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Rebecca Stauffer, Parenteral Drug Association Managing Editor posed the following questions to PDA Letter Article readers in fall of 2019. "What if developers of cell and gene therapies treated their products like software releases? What if the human body could be manipulated like a highly complex computer?"

We invite you to join us for a LIVE and interactive presentation from Jeff Galvin, CEO of American Gene Technologies sharing his passion, vision, and conviction of "reprogramming the human computer."

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FREDERICK, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Maryland Tech Council (MTC) announced today it has expanded its offices to Frederick to broaden its reach throughout the State of Maryland and to meet the growing needs of its members. The satellite office will be located at 12 West Church Street. Additionally, MTC is planning a move of its Montgomery County satellite office to the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) in Rockville. MTC will continue to utilize its satellite offices in Annapolis and other key life science and tech hubs throughout Maryland.

 

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Feb. 10, 2020 -- Linda Larrimore has been getting chemotherapy every other week for 6 years to treat and manage colon cancer.

The chemotherapy is keeping her health stable, so it’s well worth it to the mother and grandmother to regularly get the treatment. Usually, she spends the 4½ hours every other week reading, watching TV, or chatting.

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Derek Lowe

Here’s a useful article that looks at the fate of university-licensed startup (ULS) life sciencecompanies over the last few years. There are more and more such companies (a greater than tenfold increase in their number since 1990), but a comprehensive look at success rates (and how such rates vary according to the universities involved) has been harder to come by. A lot of work went into this overview, and I’m glad the authors were able to assemble it. They spent a lot of time digging through tech-transfer records and contacting universities to make sure that they’d covered everything, checking venture capital announcements and state corporate registrations, and searching through press releases, LinkedIn pages, and more. The data that they have produced look like the best we have on the subject.

 

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The streets of Wuhan, China — the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak — are empty and quiet except for the sound of loudspeakers squawking quarantine instructions to its sheltered-in-place residents. Flights to some Chinese cities have been terminated. A Tokyo, Japan-based travel agency has canceled nearly 20,000 of its Chinese package tours. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus, which has already killed more people than SARS, a global health emergency. There are currently 11 people stricken with the novel virus in the U.S. and over 17,000 are infected globally with numbers jumping exponentially by the day. 

Image: https://biobuzz.io

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I made illustration of Corona virus today. 😍 I hope scientists and doctors can find a cure soon and I wish everyone who was affected to get well and recover soon! hashtag#sciart

 

BioTalk Skyscraper Rich and Andrea

The first BioTalk of 2020 kicks off with Andrea Alms, MS, MBA, Co-Fund Manager of BioHealth Capital Fund as she discusses her background, the world of Angel Investment, and her vision for the Fund

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Andrea Alms is the co-fund manager of BioHealth Capital Fund.  The BioHealth Capital Fund is a venture capital early stage investment fund created by the BioHealth Innovation (“BHI”), located in Rockville, MD, the center of the BioHealth Capital Region. BHI manages a for profit subsidiary BioHealth Innovation Management (BHIM) which owns equity in 27 of the 108 client companies of BHI and has had 3 exits. Our lead investor is Alexandria Real Estate Equities; and, our reference is Joel Marcus.  Andrea is recognized for her abilities in guiding venture capital, private equity, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and other transactions involving early stage companies. Andrea assists limited partners, general partners, investors, and entrepreneurs as they create, build, and buy or sell businesses, primarily in BioHealth, healthcare, technology, and digital health products industries.

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SOMERSET, N.J. & GOSSELIES, Belgium–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Catalent, Inc. (NYSE: CTLT), the leading global provider of advanced delivery technologies, development, and manufacturing solutions for drugs, biologics, gene therapies, and consumer health products, and MaSTherCell Global, Inc., a technology-focused cell and gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization to leading cell therapy innovators, today announced that Catalent has agreed to acquire MaSTherCell Global, a company backed by Great Point Partners, SFPI-FPIM, and Orgenesis Inc. (NASDAQ:ORGS), for an aggregate of $315 million in cash, subject to a customary adjustments.

 

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As it gears up for expansion in 2020, Baltimore-based Avhana Health is kicking off a partnership with one of Florida’s largest health system, cofounder Noah Weiner said.

The downtown Baltimore-based company is working with AdventHealth to launch its platform that improves electronic health records throughout the system’s network of doctor’s offices.

