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Five prestigious US universities will create free online courses for students worldwide through a new, interactive education platform dubbed Coursera, the founders announced.

The two founders, both professors of computer science at Stanford University, also announced that they had received $16 million in financing from two Silicon Valley venture capital firms.

Coursera will offer more than three dozen college courses in the coming year through its website at coursera.org, on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to neurology, from calculus to contemporary American poetry. The classes are designed and taught by professors at Stanford, Princeton, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan.

NIHconference

In FY2012, there is now $717M available thanks to the increased SBIR/STTR set-asides afforded to us in the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization. The amount available will increase each and every year through FY2017!

Learn how to access these vital funds for your company at the NIH Annual Conference in Louisville, KY.

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Like a one-two punch, two major Maryland employers in the health care service and pharmaceutical industries were the targets last week of multibillion-dollar acquisition deals.

Both homegrown companies — Human Genome Sciences Inc. and Catalyst Health Solutions Inc. — are based in Rockville. Both were courted by out-of-state companies.

Human Genome ultimately rebuffed a $2.6 billion offer by biopharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, saying it was too low. But Catalyst agreed to be acquired by a larger Illinois competitor for $4.4 billion, and Human Genome has officially acknowledged it's on the market.

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For three decades, Robert A. Rosenbaum helped guide established companies and fresh startups through complex challenges.

The Connecticut native was president of an apparel manufacturing firm, ran technology projects for big companies, and helped several businesses run smarter and more profitably with his operations acumen.

But for the past 18 months, Rosenbaum, 54, has taken on a new challenge: technology economic development for Maryland. He's been serving as president and executive director of Maryland Technology Development Corp., or TEDCO, the state's technology development arm.

Johns Hopkins

High-profile research institutions, many of which are members of Association of American Universities, provide many benefits for undergraduates on the fast-track to professional or graduate school programs.  In part, this is because of the level of funding these schools receive from the federal government as well as from industry and nonprofit organizations. And despite an anemic economy, it appears that big money continues to flow to big name national research universities.

According to a study recently published by the National Science Foundation, university spending on research and development in all fields increased 6.9 percent between FY 2009 and FY 2010 to $61.2 billion.

human-genome-sciences

Biotech drug developer Human Genome Sciences Inc. has rejected an unsolicited $2.59 billion takeover offer from GlaxoSmithKline PLC, saying it undervalues the company.

But the Rockville, Md., company said Thursday that it has decided to explore its strategic options, which could include a potential sale of the company. It invited GlaxoSmithKline to participate in its exploratory process.

Catalyst health solutions

Rockville-based Catalyst Health Solutions Inc.    (NASDAQ: CHSI) has agreed to be acquired by fellow pharmacy benefits manager SXC Health Solutions Corp. (NASDAQ: SXCI) in a transaction valued at approximately $4.4 billion.

Under the terms of the agreement, Catalyst shareholders will receive $28 in cash and 0.6606 shares of SXC stock for each Catalyst share. That implies a purchase price of $81.02 per Catalyst share--a 28 percent premium to the closing price of Catalyst stock on April 17.

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Join us on April 25th at Stella Restaurant for another BioBuzz in Montgomery County!

This month's corporate sponsor, BioHealth Innovation, inc. (BHI) is an innovation intermediary that translates market-relevant research into commercial success by connecting management, funding and markets. BHI's vision is to transform the Central Maryland region into a leading global bio-health entrepreneurial and commercialization hub. BHI will identify and translate market relevant research into commercial success by connecting research assets to appropriate funding, management and markets.

Barbara Mikulski

Over the past few weeks and months I have been out and about in the state listening to Marylanders who are developing new drugs and manufacturing lifesaving medical devices.

They are also creating jobs. In Maryland, biotech means jobs, jobs, jobs. Biotech supports nearly 90,000 Maryland jobs, keeping our innovation economy rolling.

This month, the Senate HELP Committee will meet to discuss and markup legislation, the Medical Device User Fee Act and the Prescription Drug User Fee Act to ensure the safety and availability of new drugs, medical devices and treatments. As a senior member of the committee and a member of the Drug Shortage Working Group, I want to hear how government is helping, how it's hurting and when it needs to get out of the way.

