BioHealth Innovation
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November 17, 2020


Billions Pour into BioHealth Capital Region to Battle COVID-19 · BioBuzz

Over the past nine months, more than $7 billion in federal funding has poured into the BioHealth Capital Region aimed at the battle against COVID-19 and has shown a spotlight on the broad impact biopharma life science companies and academic institutions are making in the fight against the pandemic.

“The moons are aligned over the BioHealth Capital Region right now and people are beginning to see how important the region is in helping to address the research development and manufacturing needs to address this dreaded disease,” said Richard Bendis, president and chief executive officer of BioHealth Innovation.

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Novavax prepares $500M raise as Covid, flu programs move forward - Washington Business Journal

Novavax Inc. has the option to raise up to $500 million in a possible stock offering as it shepherds its Covid-19 vaccine candidate through clinical trials, juggles its seasonal flu vaccine program and sees its stock sustain dramatic highs.

The Gaithersburg biotech said it could offer up to 5.37 million shares of common stock based on its Nov. 5 closing price of $93.11, according to documents filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That follows Novavax’s sale earlier this year of 3.4 million shares of common stock, which brought in $238.3 million in net proceeds.

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Genetron Health moving HQ from North Carolina to Montgomery County - Washington Business Journal

Oncology company Genetron Health Inc. said Monday it is relocating its U.S. headquarters from North Carolina to Montgomery County.

The Beijing company, which specializes in the molecular profiling of cancer cells, has settled on a 6,000-square-foot hybrid lab space at 401 Professional Drive in Gaithersburg. Montgomery County has approved a $47,000 grant to assist Genetron’s move from the Raleigh-Durham area. The Montgomery County Economic Development Corp. facilitated the move for Genetron.

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Qiagen stock rises on announced COVID-19 test - MarketWatch

Qiagen NV QGEN, -2.76% shares rose in the extended session Wednesday after the Netherlands-based medical diagnostics company said it will begin selling a portable COVID-19 test in the United States. Qiagen shares rose 4% after hours, following a 0.9% rise in the regular session to close at $46.51. Called the “QIAreach SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test,” the company said the test can process up to 30 swab samples to detect antigens of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in people who are actively infected with the virus in up to 15 minutes. The test was developed by Qiagen in partnership with Australian digital diagnostics company Ellume. Qiagen said the QIAreach “will be particularly valuable when vaccines are introduced.”

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How anticipated COVID-19 vaccines are bulk manufactured under Operation Warp Speed - 60 Minutes - CBS News

Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government's crash program to inoculate 300 million Americans against the coronavirus, includes a number of pharmaceutical partners like Emergent BioSolutions in Baltimore. CBS News correspondent David Martin toured one of Emergent's manufacturing suites where the company is producing two COVID-19 vaccines awaiting FDA approval. 


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Fina Biosolutions Announces European Patent for Conjugate Vaccine Development - Proprietary method of producing CRM197 will be used to develop low cost, affordable vaccines for children and adults in developing nations

(Rockville, MD, November 10, 2020) – Fina Biosolutions LLC (“FinaBio”) is pleased to announce that it has received a Certificate of Patent entitled “Expression and Purification of CRM Proteins and Related Proteins, and Protein Domains” from the European Patent Office(EPO). EP Patent No. 3099800 is directed to the expression and purification of the conjugate vaccine protein CRM197 in E.coli.

“Our goal is to lower the vaccine cost barrier and grant people in need access to life-saving vaccines,” said Dr. Andrew Lees, Founder, and CEO of FinaBio. “We are pleased to announce that we succeeded in creating a needed vaccine protein, CRM197, efficiently, and cost-effectively. FinaBio’s proprietary production method will facilitate the availability of vaccines to protect adults and children in developing countries from pneumonia, meningitis, and more.”

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BARDA seeks nonprofit partner for BARDA Ventures: Catalyzing the 21st Century Cures Act and launching a new way to do business with HHS

BARDA today announced a new type of public-private partnership, BARDA Ventures , that will realize authorities granted in the 21st Century Cures Act to utilize venture capital (VC) methods and practices. This will be the first time HHS has utilized VC practices to make investments. As part of the new program, BARDA is soliciting proposals for an existing nonprofit partner to manage an investment fund that will support breakthrough technologies and create entirely new approaches to enhance U.S. preparedness and response to 21st century health security threats, including COVID-19 and future pandemics.

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Korro Bio Appoints Ram Aiyar, Ph.D., MBA (former BHI Entrepreneur in Residence), as Chief Executive Officer | Business Wire

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Korro Bio, Inc., a biotechnology company developing single-base RNA editing therapies, today announced the appointment of Ram Aiyar, Ph.D., MBA, as its chief executive officer. Dr. Aiyar brings nearly 20 years of diverse experience across company-building, biotech and pharma to advance Korro’s innovative RNA editing platform to treat previously intractable diseases. He will also serve on the company’s board of directors.

“Ram is a proven leader with a track record of driving growth and advancing programs,” said Nessan Bermingham, Ph.D., co-founder and executive chair of Korro. “His broad business experience across the life sciences complements our existing leadership team. We look forward to working closely with him to pioneer the future of RNA editing for medicines.”


