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January 17, 2024

BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI) Welcomes Peter Ronco as a New Member of the Board of Directors

ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, January 16, 2024– BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI), a leading public-private non-profit organization dedicated to advancing healthcare innovation in the BioHealth Capital Region, is pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Ronco to its Board of Directors.

Peter Ronco is an accomplished drug developer and innovative senior pharmaceutical executive, currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Emmes, a full-service Contract Research Organization (CRO) operating in 30+ countries and across multiple disease areas, including ophthalmology, vaccines, rare diseases, cell & gene therapy, and neuroscience. With extensive global experience spanning therapeutic areas such as oncology, immunology, neuroscience, vaccines, anti-infectives, cardiovascular, and retinal gene therapy, Peter brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the BHI Board.

As CEO of Emmes, Peter is responsible for setting the strategic direction and the organization’s day-to-day operations, which collaborates with over 210 sponsors, including pharmaceutical and biotech companies, government agencies, academic institutions, and non-profit foundations.

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Creation of the Emmes Group Will Advance Company's 47-year Legacy and Build Clinical Research Infrastructure for the Future
  • New Business Unit Veridix AI Launched to Embed Technology and AI in Day-to-Day Clinical Operations
  • Dr. Rama Kondru to Join the Emmes Group as CEO, Veridix AI
  • Industry Leader Matthew Holt to Join Board of Directors

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 9, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Emmes today announced the creation of the Emmes Group, with Sastry Chilukuri serving as its executive chairman and chief executive officer. The company also announced a new board member, Matthew Holt.

The Emmes Group will have two business units: Emmes, its Clinical Research Organization (CRO) led by Peter Ronco, and Veridix AI, the newly launched technology and artificial intelligence (AI) group, led by recently appointed executive Dr. Rama Kondru.

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BioHealth Innovation Insights from the 2024 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference

BioHealth Innovation (BHI) was prominently represented at the 2024 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, with several Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) in attendance. The insights gathered by these experienced professionals provide a comprehensive view of the current trends, challenges, and opportunities in the biohealth industry. Here's a summary of their observations and thoughts.

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Emergent BioSolutions Awarded Procurement Contract Valued up to $235.8 Million to Supply BioThrax® (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed) to the U.S. Department of Defense

GAITHERSBURG, Md., Jan. 11, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Emergent BioSolutions Inc. (NYSE:EBS) today announced that it has secured an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) procurement contract with a maximum value up to $235.8 million to supply BioThrax® (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed) for use by all branches of the U.S. military as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for anthrax disease. The new contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and led by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense, is comprised of a five-year base agreement ending on September 30, 2028, and an additional five-year option that would extend the contract to September 30, 2033. 

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Research and development (R&D) that will contribute toward Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) mission needs and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program objectives.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) is soliciting proposals from small business concerns that possess the research and development (R&D) expertise to conduct innovative research that will contribute toward ARPA-H mission needs and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program objectives.

SOLICITATION 75N91024R00006 is anticipated to be made available on or about January 23, 2024 through  This solicitation is anticipated to have a closing date of February 22, 2024 for receipt of proposals.

The purposes of the SBIR program are to: (a) stimulate technological innovation; (b) strengthen the role of small business in meeting Federal research/research & development (R/R&D) needs; (c) foster and encourage participation by socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns and women-owned business concerns; and (d) increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal R/R&D, thereby increasing competition, productivity and economic growth. 

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Children's National Novel AI platform matches cardiologists in detecting rheumatic heart disease

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 16, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to detect rheumatic heart disease (RHD) with the same accuracy as a cardiologist, according to new research demonstrating how sophisticated deep learning technology can be applied to this disease of inequity. The work could prevent hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths around the world annually. 

Developed at Children’s National Hospital and detailed in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Heart Association, the new AI system combines the power of novel ultrasound probes with portable electronic devices installed with algorithms capable of diagnosing RHD on echocardiogram. Distributing these devices could allow healthcare workers, without specialized medical degrees, to carry technology that could detect RHD in regions where it remains endemic. 

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Precigen Receives Orphan Drug Designation for PRGN-2012 for the Treatment of Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis from the European Commission

GERMANTOWN, Md., Jan. 16, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Precigen, Inc. (Nasdaq: PGEN), a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of innovative gene and cell therapies to improve the lives of patients, today announced that the European Commission (EC) has granted Orphan Drug Designation for the Company's first-in-class investigational medicine PRGN-2012 for the treatment of recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP). RRP is a rare, difficult-to-treat and sometimes fatal neoplastic disease of the upper and lower respiratory tracts caused by human papillomavirus type 6 (HPV 6) or HPV type 11 (HPV 11). PRGN-2012 received Orphan Drug Designation from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Precigen was the first company to receive Breakthrough Therapy Designation and an accelerated approval pathway from the FDA for an RRP treatment.

