BioHealth Innovation
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May 29, 2019


Crystal R Icenhour, PhD CEO and Co-Founder of Aperiomics joins Rich Bendis to discuss their Technology, Growth, and place in the BioHealth Capital Region

Crystal R Icenhour, PhD, is one of the rising stars of American biotechnology. After more than 25 years in medical research and biotech, she was named founding CEO of Aperiomics, a company that harnesses the power of next-generation sequencing to identify any known pathogen (bacteria, virus, fungi or parasite) in a single test. Aperiomics is the only company of its kind and scope in the world. Throughout Dr.Icenhour’s career, she has demonstrated strong leadership in business and science and has dedicated herself to “bridging the translational gap between these two worlds.”

Dr. Icenhour is an expert in infectious disease diagnostics and her mission is to change the entire thinking about pathogen diagnosis. Up to 75% of infections are never accurately diagnosed, leaving millions of people suffering from chronic infection. Aperiomics, under her leadership, has developed a technology that identifies all known pathogens – every bacteria, parasite, virus, and fungus – from clinical samples in one test.

Dr. Icenhour holds two patents, has authored and co-authored numerous research articles and theses, and has been a prolific speaker and presenter at scientific conferences.  She has served on review panels for National Science Foundation and Environmental Protection Agency and National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants.  She is also an adjunct assistant professor at Duke University Medical Center’s Division of Infectious Diseases in their Department of Medicine.

Before Aperiomics, Dr. Icenhour was president and chief science officer for Phthisis Diagnostics in Charlottesville, VA, a research and development company focused on development of easy-to-use molecular diagnostics for intestinal parasites. While a postdoctoral fellow at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, she was the first to identify and characterize Pneumocystis melanins.

Dr. Icenhour serves as Chairman of VirginiaBIO and was chosen to participate in the SpringBoard Enterprises 2016 class of women-led companies.  She is a member of, Sigma Xi, Medical Mycology Society of the Americas, Association for Molecular Pathology, and the American Society for Microbiology. The Kauffman Foundation and Center recognized her as 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year.

Dr. Icenhour received her PhD in Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine from the University of Cincinnati Medical School of Graduate Studies in 2002.  She conducted postdoctoral research in the Thoracic Diseases Research Unit at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine from 2002-2005 and in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Duke University Medical Center from 2005-2006.  She has been involved in local and national postdoctoral associations including the Mayo Research Fellows Association Executive Committee (president), the Duke University Postdoctoral Association (chair of membership committee), and the National Postdoctoral Association (2008 chair).

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Attend the Inaugural AURP BioHealth Caucus in Philadelphia on Monday, June 3rd
Meet Up with AURP at BIO in Philadelphia forAURP's BIO Health Caucus#AURPBHC2019 June 2 - 3, 2019

At AURP’s BIO Health Caucus, we will explore trends in life science research, opportunity zone funding resources, the marriage of life science and philanthropy in global partnership opportunities. Discover the unique roles that biomedical innovation cluster and research parks play in innovation ecosystems around the globe. Translating discoveries from the lab to the market has never been more important. Connect with AURP at booth #3955 or One-on-One Partnering! 

Register Now!

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Maryland leads delegation to BIO 2019 - Meet with BHI at The MARYLAND Booth #3427

Maryland Commerce is leading a delegation of 20 biohealth and life sciences companies, educational institutions, federal agencies, and city and county economic development offices to the 2019 BIO International Convention in Philadelphia next month. 

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The Catalyst: Creating Innovation in Health Care - United Therapeutics' Martine Rothblatt at Healthy Returns [Video]

There are few, if any, more innovative, more daring, and more iconic health care executives. We'll hear about the process that drives groundbreaking invention, and her dream of permanently alleviating the shortage of transplantable organs.Martine Rothblatt, founder and CEO of United Therapeutics presents her organization's latest innovation, followed by a conversation with "Fast Money" Host and "Power Lunch" co-anchor, Melissa Lee.

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NAVAN Appoints Cell Therapy Executive and AgBio Expert to Strategic Advisory Board | National |

NAVAN, Inc. (NAVAN), a privately-held biotechnology company enabling the development of next generation cell and gene therapies through its novel, non-viral NanoStraw platform, announced today the appointment Heidi Hagen, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer for Vineti, Inc., and Howard Grimes, Ph.D., Associate Vice President and Associate Vice Provost for Institutional Initiatives at The University of Texas at San Antonio, to its Strategic Advisory Board.

