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July 25, 2023


Global Breakthroughs for a Healthier Future - Registration for the 9th Annual BioHealth Capital Region Forum Now Live

Get ready for an exceptional experience at the 9th Annual BioHealth Capital Region Forum. Registration is now live for this highly anticipated event, taking place on September 19th and 20th, 2023, at the US Pharmacopeia (USP) facility located at 12601 Twinbrook Pkwy, Rockville, MD 20850.

Step into a world of innovation as we proudly present an entirely in-person experience under the theme "Global Breakthroughs for a Healthier Future." After a period of remote events, we're thrilled to bring together industry professionals for face-to-face interactions once again with no registration fees, thanks to our generous event sponsors!

Prepare to be part of the premier gathering for the biopharma sector, as the in-person BioHealth Capital Region Forum attracts over 1,100 registrants annually. Esteemed government officials, academic leaders, and industry executives will converge at this prestigious event, creating a vibrant atmosphere for reconnection, partnership rekindling, and exploration of new growth avenues within the region.

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Apply Now for the 6th Annual BioHealth Capital Region Investor Conference: Uniting Visionary Entrepreneurs and Pioneering Investors for Transformative Funding

The 6th Annual BioHealth Capital Region Investor Conference is just around the corner! Taking place on September 21st, 2023, at the US Pharmacopeia, this in-person event brings together ambitious entrepreneurs, startup-up companies and innovative BioHealth companies with a diverse group of influential investors, offering funding opportunities ranging from pre-seed to Series A.

The BioHealth Capital Region is renowned for its vibrant biotechnology and life sciences community, a breeding ground for groundbreaking advancements and success stories. The conference's history is marked with exceptional achievements, from initial funding rounds to subsequent financings, successful IPOs, and engaging M&A activities.

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Applications to Compete in the 8th Annual BioHealth Capital Region Crab Trap are Now Being Accepted!

Now in its 8th year, the BioHealth Capital Region Crab Trap continues to grow, attracting applicants from around the region, country, and internationally. The competition highlights entrepreneurs with commercially relevant diagnostics, medical devices, therapeutics, and other transformative health solutions.

This year's Crab Trap winner will be eligible for a package of prizes worth more than $50,000. Prizes for the qualifying Crab Trap winner include:

  • A $10,000 cash prize from Greenberg Traurig
  • A $25,000 cash prize from Montgomery County (for a firm headquartered in Montgomery County)
  • A one-year residency at JLABS @ Washington, D.C. (for a firm of their choice)
  • $10,000 in Preclinical CRO services from Noble Life Sciences.

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Emergent BioSolutions Receives U.S. FDA Approval of CYFENDUS™ (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed, Adjuvanted), previously known as AV7909, a Two-Dose Anthrax Vaccine for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Use
  • Emergent has been delivering CYFENDUS™ vaccine to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services since 2019, under pre-Emergency Use Authorization status, and will continue to work with the U.S. government to transition to post-approval procurement

GAITHERSBURG, Md., July 20, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Emergent BioSolutions Inc. (NYSE:EBS) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved CYFENDUS™ (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed, Adjuvanted), previously known as AV7909, for post-exposure prophylaxis of disease following suspected or confirmed exposure to Bacillus anthracis in persons 18 through 65 years of age when administered in conjunction with recommended antibacterial drugs. The efficacy of CYFENDUS™ vaccine for post-exposure prophylaxis is based solely on studies in animal models of inhalational anthrax.

“The approval of CYFENDUS™ vaccine is symbolic of Emergent's longstanding partnership with the U.S. government and our shared commitment to helping protect public health,” said Dr. Kelly Warfield, Emergent’s senior vice president, science and development. “The 20-year journey from early development to approval is a major milestone that attests to Emergent's scientific and technical prowess and partnering capabilities. We are grateful for the yearslong collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and early support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Congratulations to the Emergent team and all our partners for advancing this product to approval.”

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FinaBio's Andrew Lees Wins Derek Horton Award in Industrial Carbohydrate Chemistry

Andrew Lees has received The Derek Horton Award in Industrial Carbohydrate Chemistry for outstanding contributions to industrial carbohydrate chemistry.

The Derek Horton Award in Industrial Carbohydrate Chemistry is awarded by the CARB division of the American Chemical Society and acknowledges distinguished achievements in and outstanding contributions to industrial carbohydrate chemistry.  Lees’ award was for his contributions to the field of protein polysaccharide conjugate vaccines, including the development of CDAP chemistry and a low-cost CRM197 carrier protein.

