BioHealth Innovation
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March 16, 2021


Marina Massingham, CEO, Aifred Health, & Laurent Waessa, Sr. Business Development Advisor, Québec Government Office in New York, Virtually Visit BioTalk

Marina Massingham, CEO, Aifred Health, and Laurent Waessa, Senior Business Development Advisor, Québec Government Office in New York, join BioTalk to discuss their backgrounds, Ecosystems for Entrepreneurs, and how Quebec can find partnerships in the BioHealth Capital Region

Listen via Apple, Google, Spotify, and TuneIn

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Partnering meeting slots now are full with more than 450 1:1 partnering meetings requested with Program Officers from NSF, NIH and its individual institutes (NCI, NIA, NIAID, NIDA, NHLBI) and the University of Maryland MIPS.  Do not miss the opportunity to hear from these program leaders. Learn how to write compelling Research Aims and Commercialization Plans, current areas of focus for nondilutive funding resources, additional government resources, and best industry strategies to support your firm’s growth. Confirmed speakers/partnering meeting participants include:

  • Henry Ahn - Program Director, National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Lynne Stein Benzion – Director, Economic Development, Montgomery County Econ. Dev. Corp. (MCEDC)
  • Katie Bratlie - Program Director, National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Christie Canaria, PhD - Program Director, SBIR Development Center, National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • Judy Costello – Managing Director, Economic Development, BioHealth Innovation (BHI)
  • Stephanie Davis, PhD - Small Business Program Coordinator, NIH Nat’l Heart Lung & Blood Inst. (NHLBI)
  • Sharon Disque, Economic Development Manager, City of Gaithersburg, Maryland
  • Stephanie Fertig, HHS Small Business Program Lead, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Jonathan Franca-Koh, PhD - Program Director, SBIR Development Center, National Cancer Inst (NCI).
  • Armineh Ghazarian - Senior Program Analyst, NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA)
  • Colleen Gibney, SBIR Deputy Project Manager, US Army Medical Research & Dev. Command (USAMRDC)
  • Luis Gutierrez - Entrepreneur-in-Residence, BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI)
  • Todd Haim, PhD - Chief, Office of Small Business Research, NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA)
  • Elena Koustova, PhD, MBA - Director, Office of Translational Initiatives and Program Innovations (OTIPI), NIDA SBIR/STTR Coordinator, NIH National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Office of Director
  • Ashwin Kulkarni, COO, miRecule; Associate, BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI)
  • Natalia Kruchinin, PhD SBIR/STTR Program Coordinator, RTSP, DEA, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  • Carla Merritt, Senior Business Development Representative, Maryland Department of Commerce
  • JR Myers, SBIR Project Manager, US Army Medical Research & Development Command (USAMRDC)
  • Mike Minicozzi, PhD, Senior Program Officer, DAIT, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  • Alastair Monk - Program Director, National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Deepa Narayanan - Program Director and Team Lead, NIH National Cancer Institute SBIR Development Center (NCI)
  • Rini Pek, PhD - Senior Analyst, BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI)
  • Erik Pierstorff - Program Director, National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Victor Prikhodko - Senior Business Dev. Mgr., SBIR/STTR NIH National Inst. of Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  • Monique Pond, PhD - Program Director, SBIR Development Center, National Cancer Institute
  • Reema Railkar, PhD - Program Manager, SBIR Development Center, National Cancer Institute
  • Saroj Regmi, PhD - Health Science Administrator, Office of Small Business Research, NIH National Institute on Aging
  • Andrea Renner - Technical Assistance Advocate, US Army Medical Research & Dev Command (USAMRDC)
  • Ethel Rubin, PhD - Entrepreneur-in-Residence, BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI)
  • Anthony Saleh, PhD – CEO, miRecule
  • Ben Schrag,PhD - Program Director, National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • John Sullivan - Entrepreneur-in-Residence, BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI)
  • Onur Unal, Manager, Life Sciences Projects, Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS), Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTech), University of Maryland

 Register (no fee) today!  Questions: BHI@BioHealthInnovation.orgNOTE:  Different institutes are available to meet at different times during the March 17-19th period.               You will be able to request meetings once you have registered and received the partnering log-in.