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2019 BioHealth Capital Region Forum Photos

If you need great photographer for your event, contact UZI Photography who covered the 5th Annual BioHeallth Capital Region Forum

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Incubator “Cheat Sheet” for Life Science Entrepreneurs in the BioHealth Capital Region · BioBuzz

The BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) continues to grow rapidly with new startups and a greater number of clinical and commercial stage companies. The region expects to add approximately 2,000 life science-related jobs in the near term with more on the way. Whether it’s Kite Pharma building a new manufacturing site in Frederick County, MD, the growth of cell and gene therapy companies such as Autolus, Inc., REGENEXBIO, and RoosterBIO, Inc. or recent acquisitions of companies like Paragon BioServices, Inc., it’s evident that the BHCR is thriving.

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Maryland Tech Council Announces Winners of 31st Annual Industry Awards

The Maryland Tech Council (MTC), Maryland’s largest technology trade association, announced the winners of its 31st Annual Industry Awards during a celebration and ceremony at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center attended by more than 630 business leaders from around the state.

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Scott Gottlieb returns to NEA | PitchBook

Scott Gottlieb, who resigned as head of the FDA in March, has rejoined NEA as a special partner focused on healthcare investments. Gottlieb was a venture partner with the firm for 10 years before leading the FDA. Founded in 1977, the Maryland-based firm's portfolio includes Opendoor and Desktop Metal.

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Rockville biotech raising $7.5M for new manufacturing facility - Baltimore Business Journal

This is the first raise for the business, which has been profitable and fueled growth organically up to this point.

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Navitas Life Sciences Announces Acquisition of KAI Research, US-based Full-service Contract Research Organisation (CRO)

Navitas Life Sciences, a TAKE Solutions Enterprise today announced the acquisition of US based niche full service CRO and health research company, KAI Research Inc.

KAI Research brings on board top of class offerings in 3 key areas – Clinical Trial Management, Clinical Research Consultation, and Data Management & Standardization. Through this acquisition, Navitas Life Sciences expands Phase II and Phase III capabilities in North America adding to its current capabilities in Europe and APAC. KAI strengthens Navitas' therapeutic expertise in mental health, musculoskeletal diseases, neurological disorders, pain, diabetes, infectious diseases and oncology for Pharma and medical devices. The company has differentiated offerings in the areas of patient registries and e-clinical solutions as well as long-standing relationships with clinical sites and trusted network of service providers across the United States and Africa.

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Emergent BioSolutions adds over 100 employees at Baltimore facility, amid $50M expansion - Baltimore Business Journal

By the end of this year, the biotech expects to have 270 employees in Baltimore's Camden-Carroll neighborhood.

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Inaugural InteGIRLS math competition draws more than 100 STEM-loving girls to Rockville | WTOP

A group of high school girls who wanted to create a local community for other young ladies interested in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) did so by organizing an all-girls math competition. Things turned out better than they expected at the inaugural InteGIRLS math competition on May 18 at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland.

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25 Up-and-Coming Gene Therapies of 2019

Data released May 9 by the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) illustrates the growth of clinical activity where gene therapy is concerned.

ARM’s Quarterly Regenerative Medicine Global Data Report for the first quarter of 2019 showed 372 gene therapy clinical trials were in progress as of the end of Q1. Interestingly, a majority (217 or 58%) were studies in Phase II, followed by Phase I (123 or 33%), and Phase III (32 or 9%).

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Protenus' Fells Point office has room to stretch out - Baltimore

With expansion, Protenus recently moved to new offices in Fells Point.

The healthcare analytics company moved into a 12,000-square-foot office space that’s roughly triple the size of its previous location, according to People Operations Associate Samantha Barber, who gave us a recent tour.

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QIAGEN’s QuantiFERON®-TB Access development program gains recognition from United Nations initiative for health innovation

QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE: QGEN; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today announced that QuantiFERON ® -TB Access, a new solution under development for diagnosis of latent tuberculosis (TB) infection in low-resource regions with a high disease burden of tuberculosis, will be recognized by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) at the organization’s Health Innovation Exchange from May 21-23 in Geneva, Switzerland. The event will be held during the World Health Assembly and brings together ministers of health, nonprofits and industry to spotlight innovations with potential to change the world’s health landscape and benefit sustainable development.

