DHHS

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with the Institute of Medicine (IoM) and other members of the Health Data Consortium, are co-hosting the third annual “Datapalooza” focusing on innovative applications and services that harness the power of open data from HHS and other sources to help improve health and health care.

The Health Data Initiative Forum III is featuring more than 100 new or updated solutions, up from 45 solutions last year, that help serve the needs of consumers, health care providers, employers, public health leaders, and policy makers.

“The innovators present today are a great example of how data and technology can be used in powerful ways to help consumers and providers improve health,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “We’re not just creating new technology, but we’re empowering Americans to make better decisions about health and health care by putting information at their fingertips.”

Techcouncilmd

The Tech Council of Maryland (TCM), Maryland's largest technology trade association with more than 400 biotechnology and technology members employing more than 200,000 in the region, announced that it has moved into a new headquarters at 9210 Corporate Blvd., Suite 470 in Rockville, a short distance from its previous offices on Key West Ave. All phone numbers and e-mail addresses for TCM staff remain the same.

"The move to Corporate Blvd. accomplishes several things for the association," said Art Jacoby, TCM's CEO. "The space offers us a far better layout, which enables improved internal teaming, communication and productivity. And, it's 'right-sized,' so we're achieving some operating expense savings, as well. The staff and I are very excited and see this move as a fresh start the plans we have to strengthen TCM in the future."

Pharma Dollars

Counter-intuitive as it may be, investing in areas that pharma is abandoning could yield great returns for investors. Just look at anti-bacterials in the ’90s and 2000s, says VC Bruce Booth in a Forbes column. So where should investors be looking today? Neuroscience, heart failure and obesity.

The shortage of cancer drugs that’s plagued hospitals for almost two years now has eased, although not completely, according to cancer doctors.

A recent study by Johns Hopkins researchers brings a reality check to the potential (and the limits) of genome sequencing in predicting disease.

MD Incubator

The 12th Annual Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Awards, supported by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), McGladrey, Inc. and Saul Ewing, is coming up.

The ceremony will recognize the achievement and potential among 18 current and graduate companies within Maryland's incubator network. Chris Brandenburg from Millennial Media, who received the 2008 information technology Incubator Company of the Year award, will be the keynote speaker. The event will also feature technology demonstrations by the finalist companies.

Bwtech-UMBC

The incubator at University of Maryland, Baltimore County has gotten an influx of new tenants, the majority of whom are responding to the increased demand for cyber security. 

bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park currently hosts 86 incubator and early-stage tenants and 14 affiliated companies and organizations, according to Gregory Simmons, the park's vice president for institutional advancement.

Of the tenants, nearly 20 have joined the park in the past 18 months alone. They include Fearless Solutions, Rogue Technology, AIS (Assured Information Security) Inc., all of which are in the cyber security field.  Simmons says that most of the new tenants are also in that field, often in the area of securing data and networks, in medical, defense and financial services, among others.

immunomic-therapeutics

Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc., ("ITI") a privately-held biotechnology company with laboratories in Rockville, MD, announced that it has been accepted to present at the Business Forum during the 2012 Bio International Convention. ITI's CEO, Bill Hearl, will present progress in internal development of LAMP-vax™ vaccines as well as opportunities for co-development.

JRC-LAMP-vax vaccine incorporates Immunomic Therapeutics' proprietary LAMP Technology™. LAMP (Lysosomal Associated Membrane Protein) is a normal and important component of the immune system that is present in the lysosome of all mammals. Incorporating LAMP Technology into vaccine design enables direct presentation of

immunomic-therapeutics

Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc., ("ITI," Lancaster, PA) a privately-held biotechnology company with laboratories in Rockville, MD, announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has completed its review of the Investigational New Drug Application ("IND") filed for the allergy immunotherapy, JRC- LAMP-vax™.  On April 12th, the FDA notified ITI that there will be no clinical hold and that ITI may now proceed with its clinical trial in June for JRC-LAMP-vax in Atlanta with subjects sensitive to Japanese Red Cedar pollen.

JRC-LAMP-Vax is a plasmid-based DNA vaccine that will be studied for the treatment of patients with rhino-conjunctivitis (runny nose) symptoms caused by allergic reaction to Japanese red cedar pollen. Almost 45% of the Japanese people are allergic to Japanese red cedar pollen. In North America, there is allergic rhinitis to mountain cedar pollen, which is 80% cross-reactive with Japanese red cedar pollen allergen.  ITI intends to partner with a Japanese pharmaceutical company for studies in Japan and will seek FDA approval of the vaccine in the US.

Merck

With pharmaceutical industry research budgets shrinking, large drug companies are instead looking to support early-stage biotechnology startups. Merck, Eli Lilly, and GlaxoSmithKline have all announced investments in such companies in recent months.