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For the second year, the JHU Carey Business School has bussed 30+ Global MBA students to Rockville to learn more about the university’s Montgomery County Campus, the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center, and the County’s plans for the bioscience/healthcare sector.

The program, titled “Bioparks and Commercializing Scientific Discoveries,” included presentations by Elaine Amir, Executive Director, Johns Hopkins Montgomery  County; David Lee from Private Raise, which is located on the campus; Lily Qi from the County Executive’s Office, and Dave Sislen, an instructor in the school’s MS in Real Estate program and president of Bristol Capital Corporation in Bethesda.

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In recent months, state and federal policy makers have launched a broad set of innovative programs aimed at accelerating technology transfer, the commercialization of government- and university-created intellectual property, or IP, through licenses and business startups. This fall, for example, the Obama administration directed federal agencies and labs to measure and expand their technology transfer efforts. At the state level, Gov. Martin O’Malley’s (D-MD) Maryland Innovation Initiative, announced in January, would provide seed funding and foster greater cross-university collaboration to help close the state’s gap between its research levels and commercialization results.

Some universities, too, are rethinking their policies. Penn State, for example, announced in December that the university is no longer required to own intellectual property created by industry-sponsored research. “In short we consider the net present value of the interactions and relationships that our faculty and students have with industrial professionals to be real and therefore greater than the apparent future value of the proceeds from such IP,” wrote Hank Foley, Penn State’s vice president for research, in announcing this news. “Our goal … is to flatten any and all barriers or impediments to innovation and that includes our own past stance on intellectual property.”

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Maryland is in an enviable position with regard to biotechnology-related resources that encourages and supports entrepreneurial efforts. Academic institutions, federal laboratories, a committed county department of economic development and a unique small business have developed an effective consortium to leverage these resources. The potential for human capital to support this entrepreneurial growth is further augmented by the number of graduate and postdoctoral programs available in the region.

Ironically, a significant steady decrease in the availability of academic positions for new graduate and post-graduate level scientists has created an additional talent resource pool for new and existing biotechnology companies. Despite these significant human capital resources, traditional academic graduate and post-graduate training do not focus on teaching the business leadership and management skills that are required to attain successful industry scientist-level positions. This confluence of circumstances was the catalyst for a unique and highly synergistic consortium to help remedy this situation

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Gov. Martin O’Malley celebrated passage of Innovate Maryland on Friday, touting the program as a critical piece in the funding pipeline that funnels discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace.

The goal of Innovate Maryland is to commercialize 40 discoveries every year through a partnership between the state and its research universities.

Maryland will kick in $5 million and Johns Hopkins University; Morgan State University; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County and University of Maryland, College Park have agreed to contribute up to $200,000 each to help researchers take their ideas to market.

NSI

Notable Solutions, Inc. (NSi), a leading developer of distributed content capture and workflow solutions, announced today that Chairman and CEO Mehdi Tehranchi has been named a finalist for Executive of the Year in the Tech Council of Maryland's Annual TCM Awards. This year marks the 24th year that the awards will be presented to individuals and organizations for their innovation, dedication and outstanding service to Maryland's technology community. Tehranchi is among three finalists for the Executive of the Year Award. Winners will be announced during the awards gala on April 26 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

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Dr. Perman with Wallace Loh

The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents recently approved an innovative and structured collaboration between the University of Maryland’s Baltimore and College Park campuses.

Called University of Maryland: MPowering the State, the plan is “the kind of 21st-century organizational model needed for today’s fast changing, fiscally challenging, and globally competitive environment,” says Patricia S. Florestano, PhD, Board of Regents vice chair. “We are pleased with the vision, creativity, and innovative thinking that led to the development of such a forward-looking plan.”

qigen-logo

Qiagen NV, a leading global provider of sample & assay technologies, has received the two US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearances for its real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) instrument Rotor-Gene Q MDx and a compatible test for the detection of Influenza A/B, the artus Infl A/B RG RT-PCR Kit, for in vitro diagnostic use (IVD).