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2019 Technology Showcase – NCI & Frederick National Laboratory For Cancer Research - Bendis to Speak

Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 11:30 AM

The 3rd Annual NCI and FNLCR Technology Showcase will showcase technologies being developed at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda and Frederick, and Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR) to encourage startup formation, technology licensing, and collaborations. It will introduce the local scientific community to the regional technology development stakeholders and highlight available resources.

Prospective investors, established companies, interested stakeholders, entrepreneurs and those looking to commercialize technologies are invited and encouraged to attend. The day will feature short technology summaries by NCI and FNLCR innovators, as well as presentations from regional stakeholders involved with technology development and commercialization. An interactive poster session by innovators and technology ambassadors will concurrently occur.

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Emergent BioSolutions Announces Granting of Marketing Authorization in Five EU Countries for Its Oral Typhoid Vaccine; Expands Availability Across Europe NYSE:EBS

Emergent BioSolutions Inc. (NYSE: EBS) announced today that it has successfully obtained marketing authorization for its oral typhoid vaccine Vivotif® (Typhoid Vaccine Live Oral Ty21a) in five additional European Union Member States, including France, Portugal, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia as well as approval of harmonized prescribing information in the EU also known as the Summary of Product Characteristics or SmPC.

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Regenxbio building Maryland AAV plant to support gene therapies - BioProcess InternationalBioProcess International

Regenxbio will construct a GMP facility in Maryland to produce adeno-associated viral vectors for its gene therapy programs using its NAV technology-based platform.

The good manufacturing practice (GMP) plant will be integrated into Regenxbio’s 132,000 square-foot headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, currently under construction. Financial details have not been disclosed but the manufacturing plant is expected to be operational in 2021.

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FDA is looking for new companies to test out its pre-cert pilot program - MedCity News

The Food and Drug Administration has put out a call for volunteer companies to test out the its digital health pre-certification program for software as a medical device (SaMD) technologies.

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THE ENTREPRENEURS REPORT: Private Company Financing Trends - Q1 2019

Coming off the record-breaking venture financing numbers of 2018, the first quarter of 2019 displayed some cooling off, in terms of pre-money valuations across all rounds and amounts raised in Series C and later rounds, although the market remained strong by historical standards. Q1 2019 had slightly fewer up rounds for Series B and later financings than did the last two quarters of 2018. Median pre-money valuations declined moderately across all equity rounds in Q1 2019. Median amounts raised remained strong for Seed, Series A, and Series B rounds, with those medians matching or exceeding those of Q4 2018. But the median amount raised in Series C and later rounds declined significantly, falling from the historic high of $31.1 million reached in Q4 2018 to $15.3 million in Q1 2019.

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Alzheimer’s Map Shows Where Epigenetics Takes Wrong Turn

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) arises from molecular events that scientists are piecing together to discern an overall story, parts of which are well known, others less so. Some of the lesser-known epigenetic events in the Alzheimer’s story have just been filled in by scientists based at the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI). What’s more, these epigenetic events, which occur early in Alzheimer’s, appear to fit well with what we know about the disease’s progression to its most devastating biological features.

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Modeling Virus Clearance: Use of a Noninfectious Surrogate of Mouse Minute Virus As a Tool for Evaluating an Anion-Exchange Chromatography Method - BioProcess InternationalBioProcess International

Viral safety is a critical focus during biopharmaceutical manufacturing (1–5). Although well-characterized mammalian cells such as the Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) line have been used for decades, both endogenous expression of retroviral-like particles and exogenous contamination events from viruses warrant continued vigilance (6, 7). International regulatory agencies require biomanufacturers to validate the “viral clearance” efficacy of their downstream manufacturing process steps before resulting products can be awarded clinical trial or commercial approval (8–10).

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Genetic Basis of Obesity Carries Weight

There are, undoubtedly, many factors that go into a person’s weight. A new report from the lab of Sekar Kathiresan, MD, director of the Center for Genomic Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), documents a clear biologic basis for the predisposition of obesity. More specifically, that genetics play a role in how heavy a person gets.

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House Drug Pricing Hearing Goes Off Script

Most Congressional hearings are morality plays designed to reach a predetermined outcome. It wasn’t hard to predict how the second hearing on drug pricing by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform was supposed to go. If the title, “HIV Prevention Drug: Billions in Corporate Profits after Millions in Taxpayer Investments” wasn’t enough of a clue, when Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said it was because of the “phenomenal leadership” of freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) that the hearing was being held, any doubts evaporated. In an extraordinary gesture of deference for a new Member of Congress, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was recognized for an opening statement before senior members of the committee.

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