovations.

The incubator, dubbed 1501 Health, will provide companies participating in the program up to $100,000 in investment as well as access to mentorship and support from payer and provider experts, according to a Jan. 26 news release emailed to Becker's Hospital Review.

 

(Image via linkedin.com/company/amalgamrx)

Wilmington’s Amalgam Rx, a digital medicine and patient support company, has acquired Baltimore-based Avhana Health.

With the acquisition, which closed this month, Avhana’s seven employees will join Amalgam’s 100-member team, which already has a presence in Baltimore. The acquisition is Amalgam Rx’s first. Terms were not disclosed.

Image: (Image via linkedin.com/company/amalgamrx)

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One of the questions I get asked the most is when I think the world will get back to normal. I understand why. We all want to return to the way things were before COVID-19. But there's one area where I hope we never go back: our complacency about pandemics.

The unfortunate reality is that COVID-19 might not be the last pandemic. We don’t know when the next one will strike, or whether it will be a flu, a coronavirus, or some new disease we’ve never seen before. But what we do know is that we can’t afford to be caught flat-footed again. The threat of the next pandemic will always be hanging over our heads—unless the world takes steps to prevent it.

Image: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/its-too-soon-start-thinking-next-pandemic-bill-gates/

Top 6 Biotechs to Watch in 2021

2020 was an interesting year for the biotech industry and the BioHealth Capital Region as we adjusted to continue moving forward during the COVID-19 Pandemic. While the biggest stories in terms of dollars were related to the Coronavirus and funding to create a vaccine in record time, that didn’t stop other biotech companies from working hard to develop their research, science, and/or devices. 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 29, 2021 – Connected DMV’s COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force held its seventh meeting on Thursday, adopting a recommendation to proactively address climate change through the establishment of a regional Hydrogen Center that affirms Greater Washington as a leader in the hydrogen economy. Task Force members agreed that collaboration across borders and disciplines to tackle climate change, using hydrogen energy, is a national and regional imperative, and by utilizing the significant assets of the DMV region, an achievable goal.

 

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The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark wake-up call for the United States to take biological threats seriously. The virus is on track to take the lives of more than 400,000 Americans and cost our economy trillions of dollars. The risks of future pandemics increase as technological progress eases barriers to modifying pathogens, raising the specter of novel biological agents causing diseases much worse than humanity has ever faced. Meanwhile, U.S. vulnerabilities to biological attacks have never been clearer to our adversaries.

However, there is a path forward. The Apollo Program for Biodefense would provide the United States the opportunity to mobilize the nation and lead the world to meet these challenges: a world where we detect and continually trace any new pathogen from the source; where we can distribute rapid point-of-person tests to every household in the country within days of that detection; where effective treatments are already in-hand; where vaccine development and rollout occur in weeks rather than years; and where pandemics will never again threaten the lives and livelihoods of Americans and people around the world.

 

Vaccine in syringe held by nurse.

In the race to vaccinate people for Covid-19, everyone agrees front-line health workers, the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions should get priority. But one vital group is being overlooked. Even worse, some are criticizing efforts to vaccinate them as some sort of effort to “cut the line.”

 

Kurt Newman

Recently a colleague asked me to predict the future of pediatric #medicine in 30 years. To help develop my list, I tapped many of the smartest people I know: Leaders from Children's National Hospital. Here are some of the fascinating predictions.

1) Healing children and keeping them healthy will be an international priority, which is reflected in increased attention and funding for pediatric medicine and #research.

 

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The lack of reliable access to broadband internet service for many in Baltimore, particularly the poor, has profound economic and social consequences. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this painfully clear with its abrupt shifts to online learning, remote work, and telemedicine. A new analysis from Johns Hopkins University's 21st Century Cities Initiative says the city could move towards digital equity, with a roadmap of recommendations built on existing knowledge of Baltimore's digital assets and the experiences of other cities.

 

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1501 Health in Baltimore, MD

Newswise — Healthworx, the innovation and investment arm of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShieldis partnering with LifeBridge Health to launch 1501 Health, an incubator for healthcare startups. 1501 Health will provide investment and resources to help early-stage companies, located regionally or nationally, develop their healthcare solutions.

Companies participating in the program will receive up to $100,000 in investment and have access to unique mentorship and support from payer and provider experts, along with networking and educational events with other startups, investors and stakeholders.

Image: Healthworx 1501 Health in Baltimore, MD

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Earlier this month we posited the idea that 2021 could be the year of quantum computing-led drug discovery and predicted that partnerships like those of Google and European pharma giant Boehringer Ingelheim would be more common with more quantum hardware makers tying the knot with drug manufacturers.

 

VA Biotalk

Amy Adams with George Mason University. Nikki Hastings with CvilleBioHub, and John Newby with Virginia Bio join Rich Bendis to discuss the new “Virginia Bio-Connect” statewide consortium and scale-Up initiative.

Listen now via Apple http://apple.co/39ZDl0M, Google http://bit.ly/3iRzmHO, Spotify https://spoti.fi/2MqHTVJ, and TuneIn http://bit.ly/2Yelr58. #innovation #biotalk #university #healthcare #digitalhealth #healthtech #research #biotech

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A nonprofit is considering Montgomery County as the site of a global pandemic center that would focus on prevention, research and response.