Andrew Lees is the founder and CEO of Fina Biosolutions, LLC (Rockville, MD), a company focused on promoting affordable conjugate vaccines, a class which includes vaccines for S. pneumoniae and meningococcal disease. Among his contributions to the field, Dr. Lees developed CDAP chemistry for activating carbohydrate hydroxyls, allowing for the efficient linking of proteins to polysaccharides. The chemistry has helped to reduce the cost of these vaccines as proteins can be directly coupled to CDAP-activated polysaccharides, eliminating many manufacturing steps. CDAP has largely replaced the older cyanogen bromide method and is now widely used in conjugate vaccines. CDAP chemistry also scales more easily than other conjugation chemistries and has enabled the manufacture of the Serum Institute of India’s low-cost pneumococcal and meningococcal vaccines, Pneumosil® and MenFive®, respectively. At Fina Biosolutions, Dr. Lees also introduced a low-cost version of CRM197, a genetically detoxified diphtheria toxin commonly used as the protein component of protein-polysaccharide conjugate vaccines, increasing access to the protein for both basic research and vaccine manufacturers.

Before starting Fina Biosolutions in 2006, Dr. Lees was Director of Vaccine Development at biotech companies Virion Systems, Inc (1993-1999) and Biosynexus, Inc (1999-2006). He was also an associate research professor at the Uniformed Services University (1993-1999). Andrew is now an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine Center for Vaccine Development, the Uniformed Services University, Dept. of Medicine, and the University of Toledo, Dept of Chemistry. He has over 75 publications and 25 patents, primarily in the subject area of conjugate vaccines. He received his BS in chemistry from Harvey Mudd College in chemistry (1976) and his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins (1984). Honors include the Uniformed Services Meritorious Service Award, the Harvey Mudd College Outstanding Alumni Award, and the Johns Hopkins University Distinguished Alumnus Award. On graduating from Hopkins, he was on the cover of Baltimore Magazine as one of “84 people to watch in ‘84” due to his role as a leading Baltimore area magician.

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Fierce Biotech: Previous Crab Trap Winner Galen Robotics nets FDA de novo clearance for ENT surgery helper

Galen Robotics has claimed a de novo device clearance from the FDA for its digital surgical assistant, designed to provide a helping hand during ear, nose and throat operations.

The motorized ES system helps stabilize the surgeon’s direct manual control of their instrument—with the goal of reducing natural hand tremors and other movements—to supply greater precision in minimally invasive procedures on soft tissue, as well as offer the ability to let go of the swappable tool and have it remain in place.

The Baltimore-based company, with technology originally spun out of Johns Hopkins University, also aims to promote the device through a “digital-surgery-as-a-service” platform. 

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TEDCO Announces FY24 Board of Directors

Talented, diverse, and experienced leaders tapped to support Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies

COLUMBIA, Md. (July 20, 2023) – TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, held its annual election for the board of directors’ executive officers, reaffirming another term for Chair Omar Muhammad of Morgan State University (MSU).

TEDCO’s full slate of executive officers are:

“I’m excited to continue serving on the board of directors. Our work has focused on supporting TEDCO’s mission of creating an enhanced, diverse and inclusive ecosystem throughout the state, and we look forward to continuing this mission through the various resources and programs TEDCO has to offer,” said Omar Muhammad, chair of the board. “In particular, I am excited to move forward with the Cultivate Maryland initiative, a major project that will support the growth of a diverse innovation economy thereby increasing Maryland’s competitiveness as an innovation economy and supporting larger retention and attraction of trained workers.”

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Baltimore's Vita Therapeutics Collaborates with MilliporeSigma to Advance Preclinical Program for Vita’s Preclinical Cell Therapy for Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD2A)

Licensing agreement utilizing MilliporeSigma’s CRISPR genome-editing technology supports the advancement of Vita’s pipeline

‍Baltimore, MD, July 18, 2023 – Vita Therapeutics, Inc. today announced a licensing agreement between Vita and MilliporeSigma, the U.S. and Canada Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Under the agreement, Vita will leverage MilliporeSigma’s foundational CRISPR patents to advance the development of its preclinical asset VTA-100 for the treatment of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD2A). Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Our purpose is to impact life and health with science, empowering customers to deliver breakthroughs such as Vita's impactful, health-advancing research,” said Christopher Arnot, Director of Licensing and Business Development, Gene Editing, MilliporeSigma.

“For people with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, the calpain 3 (CAPN3) gene is mutated in satellite cells,” said Douglas Falk, MS, Chief Executive Officer at Vita Therapeutics. “MilliporeSigma’s proprietary CRISPR genome-editing technology will allow us to insert a functional copy of the gene into those cells, taking us an important step forward in advancing the development of VTA-100 as a potential cell therapy.”

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