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November 14, 2023


BioTalk - Driving Cancer Research Innovation: A Conversation with Michael Weingarten, Director, SBIR Development Center at the National Cancer Institute (NCI)

What are the latest advancements in cancer research and innovation? Join us in this episode of BioTalk with Rich Bendis as we explore the dynamic world of cancer research and technology development with our distinguished guest, Michael Weingarten, Director of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Development Center at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Mr. Weingarten plays a pivotal role in leading a team of Program Directors managing the NCI's SBIR & STTR Programs, overseeing a substantial portfolio of $182 million in grants and contracts annually. These programs are at the forefront of NCI's efforts to drive innovation, fostering the development and commercialization of groundbreaking technologies and products for cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Listen now via your favorite podcasting platform:

Explore the intersection of the BioHealth Capital Region and the NCI, understanding how collaboration and partnerships are shaping the future of cancer research and innovation. Michael and Rich delve into the goals for the future, highlighting the NCI's vision and commitment to advancing cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment through technology and innovation.

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BioHealth Innovation, Inc. Welcomes Dr. Eric S. Edwards of Phlow Corporation to the Board of Directors and Appoints Donna J. Edmonds of BRAINBox Solutions, Inc. as Vice Chair

ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, November 13, 2023  BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI), a leading organization dedicated to supporting and advancing the BioHealth industry, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Eric S. Edwards, Co-founder and CEO of Phlow Corporation, to its Board of Directors. In addition, Donna J. Edmonds, CEO of BRAINBox Solutions, Inc., has been appointed as the new Vice Chair of the Board.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Dr. Eric S. Edwards to our Board of Directors and to appoint Donna J. Edmonds as our new Vice Chair,” said Richard Bendis, BHI President and CEO. “Dr. Edwards' remarkable achievements in pharmaceutical innovation and his dedication to improving healthcare delivery are perfectly aligned with our mission at BHI. Similarly, Donna's extensive experience and proven leadership in the healthcare sector will be invaluable as we continue to drive forward our vision. Their appointments signify BHI's continued journey towards fostering a robust and dynamic BioHealth ecosystem in our region.”

Dr. Eric S. Edwards, currently the Co-founder and CEO of Phlow Corporation, brings a wealth of experience and innovation to BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI). With a remarkable career spanning pharmaceuticals and healthcare, Dr. Edwards is at the forefront of securing the supply chain for critical essential medicines in America. His visionary leadership extends beyond Phlow, as he co-founded Kaléo, Inc., a pharmaceutical company dedicated to novel treatments for chronic and acute-care diseases.

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Selecta Biosciences Announces Merger with Cartesian Therapeutics

WATERTOWN, Mass. and GAITHERSBURG, Md., Nov. 13, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Selecta Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: SELB) (the Company) today announced that it has merged with Cartesian Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering RNA cell therapies for autoimmune diseases. In connection with the merger, Selecta announced a $60.25 million private financing led by Timothy A. Springer, Ph.D., member of the Selecta Board of Directors.

With the cash from both companies at closing and the proceeds of the concurrent private financing, the combined company is expected to have over $110 million on hand to support the development of the Cartesian pipeline through the Phase 3 study of lead product candidate, Descartes-08, a potential first-in-class RNA-engineered chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (rCAR-T) for the treatment of MG, as well as the advancement of additional RNA cell therapy programs.

Concurrent with the merger, the combined company has been renamed Cartesian Therapeutics, Inc. The Company’s Nasdaq ticker symbol will change to “RNAC” effective prior to the opening of trading tomorrow, November 14, 2023.

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VLP Therapeutics group announces 3rd closing of funding to develop cancer, infectious disease vaccines; establish investigational vaccine manufacturing facility

US-based biotech company VLP Therapeutics, Inc. (VLPT) and its Tokyo-based group company VLP Therapeutics Japan, Inc. (VLPT Japan) together announced on November 8 the third closing of its financing round, which secured investments from Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited, a new investor headquartered in Tokyo, and Mr. Robert G. Hisaoka, an existing investor in the US.

With this funding the VLPT group plans to: 1) bolster its vaccine research and development underway in the US for cancer treatment and infectious disease prevention, such as malaria and dengue; and 2) establish a manufacturing facility, which is expected to begin operation in 2024–2025 and will enable VLPT Japan to produce investigational vaccines in-house in Fukuoka, Japan.