Image: Avhana Health cofounders and brothers Noah and Nate Weiner. (Courtesy photo)

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BHI is assisting one of its client companies, Medimaps) seeking US sales, customer and marketing support (see position descriptions). Medimaps is an exciting start-up company that is prepared to grow exponentially in the next phase and is looking for dynamic, experienced, and flexible people interested in being a part of this journey. The company is seeking someone who would like to be a critical player to the success of this exciting medtech company. Medimaps Group (MG) is the leader in bone and tissue microarchitecture software analytics. Its proven technology helps doctors make improved clinical decisions for the patients. Over the past several years, Medimaps has developed innovative technology, demonstrated and published clinical efficacy, received regulatory approval, built its network of distributors and partners around the world, and gained worldwide acceptance as standards of care for osteoporosis fracture risk assessment. Medimaps’ premier product, Trabecular Bone Score (TBS) is sold in more than 60 countries. MG currently has 20+ employees between our Headquarters in Geneva Switzerland, our R&D in Bordeaux, France, and our General Office in the US which is expanding. To apply for either position, please send your resume, cover letter, and three professional references to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Montgomery College’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education (WDCE) Program will offer a program for budding entrepreneurs in Montgomery County to gain start-up business resources and get newly created businesses registered. The program, named LaunchCamp, starts April 7 and is a 12-week sprint for entrepreneurial-minded students to turn their ideas into registered businesses with identified customers.

Funded through the Montgomery College Foundation Innovation Fund, this start-up business accelerator is an easy-to-apply program that requires just a 1-page business plan, called the Lean Canvas.

 

Beth Meagher

Now that we have stepped over the threshold into 2020, what has the research community learned that will propel progress and how can we enable changes that can move health and science forward?

Here’s a look a 10 trends and big ideas we are watching as this new decade unfolds:

1.   Making patients the priority: Retail, banking, and other consumer-focused industries have placed the consumer in the center.

 

George Mason University starts the search for developers for its Amazon inspired Arlington campus expansion Washington Business Journal

George Mason University is now looking for private partners to help it build its Amazon-inspired expansion of its Arlington campus, outlining preliminary plans for a building with 225,000 square feet of academic space and 135,000 square feet of private office and retail.

University officials released a request for proposals Tuesday, looking for developers interested in teaming up with Mason to build a new home for the Institute of Digital Innovation on its Virginia Square property. The building is set to include a mix of uses across its 460,000 square feet, with room for classes and research labs alongside space for companies big and small looking to partner with the university.

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BALTIMORE, United States of America, February 6, 2020/APO Group/ -- Hemafuse, a surgical autotransfusion device, will revolutionize blood access across Africa. Hemafuse is designed to salvage and recycle whole blood from cases of internal bleeding. The device can be used in both emergencies and scheduled procedures to recover blood from where it pools inside of a patient, into a blood bag, where it is immediately available to be re-transfused back to that same patient.

 

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Developing medication, devices, and products for children is not a matter of “shrinking” down the adult version. Delivering solutions to our littlest patients requires a long-term approach that deliberately centers children in all stages of innovation – from ideation to incubation, from clinical trials to market.

 Join Chief Innovation Officer of Children’s National Health System Kolaleh Eskandanian and experts in pediatric medical device innovation for a candid discussion on the challenges and opportunities upon designing innovation with children in mind.

 

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Herndon, VA, Feb. 04, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) today announced the appointment of Greg Feldmann, President of Skyline Capital Strategies, an affiliate of Woods Rogers, PLC, as CIT GAP Funds Venture Partner. CIT GAP Funds and affiliated Virginia Founder’s Fund (VFF) are committed to identifying viable start-up investment opportunities in all parts of the Commonwealth. As a Venture Partner, Feldmann will provide outreach services to cultivate new and existing sources of deal flow and early-stage investment capital in the Roanoke-Blacksburg corridor, Southside Virginia, Lynchburg and Far Southwest Virginia.“CIT recognizes the wealth of technology and strong entrepreneurial spirit of the Roanoke-Blacksburg corridor and adjacent geographies,” said Tom Weithman, Managing Director of CIT GAP Funds. “A critical part of harnessing those assets to create economic development benefit for the Commonwealth turns on mobilizing capital to drive development of emerging companies.

Image: https://www.streetinsider.com

John George

Merck & Co. Inc. unveiled plans Wednesday to spin off products from its women’s health and biosimilars businesses, along with certain legacy brands, into a new independent and publicly traded company.

Going forward, Merck (NYSE: MRK) will focus on its oncology, vaccines, hospital medicine and animal health segments.

Merck expects the spinoff to be completed by the first half of 2021. The pharmaceutical giant anticipates cost savings of more than $1.5 billion — primarily in areas such as manufacturing and sales staff costs — by 2024. In addition, Merck said by continuing to increase investments in its key growth drivers and pipeline assets, it is targeting operating margins to grow to more than 40% in 2024.

 

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Startup Maryland recently unveiled video pitches from the participants in the 2019 STRT1UP Roadshow. Entrants are now in the running for the Pitch Across Maryland competition. Categories this year for the Pitch Across Maryland include: Fan Favorite, Champions’ Choice, Industries and Overall Winner.

