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That Indians are not only heading global IT giants like Google and Microsoft but also a number of startups in diverse sectors, including biotechnology, across the US is evident from the fact that of the 52 companies operating out of the two innovation hubs in Rockville and Germantown in Maryland 11 are either headed or run by Indians.

From mobile technology platform connecting doctors and patients to pre-market cybersecurity for IoT (Internet of Things) devices, Indian Americans are the driving force behind several firms at the two innovation hubs managed by BioHealth Innovation, Inc, a non-profit public-private partnership, which aids early stage biotechnology companies from research to commercialization.

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In 2010, an industry-led task force created in Montgomery County partnered with members of regional academia, government and other nonprofits to create an entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem that wasn’t being filled.

BioHealth Innovation Inc. (BHI), which was founded in 2012 by Richard Bendis in Rockville, Md., is designed to help bio-health companies grow, identify commercially relevant science, create new businesses and attract equity funding to the region. Bendis, who is also the president and CEO, has overseen the organization’s creation of unique programming for entrepreneurs at the National Institutes of Health, the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University.

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Robust private-sector investment and prudent regulation from policymakers have helped establish Maryland as a cradle of innovation and a leader in the U.S. innovation economy. Few states can match Maryland's highly skilled workforce, market access and technology-centered policy incentives, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked Maryland No. 1 in the country for entrepreneurship and innovation.

But continued leadership of the region — and the ability of the region to continue to reap the economic and jobs benefits of innovation — is not a given. It requires constant cultivation and smart action from our elected officials.

Maryland is home to more than 800 life sciences companies, 70 federal labs and 16 colleges and universities, including National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, Johns Hopkins University, the University System of Maryland and companies like MedImmune and GlaxoSmithKline. About 6 percent of Maryland's gross domestic product — $17.6 billion — is generated by the life sciences, and the biotechnology industry in Maryland alone employs about 34,000.

During the most recent legislative session in Maryland, the General Assembly considered a piece of onerous drug pricing legislation that threatened the biopharmaceutical ecosystem in the state while also potentially impeding access to care for Maryland patients.

In the name of "transparency," the legislation — which would have been the most hostile to industry in the country — imposed complex bureaucratic reporting requirements that disregarded the extraordinary development requirements and complex distribution channels for innovative drugs and therapies.

Read more via the Capital Gazette

BioHealth Innovation (BHI) is pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Maryland and the region.

BHI is a regional innovation intermediary which supports the transformation of research projects into new business opportunities in partnership with the region’s rich assets, institutions, and entrepreneurial community. BHI achieves this goal by being a catalytic partner in the economic development ecosystem which focuses on attracting, retaining, founding and reinventing biohealth businesses. BHI has built the infrastructure and track record to cofound and create new early stage biohealth startup and spinoff companies. In addition, BHI works directly with existing biohealth firms through a variety of supportive services including: incubation and accelerator programs, non-dilutive funding assistance, international soft landing programs and entrepreneur-in-residence support.

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The Daily Record has named BioHealth Innovation Inc., (BHI) President and CEO Richard Bendis a 2017 Influential Marylander. Mr. Bendis is one of 51 Influential Marylanders who were selected by the publication for their significant contributions to their respective fields and leadership in the state.

“It’s an honor to be chosen as an Influential Marylander by The Daily Record. BHI has been working with our partners and other key stakeholders to help make Maryland a leader in the BioHealth Capital Region,” said Mr. Bendis. “Our success in supporting over 800 companies, scientists, and entrepreneurs since 2012 is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire BHI team.”

Mr. Bendis, along with the other Influential Marylanders, will be presented their awards on March 23, 2017 at a reception and dinner at The Grand Lodge of Maryland. The winners will also be profiled in a special magazine that will be inserted into the March 24th issue of The Daily Record and available online at www.TheDailyRecord.com.

"Influential Marylanders help to shape their communities – our communities – for the better. They are at the pinnacle of their chosen professions and are role models for all of us," said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, publisher of The Daily Record. "Their hard work, determination and commitment to excellence help us to realize our own hopes and dreams. The Daily Record is honored to recognize their accomplishments."

About BioHealth Innovation, Inc.

BioHealth Innovation, Inc., is a regional innovation intermediary focused on commercializing market-relevant bio-health innovations and increasing access to early-stage funding in Maryland. BHI is known for providing commercial assistance to scientists and founders, educating and infusing Maryland's life science community with new and young entrepreneurs and fueling startups within Central Maryland's bio-ecosystem by connecting young companies to funding and business resources. Learn more at: www.biohealthinnovation.org

Click here to view all of the 2017 Influential Marylanders Honorees.

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BioHealth Innovation inked a pair of recent deals to run incubators in Montgomery County.

The Rockville-based organization that works to help health and life sciences startups in the region is set to manage the Germantown Innovation Center and the Rockville Innovation Center. It’s the first foray into running incubators for the public-private partnership, which also helps startups coming out of UMB and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

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Corvidia Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on the development of precision cardiovascular therapies, announced today that it has raised $26 million in a Series A financing, co-led by seed-investor Sofinnova Partners, and Apple Tree Partners.

Concurrent with the financing, Corvidia has licensed a clinical stage compound from AstraZeneca to develop and commercialize as its lead therapeutic (COR-001).  Funds from the Series A financing will be used to progress COR-001 into Phase I/II clinical trials during 2016, as well as to advance the company's preclinical pipeline.

