Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTC PINK: PIRS) (formerly Marika, Inc.), a Nevada corporation, announced today its successful completion of a share exchange transaction with Pieris AG, a German stock corporation pursuant to which Pieris AG became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company. The combined entity is named Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and will focus solely on the business of Pieris AG, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of its proprietary Anticalin® class of biotherapeutics. The share exchange transaction was effected on December 17, 2014, and beginning on December 18, 2014, Pieris will trade under the symbol "PIRS" on the OTC Markets.


– BHI Entrepreneurs-in-Resident Help Drive Client Progress –

ROCKVILLE AND BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, December 16, 2014 – BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI), a regional private-public partnership focusing on commercializing market-relevant biohealth innovations and increasing access to early-stage funding in Central Maryland, today announced recent highlights of funding achievements for clients, BeneVir Biopharm, Inc., and Perceptive Navigation, LLC. The significant progress poises both companies for clinical and/or commercial advancement in 2015.

BeneVir Biopharm, recently announced that it closed a Series A investment round with Pansend, LLC, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of HC2 Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: HCHC). BeneVir is a Maryland-based company founded in 2011. Based on technology developed by New York University, BeneVir is developing an advanced immunotherapeutic platform for the treatment of solid tumors that can both directly kill tumor cells and also activate the human immune system to target tumor metastases and prevent recurrence of tumors. Currently, the company is focused on advancing its lead program into human trials for ovarian, breast, and bladder cancer. BHI’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Ram Aiyar, Ph.D., worked as a member of the BeneVir team to enhance the commercial potential of the company by building novel intellectual property, expanding the therapeutic pipeline and identifying potential development partners.


Noble Life Sciences (Gaithersburg, MD), a provider of preclinical drug development services, today announced the acquisition of Spring Valley Laboratories (Sykesville, MD), a full service, GLP (Good Laboratory Practice)-compliant, preclinical contract research organization (CRO) for the development of drugs, vaccines, and medical devices.   

The acquisition greatly expands Noble’s services to include GLP regulatory standards, studies in small and large animals, and testing capabilities for vaccines and medical devices. Combined with Noble’s recognized strength conducting studies directed at early-stage products, the acquisition of Spring Valley Laboratories extends the Company’s suite of offerings across the full continuum of preclinical studies from initial product discovery through regulation-compliant studies for submission to FDA and other similar agencies.


BeneVir Biopharm, Inc., a biotechnology company developing a pipeline of cancer immunotherapies, today announced it closed a Series A investment round with Pansend, LLC, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of HC2 Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: HCHC).

BeneVir’s core technology was licensed from New York University (NYU) and originally developed by Ian J. Mohr, Ph.D., NYU Langone Medical Center. 


Thomas Kucharski (IEDC) - Ethan Byler (BHI) - William C. Sproull (IEDC)

BioHealth Innovation, Inc.
(BHI) was selected as an International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Excellence in Economic Development Silver Award recipient. BHI is receiving the award in the Public-Private Partnerships category for its work to assemblethe partnership that sponsored DreamIt Health IT Baltimore accelerator program. The award, which recognizes outstanding and innovative development projects that have significantly enhanced the economic revitalization of distressed communities, states, or regions, was formally presented to BHI on Monday, October 20, during the 2014 IEDC Annual Conference in Fort Worth, TX.

“BHI is honored to be acknowledged with this award for our work with DreamIt Health in support of the DreamIt Health Baltimore program in 2014,” said Richard Bendis, BHI President & CEO. “This reinforces the dedication to entrepreneurship and innovation in the biohealth arena that we are constantly striving for in Central Maryland.”


Strategic Adviser for BioHealth Innovation Inc.

Tania Fernandez came to the biotech initiative through the venture capital world, where she worked in Silicon Valley and spent 16 years managing investments in companies.

What is the biggest way your day will change in your new role? My day won't really change. I am a classified workaholic. I will continue to do what I have always loved doing: working with entrepreneurs, building companies and looking for good investment opportunities in the biotech/life sciences/health care sectors. BioHealth Innovation has built a very commendable ecosystem for startups, and I look forward to the opportunity to build out that ecosystem with them as we get ready to fund raise for the BioHealth Gap Fund.

