BioHealth Innovation
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November 10, 2020


Praduman (PJ) Jain, CEO and Founder of Vibrent Health, Joins BioTalk to Discuss Entrepreneurism, Funding, and Health Technology in the BioHealth Capital Region

Listen now on Apple, Google, Spotify, and TuneIn

Praduman Jain, known to colleagues as “PJ,” is CEO and Founder of Vibrent Health and the Principal Investigator of the Participant Technology Systems Center of the National Institutes of Health Precision Medicine Initiative, the All of Us Research Program, for which the PTSC received a $75 million grant in 2017 and an additional award in 2020 with initial first-year funding of $39 million to build a national platform for health research and health management insights for 1 million people across the U.S. for at least 10 years.  Jain is also the Chair of the Security Board of the Committee on Access, Privacy & Security for the NIH All of Us Research Program; a member of the Roundtable on Genomics and Precision Health at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; an invited external expert for eMERGE & Beyond, The Future of Electronic Medical Records and Genomics program of the Division of Genomic Medicine, National Human Genome Research Institute; and an external advisory board member for iTHRIVE – a Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Award.

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BioBuzz Awards (VOTE NOW)· BioBuzz

This year, more than ever before, we’ve seen just how important it is for us all to stay connected and work together to build a stronger biotech ecosystem. In the face of great adversity, the biotech community has risen to the challenge and formed new collaborations and partnerships to innovate and rapidly develop new medicines and tools to help us beat this pandemic. 

That’s why we decided that this year was the right time to launch the first annual BioBuzz Awards.  This is an opportunity for us all to revisit the accomplishments of the past year and recognize the leaders and companies in the region who are doing great things to build a stronger BioHealth Capital Region across Maryland, DC and Virginia, and are making an impact on human health.


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Exact Sciences Eyes Cancer Dx Leadership with Up to $2.5B in Deals for Thrive, Base Genomics

Exact Sciences said today it has agreed to a pair of acquisitions designed to create a diagnostics powerhouse across multiple cancers.

In the larger acquisition, Exact Sciences said it agreed to acquire blood-based diagnostics developer Thrive Earlier Detection for up to $2.15 billion in cash and stock. Exact Sciences also said it completed a $410 million cash acquisition of Base Genomics, adding Base’s DNA methylation analysis technology, designed to detect cancer at its earliest stages.

Image: Exact Sciences has announced a pair of acquisitions totaling up to $2.5+ billion intended to broaden its cancer diagnostics technology and test offerings. The company has agreed to acquire blood-based diagnostics developer Thrive Earlier Detection for up to $2.15 billion in cash and stock, and has completed its $410 million cash purchase of Base Genomics, adding Base’s DNA methylation analysis technology. (Exact Sciences) 

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China-Based Precision Oncology Company Genetron Health Inc. Relocates U.S. Headquarters to Montgomery County, Maryland

Received coveted FDA Breakthrough Device designation for its NGS test for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma

Rockville, Md. — Citing proximity to leading U.S. regulators and researchers, fast-growing precision oncology company, Genetron Health Inc. (Genetron), is moving its U.S. headquarters to Montgomery County, Maryland from North Carolina’s Research Triangle. The China-based company is relocating to a 6,000 SF hybrid space for Research & Development and a state-of-the-art lab in Gaithersburg, Maryland for its planned rapid growth.

Genetron’s blood-based next generation sequencing (NGS) test has been granted Breakthrough Device designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), designed for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma due to chronic HBV infection and/or liver cirrhosis. Genetron believes they are one of the first China-based, cancer molecular diagnostic companies to receive this critical FDA designation.

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SBIR Funding Proposals Due to NIH by January 5, 2021: 5 Tips for Your Submission | PilieroMazza PLLC - JDSupra

The Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program provides grant or contract funding to small businesses seeking to commercialize innovative technologies. With $3.2 billion allotted to SBIR each year, there are twelve different agencies that have set aside SBIR funding. One agency is Health and Human Services which provides funding through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH has three grant funding proposal deadlines a year. The next deadline is January 5, 2021. On the NIH/SBIR website, NIH states that the electronic submission process for grants can take from six to eight weeks, so this is a reminder to start now. Below are five key tips to help small businesses in their NIH SBIR electronic submission process.

