BioHealth Innovation
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June 25, 2019


How Viela Bio's Drug Development Landed $350M in 16 Months

Just 16 months into its existence, a local biotech startup has investors swarming.

Gaithersburg, Md.-based Viela Bio has completed a $75 million Series B funding round, bringing its total raised since launching to more than $350 million.

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AstraZeneca to invest $630 million in Korean biohealth sector - Korea Biomedical Review

AstraZeneca said it would invest $630 million into Korea’s biotech and healthcare sector over the next five years.

Leif Johansson, chairman of the British-Swedish drugmaker, announced the plan at the Korea-Sweden Business Summit, attended by President Moon Jae-in, Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in Stockholm on Friday, local time. The business summit was held as part of President Moon’s state visit.

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Intrexon Signs $100Mm Deal with Surterra Wellness to Advance Commercial Scale Cannabinoid Production

Intrexon has scaled its proprietary yeast fermentation process and is on track to realize production of pure cannabinoids at a target cost of goods of <$1,000/kg. With exclusive global access to Intrexon's technology for microbial production of cannabinoids, Surterra gains a clear research and development roadmap to:

Surterra Wellness

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Immunomic Therapeutics Announces Promotion of Teri Heiland, Ph.D. to Chief Scientific Officer – Immunomic Therapeutics

Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (ITI), a privately held, Maryland-based biotechnology company, announced today the promotion of Teri Heiland, Ph.D. to Chief Scientific Officer. In her new role, Dr. Heiland will oversee all of research and development and will play an integral role in business development and the management of ITI’s existing and future partnerships. Dr. Heiland is a co-founder of ITI and has amassed over two decades of executive leadership experience in the biotechnology and life sciences sector. Dr. Heiland’s focus at ITI stems from her background in DNA vaccine design, optimization and development, which has created a broad pipeline of vaccines in oncology, allergy and animal health and has driven licensing deals for ITI with Astellas and Zenoaq. ITI’s investigational UNITE technology platform has the potential to utilize the body’s natural biochemistry to develop a broad immune response and is currently being employed in a Phase II clinical trial as a cancer immunotherapy.

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Qiagen launches one-stop antimicrobial resistance database alongside CDC commitment | FierceBiotech

In the face of growing international concerns over antimicrobial resistance, Qiagen has launched a one-stop shop that compiles publicly available genomic data, scientific literature and phenotypic information on potential superbugs.

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Job Opportunity: Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS @ Washington DC.

Johnson & Johnson Innovation is recruiting a Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS @ Washington DC. The goal of Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JJI) is to advance transformative healthcare solutions that improve the lives of people around the world and, in so doing, to deliver value to Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”). JJI accomplishes this by catalyzing new science and technology through collaboration and exchange of ideas. This growing team is looking for a colleague inspired to help build and innovate new ways of fostering a productive life-science ecosystem.

This position will be responsible for setting the strategic direction and overseeing all operational activities for JLABS in Washington DC and leading our partnership with Children’s National Health System. This position will also be part of the Global Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JLABS leadership team.

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Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. Announces Pricing Of Upsized Public Offering Of 3,850,000 Shares Of Common Stock

Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. ("Alexandria" or the "Company") (NYSE: ARE) announced today the pricing of its upsized public offering of 3,850,000 shares of common stock at a price of $145.00 per share in connection with the forward sale agreements described below. The Company also granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 577,500 additional shares. The offering is expected to close on or about June 25, 2019, subject to customary closing conditions.

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PIC MC Selects Development Team to Build $40 Million Life Sciences Building on Montgomery College’s Germantown Campus – MC News

The Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology (PIC MC) signed a development agreement today to add a state-of-the-art life sciences office building to the Montgomery College Germantown Campus.

19710 Observation Drive, LLC, a joint venture between Rockville-based, South Duvall and Germantown-based Minkoff Development, will build a $40 million facility on a 5.67-acre parcel at 19710 Observation Drive in Germantown. The 120,000 square foot building will include lab, office, manufacturing and distribution space aimed at companies focused on areas such as biotech, life sciences and cybersecurity.

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A Conversation with Katharine Ku, Chief Licensing Advisor at WSGR

Attorneys Vern Norviel and Charles Andres recently sat down with Katharine "Kathy" Ku, WSGR’s new chief licensing advisor, to discuss questions and situations that come up in the licensing process. Kathy is an internationally recognized leader in the field of licensing and technology transfer, and spent almost three decades as the executive director of Stanford University’s Office of Technology Licensing. Kathy’s many accomplishments include implementation of the Cohen-Boyer DNA Cloning licensing program which contributed to the creation of the biotechnology industry, and her work on the document: In the Public Interest: Nine Points to Consider in Licensing University Technology. This document, which provides nine principles that continue to influence and guide university licensing, should be read by any start-up contemplating taking a university license.

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Frederick National Labs Attract Entrepreneurs and Collaborators Seeking Leading-Edge Biomedical Technologies · BioBuzz

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and The Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR) recently hosted the third annual Technology Showcase at The FNLCR’s Advanced Technology Research Center (ATRF) in Frederick, Maryland. The event provided industry thought leaders, inventors and entrepreneurs a platform to network, showcase their technologies, and learn more about the tech transfer process, starting a new business and various fundraising strategies.