One thing you wish everyone knew about your job? I founded DreamCatcher Ventures after having spent more than 15 years in hard-core academics and a decade in venture capital financing. I have watched people get burnt either because they were not grounded enough (which translates into operational weakness) or had their head way above the clouds (which translated to being unrealistic about long-term success and sustainability of business models). I created DreamCatcher Ventures with a simple goal to "Build the foundations for dreams." That's what I want people to know about my job. This quote by Henry David Thoreau, which is the tagline for DreamCatcher Ventures, says it all: "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." For entrepreneurs there is a fine line between being stubborn and being persistent, an even finer liner between being a visionary and having unrealistic expectations. In my day-to-day job, I work with clients to bridge that. It is great to dream but you need to have your feet planted on the ground. I believe in the power of dreams combined with the excellence of execution.


BioHealth Innovation clients Alex Lai (Speed BioSystems), Matthew Mulvey (Benevir), David Cetlin (MockV Solutions), and BHI Entrepreneur-in-Resident Ram Aiyar meet with Bahija Jallal.

Dr. Bahija Jallal is Executive Vice President, MedImmune, responsible for biologics research, development and clinical activities. As part of AstraZeneca's Senior Executive Team, Bahija is tasked with advancing the biologic organisation's pipeline of drugs targeting cancer, infections, respiratory and inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders and pain. (Astrazenica Bio)

Vanessa Sorto

Join us in welcoming two new interns to our team!

Vanessa Sorto
Accounting and Human Resources Intern

Vanessa Sorto joined BHI on September 2014 as an accounting and human resources intern. She is responsible for supporting the director of finance and human resources in assembling monthly expense reports for BHI senior staff, reconciling bank accounts, preparing monthly financial reports, assisting in audit preparation, and maintaining payroll. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree at The University of Maryland, College Park in Accounting and Information Systems. She is a Hillman Entrepreneur scholarship recipient.

Kurt Herzog
Business & Research Analyst

Kurt Herzog joined BHI in 2014 as a Business & Research Analyst. He assists BHI's client companies with market entry strategies for their products by engaging with clients to understand current products, researching existing and potential markets, and analyzing business strategy. His work includes developing executive summaries, investor slide decks, tailored presentation materials, and creating financial models for presentation to investors.

Kurt also works with Tania Fernandez on the BioHealth Gap Fund, a $50 million fund announced October 2014 in partnership with the EAGB to support early-stage therapeutics, medical device, diagnostics, and health IT companies in central Maryland. Kurt has experience in investment banking, international micro-lending, renewable energy project finance and project development, forest carbon sequestration monitoring, institutional investing in hedge funds, and working for a non-profit startup accelerator.   Kurt holds a BA in Economics and Environmental Studies with a Natural Science concentration from Bowdoin College. He also completed substantial coursework in chemistry.



BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI), a regional private-public partnership focusing on commercializing market-relevant biohealth innovations and increasing access to early-stage funding in Central Maryland, announced today that venture capitalist, Tania Fernandez, Ph.D., has joined the BHI team as a strategic advisor. Dr. Fernandez will be a member of the management team for a new BioHealth Gap Fund, which will provide up to $50 million in seed and early-stage equity investments to therapeutics, medical device, diagnostics, and health IT companies in Maryland. Additional BioHealth Gap Fund management team members include Richard Bendis, Ram Aiyar, Todd Chappell, and Ken Malone, who each bring domain knowledge and industry access to the fund.

“Dr. Fernandez has ten years of experience as a venture capitalist in the life sciences/biotechnology industry. Her work in Silicon Valley, along with her research experience at the National Cancer Institute, makes her a tremendous asset to the BHI team,” said Richard Bendis, BHI President & CEO. “Dr. Fernandez brings a West Coast investment perspective, and she will have an active role in helping to manage the BioHealth Gap Fund. She will also support our BHI Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and clients: helping our startups to grow and raise strategic funding.”


Tasly Pharmaceuticals, Inc (Tasly) and BioHealth Innovation (BHI) co-organized the first Tasly Meeting of CEOs on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at the Tasly facility in Rockville. Attendees included more than 25 CEOs and company representatives from local Maryland-based BioTech and BioPharma companies. This was the first public event conducted through Tasly and BHI's newly initiated partnership.

Tasly is an innovation-based, high-tech healthcare and pharmaceutical enterprise and world-leader in the research and product development (R&D) of Chinese herbal medicine - the leader in the natural way to modernize medicine, with a North American headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, . Tasly and BHI have a formalized partnership which aims to co- organize and coordinate joint BioHealth associated events to promote professional networking, business growth, and technology and product commercialization.

icg-9 logo

The 2014 International Biotech Summit Committee invite BioHealth Innovation (BHI) and Montgomery County to attend the three co-located international conferences that will be held on Sep 9 -12 in Shenzhen, China:

  1. 2014 International Biotech Summit (September 10, 2014);
  2. The 9th International Conference on Genomics (ICG-9) (September 11th-12th, 2014);
  3. Shenzhen International Biotech & Health Industry Expo 2014 (SIBHIE, September 10th-12th, 2014).