“The FDA clearances for the Rotor-Gene Q MDx along with the first assay for use on this system represent an important milestone for Qiagen,” said Peer M Schatz, chief executive officer of Qiagen NV. “The various Rotor-Gene Q models marketed by Qiagen are not only an integral part of our revolutionary lab automation platform QIAsymphony RGQ, but are also among the most widely used stand-alone molecular detection platforms worldwide. Outside the US, our customers already have access to a broad portfolio of molecular diagnostic tests for use on these platforms. The FDA clearances now pave the way to make this market-leading assay portfolio available to clinical laboratories in the US as well.”

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University dedicated its new $1.1 billion hospital this month and Hopkins alum and major donor New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand for the ceremony.

"The 205-room Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center features 10 surgical suites, a 45-bed neonatal intensive care unit," the Wall Street Journal writes.

Barbara Mikulski

Nearly 90,000 Maryland jobs come from the state's 400 biotechnology companies, so when a senior Democrat on the Senate committee looking into industry regulations asks for a meeting, local businesses are the first to the table.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., met with representatives from several Frederick County biotech companies Tuesday at MedImmune, a Frederick-based pharmaceutical firm. The discussion, the third stop on Mikulski's Maryland biotech listening tour, focused on the Prescription Drug User Fee Act and the Medical Device User Fee Act.

HIG

H.I.G. BioVentures, a Miami-based venture firm with ties to Maryland’s biotech cluster, has raised a fresh $268 million to invest in drug, medical device and diagnostics companies.

Managing Director Bruce Robertson, who lives in Maryland and is a familiar face in the I-270 life sciences community, said he’s “very optimistic” the firm will be able to deploy some of that capital in the D.C. region – something that hasn't happened with H.I.G’s last $150 million bio fund.

FLC

The President has issued an innovation challenge, and the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) can help you answer it! Join the FLC at its 2012 national meeting, Bridging Federal Technologies and Industry, in Pittsburgh, Pa., April 30-May 3, at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel.

The meeting offers technology transfer (T2) training, as well as informational sessions such as:

  • Partnering with federal laboratories
  • Leveraging social media • Available entrepreneur programs
  • Case studies
  • And much more!

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When Suburban Hospital’s ICU went from paper to electronic medical records, the hospital’s IT department created the FrankenCOW. This COW – or, Computer On Wheels – was essentially a glorified laptop with a battery on a cart that could be wheeled around. After a few months of use, Chris Timbers, Suburban Hospital VP & Chief Information Officer, said he found himself with a revolt on his hands. The nurses and doctors wanted to return to the paper records. They felt the records allowed them to easily see a large quantity of information all at once while the computer required toggling between multiple screens. Timbers fought off the return to paper, but didn’t find a solution until after the staff’s second attempt to return to paper. It was then that one of the ICU doctors asked Timbers (pictured left) about getting a FrankenCOW with a larger monitor. And when Timber’s staff couldn’t find one, they built one.

“And we haven’t heard a peep since,” he said. “But boy was that was one ugly COW,” he added, to the laughter of the more than 100 attendees of the latest Health IT Breakfast Forum.

Lilly

In addition to providing lifesaving medication, The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership has transferred technology so medicines can be produced locally, where they are needed, building local economic benefits and healthcare system capacity.

Because the Lilly drugs used to treat MDR-TB can be difficult to manufacture and require specialized equipment and facilities, Lilly identified capable manufacturers in high-burden countries—China, India, Russia, and South Africa—and offered them, free of charge, access to know-how and technical support so they could manufacture the needed drugs on their own. In addition, Lilly worked with companies in the United States and Greece to provide additional capacity and assure supply of these products to global markets. Lilly also provided funding where necessary to support the conversion or upgrading of local manufacturing facilities to meet international quality standards.

Breakout Labs

While most of us are still reeling in shock after last week’s one billion Instagram buy, Peter Thiel — through both Founders Fund and the Thiel Foundation — is leading the charge into a future where humans don’t age or suffer from cancer, among other things. Call it crazy or whatever you’d like, but there’s no doubt that people who are trying to drastically change the world for the better often do.

If a hologram can give a concert, it’s not that far-fetched to imagine a future where humans don’t die. As part of its commitment to improving the quality of human life in general, Thiel’s latest project, Breakout Labs, is awarding $5 million to companies who push the envelope with regards to “revolutionary” scientific innovation.

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Large doses of Vitamin C may moderately reduce blood pressure, Johns Hopkins researchers have found.

