Catalyst health solutions

Rockville-based Catalyst Health Solutions Inc.    (NASDAQ: CHSI) has agreed to be acquired by fellow pharmacy benefits manager SXC Health Solutions Corp. (NASDAQ: SXCI) in a transaction valued at approximately $4.4 billion.

Under the terms of the agreement, Catalyst shareholders will receive $28 in cash and 0.6606 shares of SXC stock for each Catalyst share. That implies a purchase price of $81.02 per Catalyst share--a 28 percent premium to the closing price of Catalyst stock on April 17.

human-genome-sciences

Biotech drug developer Human Genome Sciences Inc. has rejected an unsolicited $2.59 billion takeover offer from GlaxoSmithKline PLC, saying it undervalues the company.

But the Rockville, Md., company said Thursday that it has decided to explore its strategic options, which could include a potential sale of the company. It invited GlaxoSmithKline to participate in its exploratory process.

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Large doses of Vitamin C may moderately reduce blood pressure, Johns Hopkins researchers have found.

But the scientists don't recommend people start taking large amounts of the vitamin.

Researchers led by Dr. Edgar "Pete" R. Miller, an associate professor in the division of general interal medicine at Hopkins, reviewed and analyzed data from 29 previous  clinical trials and found that taking 500 milligrams of Vitamin C daily, or five times the recommended amount, could lower blood pressure by 3.84 millimeters.

Lilly

In addition to providing lifesaving medication, The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership has transferred technology so medicines can be produced locally, where they are needed, building local economic benefits and healthcare system capacity.

Because the Lilly drugs used to treat MDR-TB can be difficult to manufacture and require specialized equipment and facilities, Lilly identified capable manufacturers in high-burden countries—China, India, Russia, and South Africa—and offered them, free of charge, access to know-how and technical support so they could manufacture the needed drugs on their own. In addition, Lilly worked with companies in the United States and Greece to provide additional capacity and assure supply of these products to global markets. Lilly also provided funding where necessary to support the conversion or upgrading of local manufacturing facilities to meet international quality standards.

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Gov. Martin O’Malley celebrated passage of Innovate Maryland on Friday, touting the program as a critical piece in the funding pipeline that funnels discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace.

The goal of Innovate Maryland is to commercialize 40 discoveries every year through a partnership between the state and its research universities.

Maryland will kick in $5 million and Johns Hopkins University; Morgan State University; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County and University of Maryland, College Park have agreed to contribute up to $200,000 each to help researchers take their ideas to market.

Breakout Labs

While most of us are still reeling in shock after last week’s one billion Instagram buy, Peter Thiel — through both Founders Fund and the Thiel Foundation — is leading the charge into a future where humans don’t age or suffer from cancer, among other things. Call it crazy or whatever you’d like, but there’s no doubt that people who are trying to drastically change the world for the better often do.

If a hologram can give a concert, it’s not that far-fetched to imagine a future where humans don’t die. As part of its commitment to improving the quality of human life in general, Thiel’s latest project, Breakout Labs, is awarding $5 million to companies who push the envelope with regards to “revolutionary” scientific innovation.

NSI

Notable Solutions, Inc. (NSi), a leading developer of distributed content capture and workflow solutions, announced today that Chairman and CEO Mehdi Tehranchi has been named a finalist for Executive of the Year in the Tech Council of Maryland's Annual TCM Awards. This year marks the 24th year that the awards will be presented to individuals and organizations for their innovation, dedication and outstanding service to Maryland's technology community. Tehranchi is among three finalists for the Executive of the Year Award. Winners will be announced during the awards gala on April 26 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

Rockland Immunochemicals

Rockland Immunochemicals Inc., a biotechnology company focusing on antibodies and antibody-based tools for basic research, diagnostic assay development and preclinical studies is pleased to announce a new licensing venture with LIMR Development, Inc. (LDI), the business development subsidiary of the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR).

Rockland Immunochemicals will market LDI's entire portfolio of LIMR monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, which bind biomarkers crucial for cell signaling, immune system regulation, inflammatory responses, cellular metabolism, and cancer progression. Detailed product information can be found at http://rockland-inc.com/limr-collaboration.aspx . George Prendergast, PhD, President and CEO of LIMR, stated, "We are proud of the achievement of LDI to generate an agreement with Rockland to commercialize the high-quality research antibodies developed at LIMR."

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Dr. Perman with Wallace Loh

The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents recently approved an innovative and structured collaboration between the University of Maryland’s Baltimore and College Park campuses.

Called University of Maryland: MPowering the State, the plan is “the kind of 21st-century organizational model needed for today’s fast changing, fiscally challenging, and globally competitive environment,” says Patricia S. Florestano, PhD, Board of Regents vice chair. “We are pleased with the vision, creativity, and innovative thinking that led to the development of such a forward-looking plan.”

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Qiagen NV, a leading global provider of sample & assay technologies, has received the two US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearances for its real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) instrument Rotor-Gene Q MDx and a compatible test for the detection of Influenza A/B, the artus Infl A/B RG RT-PCR Kit, for in vitro diagnostic use (IVD).