Register Now!

Click here to view the agenda.

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Digital Health Forum Presented by EAGB and BioHealth Innovation Registration, Thu, Mar 25, 2021 at 1:00 PM | Eventbrite (3)

 A free, virtual Forum focused on the growing Digital Health industry in the Baltimore/Washington region and beyond, presented by EAGB & BHI.

The Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore ( and BioHealth Innovation ( have partnered to host a Forum focused on the growing Digital Health industry in the Baltimore/Washington region and beyond. The Forum is free and will be held virtually on March 25, from1 – 3:00 pm. There is no fee and all are welcomed, but you must register in order to receive the link to the event.

The Digital Health Forum features two panel discussions and a moderated conversation. Brief welcome comments by Rich Bendis and Michele Whelley, CEO of BHI and EAGB, respectively, will open the Forum.

  • PANEL ONE: The Role of Academia in Digital Health
  • PANEL TWO: Digital Health in Healthcare
  • CLOSING CONVERSATION: International Collaboration in Digital Health

Visit to learn more and register for this FREE Event today.

Sponsored by: First National Bank, Olive, and TEDCO


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Top 10 U.S. Biopharma Clusters (BHCR number 4 but metrics improved over 2020)

BIoHealth Capital Region Ranked 4th and metrics improving towards goals of Top 3 by 2023

Charles Dickens’ opening line of A Tale of Two Cities—“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”—was evoked recently by the head of the nation’s largest life sciences real estate owner to describe the past year for the industry served by his real estate investment trust.

“With respect to the industry, 2020 is the ultimate paradox: The worst year of our lives, yet the greatest year ever for the life science industry,” Joel S. Marcus, Alexandria Real Estate Equities’ executive chairman and founder, told analysts February 2 after releasing fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 results. “[There’s] much work to do to rebuild businesses and lives so devastatingly impacted, and I would say, it’s going to take a good part of this decade to do that for many people who’ve been really so devastated.”


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Innovation Showcase - American College of Cardiology (April, 1)

The American College of Cardiology is hosting its first Innovation Showcase in partnership with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).   They have selected six healthcare start-up companies to present. Each presentation will end with a brief Q&A with our panelists, including BHI Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Renee ArnoldLuis Gutierrez, and Kwame Ulmer.  Immediately following the showcase, audience members will have an opportunity to attend breakout sessions with each company and representatives from the NHLBI.   Full details (schedule, presenting companies, registration, etc.) are available at:  


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After merger, College Park startup IonQ plans to go public with $2 billion valuation

IonQ, a quantum computing startup born in College Park, announced Monday that it would likely soon become the first publicly traded company to specialize in commercialized quantum computing.

The company plans to file paperwork with the Securities Exchange Commission in the next week, which will allow it to go public on the New York Stock Exchange through an acquisition deal that would set the valuation of the combined entity to nearly $2 billion.

Image: The IonQ headquarters in College Park on Nov. 9, 2020. (Kurt Leinemann/The Diamondback)

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VLP Therapeutics names seasoned biotech venture capitalist Miwa Toyoda as CBO | National News |

GAITHERSBURG, Md., March 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- US-based biotech company VLP Therapeutics, Inc. (VLPT) announced that it has named Ms. Miwa Toyoda, formerly a venture capitalist specialized in pharma and biotech at JAFCO Group Co., Ltd., as chief business officer, effective March 15, in a bid to accelerate its vaccine research and development projects and expand the portfolio.

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Novavax Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine is 96% Efficacious | Time

Novavax reported on March 11 that its COVID-19 vaccine is 96% efficacious in reducing mild, moderate or severe disease. The Maryland-based company joins the handful of manufacturers that have reported encouraging data on a COVID-19 vaccine; three, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals, have already received emergency use authorization for their shots from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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J&J plans to produce up to 3 billion doses of vaccine next year, United States News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

CHICAGO/FRANKFURT • The chief scientist of Johnson & Johnson said the company expects to produce up to three billion doses of its Covid-19 jab next year, after the European Union (EU) approved the one-shot vaccine on Thursday.