The multinational drug giants are moving to partner with venture-capital firms and nascent biotechnology companies in hopes of feeding their drug development pipelines. "We are going toward external innovation. We're dealing with more academics and biotechs than we ever have," said James Schaeffer, Merck Research Laboratories' director of West Coast licensing and external research, speaking at a BioVentures's C21 conference in California last week.

NewImage

Thousands upon thousands of brilliant, motivated, hard working—and legal—immigrants live in the United States. Every year additional highly educated professionals arrive to study and work. Here they make their first attempts at practical use of the English they learned growing up. Now they must speak and write English at jobs and in schools, both of which are highly competitive.

Like the ancestors, or maybe even just the moms and dads of American-born citizens, these individuals have earned the right to be here and have followed the required regulations. Many of them have terrific English. Regardless of their accents, or whether they learned British- or American-style English, they write and speak well. They are excellent people to work with because they bring new knowledge and ideas to the table. They are also fun to socialize with in non-work environments because they bring new knowledge, ideas, and perspectives to the table.

Accelerator

Accelerator, the venture-backed biotech startup machine, has made its name over the past decade as a hotspot for financing life sciences companies in Seattle with big dreams and potential. Now it’s considering expanding its model for starting biotech companies in other life science clusters around the world, including New York.

Plans are still in the exploratory stage, but the idea is that Accelerator would remain headquartered in Seattle and build a network of satellite labs in four or five other locations around the world, says Carl Weissman, the co-founder and CEO of Accelerator. Accelerator’s existing venture backers, and some potential new investors, have expressed interest in a more far-reaching version of Accelerator, Weissman says.

Human Genome

The latest chapter in Human Genome Sciences’ battle to fend off a hostile takeover bid by British pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline played out in a Rockville courtroom Thursday morning.

A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge shot down an HGS shareholder’s request for a temporary restraining order to invalidate the “poison pill” the Rockville biotech enacted last month to make it a less attractive acquisition target.

Ronald Peterson

Johns Hopkins has had many milestones since it first opened its hospital in Baltimore in 1889. It pioneered the acceptance of women to medical school and the use of rubber gloves in surgery, discovered restriction enzymes and the brain’s natural opiates, birthed multiple medical specialties including neurosurgery and pediatrics, and developed life-saving procedures such as renal dialysis, CPR, and the “blue baby” operation that paved the way for modern heart surgery. May marked another major milestone for the nation’s best hospital for 21 years in a row: the opening of its brand new high-tech clinic.

We had the opportunity to sit down with The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System’s President, Ronald R. Peterson, to discuss their new clinical building. Peterson has an impressive and storied background at Johns Hopkins, which is why he’s ideally positioned to talk about the milestone.

iTEC Talk

Private Sector Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program in partnership with the NIH/OTT Monday, June 11, 12:00 pm to 12:30pm ET

Presenters: Richard Bendis Founding President and CEO Innovation America and Mark L. Rohrbaugh, Ph.D., J.D. Director Office of Technology Transfer National Institutes of Health Department of Health and Human Services

BioHealth Innovation, Inc.'s (BHI) Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) program is designed to be an active partner with research institutions to source, fund, and grow high-potential, early-stage products through project-focused companies. The entrepreneurs in the program support the formation of new companies based upon innovative discoveries in the areas of drugs, vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and medical devices from the intramural research programs at the NIH and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as from universities and businesses. The EIR will find, evaluate, and support the development of new start-up companies based upon technology license agreements from technology transfer offices or equivalent units within the research institutions.

Montgomery County BIN

If you are an emerging advanced technology, life sciences or professional services company or a foreign business looking for a soft landing in the U.S. market, the Business Innovation Network of Montgomery County, Maryland has the perfect place for you.  The Innovation Network business incubators are located throughout Montgomery County adjacent to Washington, D.C.  with its talented workforce and strategic access to the federal and commercial marketplace, all in a sophisticated, diverse community. The Network was founded by the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development in 1999 with the opening of the Shady Grove Innovation Center and specializes in helping young companies realize their potential.  Since its inception the Business Innovation Network has worked with over 250 teams of entrepreneurs and graduated about 100 companies. Over the last 10 years the Network has grown to five business incubation centers that offer the critical combination of highly flexible, modern office and lab space and business support services. 

DC

United States Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has introduced legislation that will revive the Therapeutic Discovery Project Tax Credit, which funneled $1 billion in tax breaks and grants to biotech companies across America in 2010. The program impacted about 3,000 small US companies that year. “Biotech labs employ dedicated scientists and researchers, whose discoveries could lead to a ground-breaking cures for cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or HIV/AIDS,” Menendez said in a statement released last week. “Manufacturing these breakthrough therapies is already creating thousands of high-paying jobs, and extending this critical tax credit will not only create more good jobs here in America, but keep us at the forefront of life-saving innovation.”

bio-internation-convention

Universities have historically been on the front lines of translating innovative research into novel medicines and technologies useful to patients. With that in mind, the 2012 BIO International Convention will look to highlight the role of academia in the advancement of the biotechnology field through the BIO Academic Park and the Translational Research Forum. Hosted by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), this year's global event for biotechnology will take place June 18-21, 2012 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston, MA.