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Talis Expands Executive Team (ads Doug Liu former BHI Chairman of the Board) and Closes Additional Financing in Preparation for Commercial Launch of Talis One(TM) System | State |

MENLO PARK, Calif., Nov. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Talis Biomedical Corporation, a company dedicated to developing innovative molecular diagnostic tests for infectious diseases at the point of care, today announced it has strengthened its executive management team with the appointment of Rob Kelley as its first Chief Commercial Officer and Douglas Liu as Senior Vice President, Operations. Additionally, it has closed a new $126 million financing to support expansion of its operations and the commercial scale-up of the Talis One™ System and further expand the test menu. The Talis One System is a sample-to-answer, cloud-enabled, molecular diagnostic platform designed to provide rapid and highly accurate point-of-care tests for the detection of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.


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Step into the Unknown | Think Medium

In this conversation, Rachel King and Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath share stories underlying their careers in scientific innovation, from the lab bench to government, consulting, and venture capital; and their experiences as one of the few women CEOs in biotechnology.

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Welcoming a New Leader for USG! | The Universities at Shady Grove

The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) marks its 20th anniversary this year and the campus has launched a new chapter in its history with the appointment of Dr. Anne Khademian as USG's third executive director. Khademian, who joins USG after 17 years with Virginia Tech University, begins her tenure at a challenging time as USG and its partner universities grapple with the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. But she is making rapid inroads in building strong relationships with colleagues and community leaders, and in laying out some of her initial priorities for advancing USG into the future. They include a continued focus on ensuring student success, and on strengthening the future of USG, which she sees as a unique asset for bolstering economic and workforce development in Montgomery County, the state of Maryland and throughout the D.C. metropolitan region.

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AWE Project – Baltimore Accepting Applications thru 11/23

The Achieving Women Enterprise Foundation is offering a local program cosponsored by TEDCO, the Sage Policy Group, and others which includes a 4 day bootcamp and 6 months mentoring for minority women entrepreneurs. The deadline to apply is November 23rd. For more information, check online:


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Coronavirus vaccine

Well just to lighten the mood I have just seen on my BBC news app that the Oxford University? Astra Zenaca group have just announced that they have tested 43,500 people from here and abroad and they are claiming that it prevents 90% of people getting Covid. They also announced there was no safety issues with this vaccine. Could this help life to start to get back to normal, they say they are approaching the government to start rolling it out next month, lets just hope this is the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.


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Research Parks: Building the Region's Innovation Ecosystem Tickets, Wed, Nov 18, 2020 at 12:00 PM | Eventbrite

Research parks and innovation districts historically have played important roles in development of innovation ecosystems in places like Silicon Valley, Boston, and North Carolina's Research Triangle.

The DC/Md/Va region has strong universities and Federal labs, with a growing set of innovation parks and incubation facilities. Learn how communities of innovation are growing in the DC region through new research parks and contributing to a fuller range of technology commercialization activities.

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Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) Announces Vice President for Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Richmond, VA, Nov. 11, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Center for Innovative Technology announced the appointment of Sean Mallon as Vice President for its Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Division. The division is one of four recently created at CIT in its role as the operating arm for the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA). The other three divisions are Investment, Commercialization, and Strategic Initiatives.

The Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Division was established to connect and leverage the expertise and infrastructure of Virginia-based partner organizations and will work with stakeholders to develop and strengthen programs that support entrepreneurs in all regions of the Commonwealth. As Division VP, Mallon’s responsibilities will include developing a backbone of statewide resources to assist regional ecosystems and ensure that all programs are inclusive to communities that have been historically under-represented in entrepreneurship and capital formation. Mallon will be based in CIT’s Richmond headquarters office.

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BioNTech: the German biotech behind the coronavirus vaccine | Sifted

BioNTech, the German biotech which announced an apparent vaccine to coronavirus on Monday, is a classic European startup story: created by Turkish immigrants, funded by US and Asian investors and listed on the Nasdaq.

Along with pharma giant Pfizer, BioNTech is the first drug maker to show successful results from clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine. Trials on thousands of volunteers found no serious safety concerns, meaning the companies will seek emergency use authorisation for the vaccine in the US later this month.

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State Technology and Science Index 2020 - Milken Institute (Marylands Ranked #4)

The State Technology and Science Index (STSI) provides a benchmark for evaluating the knowledge economies of all 50 US states. The index compares each state’s capacity for achieving prosperity through scientific discovery and technological innovation, by performing a cross-sectional analysis of their rankings on key indicators using the latest available data from US federal government and private-sector sources.

The index is a composite of five sub-indexes, which cover a diverse range of topics: research and development (R&D) inputs, risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure, human capital investment, technology and science workforce, and technology concentration and dynamism. By comparing how states rank in these areas, the index assesses their capacities for generating new scientific ideas, as well as for commercializing technologies that contribute to firm expansion, high-skills job creation, and broad-based economic growth.

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BARDA launches public-private partnership to tap venture capital methods managed by nonprofit - Homeland Preparedness News

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) is innovating in terms of how it will invest in projects, creating a new public-private partnership known as BARDA Ventures, based on the 21st Century Cures Act and venture capital methods.

As a result, BARDA seeks proposals from existing nonprofit partners to manage a long term health security fund no later than Dec. 8, 2020. That fund will be used to guarantee support for breakthrough technologies and new means of preparedness and response to health security threats. This, the organization hopes, will help its ability to stimulate innovation and promote disruptive technologies to close gaps in pandemic response and other healthcare preparedness.

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