The STRT1UP Roadshow, which is the year-long tour around the state, involves the video bus into which entrepreneurs climb to deliver a two to four minute video pitch summarizing their venture and opportunity, according to a Startup Maryland press release.

 

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Life sciences and biotechnology business ventures in Southeastern North Carolina could get a boost through a new competition launched Tuesday by the N.C. Biotechnology Center Southeastern Office, in partnership with UNCW's CIE.

Entrepreneurs and companies can now apply for the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge, which aims to "raise the profile, increase the volume, and enhance the success of life science commercialization, entrepreneurs, and companies in the region,” according to the venture challenge website.

 

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Register now for the eighth annual Public Health Research at Maryland day on Tuesday April 7. We'll delve into the latest research focused on improving the health and well-being of diverse communities across Maryland, the nation and the world. This year's theme, Our 2020 Vision for Healthy People 2030, highlights the release of the new Healthy People Objectives for 2030 on March 31.

 

Vigene Biosciences opens new Rockville headquarters Washington Business Journal

Vigene Biosciences Inc.’s has opened its new research facility in Rockville.

The opening of a new laboratory at 5 Research Court — near Interstate-270’s Shady Grove Road exit — significantly increases the biotech’s Rockville footprint, adding 51,000 square feet to its existing 20,000 square feet at a separate facility nearby. The project cost more than $20 million, according to Vigene.

 

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Theraly Fibrosis, a preclinical-stage biotechnology company focused on development and commercialization of drugs for various fibrotic diseases today announced the company has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the amount of $3.9 million to support development of TLY012 for treatment of chronic pancreatitis.

 

Benjamin Wu hires new team at Montgomery County EDC Washington Business Journal

Benjamin Wu, the new CEO and president of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corp., is quickly building out his staff.

The former top adviser to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has brought on five new hires since stepping in to lead Montgomery’s economic development efforts on Dec. 18, including a new senior vice president for business development and an opportunity zones project leader.

 

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February is Rare Disease Awareness Month, a month-long celebration focused on the suffering and triumphs of patients and their families stricken by rare diseases culminating on February 29th – International Rare Disease Day. The rapidly developing cell and gene therapy fields in recent years have led to a rare disease R&D boom of sorts, with an estimated 800 rare disease-focused clinical development projects currently in process. The biotech industry sees a new window for improving rare disease patient’s lives and potentially curing rare diseases that impact one in ten American and an estimated 400 million people globally.  

Image: https://biobuzz.ios

GSK hands TB vaccine to Gates Foundation s nonprofit biotech FierceBiotech

GlaxoSmithKline has licensed a tuberculosis vaccine to the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute (MRI). The deal sets the stage for a push to build on recent phase 2b data and make the vaccine available in low-income countries where TB is prevalent.

The vaccine, M72/AS01E, is made up of an immunogenic fusion protein based on two TB antigens. GSK combined that protein with the adjuvant found in its shingles prophylactic Shingrix to create a subunit vaccine. Last year, a phase 2b trial linked the vaccine to 50% protection against progression to active pulmonary tuberculosis for three years in adults infected with the mycobacterium.

Image: Bill Gates (CC BY 2.0/Ben Fisher/GAVI Alliance)

Kolaleh Eskandanian

Developing medication, devices, and products for children is not a matter of “shrinking” down the adult version. Delivering solutions to our littlest patients requires a long-term approach that deliberately centers children in all stages of innovation – from ideation to incubation, from clinical trials to market.

 

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Boston Properties has entered into a joint venture with Alexandria Real Estate Equities to build a 1.7M SF life science campus in South San Francisco.

Boston Properties confirmed the deal in its Q4 2019 earnings call this week.

The project will involve about 640K SF of ground-up development, and the potential repositioning of about 1M SF of office space into new life science buildings, according to Boston Properties.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Coolcaesar at the English language Wikipedia

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The Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering has built and is regularly updating an online dashboard for tracking the worldwide spread of the coronavirus outbreak that began in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Lauren Gardner, a civil engineering professor and CSSE's co-director, spearheaded the effort to launch the mapping website on Wednesday. The site displays statistics about deaths and confirmed cases of coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, across a worldwide map. It also allows visitors to download the data for free.

Image: https://hub.jhu.edu

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What Nobel Laureate Dr. Jim Allison’s Story Can Teach Entrepreneurs and Innovators

Jim Allison shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2018, along with Tasuku Hanjo, for pioneering the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors to develop cancer therapies. 

Allison’s remarkable and groundbreaking research into T-Cell activation, and his subsequent work developing his discoveries into viable cancer treatment, has extended the lives of thousands of cancer patients. Allison’s work is more than remarkable: It represents an earth-shaking paradigm shift in scientific thought about how cancer works and could be defeated.

 

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The annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference is the largest and most informative healthcare investment symposium in the industry, bringing together industry leaders, emerging fast-growth companies, innovative technology creators, and members of the investment community.