BioHealth Innovation
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December 29, 2020


Task force report outlines steps to build stronger post-pandemic economy in Maryland, Virginia, D.C. - The Washington Post

More than 50 local leaders have mapped out an economic recovery strategy for the Washington area that they say would leave it more unified, resilient and prosperous than before the novel coronavirus upended the region.

Connected DMV — a group representing the local academic, nonprofit, public and private sectors — initially came together in March 2019 to drive economic growth in the D.C. area. When the pandemic struck a year later, the group pivoted to creating what it calls a “strategic renewal” task force, which issued a report this month with 12 initiatives to remedy the region’s social and economic challenges.

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Virginia Bio Will Direct New “Virginia Bio-Connect” Statewide Consortium to Strengthen Competitiveness of Virginia’s Life Science Ecosystem | Business Wire

RICHMOND, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Governor Northam and the Virginia Biotechnology Association announced today that GO Virginia has approved a competitive grant request to help fund Virginia Bio-Connect, a $3.2 million Statewide industry cluster scale up initiative. The project, directed by the Virginia Biotechnology Association, is a multi-regional collaboration designed to increase connectivity and awareness of the existing programs, resources, and communities in the Commonwealth that support the life sciences industry.

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Supernus Announces Positive Results from Phase III Study for SPN-812 in Adults with ADHD - Supernus Pharmaceuticals

ROCKVILLE, Md., Dec. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUPN), a pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing products for the treatment of central nervous system diseases, today announced positive topline results from a Phase III study of SPN-812 in adults (P306) for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

At a daily dose of up to 600mg, the trial met the primary endpoint with robust statistical significance (p=0.0040) compared to placebo in improving the symptoms of ADHD from baseline to end of study as measured by ADHD Investigator Symptom Rating Scale (AISRS). In addition to meeting the primary efficacy endpoint, the Phase III study met the key secondary efficacy endpoint with statistical significance (p=0.0023) in the change from baseline of the Clinical Global Impression – Severity of Illness (CGI-S) Scale at week 6. The active dose was well tolerated.

SPN-812 is under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of ADHD in pediatric patients 6 to 17 years of age. As announced in November, 2020, the FDA issued a Complete Response Letter (CRL) regarding the New Drug Application (NDA) for SPN-812 for the treatment of ADHD in pediatric patients to indicate that the review cycle for the application was complete and that the application is not ready for approval in its present form. The Company will be meeting with the FDA in January 2021 to discuss the CRL. Assuming approval for pediatrics, the Company plans to submit a supplemental NDA (sNDA) to the FDA for SPN-812 in adults in the second half of 2021.

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REGENXBIO Announces Agreement to Monetize Portion of Zolgensma® Royalties for $200 Million | BioSpace

ROCKVILLE, Md., Dec. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- REGENXBIO Inc. (Nasdaq: RGNX), a leading clinical-stage biotechnology company seeking to improve lives through the curative potential of gene therapy based on its proprietary NAV® Technology Platform, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell a portion of the royalty rights due to REGENXBIO from Novartis Gene Therapies from the net sales of Zolgensma® to entities managed by Healthcare Royalty Management, LLC (HCR) for a gross purchase price of $200 million. This transaction provides immediate, non-dilutive capital to REGENXBIO for continued innovation in the development of potential breakthrough gene therapies for patients and completion of its internal manufacturing capabilities.

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Novavax Announces Initiation of PREVENT-19 Pivotal Phase 3 Efficacy Trial of COVID-19 Vaccine in the United States and Mexico | Novavax Inc. - IR Site

GAITHERSBURG, Md., Dec. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Novavax, Inc. (Nasdaq: NVAX), a late-stage biotechnology company developing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, today announced initiation of PREVENT-19, its pivotal Phase 3 study in the United States and Mexico to evaluate the efficacy, safety and immunogenicity of NVX-CoV2373, the Company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The trial builds on research from Phase 1/2 studies demonstrating that the vaccine provoked a robust immune response, generated highly neutralizing antibodies against the virus and was generally well-tolerated.

