Tech entrepreneurs will soon find a new home at Innovation Crossroads, the Eastern Shore’s first, full-service business incubator.

Gov. Martin O’Malley and the department of public works recently approved $1.2 million in funding from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development for construction of the incubator, the Dorchester County Council announced on Tuesday.

Innovation Crossroads is the planned anchor tenant of the newly constructed Cambridge-based Regional Technology Park.


Two announcements on Monday and Thursday of last week signaled a fundamental strategic and physical shift for biopharma giant AstraZeneca, including the establishment of a new corporate headquarters in a new UK location; the shift of small molecule and biologics R&D to three strategic centers around the world; and an eventual overall headcount reduction of 5,050 between now and the end of 2016.

On Monday, March 18, the company announced its intent to focus the R&D in three places, and to fully implement these plans by 2016:


Many of the changes in the healthcare industry outlined by the Affordable Care Act and HITECH Act call for shifting to healthcare IT for helping physician practices run more efficiently to helping guide clinical outcomes. But the shift from paper based to digital records isn’t just happening among providers. It is carrying over into other industries that healthcare intersects such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices and more robust collaborations with payers.

Andrew Khouri of Quaker Partners, who also mentors Blueprint Health accelerator companies, highlighted some needs in healthcare that are creating interesting investment opportunities and some investment trends at a recent event at the University City Science Center. Khouri acknowledged the “industry is in turmoil” because there’s uncertainty about how the changes will work in practice from the transformation of payment models to setting up health insurance exchanges. But there’s so much momentum to reduce costs and improve outcomes that there is a lot of opportunity.


Cybersecurity companies in Montgomery County will be eligible for tax credits starting next year as part of the county’s mission to become a national hub for companies that sell cybersecurity products to the private sector.

The Washington region is emerging as a hotbed for the cybersecurity industry, in part because of its proximity to federal agencies, the military and government contractors.


Why not explore what’s to gain from crowdfunding when there’s nothing to lose? MedStartr’s co-founder and CEO Alex Fair explains.

Alex Fair, Co-Founder & CEO of MedStartr Thinking about joining the crowd? We know, your mother probably told you not to get mixed up with the wrong kind. But according to MedStartr’s Alex Fair, there’s a lot right with the mob mentality growing among today’s entrepreneurs; crowd communities are creating equitable springboards for promising startups. That’s right, we’re talking about crowdfunding. After all, there is strength in numbers— especially from those that come with dollar signs.


A certain song has been running through my head the past few days. Lately, it strikes me as an anthem of sorts for biotech venture capital in 2013.

It’s Fleetwood Mac’s classic break-up song, “Go Your Own Way.”

Allow me to explain. Biotech venture capital has been going through a shakeout now for a couple years, which I’ve written about quite a bit. If you want to be charitable, there are maybe half as many venture firms investing in life sciences companies today as there were five to 10 years ago. There are maybe only a dozen firms left in the U.S. who can say with a straight face that they still are active investors in early-stage biotech startups. It may be harder now than it’s ever been to raise money for a new biotech idea.


Third Rock Ventures has spent the last six years betting big on early stage biotech investing when most other VC firms have been hunkering down or getting out of healthcare investing altogether. Now Third Rock has been rewarded with another $516 million to keep doing what it’s been doing.

The Boston and San Francisco-based firm, founded in 2007, said today it has raised its third fund, bringing its total assets under management to about $1.3 billion. The firm said this round was “oversubscribed” meaning that there wasn’t enough room to accommodate all the limited partners such as endowments and pensions who wanted a piece of the new fund.


In a demonstration of the booming field of genomic research, investors have pumped $21.3 million into a company that makes and manufactures genome-wide research tools and services.

OriGene Technologies said its Series C was led by Chinese venture firm Qiming Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers China, with participation from previous investor IDG-Accel, a China-focused private equity firm.


Startup Maryland (www.startupmd.org), a regional initiative of the national Startup America Partnership (www.s.co), today announced the Raise Your Game initiative to provide the Maryland entrepreneur community with a structured educational program designed to help startup CEOs and founders understand and employ the building blocks of strong startups and startup communities.