But the scientists don't recommend people start taking large amounts of the vitamin.

Researchers led by Dr. Edgar "Pete" R. Miller, an associate professor in the division of general interal medicine at Hopkins, reviewed and analyzed data from 29 previous  clinical trials and found that taking 500 milligrams of Vitamin C daily, or five times the recommended amount, could lower blood pressure by 3.84 millimeters.

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With President Barack Obama signing the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Bill into law today, the crowdfunding provision could mark a new era for startups and make it easier to raise money with more investment from new investors who fuel early and later-stage healthcare companies.

But some investors believe that with less-rigorous regulatory checks and balances on company finances, the risk of investors getting burned by fraud will lead to new dynamics in the investment landscape, like novice investors partnering with individuals and groups with more experience. Three individuals from the investment landscape share their thoughts.

Mikulski

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, continued her Maryland biotechnology listening tour at a roundtable discussion with Frederick County pharmaceutical companies at MedImmune. Senator Mikulski has continued to meet with members of the Maryland medical industry as the Senate HELP Committee examines reauthorizing user fee legislation, which supports the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries that account for nearly 90,000 Maryland jobs and works to keep families safe and healthy.

"In Maryland, biotech means jobs, jobs, job," said Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate HELP Committee and a member of the Drug Shortage Working Group. "I have heard from Maryland pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, doctors, nurses and patients about the need for safe and effective treatments that are both readily available and affordable. I'm proud to support research and innovation jobs in Maryland's biotech industry keeping our state competitive in the global economy. By working to develop safe and effective treatments, we can ensure that our nation's health care providers have the tools they need to keep families healthy."

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In the world of drug development, honing an effective molecule is just the first step. As everyone in the drug delivery business knows, issues like solubility, permeability and targeting can be vexing challenges to getting treatment where it needs to go. But what if you could deliver drugs the same way the body dispatches white blood cells to fight infection, or the same way a virus proliferates throughout the body?

That's what researchers at U.S. universities are working on, aiming to develop synthetic cells that could target ailments and release drugs to treat them. As Popular Mechanics reports, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania are using plastics to build artificial white blood cells called leuko-polymersomes, which would be guided by synthetic molecules designed to mimic the natural receptors white blood cells use to find enflamed tissues and stick to them.

rbendis

Welcome to BioHealth Innovation News, a new Central Maryland e-newsletter focused on bringing to you the latest news and developments in the vibrant biohealth industry. This newsletter is produced and distributed by BioHealth Innovation Inc. (BHI), a new private public partnership whose mission is "to connect market relevant biohealth assets to appropriate funding, management and markets that will result in commercially viable products and companies."

As the interim CEO of BHI, I have the privilege of working with a committed team and an esteemed board of directors. I would like to give special thanks to one of our key partners, the Montgomery County (Maryland) Department of Economic Development, for providing its extensive database as part of our initial distribution list. We are also working with other stakeholders to grow our database of interested parties in biohealth news.

This newsletter will cover regional, national and global news and trends related to biohealth. We welcome your contributions of breaking news and original content. Please send any news, suggestions or inquiries to Lily Qi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We are excited about the growth opportunities in the Central Maryland region and hope that we can be an effective intermediary in this biohealth ecosystem.

Best regards,

Richard A. Bendis
Interim CEO BioHealth Innovation Inc.
e-mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.biohealthinnovation.org

 

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BHIOTT

BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI), a new regional private-public partnership focusing on commercializing market-relevant biohealth innovations and increasing access to early-stage funding in Central Maryland, announced today it has entered into a Partnership Intermediary Agreement (PIA) with the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Office of Technology Transfer (OTT). As a partnership intermediary for NIH OTT, BHI will assist, counsel, advise, evaluate and cooperate with small businesses or educational institutions to make productive use of technologies from a federal laboratory.

“We are thrilled to partner with NIH to accelerate technology transfer and the commercialization of early-stage research,” said Richard Bendis, BHI Interim CEO. “This Agreement will allow health care industry experts to proactively identify market-relevant technologies being conducted at one of the finest research institutes in the world to better capture the commercial value of those technologies. Ultimately, the goal is to advance human health care while growing jobs in Central Maryland.”