"The BIO Academic Park will give Convention attendees the opportunity to connect and start conversations that could lead to partnerships, and most importantly, establish a tighter link between academic, industry representatives and investors," said Dr. Abigail Barrow, Founding Director of the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center and Program Co-Chair of the 2012 BIO International Convention.

ferrai-bernard-johns-hopkins

Bernard T. “Bernie” Ferrari, an accomplished corporate strategist and management consultant to Fortune 50 companies, has been named the next dean of The Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School.

Ferrari, whose appointment is effective July 1, is the second dean to lead the Carey Business School since it was established in 2007. He succeeds Yash P. Gupta who stepped down last June.

Lilly

Eli Lilly is participating in a new investment fund which will focus primarily on early-stage drug development opportunities in Canada as a whole and Quebec in particular.

The fund, which will be operated by investment investment group TVM Capital, will have an initial size of $150 million. As well as Lilly, other backers include Teralys Capital (which is putting in $65 million), BDC Venture Capital, Fondaction and Advantus Capital Management.

Below is an editorial suggesting the nation could become more economically competitive by helping remove barriers to connect our federal lab technology, human and physical resources to the private sector. Without question, Maryland has the most to gain from this national initiative. We are home to the nation’s largest concentration of federal laboratories and many federal lab researchers live in Maryland. To its credit, the state has launched new programs to support commercialization and partnering among the state’s considerable academic research and development assets. Since federal labs are creatures of federal legislation, these efforts need to extend to federal labs, augmented with federal policy reforms. Now is the time for the state to lead the Maryland Congressional delegation, working with other state congressional delegations, to work on a bi-partisan basis to enact pathways for better connecting the human, physical and technology assets of our federal labs with their regions.

medimmune-iain-chessell

MedImmune in Cambridge UK is reaching out to academics and biotech companies in a bid to improve the industry’s poor neuroscience track record.

Together with AstraZeneca in Boston, Massachusetts, MedImmune – the global biologics unit of AstraZeneca – is setting up a collaborative unit at its Granta Park HQ with the aim of producing drugs to treat neurodegenerative conditions, long term pain and neuropsychiatric conditions.

Iain Chessell, vice-president R & D Neuroscience said: “There have been no new approvals of completely novel mechanisms for treating pain for at least a decade – if not more – and current treatment only works in a third to half of patients.

NewImage

Johns Hopkins researchers say it’s going to be a hard sell to get physicians to stop screening healthy men routinely for prostate cancer with PSA testing, despite recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) that the cancer screening does more harm than good.

Patient expectations, malpractice fears cited The researchers surveyed physicians, 74.4% of whom said patients expect PSA testing.

investmaryland.png

Thursday, June 14, 2012 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM (ET)
Rockville, MD

A free and open forum to:

  • Discuss InvestMaryland implementation progress and investment strategy
  • Detail state venture funding resources to seed and early-stage companies
  • Address questions from the business community

NewImage

The pharmaceutical industry rightly calls the stage in drug development between basic research and clinical trials the “Valley of Death.” This is when a potential treatment that’s worked in mice, monkeys, and the like catapults to a phase 1 clinical trial to assess safety. It’s rare.

Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health, calls this period “where projects go to die.” The reason: $.

Matthew Herper writes in Forbes that the cost of developing a new drug is $4-11 billion, not the $1 billion that Pharma often claims. Yet even that $1 billion is unimaginable, especially when you put a face on a rare disease and witness what the family goes through to leap to phase 1.

BIO-International

Thousands of companies from around the world and all industry segments will be at BIO, ready to build strategic partnerships. Attend the Global Event for Biotechnology and you will reap the benefits of an efficient four days! You will find connections, partnering and innovation everywhere at BIO. 15,000+ leaders from more than 65 countries come to this global gathering. We invite you to join!

BIO covers the wide spectrum of life science innovations and application areas. Drug discovery, biomanufacturing, genomics, biofuels, nanotechnology, and cell therapy are just a few of the industries represented at the BIO International Convention.

We have a free service, myBIO Personal Event Planner - search using keywords to find what interests you at BIO.

The key elements of the event are education,networking, BIO Business Forum partnering and the 1,800 companies showcasing the latest technologies, products and services in the BIO Exhibition. See the Schedule of Events.

accelerating-innovation

It's been almost a decade since the Human Genome Project was completed, yet despite the best efforts of thousands of scientists around the world, hopes for cures for a wide range of diseases remain unfulfilled.