The company is bringing on three manufacturing plants to produce the key drug substance for the vaccine. It will also have seven plants globally to handle the "fill and finish" - the final production steps and bottling into vials.

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Leveraging Artificial Intelligence in Human Health (Rich Bendis will Facilitate)

This free webinar will feature a fireside chat-style conversation with Dr. Robert Scharpf (Delfi Diagnostics) and Dr. Christie Bergerson (Exponent). Drs. Scharpf and Bergerson will discuss how machine learning and artificial intelligence are impacting biomedical engineering and the wider world of human health.

Rich Bendis (BioHealth Innovation/BioTalk podcast) will facilitate the discussion. View the speaker bios for more information.


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Opinion | A Vaccine Maker’s Investment: Emergent BioSolutions Responds - The New York Times

The past year has been the most important in Emergent BioSolutions’ history. We’ve had the honor of helping our country address Covid-19, manufacturing vaccines in a way few companies can. Deploying longstanding pandemic preparedness capabilities to shorten timelines and ramp up large-scale manufacturing, we can now make more than a billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine a year.

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SPAC Alexandria Agtech/Climate Innovation Acquisition files for a $250 million IPO | Nasdaq

Alexandria Agtech/Climate Innovation Acquisition, a blank check company formed by Alexandria Real Estate Equities targeting agtech and climate innovation, filed on Thursday with the SEC to raise up to $250 million in an initial public offering.

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Rockville-based Pediametrix receives $1M from National Science Foundation for R&D - DC

A Rockville, Maryland-based startup bringing AI and computer vision tools to pediatric health received nearly $1 million for R&D in a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The Phase II Small Business Innovation Research award, which is for $982,500, will help Pediametrix as it continues to develop SoftSpot, a digital cranial measurement tool.

PediaMetrix was founded in 2018 by Dr. Fereshteh Aalamifar, who earned her Ph.D. at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, and a group of scientists and entrepreneurs who are alumni of Johns Hopkins, Harvard University and Princeton University.

Image: Dr. Fereshteh Aalamifar is CEO of PediaMetrix. (Courtesy photo)

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Researchers in a Virginia Lab Lay Groundwork for U.S.-Made Drugs - Bloomberg

One thing both the Trump and Biden administrations have agreed on is that the U.S. needs to expand domestic manufacturing, and soon.

The pharmaceutical industry in particular has outsourced much of its manufacturing to take advantage of lower costs and more lax environmental laws in other countries. This has left Americans reliant on overseas drugmakers, largely in India and China, and vulnerable to gaps in the supply chain when quality issues or a pandemic halts production.

Image:  Ronald T. Piervincenzi  - Source: United States Pharmacopeia

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Cartesian Therapeutics Initiates Phase 2 Clinical Trial of First RNA-Engineered Cell Therapy for Frontline Cancer · BioBuzz

Gaithersburg, MD, Feb. 22, 2021 – Cartesian Therapeutics, a fully integrated, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering mRNA-engineered cell therapy in and beyond oncology, today announced that it has initiated a Phase 2a clinical trial of its mRNA chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, Descartes-11, in patients with newly diagnosed, high-risk multiple myeloma. Based upon the company’s research and analysis, this program is understood to be the first RNA-engineered cell therapy to enter clinical development for a frontline cancer. Descartes-11 is the third product candidate to be evaluated in clinical trials resulting from Cartesian’s RNA Armory℠ engineering platform.

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BioHealth Capital Region Women Making Waves in Venture Capital · BioBuzz

Improving access to venture capital for life science entrepreneurs and emerging biopharma companies in the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) is a top priority. However, elevating the region’s funding profile is not the only type of access undergoing a transformation in recent years.


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5 Questions with Destinie Burgan, Upstream Supervisor of Manufacturing, Emergent BioSolutions · BioBuzz

“5 Questions With…” is a weekly BioBuzz series where we reach out to interesting people in the BioHealth Capital Region to share a little about themselves, their work, and maybe something completely unrelated. March is WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH and BioBuzz will celebrate by featuring Women in the BioHealth industry all month, especially in “5 Questions With…”. This week we continue the series with Destinie Burgan, Upstream Supervisor of Manufacturing, Emergent BioSolutions.