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Chappell will help start-ups based on innovative discoveries 

from NIH and FDA research programs

Todd ChappellROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, March 26, 2012 BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI), a new regional private-public partnership focusing on commercializing market-relevant biohealth innovations and increasing access to early-stage funding in Central Maryland, announced today its selection of Todd Chappell as the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) for BHI at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Technology Transfer (OTT). Mr. Chappell, a venture capital-backed entrepreneurial leader and inventor with more than ten years of experience in molecular biology research, drug development and life sciences business strategy, will help support the development of new start-up companies based upon OTT technology license agreements.

leggett

Program Spurs Nearly $6 Million in Investments

Among Ten Local Biotech Companies

March 19, 2012

10:00 am

Sequella, Inc.

9610 Medical Center Drive, Suite 200

Rockville, Maryland 20850

Montgomery County Executive Isiah LeggettMontgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett will announce the first 10 biotech companies to receive significant investments through the County’s biotech investment tax credit program. The program allows investors receiving tax credits from the State of Maryland to also receive a supplemental payment from the County based on their investments in local biotech companies. The County’s program is modeled after Maryland’s Biotech Investment Tax Credit Program and works in conjunction with it.

Leggett will join other local and state elected officials, local biotech company executives and representatives from the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development.  

Gov. Martin O'Malley

Maryland first state in the nation to use online auction to raise funds for venture capital program

InvestMaryland will deploy first round of funds to seed early stage companies this summer

ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 15, 2012) – Governor Martin O’Malley and Peter Greenleaf, chairman of the Maryland Venture Fund Authority, today announced that $84 million has been raised for Maryland’s Innovation Economy through InvestMaryland – an historic initiative created by the Governor and passed by the General Assembly last year to invest in the State’s promising start-up and early stage companies. The $84 million raised far exceeds a goal of $70 million and was generated through an online auction of premium tax credits to insurance companies with operations in Maryland. While other states have sold tax credits to fund similar venture capital initiatives, Maryland is the first state to use an online auction to raise the capital for such a program. The inaugural round of investments will be made in innovative companies this summer through several private venture capital firms and the State’s successful Maryland Venture Fund (MVF).

bendis

Chairman Quayle and Ranking Member Edwards, thank you for the opportunity to testify before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation on the important topic of “Fostering the U.S. Competitive Edge: Examining the Effect of Federal Policies on Competition, Innovation, and Job Growth.”

My name is Richard Bendis and I am the President and CEO of BioHealth Innovation Inc., (BHI). BHI is a private-public partnership that is predominantly funded by the private sector to foster biohealth innovation-based economic development, which is a unique cluster-based model for regional economic development. This initiative could be used as a model program regardless of industry or cluster strength.

BHI is the first regionally focused innovation intermediary created to connect the university and hospital biohealthresearch strengths of Baltimore with the bioscience industry and federal laboratory strengths of Montgomery County. It has entered into a Partnership Intermediary Agreement with the National Institutes of Health's Office of Technology Transfer and has created the first private-sector funded Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program to identify commercializable science in the 27 institutes of NIH. This program will create new project-based companies and high-paying life science jobs. BHI believes this EIR program is applicable to many federal agencies that have technology transfer offices and support SBIR programs.

BHI has designed a potential national pilot, the Health-Regional Innovation Cluster (H-RIC) model, which will incorporate the best innovation-based economic development practices in the United States and integrate them into one region in Central Maryland. BHI is currently seeking federal financial support from several relevant federal agency partners to accelerate the creation and implemention of this innovative biohealth H-RIC model.

Rockland Immunochemicals

Rockland Immunochemicals Inc., a biotechnology company focusing on antibodies and antibody-based tools for basic research, diagnostic assay development and preclinical studies is pleased to announce a new licensing venture with LIMR Development, Inc. (LDI), the business development subsidiary of the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR).

Rockland Immunochemicals will market LDI's entire portfolio of LIMR monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, which bind biomarkers crucial for cell signaling, immune system regulation, inflammatory responses, cellular metabolism, and cancer progression. Detailed product information can be found at http://rockland-inc.com/limr-collaboration.aspx . George Prendergast, PhD, President and CEO of LIMR, stated, "We are proud of the achievement of LDI to generate an agreement with Rockland to commercialize the high-quality research antibodies developed at LIMR."