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Novavax Covid-19 vaccine secures fast-track status from FDA - Washington Business Journal

Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX) said Monday it received a crucial status for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate as the pandemic drags on and coronavirus cases once again soar across the country.

The Gaithersburg company has earned fast-track designation from the Food and Drug Administration for NVX-CoV2373, a coronavirus vaccine candidate in late-stage development. It means the biotech can submit parts of its application on a rolling basis for a speedier review by the agency, and gives Novavax more direct and frequent access to the FDA.

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Novavax to Provide 40 Million Doses of Its COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate to Australia | The Motley Fool

Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX) announced on Wednesday that it has reached an agreement to provide the Australian government with 40 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, if it earns approval from health regulators. Two early clinical trials of the vaccine candidate were run in Australia, and so far, the results have been positive.

The small biotech has had notable success at finding governmental buyers for its coronavirus vaccine: Novavax has signed direct supply deals with the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, and through its distribution partnerships has arranged to supply NVX-CoV2373 to Japan, India, and South Korea as well.

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DRIVE ReDIRECT: Program Seeks to Develop Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats | Global Biodefense

The rapid availability of effective medical countermeasures against chemical exposures, from either accidents or chemical weapons attack, is critical in the treatment of their acute health effects following exposures.

The ReDIRECT Program is a new initiative from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) which aims to identify existing, commonly available therapeutics that can be used to save lives during a chemical emergency.

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Pill Protect QuickFire Challenge: Designing for Medication Safety - Challenge | JLABS

Keeping kids safe at home is more important than ever – including safely storing medicines. Especially, as many families are living a new normal with children spending more time at home due to the pandemic.

Every hour in the United States, 5 children under age 6 are rushed to emergency departments for medication poisonings, many due to unsafe storage practices. There has been a 142% increase in prescribed medications over the past two decades. At the same time, an aging population and drastic increase in three-generation households, kids living with their parents and grandparents, are likely contributing to approximately 200,000 children visiting emergency departments each year due to adverse drug events.

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BioHealth Capital Region Showcases Strengths of Cutting Edge Therapies · BioBuzz

Biopharma and Life Science companies in the BioHealth Capital Region are known for their work with cutting edge technologies such as gene and cell therapies. Those strengths were on display at the 6th annual BioHealth Capital Region Forum.

The Strengths of our Region: Cutting Edge Therapies panel, which was moderated by Mark Cobbold, vice president of Discovery in Early Oncology at AstraZeneca, brought together leaders from three other companies to discuss their disruptive pipelines, the strength of the region and challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cobbold touted the work performed by the three companies joining him on the panel, Cartesian Therapeutics, Adaptive Phage Therapeutics, and Ziel Bio. Pointing to the work being done by those three companies and AstraZeneca, Cobbold said they are representative of why the BioHealth Capital Region has become one of the most successful BioHubs in the United States.

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Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard provides ‘exhaustive information’ to clinicians

Johns Hopkins University launched its popular COVID-19 map on Jan. 22 — just 2 days after the first person in the United States was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

Exactly 8 months later, Healio and others cited the university’s COVID-19 dashboard on Sept. 22 when reporting that the U.S. had surpassed 200,000 deaths from COVID-19.


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“Somewhere past the pandemic” celebrates the 30-year partnership between The National Institutes of Health and The Children's Inn

“Somewhere past the pandemic” celebrates the 30-year partnership between The National Institutes of Health and The Children's Inn in caring for the children and young adults who participate in clinical research to help make new treatments and cures possible. Thank you, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, for recognizing this milestone with an original song! #INNitfor30

Image: - From Video

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5 Factors for Small Business Success: BioSensics | LinkedIn

If you’ve ever kept track of your steps or the quality of your sleep, you’re familiar with wearable sensor technology apps. It’s a big deal in the fitness and wellness space, but did you know it could help older adults remain independent as they age?

In 2007, Ashkan Vaziri, Ph.D.and a few friends started a company called BioSensics to execute their vision for technology to help older adults age in place. More than a decade later, the company’s success — spurred in part by small business funding from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health — has led to a partial acquisition by electronics retailer Best Buy and to a continuing pipeline of innovative research projects.

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