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Inova and University of Virginia School of Medicine open new campus | Headlines |

After four years of extensive planning, Inova Health System and the University of Virginia School of Medicine this week opened the UVA Inova Campus, welcoming its first class of 36 UVA medical students. An additional 36 students will join the campus next year to complete a full complement of students for two years of clinical training.

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Innovation alliance unveils new name and strategic plan for Western Virginia | Business Local |

Astrategic alliance has a new name — Verge — and a new vision of acting as the front door for an innovation economy that stretches from Lynchburg to the New River Valley.

Formed last year, the alliance is a joint mission of the Valleys Innovation Council, the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council and the Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program, known as RAMP.

At a virtual news conference Monday, organizers said the unified strength of the three organizations will help solidify connections and better leverage emerging opportunities for the region’s technologists, innovators and entrepreneurs.

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How Remote Work Is Reshaping America’s Urban Geography - WSJ

A year ago, just before the start of pandemic lockdowns, some 10% or less of the U.S. labor force worked remotely full-time. Within a month, according to Gallup and other surveys, around half of American workers were at distant desktops. Today, most of them still are. And surveys of employers and employees alike suggest a fundamental shift. While forecasts differ, as much as a quarter of the 160-million-strong U.S. labor force is expected to stay fully remote in the long term, and many more are likely to work remotely a significant part of the time.


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Welcome New Members (AMRIE GRAMMER)— Join SIBF

SIBF welcomes new members.  See the list here.

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What’s Next for COVID-19 Tech in Healthcare? - HealthTech Magazine

When the pandemic hit in full force last March, healthcare organizations had to pivot overnight. What was once impossible became necessary, and what was once unlikely became an everyday occurrence. While this disruption came with growing pains — health organizations faced supply, staff and support shortages for months on end — the World Economic Forum notes that “the industry’s response has vividly demonstrated its resilience and ability to bring innovations to market quickly.”

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Quality, Speed & Equity: Delivering COVID-19 Vaccines to the World - Webinar Registration - Zoom

All eyes are on the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Achieving the broad uptake needed to reach population immunity and curb the virus’s spread will require an unprecedented effort among health workers, scientists and stakeholders at every step of the supply chain.

During this 90 min event, experts from organizations central to vaccine development and delivery, regulatory oversight and quality assurance will discuss over the course of two high-level panels what’s needed for the global COVID-19 vaccination campaign, how to build public trust in the quality and effectiveness of vaccines, and how these investments can build better systems for the future.

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Children’s National leaders provide expertise and support to advance SHIP-MD pediatric innovation initiative | Children's National

The advancement of children’s medical devices in the U.S. continues to significantly lag behind adult devices for many reasons. A dedicated group of public and private sector healthcare leaders are working together to change that trend. In culmination of its first stage of work, the System of Hospitals for Innovation in Pediatrics – Medical Devices (SHIP-MD) initiative recently held a dynamic 3-day public workshop to further develop this groundbreaking public-private partnership, which is currently in its pre-consortium/conceptual phase.

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The University of Maryland is a powerhouse of discovery, with decades of experience advancing a field that will help define our nation’s—and the world’s—future.


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Inova Health System, University of Virginia open Northern Virginia campus - Washington Business Journal

The program, first conceived in 2016, puts the Charlottesville institution in Greater Washington and creates a new talent pool for the Falls Church-based organization.

Image: The Claude Moore Health Education and Research Center, part of the Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, houses medical school classrooms and offices for curriculum, student affairs and faculty affairs. COURTESY INOVA HEALTH SYSTEM

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Quantum computing company IonQ plans to go public. Here's what it could mean for College Park - Baltimore

That’s the path for technology being developed by IonQ. The College Park-based company on Monday made official a deal to merge with special purpose acquisition company dMY Technology Group, Inc. III. When the merger closes and it begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol IONQ, the company is poised to be the first “pure-play” quantum computing company that is publicly traded, leaders said.

Image: Inside IonQ's College Park quantum computing work. (Courtesy photo)

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