Ms. Lily Qi, Director of Special Projects for Montgomery County Executive Office who was involved in establishing BHI and a native of Shanghai, is going to speak on behalf of the County and BHI for the forum, "Innovation in Policy and Regulation for Advancing Healthcare Industry." BHI and the County are also invited as an exhibitor for the SIBHIE Expo.


Richard Bendis and BioHealth Innovation were among the small businesses and individuals honored by the US Small Business Administration at the 2014 Tibbetts awards. Winners of the award have been critical in supporting the SBIR/STTR program in many different ways and are at the forefront of driving innovation. Read the full PR Newswire press release here.

The BHI SBIR/STTR Federal Funding Assistance Program offers biohealth companies support in preparing applications for federal funding inclusive of SBIRs, STTRs, and other federal government awards. Companies submit their federal funding concepts and receive pre-proposal feedback to help troubleshoot and strengthen your application. Further support from professional consultants and service providers is available to assist in improving your application.

For more information on the program, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


BHI is pleased to announce the promotion of Amanda Wilson to the position of Director, Finance & Human Resources. Amanda joined BioHealth Innovation, Inc. two years ago as the Operations Manager.

Over the past two years, Amanda has transitioned BHI's accounting method from cash to accrual. She has ensured BHI compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), and has represented BHI through two successful audits. In addition, Amanda has developed human resources policies and procedures and has maintained employee access to BHI's benefits package. Amanda recently completed her MBA at The George Washington University, and is able to augment her pre-existing skills through this degree.

Join us in congratulating Amanda on a well-deserved promotion!


Guest Speaker:  Rich Bendis, Founder, President & CEO, BioHealth Innovation, Inc.

The chair-elect of the Economic Development Committee, Leslie Weber, welcomed MCCC members and introduced the guest speaker, Rich Bendis, Founder, President & CEO, BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI). BHI is an innovation intermediary that connects market relevant research assets to appropriate funding, management, and global markets to facilitate the development of commercially viable biohealth products and companies.

The organization co-founds early stage biohealth companies and works directly with existing regional commercially relevant biohealth firms on their early business development milestones to accelerate commercialization.  Ninety percent of the companies BHI is working with are in Montgomery County Maryland.

George Jiang

BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI) announced this week its selection of George Jiang, M.D., M.B.A., PMP, as its new Chinese-American Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR). Dr. Jiang, a consultant with over 15 years of experience in life science research and development and in health industry business development, will lead in the scouting of technologies and partnership opportunities in life science hubs in the U.S. and China.

"We welcome Dr. Jiang as our newest addition to the EIR program," said Rich Bendis, President & CEO, BioHealth Innovation, Inc. "There is a vast opportunity to develop strategic partnerships with more Chinese corporations, and Dr. Jiang – as a Chinese American with experience as a consultant evaluating life science opportunities in China for a U.S. government agency – is in an ideal position to facilitate these collaborative efforts and the movement of new technologies along the commercialization path."

Dr. Jiang will be based at BHI headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. BHI and China Fortune Land Development Co., Ltd. (CFLD) established this EIR position in February 2014. After the two organizations met during a four-city mission trip to China for leaders from Montgomery County and the DC metropolitan area, led by Ike Leggett, County Executive of Montgomery County, Maryland.

Dr. Jiang has facilitated biohealth product development across the academic, government, private and military sectors. As a senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton for eight years, Dr. Jiang has health industry experience in business development, subject matter expertise, stakeholder partnerships, and project/personnel management. Previously, Dr. Jiang served as the Director of Primate Immunology at the Naval Medical Research Center. Prior to that, he was a senior microbiologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He earned his M.B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University, PMP (project management professional certification) from the Project Management Institute, M.D. from Southern Medical University in Guangdong, China, and M.S. from the Beijing Institute of Basic Medical Sciences in China.

BHI and CFLD, a company specializing in investment and operation of industrial areas in China, including science parks, created the new Chinese-American Entrepreneur-In-Residence role to:

  • Evaluate life science technologies in China and U.S. markets,
  • Provide a strategic plan for start-ups,
  • Advise on new ventures, and
  • Lead commercial strategy for mature assets.

Dr. Jiang will be BHI's 5th named EIR since the program began two years ago.

The organization is also actively recruiting for a China-USA EIR Program Intern to assist Dr. Jiang in his activities.

For questions, please contact Rich Bendis, President & CEO, 301-637-6439, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.