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Genetically Modified Pigs May Save Your Life: FDA Allows GMO Pigs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the second-ever genetically modified subtype of pig for human consumption. But there are no plans to raise this pig for meat or other foodstuffs—the use case is actually much, much cooler.

Get unlimited access to the weird world of Pop Mech. LET'S GET WEIRD. By adjusting the pig’s genes so it doesn’t produce a particular sugar called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal), scientists can make medicines that are safe for a group of people who suffer from a peculiar, little-understood allergy. And while this certification isn’t planned for meat, that could be next.


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Quantum technology is moving from the lab to startups. Here's why it's a strength for UMD - Baltimore

Advances in technology that shape the future come in different forms. Some help us realize possibilities of systems that already exist. Others allow us to reframe what’s possible.

Take computing, for instance. Advances in transistors over time have produced more powerful processors that can fit into ever smaller and more affordable packages. This has made it possible to do computing tasks more efficiently and conveniently, but in the end these improvements apply the same principles of classical computing that were used when there were room-sized mainframes.

Image: Sarah Kreikemeier tunes an optical assembly at IonQ's offices. (Photo courtesy IonQ/Erin Scott)

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End of Year Update: 2020 Life Science Venture Capital Funding Roundup in the BioHealth Capital Region · BioBuzz

This has certainly been a year unlike any other for BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) life science companies of all sizes and kinds. Just a few months into 2020, the coronavirus pandemic swept the region, seriously disrupting, albeit temporarily, the best-laid plans of aspiring founders, entrepreneurs, emerging startups, pre-clinical and more established, larger biohealth organizations in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland.


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United Therapeutics Announces Agreement To Acquire Priority Review Voucher

SILVER SPRING, Md. and RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Dec. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Therapeutics Corporation (Nasdaq: UTHR) announced today an agreement to acquire a Rare Pediatric Disease Priority Review Voucher (PRV), which it plans to use with a forthcoming New Drug Application (NDA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The PRV entitles the holder to designate an NDA for priority review and provides for an expedited eight-month review, instead of the standard twelve-month review period. Following the close of the transaction, United Therapeutics intends to apply the PRV to its NDA for Tyvaso DPI, expected in the first half of 2021.

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Venture capitalist injects £10m into Oxford vaccine firm Vaccitech | This is Money

A biotechnology company whose research and intellectual property has helped to create the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine has raised new investment from venture capitalists.

Oxford-based Vaccitech has agreed the funds – understood to be as much as £10million – from Future Planet Capital which also invests in health, climate change and education projects.

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Johns Hopkins Team Wins Global COVID-19 Mask Design Challenge – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A team from Johns Hopkins University won a global mask design challenge.

Two dozen undergraduates from the university make up Team Polair. Together, they created a clear mask they said people would want to wear.


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Exclusive: D.C. med-tech startup Nanochon raising new funding for 3D-printed implant for joint injuries - Washington Business Journal
Nanochon is aiming to close the round in January to fund the first human study of its product.

Image: Ben Holmes is co-founder and CEO of Nanochon. COURTESY BEN HOLMES

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These breakthroughs will make 2021 better than 2020 | LinkedIn

The latest on the innovations that will let us go back to normal. This has been a devastating year. More than 1.6 million people have died in the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 75 million cases and tens of trillions of dollars in economic damages. Millions of people are out of work and struggling to pay their bills, and more than a billion children are missing out on crucial time in school. In the U.S., this year also saw the horrifying killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, ruinous wildfires, and a presidential election unlike any other in modern times.

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DC Inno - The top D.C.-area innovation stories of 2020

It’s tempting to look forward to the new year — especially after such an abysmal 2020 for so many.

But before we do, let’s not forget all that happened in the region’s innovation ecosystem this year. It wasn’t all bad.

Here, we recap some of the top trends, events and topics over the last 12 months.

Image: Husband-wife co-founders Matthew and Marnel Goins run Puzzle Huddle, which saw increased demand amid stay-at-home orders, school closures and the refocus on supporting Black-owned businesses. Puzzle Huddle

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