Last fall, a remarkable group of leaders came together to find new ways of overcoming the barriers that have prevented more progress in medical research. A report from the Milken Institute, released today, Accelerating Innovation in the Bioscience Revolution, recaps the discussions from that gathering – the 2011 Milken Institute Lake Tahoe Retreat.

BIO Boston

BIO International Convention organizers are hoping for the usual surge in attendance provided by the Boston biotech community at the event scheduled for June 18-21 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. While it may not reach the 22,000 level achieved at the last Boston BIO in 2007, it should surpass the 15,600 who came to last year's event in Washington, D.C. Exhibitors will occupy more than 215,000 sq. ft of exhibit space.

Attendance for the event has been off its historic highs since the Atlanta event in 2009 which drew about 14,000. Organizers attribute the drop that year to the H1N1 influenza epidemic which surfaced a few weeks before the convention and to the economic downturn. Attendance has been slowly recovering since 2009.

Pharma Investing

Pharma corporate venture was back in the biotech news today with the release of Burrill & Company’s June 2012 report.  An interesting article by Vinay Singh evaluated the impact of Pharma corporate venture capital (CVC) investing, and the key takeaway is that CVC-backed companies have a higher rate of overall success than those without their involvement.

While a similar takeway has been published before by Windhover’s StartUp about a year ago, these data suggests a fairly robust effect from a large dataset.  The analysis includes 2907 therapeutics companies that raised venture capital dollars between 2000-2010 across 5100 rounds of financing.  Corporate VCs were investors about 10% of companies, and this pool of 286 companies had what appears to be a markedly higher hit rate: a ~60% higher rate of licensing deals, M&As and IPOs. 

Laurie Boyer

Laurie Boyer, president of the Maryland Economic Development Association, is the new executive director of Rockville Economic Development Inc.

Boyer has more than 15 years of government and economic development experience, according to a statement from REDI.

She served more than five years as director of the Frederick County Office of Economic Development and earned her certified economic developer designation from the International Economic Development Council in 2006.

NewImage

Only a few companies have ever been successful enough to call themselves Big Biotechs. If boards and shareholders lack vision and guts, we’ll look back in few years and wonder why the Big Biotechs went extinct.

The group of Big Biotechs includes companies like Amgen, Gilead Sciences, Biogen Idec, and Celgene. They grew from scrappy venture-backed startups with a dream into big, independent, profitable, diversified enterprises. They have enduring ability to create new jobs and new medicines. They are like ballasts in a stormy industry.

Notre Dame

Following on the heels of two hospitals, the University of Notre Dame has become the first university to strike a collaboration with Cleveland Clinic aimed at commercializing medical innovations from its faculty and researchers.

Through the collaboration, Cleveland Clinic Innovations will essentially do for Notre Dame what it does for the Clinic — help turn employee ideas into marketable products that generate financial returns for the organization.

Osiris

Osiris Therapeutics Inc. in Columbia has become the world’s first company to receive market approval for a manufactured stem cell product.

Health Canada, the country’s department responsible for overseeing pharmaceuticals, approved for commercial sale Osiris’ Prochymal, which uses stem cells from healthy donors to treat a fatal children’s disease.

“While today marks the first approval of a stem cell drug, now that the door has been opened, it will surely not be the last,” Osiris CEO C. Randal Mills said.

emergent-logo

Rockville-based Emergent BioSolutions Inc. , which makes the only vaccine licensed by the Food and Drug Administration to protect against anthrax infection, has received FDA approval for a new, shorter-dosing schedule.

The new, supplemental biologics license application, follows trials to determine if the company's BioThrax vaccine would be effective with as few as three doses over six months.

NewImage

United Therapeutics, which has has greatly expanded their downtown Silver Spring presence as of late, is reportedly set to purchase from the county the parcel located at the corner of Colesville Rd. and Spring Street. The parking garage that current occupies this space abuts an existing UT building, and has been closed for some time due to safety issues. (Surprisingly, it has its own Yelp page. Who uses their limited time on Earth to rate a public parking garage?)

I'm a big fan of the existing United Therapeutics buildings, what with their skybridge and giant external TV's and all. I also like the touch of the ground lights representing individual elements from the periodic table. The planning and construction of the new building could take five years (or more, because construction delays tend to happen around here), so we won't be seeing it anytime soon. Hopefully they will choose to incorporate some street-level retail into their design.

Human Genome

Human Genome Sciences Inc, which has rejected a hostile $13-per-share offer from GlaxoSmithKline, has adopted a short-term stockholder rights plan to fend off such unwanted attention.

Rockville-based Human Genome (NASDAQ: HGSI) said in a statement announcing the plan that it had declared a dividend of one share purchase right for each share of the company's common stock held of record at the close of business on May 29.