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Four BIOE Ph.D. Students Awarded NIH Fellowships | Fischell Department of Bioengineering

Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) Ph.D. students Michelle Bookstaver, John Daristotle, Mary Doolin, and Emily Gosselin were recently named recipients of the Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31) by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Together, their NIH F31 fellowships could total up to $235,000 in funding over two years to support research in vaccine design, sprayable surgical sealants, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and new therapies to treat multiple sclerosis.

Vaccines have reduced the public health threat of many infectious diseases, including polio, measles, mumps, and small pox.

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NHLBI Funding & Research Opportunities and Announcements for May 31, 2019

Funding and Research Opportunities

The following funding opportunity announcements from the NHLBI or other components of the National Institutes of Health, might be of interest: General Notices

Notice of Information for RFA-HL-20-009, "BLOODSAFE: Research to enhance availability of safe blood for patients with severe anemia and hemorrhagic conditions in low or lower-middle income countries (LLMICs) in Sub-Saharan Africa (UG3/UH3 CT Optional)"(NOT-HL-19-706) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Notice of Information for RFA-HL-20-010, "BLOODSAFE: Research to enhance availability of safe blood for patients with severe anemia and hemorrhagic conditions in low or lower-middle income countries (LLMICs) in Sub-Saharan Africa-DCC (U24 CT Not Allowed)"(NOT-HL-19-707) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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5 questions with Jolene Gurevich, a Venture for America alumna working with University of Maryland startups - Baltimore

Jolene Gurevich was going to be an investment banker on Wall Street. But her roots as a competitive Latin ballroom dancer in New York gave her the inspiration to make a move toward entrepreneurship, and Venture for America provided her a clear path into the startup ecosystem in Baltimore. Now manager of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech Ventures) incubator at the University of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund, Gurevich guides the trajectory of scientists-turned-entrepreneurs.

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Catalent Acquires BMS Manufacturing Plant in Italy, Expanding Biologics Operations

Catalent is continuing to expand its fast-growing biologics operations, agreeing to acquire Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS)’s oral solid, biologics, and sterile product manufacturing and packaging facility in Anagni, Italy, for an undisclosed price.

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NIH releases updated SBIR/STTR success rate data | SSTI

Are you looking to increase the success rate of your state’s SBIR/STTR proposals? If so, a reminder that applications for the Small Business Administration’s Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program are due next Friday, June 28, at 4 p.m. EDT. This program provides one-year funding to organizations executing programs related to SBIR/STTR outreach, technical assistance, or financial support. As a way to help inform these proposals, SSTI has updated the data from a January Useful Stats article on NIH SBIR/STTR success rates to include the most recent year available, FY 2018.

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Women Who Tech Launches Their First Program Focused on HealthTech Innovation | BioSpace

Women Who Tech, one of the largest nonprofit organizations that funds and showcases women-led ventures, today opened the call for applications for the European-leg of its flagship Women Startup Challenge. Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS, the Office of the Mayor of Paris, and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, 10 early-stage women-led startups with a focus on healthtech will be selected to compete for a $50,000 grant, equity-free, on October 7th at Paris City Hall, Hôtel de Ville.

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Rise in Autism Could Be Linked to Preservative in Processed Foods

Investigators at the University of Central Florida (UCF) have just identified the molecular changes that happen when neuronal stem cells are exposed to high levels of an acid commonly found in processed foods. The research team has taken a step closer to showing the link between the food pregnant women consume and the effects on a fetus’ developing brain. Findings from the new study—which described how high levels of propionic acid (PPA), used to increase the shelf life of packaged foods and inhibit mold in commercially processed cheese and bread, reduce the development of neurons in fetal brains—were published recently in Scientific Reports through an article titled “Propionic Acid Induces Gliosis and Neuro-inflammation through Modulation of PTEN/AKT Pathway in Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

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Sanofi, Google Launch "Innovation Lab" Aimed at Drug Discovery

Sanofi will apply Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing capabilities toward developing new drugs, through a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

The companies said they have agreed to create a virtual Innovation Lab to “radically” transform how future medicines and health services are developed and delivered.

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Pfizer to buy Array BioPharma for $11.4B - MedCity News

A large pharmaceutical company is spending more than $11 billion to acquire the maker of two drugs used to treat skin cancer.

New York-based Pfizer said Monday it would acquire Boulder, Colorado-based Array BioPharma for $11.4 billion, or $48 per share.

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This Baltimore-based venture capital firm is looking to invest in D.C.-area startups - DC

Baltimore-Md.-based Inner Loop Capital is giving D.C.-area startups a financial boost with this new fund.

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CASI Pharmaceuticals Acquires Worldwide Rights To Commercialize anti-CD19 T-cell Therapy

CASI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: CASI), a U.S. biopharmaceutical company that is focusing on developing and accelerating the launch of innovative therapeutics and pharmaceutical products in China, the U.S., and throughout the world, announces the signing of a license agreement for exclusive worldwide license and commercialization rights to an autologous anti-CD19 T-cell therapy product (CNCT19) from Juventas Cell Therapy Ltd., a China-based domestic company located in Tianjin City, China. Juventas will continue to develop CNCT19 with CASI’s participation on the program’s steering committee. CASI will be responsible for payment of certain future development milestones and sales royalties.

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Minnowtech wins $225,000 SBIR Phase 1 Grant from the NSF - Minnowtech

Minnowtech, LLC, an aquaculture technology company that provides an imaging platform to enable shrimp farmers to measure shrimp abundance to optimize feeding, announced today it has been awarded a $225,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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