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Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the 25 awardees that will receive $10 million under the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) 2015 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program. The 2015 RIS program is managed by EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) and is designed to advance innovation and capacity-building activities in regions across the country through two different competitions: the i6 Challenge and the Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grants competition.

“As the driving force behind the Administration’s focus on entrepreneurship, the Department of Commerce is committed to helping set the conditions for innovators and entrepreneurs to test new ideas, take risks, find financing and customers, and ultimately thrive,” said Secretary Pritzker. “The Regional Innovation Strategies program is critical to ensuring that entrepreneurs have access to the tools they need to move their ideas and inventions from idea to market.”

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Hear from the exciting companies completing the first Relevant Health cohort! This event is currently invite only, but if you would like to find out more and possibly attend please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To find out more about the cohort, click here!

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Sixteen leaders from key federal, academic and industry organizations have been appointed by Governor Larry Hogan to the Maryland Life Sciences Advisory Board (LSAB).

The new appointees include a patient advocate, executives from global life sciences companies with U.S. headquarters in Maryland, small biotechnology companies, and leaders from the University of Maryland, University of Maryland Baltimore, Johns Hopkin University, Montgomery College, NIH, FDA and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command.

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The D.C. area is home to a number of great startup accelerators that can really make a difference for young companies. The right program can provide the resources and advice that entrepreneurs need to transform what may be a great idea into a viable product and thriving startup. Check out a few of the newer and vertical-specific accelerator programs in the D.C. area that you should keep an eye on in 2016.

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BioHealth Innovation, Inc. would like to welcome Ellen Raines, the newest addition to our team! She is responsible for supporting the CEO, interacting with industry and academic institution leaders, as well as local, state and federal government officials and staff. Ellen has over 10 years of executive assistant experience with local and bioscience companies. She lives in Gaithersburg with her two teenage children and spends her free time supporting her children’s sports teams and events, teaching Pilates, swimming, biking, golfing and enjoys cooking for family and friends.

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A new health technology accelerator is looking for applicants for its five month program.It is the latest in a steady growth of organizations helping entrepreneurs navigate the long sales cycle and other unique challenges healthcare industry startups face.

Relevant Health, based in Rockville, Maryland, was formed through a partnership between BioHealth Innovation, Montgomery County’s Economic Development department and Product Savvy, which will run the day-to-day operations.

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BHI issued a Commercial Relevance Award to three companies as part of the Invest Maryland Challenge, Maryland's statewide business plan competition. The three companies each offer a differentiated product or service to the biohealth marketplace with an opportunity to provide significant commercial value to the health industry granting the the Commercial Relevance title..

Sickweather is a Batimore-based health information company that scans social networks for indicators of illness, allowing you to check for the chance of sickness as easily as you can check for the chance of rain.

Care Progress is a Bethesda-based company with a software platform to efficiently manage and treat cancer patients at home and maximize reimbursement through outcomes-based care management.

Tissue Analytics is a Johns Hopkins University spin-out that is transforming the common smartphone into a sophisticated medical imaging system.
BHI will offer strategic consulting services with selected companies to support the growth of these businesses and doe do using our knowledge, network and process for assisting early-stage biohealth companies. BHI is pleased to continue to partner with the State of Maryland's Invest Maryland Challenge to support the growth of emerging biohealth businesses.

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New for 2015! BHI's Funding Newsletter provides a monthly snapshot of biohealth funding opportunities from federal, state, local government, and private sources that could be relevant to advance your small business. BHI's goal is to assist companies determine feasible non-dilutive funding pathways or government contract opportunities to enable biohealth businesses at multiple stages of development.

Please contact our Federal Funding Assistance program when seeking support for any of the opportunities.

Recent winners: Perceptive Navigation wins Phase II SBIR

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A new business accelerator dedicated to health technology startups is launching this fall in Montgomery County's Rockville Innovation Center. Led by health and life sciences consortium BioHealth Innovation Inc., eight startup companies with health tech ideas will be selected to begin the five-month acceleration program called "Relevant Health." The program is part of a partnership with Montgomery County's Department of Economic Development and will begin in September.

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The story of MedImmune, the Maryland startup that British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca bought for $15.6 billion in 2007, is an example for entrepreneurs striving for their own blockbuster deals. But MedImmune leaders say they want to go beyond leading by example.

MedImmune taps federal institute for research partnership The company, now responsible for half of AstraZeneca's pipeline of drug candidates, has signed a flurry of partnerships with federal and nonprofit labs in recent months, including deals to share resources and researchers with the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard University. Through the partnerships, the company can tap the labs' brainpower and expensive equipment, and share its own resources.

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The Montgomery County Department of EconomicDevelopment (MCDED) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 Life Sciences Impact Grant Awards. The program, introduced in December of 2014, was created to provide financial assistance to life sciences employers to retain jobs and stimulate the organic growth of the life sciences industry in Montgomery County.

"The county is committed to supporting the innovation economy,” commented Sally Sternbach, Acting Director, Department of Economic Development. “The Life Sciences Impact Grant is just one example of the comprehensive portfolio of programs that make up the MC Squared initiative."

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Tao Yu, a graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, talks about his internship with Biohealth Innovation, through the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Biomedical Careers Initiative (BCI).

View the interview here.

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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.

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– 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.

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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.

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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. 

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


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(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.”

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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.

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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)

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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.


 

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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..

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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!

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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.