The Global Pandemic Prevention and Biodefense Center would serve as the “world’s epicenter” for pandemic prevention and biodefense ecosystem coordination.

County Council Member Hans Riemer proposed a $500,000 special appropriation to help fund the strategy phase of the project, which began in December. The appropriation was introduced at the council’s meeting on Tuesday.

 

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GERMANTOWN, Md., Jan. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Precigen, Inc. (Nasdaq: PGEN) today announced the pricing of an underwritten public offering of 15,000,000 shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $7.50 per share. Precigen has also granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 2,250,000 shares of its common stock. Gross proceeds from the offering, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses, are expected to be approximately $112.5 million, excluding any exercise of the underwriters’ option. The offering is expected to close on January 26, 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.

 

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Recent challenges around preparing, transporting, and administering COVID-19 vaccines have received national and international attention. As part of our ongoing COVID-19 response, the U.S Pharmacopeia (USP) rapidly engaged stakeholders and convened experts to identify and help address operational efficiency gaps to help increase COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Aledade team.

(Photo via @AledadeACO on Twitter)

Bethesda, Maryland-based Aledade, manager of a tech platform to help healthcare providers join forces to reduce Medicare costs, closed a $100 million Series D funding round. This latest investment round was led by returning investor Meritech Capital.

The tech company plans to use the fresh funding to expand its value-based care model and secure more strategic partnerships with Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to benefit seniors. Through MA contracts, the company serves more than 100,000 patients, per a news release.

Image: The Aledade team. (Photo via @AledadeACO on Twitter)  

Cerecor Announces Proceeds from Option to Purchase Additional Shares of Common Stock Bringing Public Offering Proceeds to 40 7 Million Cerecor Inc CERC

ROCKVILLE, Md. and CHESTERBROOK, Pa., Jan. 20, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cerecor Inc. (“Cerecor”; NASDAQ: CERC), a biopharmaceutical company focused on becoming a leader in development and commercialization of treatments for rare pediatric and orphan diseases, announced today the exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase an additional 1,648,812 shares of Cerecor’s common stock, $0.001 par value (the “Common Stock”) at a price to the public of $2.60 per share, increasing the total offered through the previously announced underwritten public offering to 13,971,819 of Common Stock and 1,676,923 of prefunded warrants. The gross proceeds to Cerecor from this exercise were approximately $4.3 million, resulting in approximately $40.7 million total gross proceeds from the offering. Cerecor intends to use the proceeds of the offering for general corporate purposes and working capital, primarily to support the ongoing clinical development of key assets within its pipeline and for general and administrative expenses.

 

Cursor and Rockville contract research organization Emmes creates biopharma and public health business units acquires Neox Washington Business Journal

In the last four months, this Rockville life sciences services firm has gotten a new CEO, purchased a company and split the business in two to brace for more growth.

Image: Dr. Christine Dingivan took over as president and CEO of Rockville contract research organization Emmes at the end of September. COURTESY EMMES

Alexandria Launch Labs Report Cover

Alexandria LaunchLabs™ in Maryland, will provide fully equipped, affordable laboratory/office space with flexible lease terms, supporting infrastructure, access to amenities, and supporting services and programming through the project’s consortium of world-class partners, including Alexandria Venture Investments, BioHealth Innovation, Montgomery County, and the City of Gaithersburg. This unique, startup environment will accelerate the growth of local early-stage life science companies.

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Germantown, Maryland, and Hilden, Germany, January 20, 2021 – QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE: QGEN; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today announced its polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests remain accurate and effective in detecting SARS-CoV-2 infections – and will continue to closely monitor their performance as global concerns mount regarding the detection of new viral variants by established testing methods.

QIAGEN has successfully assessed its SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests against genetic mutations of the virus uploaded to the GISAID and GenBank public databases since May 2020. A latest round of assessments conducted in January 2021 again confirmed that no recorded mutations affected the sensitivity of QIAGEN assays for detection of SARS-CoV-2. Surveillance of genetic variations will continue on a biweekly basis.

 

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FREDERICK, MdJanuary 26, 2021 – Veralox Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing first-in-class small molecule therapeutics that treat the underlying pathologies of diseases with significant unmet medical needs, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) for VLX-1005 for the treatment of heparin induced thrombocytopenia (HIT).

“We are pleased the FDA has granted Orphan Drug Designation for VLX-1005 for prophylaxis of thrombosis in patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia,” said Jeffrey W. Strovel, PhD., Chief Executive Officer of Veralox Therapeutics.  “This is a significant regulatory milestone for our company, and in the development of this investigational new drug product and recognition of the clear unmet medical need for patients who suffer from this devastating disease.” “

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University research labs are playing a central role in the development of quantum technologies, such as quantum computers and quantum communication devices. Universities often approach quantum science from a number of angles. Some are good at theoretical approaches to quantum science. Some are strong at applied quantum science. Some focus on the educational and outreach of quantum physics.

Image: Research labs, like this one at the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing, are the heart of the world’s growing quantum industry.