Development of the Raise Your Game program and curriculum was led by Startup Maryland Entrepreneur Champions Sam Polakoff, (president of TBB Global Logistics), Gregg Smith (CEO of Koolspan) and Startup Maryland co-chair Michael Binko (CEO of kloudtrack®). Beginning in July of 2013, Raise Your Game will consist of a 6 month educational “bootcamp” program emphasizing the critical components of building successful companies.


The outsourcing of information technology jobs being seen at Bethesda hotel giant Marriott International is not likely a harbinger of more to come, technology and business officials say.

Marriott executives said this week they are cutting “hundreds” of jobs and reorganizing the company’s information technology department in Bethesda in response to a more competitive global business environment. Layoffs are expected to start as early as next month.


Sequoia Holdings, Inc., a leading provider of software development solutions to the U.S. Intelligence Community, is teaming up with Washington DC area private equity and venture capital firms to launch an accelerator focusing on new cyber security and analytic startups. Based in Reston, VA, Sequoia Apps, LLC will concentrate on helping local entrepreneurs create and launch successful startups and connect them to DC area venture capital, private equity and angel investors for additional funding opportunities.

In addition to seed funding, mentoring and coaching, Sequoia Apps is designed to help capitalize on the successful past performance and unique skill sets of all IC focused developers and engineers and help build viable and disruptive commercial applications. “Sequoia Apps is a great example of how companies can leverage the successful past performance of their employees and connect them to the intellectual and financial scene of the DC startup community,” said T. Richard Stroupe, Jr. Sequoia Holdings co-founder. “For years, our development staff has designed and built world class applications for various IC customers, and now we would like to create a new disruptive platform to invest in those engineers in order to help them achieve similar success in emerging markets”.


Montgomery County is implementing a Smart Growth Initiative to build on the area's strengths in biotechnology and health care in a way that will create mixed-use neighborhoods and walkable new housing developments.

The three places where most of this new construction will occur are the Greater Seneca Science Corridor along Route 28, the White Oak Science Gateway west of Gaithersburg and the White Flint expansion along Rockville Pike. Each project possesses the core elements of walkability, rapid transit options and mixed-use development.


In a move sure to inflame the libertarian blogosphere, a presidential ethics commission recommended today that researchers study the effects of anthrax vaccine on children.

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues said researchers must first overcome numerous challenges before testing a pediatric version of the anthrax vaccine, intended to protect the American population from a potential bio-terrorist attack.


Montgomery County has a plan to market itself as a business and tourist destination to a particularly captive audience — one traveling at 30,000 feet.

During April, air travelers on some 1,700 U.S. Airways flights, and select American Airlines flights (for business first class travelers only), will be targeted with videos promoting Montgomery County as a place to relocate a business, to live, work and play.


Demonstrating its deep interest in the future of rare diseases, Pfizer ($PFE) has signed on to partner with Gaithersburg, MD-based GlycoMimetics on its lead drug program for sickle cell disease, promising up to $340 million in a broad array of milestones and an unspecified upfront payment. The partnership will bring in Pfizer on the development of GMI-1070, an inflammation inhibitor that researchers have been studying in a Phase II trial for the painful vaso-occlusive crises that threaten the organs of sickle cell patients.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 04:30pm - 07:30pm

Join us on March 20 at Growlers for another BioBuzz Happy Hour

Join our sponsors, BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI) and the Johns Hopkins University Center for Biotechnology Education, along with many others from our local biotech industry at another exciting BioBuzz event on March 20 from 4:30 - 7 p.m. in Gaithersburg. This month, we're having our event a week early to accommodate BioBuzzers with kids in Montgomery County Public School system who will be on spring break the next week. We're also holding the March BioBuzz event at a new location, Growlers in Old Towne Gaithersburg. We're excited to see all of you soon, so please register today!


As part of the Wyle-led team, Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] has been selected by NASA's Johnson Space Center to provide biomedical, medical and health services in support of all human spaceflight programs. These services under the Human Health and Performance Contract (HHPC) monitor astronaut health and enable bioastronautics research that benefits life on Earth.

The potential contract value to Lockheed Martin is about $250 million over the expected 10-year life of the contract. Lockheed Martin is responsible for flight hardware development, facilitation of life sciences research conducted on the International Space Station (ISS), human factors engineering to optimize tools and experiments for astronauts in zero gravity, radiation analysis, space food development, flight/ground crew training, and life sciences data archival.