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Emergent BioSolutions Submits Supplemental Biologics License Application Seeking U.S. FDA Approval of ACAM2000®, (Smallpox (Vaccinia) Vaccine, Live) for Immunization Against Mpox

GAITHERSBURG, Md., November 7, 2023 – Emergent (NYSE: EBS) has recently submitted a supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeking approval for the expansion of the indication for ACAM2000®, Smallpox (Vaccinia) Vaccine, Live to include immunization against mpox virus. The sBLA includes data from a well-controlled animal study in which ACAM2000® vaccine has been shown to be effective in protecting against mpox virus exposure.

“Community transmission of mpox continues to be a public health challenge in the U.S.,” said Paul Williams, SVP and Products Business Head, Emergent BioSolutions. “Our sBLA submission for ACAM2000® reflects Emergent’s commitment to expanding our product capabilities and continuously support the U.S. government as we address emerging infectious diseases and strengthen future preparedness.”

Mpox, formerly called monkeypox, is a rare disease caused by infection with the mpox virus. Mpox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Mpox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and mpox is rarely fatal.1 Since the start of last year, there have been more than 31,000 mpox cases in the U.S. and 55 deaths, according to the CDC, with more than 91,000 cases and 166 confirmed deaths globally.

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Endpoints News Exclusive: With backing of Ravens owner, Blackbird launches with $100M to boost Baltimore’s biotech scene

A life sciences accelerator called Blackbird Laboratories has $100 million to spend to turn Baltimore into a biotech hub.A life sciences accelerator called Blackbird Laboratories has $100 million to spend to turn Baltimore into a biotech hub.

Blackbird was founded at the start of this year with the backing of Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti’s family foundation. So far, Blackbird has looked at about 80 to 100 proposals and funded five programs, Blackbird CEO Matt Tremblay told Endpoints News.

Baltimore has had a few notable biotech success stories, such as Thrive Earlier Detection (acquired by Exact Sciences in 2020) and Personal Genome Diagnostics (acquired by Labcrop in 20222), but Tremlay said he hopes to support a "Kendall Square-like phenomena." He's looking to back research ideas that ultimately become biotech startups based in Baltimore. 

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Irazú Oncology and University of Maryland, Baltimore Mark Anniversary of Exclusive License for Development of Colorectal Cancer Vaccine

BALTIMORE, MD, November 7, 2023 –Irazú Oncology, LLC, a biotechnology research company working to develop the next generation of cancer vaccines, and University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) are marking the one-year anniversary of their exclusive, worldwide license agreement and continuing partnership for the development of UMB’s novel immunotherapeutic vaccine technology. The Company, founded and led by Marco Chacón, PhD, is a UMB startup pursuing its plans to commercialize UMB’s technology as part of its oncology vaccine platform.

Irazú Oncology’s Membrane Vesicle Platform (MVP) technology utilizes nanosized outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) derived from attenuated bacteria to display and deliver tumor antigens to sites of immune response. The OMV vaccines are designed to stimulate the body’s own immune system to attack and destroy tumor cells. The Company’s lead vaccine candidate, IRZ-CRC-1, is a bivalent colorectal cancer vaccine that has shown excellent efficacy in colorectal cancer preclinical models.

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The NHLBI is accepting applications for the I-Corps at NIH™ Program

The NHLBI is accepting applications for the I-Corps at NIH™ Program, which provides funding, mentoring, and networking opportunities to current Phase I SBIR/STTR awardees and Fast-Track awardees in the first phase of their award to help commercialize your promising biomedical technology. During this 8-week, hands-on program, you’ll learn how to focus your business plan and get the tools to bring your treatment to the patients who need it most.   

Program benefits include:   

  • Funding up to $55,000 to cover total program costs  
  • Training from biotech sector experts  
  • Expanding your professional network 
  • Building the confidence and skills to create a comprehensive business model  
  • Gaining years of entrepreneurial skills in a matter of week

All applications must be submitted through PAR-22-073 no later than November 15, 2023. Please note that the updated due dates for the FY2024 I-Corps at NIH™ cohorts may be found at NOT-OD-23-188This cohort begins in March 2024. The sessions will be held virtually except for the in-person kickoff in Houston, TX, and the in-person closeout session in Bethesda, MD.

 For more information, contact Stephanie Davis, Small Business Program Coordinator ( or visit the I-Corps at NIH™ program website.  

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