Baltimore3Meredith Cohn - Thrive Earlier Detection Corp., a startup company based on early cancer testing technology developed at the Johns Hopkins University, was snatched up three years ago and is now planning to move out of Baltimore.

Another startup spun from the same revered Hopkins team called Haystack Oncology was bought last year by New Jersey-based giant Quest Diagnostics but plans to stay long term in the city.

There are dollars and jobs on the line with both, not to mention the dose of prestige from homegrown companies transforming patient care. So what does a city need to tip the scales in favor of more Haystacks and fewer Thrives?

“We certainly want to grow them all here,” said Ulyana Desiderio, the Maryland Department of Commerce’s senior director of the Office of Strategic Industries and Entrepreneurship. “But let’s start with the fact that we’re pumping out these wonderful companies.”

There is agreement among industry, academic and government experts and observers that Baltimore is pretty good at the scientific discovery part and getting better at standing up real-life companies. What comes next is a work in progress affected by a mix of variables, some of which are more difficult to control.

First, the good: Hopkins and the University of Maryland are research juggernauts, the region is close to federal resources and there are a disproportionate number of highly trained scientists in the pipeline.

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