Medimmune logo

MedImmune's Gaithersburg headquarters will gain 300 new jobs under a broader U.S. consolidation by parent company AstraZeneca PLC, the companies announced Monday.

The move follows management changes at both companies. Pascal Soriot was named AstraZeneca CEO in August, and early this year carried out a leadership shuffle that included installing Bahija Jallal as MedImmune's new chief. She replaces Peter Greenleaf, who is heading AZ's Latin American unit.


Roughly three years after announcing that he was expanding his California bioscience incubator to San Antonio, InCube Labs founder Mir Imran may wish he had made the move even sooner.

InCube has found willing investors, as well as corporate and community support, in the nation’s seventh largest city. That has allowed the organization to adjust its expectations and strategies in a way that could prove to be hugely beneficial for the life sciences entity and for San Antonio long-term.


In laboratory studies, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have found that stem cells from a patient’s own fat may have the potential to deliver new treatments directly into the brain after the surgical removal of a glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of brain tumor.

The investigators say so-called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have an unexplained ability to seek out damaged cells, such as those involved in cancer, and may provide clinicians a new tool for accessing difficult-to-reach parts of the brain where cancer cells can hide and proliferate anew. The researchers say harvesting MSCs from fat is less invasive and less expensive than getting them from bone marrow, a more commonly studied method.

Results of the Johns Hopkins proof-of-principle study are described online in the journal PLOS ONE.


Every week we give you a countdown of the top five to 10 companies or organizations from one of our Lists publishing in our Friday paper. This week I present to you the top five “Venture capital firms investing the most in Maryland companies,” ranked by total amount invested in Maryland companies in 2012. This information was provided to us by the folks at MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association based on data from Thomson Reuters.


Known for its ancient castles and seaside mosques, the Turkish city of Trabzon is looking to raise its profile on a new  front—biotechnology.

For inspiration on expanding the Trapzon region’s high-tech and environmental-based industry, a foreign delegation arrived in Baltimore on Tuesday to meet with the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development.


New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm that's invested some $13 billion in up-and-coming companies, has launched a brand-new design mentorship program to fuel innovation in the design industry. Called NEA Studio, the 12-week program will challenge five designers at a time.

Why the focus on design? "When a consumer gets a product, it's usually because of the design of it," said Dayna Grayson, an NEA partner, to Fast Company. "I feel like, if you're really going to design a product and make it inherent at a company, it has to start at a founder level. So if the designer wants to be the founder, why not?"


At its annual meeting on March 8, the Maryland Business Incubation Association (MBIA) approved applications for membership for two new full incubator programs and one new associate program:  The Harford Business Innovation Center, Betamore, and The Charles County Innovation Center (planning underway)—bringing current membership to 23 business incubators and innovation centers.

MBIA member organizations offer direct support to nearly 450 entrepreneurial ventures throughout the State from a wide variety of sectors.  They foster entrepreneurship and contribute substantially to the Maryland economy through the creation of thousands of jobs and the generation of significant tax revenues.


Rockville biotech Sequella inc. is looking to raise at least $20 million to advance its lead antibiotic candidate through clinical trials in drug-resistant tuberculosis and the stomach bacteria H. pylori.

If there ever was a time for the company to hit the gas pedal, it’s now. The resurgence of tuberculosis, especially in populous nations such as India and Russia, has brought what was thought of as a 19th century disease back into the spotlight. And the rise of multiple-drug-resistant strains of TB has made that fear very real in the mind of the U.S. consumer.


As advances in genomics, molecular analysis, and data processing have propelled disease research forward, scientists and drug developers still face a formidable challenge: recruiting patients for their studies.

Genetic Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for people with rare genetic disorders, is launching a new site called Reg4All that aims to entice more patients into clinical trials and disease research by giving them unprecedented privacy controls and greater say in how their data is used for research.


People looking to start a small business in Montgomery County can have some of their questions answered at a series of seminars focusing on small business in Germantown.

Three seminars will be held between March, April and May by Score DC, a chapter of the U.S. Service Corps and Retired Executives, and will have mentors on hand to discuss successful business practices.