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REGENXBIO Announces Positive Interim Data from Phase II AAVIATE® Trial of ABBV-RGX-314 for the Treatment of Wet AMD Using Suprachoroidal Delivery

ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 16, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- REGENXBIO Inc. (Nasdaq: RGNX) today announced positive interim data from the Phase II AAVIATE® trial of ABBV-RGX-314 for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) using suprachoroidal delivery. Wet AMD is a chronic, life-long disease with available anti-VEGF treatment options that may reduce the risk of blindness, but require frequent injections. Investigational ABBV-RGX-314 using suprachoroidal delivery is designed to be a one-time, in office treatment that has the potential to sustain constant anti-VEGF therapy and stabilize or improve vision long-term for wet AMD patients. The new data presented at the Hawaiian Eye and Retina meeting in Maui, HI by John Pitcher, M.D., Eye Associates of New Mexico, includes 6-month results from two additional dose level 3 cohorts (Cohorts 5 and 6). ABBV-RGX-314, being developed in collaboration with AbbVie, is also being investigated as a potential one-time gene therapy for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and other chronic retinal conditions.    

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Rockville's NeoImmuneTech Welcomes a New President for its Development and Business

ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 15, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- NeoImmuneTech, Inc. (NIT or "NeoImmuneTech"), a clinical-stage T cell-focused biopharmaceutical company, today announces the appointment of Luke Oh, Ph.D., as President, effective immediately.

Dr. Oh is an expert in regulatory policies and drug development, encompassing both biologics and small molecules. He brings over six years of regulatory experience at the U.S. FDA. His recent tenure at Samsung Bioepis as Vice-President in charge of Regulatory Development was marked by the successful preparation and submission of seven biosimilar applications to regulatory agencies in the US, EU, UK, and Canada. Prior to this position, he has worked as Senior Staff Fellow at the U.S. FDA Division of Clinical Pharmacology III and Division of Inflammation and Immune Pharmacology, and he has held various roles in research and development for leading organizations such as Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Human Genome Sciences, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Oh has a Ph.D. in Neuroimmunology from the McGill University (Montreal, Canada).

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GSK Enters Agreement to Acquire Aiolos Bio
  • Acquisition expands GSK’s respiratory pipeline adding AIO-001, a phase II-ready, long-acting antibody targeting the clinically validated TSLP pathway
  • AIO-001 could redefine the standard-of-care with dosing every six months
  • AIO-001 has potential to expand GSK’s respiratory biologics portfolio to reach a broader portion of asthma patients

SAN FRANCISCO & LONDON--()--GSK plc (LSE/NYSE: GSK) and Aiolos Bio, Inc. (Aiolos) today announced that they have entered into an agreement under which GSK will acquire Aiolos, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on addressing the unmet treatment needs of patients with certain respiratory and inflammatory conditions, for a $1 billion upfront payment and up to $400 million in certain success-based regulatory milestone payments.

The acquisition provides GSK with access to Aiolos’ AIO-001, a potentially best-in-class, long-acting anti-thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) monoclonal antibody ready to enter phase II clinical development for the treatment of adult patients with asthma, with potential for additional indications including chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps. AIO-001 was exclusively licensed to Aiolos outside of Greater China by Jiangsu Hengrui Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. (Hengrui).

Tony Wood, Chief Scientific Officer, GSK, said: “We have a proud heritage and deep development expertise in respiratory medicines, especially addressing diseases driven by IL-5 with high levels of eosinophils or high T2 inflammation. Adding AIO-001, a potentially best-in-class medicine targeting the TSLP pathway, could expand the reach of our current respiratory biologics portfolio, including to the 40% of severe asthma patients with low T2 inflammation where treatment options are still needed.”1

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KeifeRx Expands Exclusive Licensing Agreement with Georgetown University to Include Multiple Disease Indications for Portfolio of Novel Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors

KeifeRx is currently advancing programs investigating KFRX03, KFRX04, KFXR05 and KFX06 in neurodegenerative, neuroinflammatory, and mast cell-associated diseases

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- KeifeRx, an emerging clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company specializing in the discovery and development of new treatment options for neurodegenerative and immune diseases, announced today entry into an amended exclusive licensing agreement with Georgetown University to advance the development of novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) chemical entities (NCE) for the treatment of multiple disease indications. The amendment provides an extension of the exclusively licensed rights to these four novel chemical entities for the treatment of new disease conditions including inflammatory, mast-cell associated diseases, and oncology, in addition to existing rights in neurodegenerative diseases. KeifeRx is currently conducting optimizing and IND-enabling studies involving four separate formulations of the TKI (renamed KFRX03, KFRX04, KFRX05, and KFRX06) with patent life through 2037.

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Bio.News: With the new COVID surge, are we really post-pandemic?

January 9, 2024 / By  - National wastewater viral activity levels for COVID-19 have been  very high since December. (It wasn’t your imagination that everyone seemed sick over the holidays.) Currently, wastewater data is the best way to track COVID infections as most people are testing at home and not reporting their status. And currently, wastewater levels indicate that about 2 million Americans are getting infected each day.

This means that we are now in the second-highest COVID surge, after Omicron. As we hover around the fourth year of living with COVID, it is clear COVID could be endemic. With surges such as we are seeing now, personal safety measures are still very much needed—including (and especially) staying up to date on COVID vaccines.

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