The following funding opportunity announcements from the NHLBI or other components of the National Institutes of Health, might be of interest:

Request for Applications (RFAs): 

  • RFA-OD-13-004: Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program (Si2)
    This FOA solicits applications for the Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program for the purpose of supporting the research activities during the early stage careers of independent clinical researchers. 
  • RFA-RM-12-022: NIH Director's Biomedical Research Workforce Innovation Award: Broadening Experiences
    The purpose of this FOA is to seek, identify and support bold and innovative approaches to broaden graduate and postdoctoral training, such that training programs reflect the range of career options that trainees (regardless of funding source) ultimately may pursue and that are required for a robust biomedical, behavioral, social and clinical research enterprise. Collaborations with non-academic partners are encouraged to ensure that experts from a broad spectrum of research and research-related careers contribute to coursework, rotations, internships or other forms of exposure. This program will establish a new paradigm for graduate and postdoctoral training; awardee institutions will work together to define needs and share best practices.
  • RFA-RM-13-001: Planning Grants for the NIH Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative (P20)
    The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to encourage institutions with expertise and innovative strategies for developing research and mentoring opportunities for undergraduate students from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research to submit applications for 6 month planning grants for the NIH Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) initiative. The BUILD initiative aims to increase the diversity of the NIH-funded workforce by supporting collaborative programs that include novel approaches for enhancing undergraduate education, training, and mentorship, as well as infrastructure support and faculty development to facilitate those approaches.
  • RFA-RM-13-002: Planning Grants for the NIH National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) (P20)
    The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to encourage organizations with experience in the mentorship of individuals underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce to submit planning grant applications for the NIH National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN). The NRMN will establish a nationwide consortium to provide networking and mentorship experiences for individuals from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research from the undergraduate to junior faculty level.

Program Announcement (PA): 

  • PAR-13-137: Bioengineering Research Grants (BRG) (R01)
    The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement is to encourage collaborations between the life and physical sciences that: 1) apply a multidisciplinary bioengineering approach to the solution of a biomedical problem; and 2) integrate, optimize, validate, translate or otherwise accelerate the adoption of promising tools, methods and techniques for a specific research or clinical problem in basic, translational, or clinical science and practice. An application may propose design-directed, developmental, discovery-driven, or hypothesis-driven research and is appropriate for small teams applying an integrative approach that can increase our understanding of and solve problems in biological, clinical or translational science.

Please note that most links to RFAs, PAs, and Guide Notices will take you to the NIH Web site. RFPs will take you to FedBizOpps. Links to RFPs will not work past their proposal receipt date. Archived versions of RFPs posted on FedBizOpps can be found on the FedBizOpps site using the FedBizOpps search function. Under “Document to Search,” select Archived Documents.


As our April 5, 2013 receipt date approaches and you prepare your grant submission, please remember to work to register in all the required systems (DUNS, SAM, grants.gov, eRA Commons) in advance. These must all be complete before you can submit your grant application.

Company registration at SBA’s SBIR.gov is NOT required for submissions at this time. Solicitations issued after 1/28/2013 (not due dates for solicitations already on street prior to that date) will have instructions on how to register at SBA.


After McKesson, Cerner, Allscripts, Greenway and athenahealth made news at HIMSS13 this past week with the launch of the CommonWell Health Alliance – putting aside their competitive instincts, for a moment, to pledge their common commitment to interoperability and data liquidity – Healthcare IT News spoke with McKesson CEO John Hammergren about the road ahead.

Joining Hammergren in the discussion were David McCallie, vice president, medical informatics at Cerner, and Arien Malec, vice president, data platform solutions for McKesson's connectivity business, RelayHealth (and, in his former role at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, the driving force behind the development of the Direct Project).

Bio buzz bhi jhu

Join us on March 20 at Growlers for another BioBuzz Happy Hour

Join our sponsors, BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI) and the Johns Hopkins University Center for Biotechnology Education, along with many others from our local biotech industry at another exciting BioBuzz event on March 20 from 4:30 - 7 p.m. in Gaithersburg. This month, we're having our event a week early to accommodate BioBuzzers with kids in Montgomery County Public School system who will be on spring break the next week. We're also holding the March BioBuzz event at a new location, Growlers in Old Towne Gaithersburg. We're excited to see all of you soon, so please register today!


She sent her first tweet just after noon, and already Kathleen Sebelius (@Sebelius) has 2,000-plus followers.

The secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services is the latest federal health official to join Twitter and follows in the footsteps of colleagues Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrFriedenCDC), the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Francis Collins (@NIHDirector), director of the National Institutes of Health.