“The FDA clearances for the Rotor-Gene Q MDx along with the first assay for use on this system represent an important milestone for Qiagen,” said Peer M Schatz, chief executive officer of Qiagen NV. “The various Rotor-Gene Q models marketed by Qiagen are not only an integral part of our revolutionary lab automation platform QIAsymphony RGQ, but are also among the most widely used stand-alone molecular detection platforms worldwide. Outside the US, our customers already have access to a broad portfolio of molecular diagnostic tests for use on these platforms. The FDA clearances now pave the way to make this market-leading assay portfolio available to clinical laboratories in the US as well.”

Open Innovation

By providing a platform for idea-sharing, Open Innovation Drug Discovery lowers the barrier for collaborations between investigators working inside and outside an organization. Free exchange of ideas between investigators across traditionally impregnable organizational walls contributes to the advancement of Science.

Through prior experience with the Phenotypic Drug Discovery program (PD2), Lilly has established a network with academic and biotech investigators outside our walls to provide them access to proprietary, disease-relevant phenotypic assays. Today, we expand this partnership with top global research talent by adding sophisticated in vitro target-based assays (TargetD2) through our Open Innovation Drug Discovery program.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University dedicated its new $1.1 billion hospital this month and Hopkins alum and major donor New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand for the ceremony.

"The 205-room Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center features 10 surgical suites, a 45-bed neonatal intensive care unit," the Wall Street Journal writes.

Bendis

Tech Transfer Speaker's Series FREE monthly program (2nd Wednesday of each month) offered through the Gateway to Innovation: Montgomery County Welcome Center for Federal and Academic Tech Transfer. For more information and additional calendar items, please visit www.techtransferconnection.com.

Engage with others in the tech transfer field by joining the Gateway to Innovation LinkedIn Group.  To register go to http://www.linkedin.com/groupRegistration?gid=3805575

Location: Shady Grove Innovation Center 9700 Great Seneca Highway Rockville, Maryland 20850

Time: May 9, 2012 3:30 - 5:00pm

Presenters: Richard A. Bendis, Interim CEO BioHealth Innovation, Inc. and Mark L. Rohrbaugh, Ph.D., J.D., Director National Institutes of Health, Office of Technology Transfer

Topic: What is a BioHealth Innovation Ecosystem and How is it Supposed to Work?

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The Tech Council of Maryland (TCM), Maryland's largest technology and life science association, announced the finalists for its 24th annual TCM Tech Awards. Winners will be announced during the awards gala on April 26 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

"The TCM Tech Awards celebration is one of the preeminent events in Maryland, where more than 900 leaders in the state's high tech and life sciences communities convene for networking, entertainment, and to honor the best-of-the-best in our industries," said Art Jacoby, TCM's CEO. "Maryland's Life Science and Technology companies are leading the way to a healthier world and a higher standard of living for all. We celebrate the collective success of our region and the special contributions of our finalists and award winners."

Mikulski

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, continued her Maryland biotechnology listening tour at a roundtable discussion with Frederick County pharmaceutical companies at MedImmune. Senator Mikulski has continued to meet with members of the Maryland medical industry as the Senate HELP Committee examines reauthorizing user fee legislation, which supports the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries that account for nearly 90,000 Maryland jobs and works to keep families safe and healthy.

"In Maryland, biotech means jobs, jobs, job," said Senator Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate HELP Committee and a member of the Drug Shortage Working Group. "I have heard from Maryland pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, doctors, nurses and patients about the need for safe and effective treatments that are both readily available and affordable. I'm proud to support research and innovation jobs in Maryland's biotech industry keeping our state competitive in the global economy. By working to develop safe and effective treatments, we can ensure that our nation's health care providers have the tools they need to keep families healthy."

Barbara Mikulski

Nearly 90,000 Maryland jobs come from the state's 400 biotechnology companies, so when a senior Democrat on the Senate committee looking into industry regulations asks for a meeting, local businesses are the first to the table.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., met with representatives from several Frederick County biotech companies Tuesday at MedImmune, a Frederick-based pharmaceutical firm. The discussion, the third stop on Mikulski's Maryland biotech listening tour, focused on the Prescription Drug User Fee Act and the Medical Device User Fee Act.

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This day-long event will explore the opportunities for accelerating technology transfer in those universities that have not traditionally focused on this activity. It will demonstrate how this has been successfully achieved at places like Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer rose from 98th to 26th in the AUTM rankings within 4 years. It has increased disclosures from less than 100 to more than 300 a year and start ups from less than 5 to more than 10 a year. Other institutions like The Ohio State University are doing similar things. These newly emerged academic centers in technology transfer are showing how even late-comers can make the quantum leap in technology transfer.

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In recent months, state and federal policy makers have launched a broad set of innovative programs aimed at accelerating technology transfer, the commercialization of government- and university-created intellectual property, or IP, through licenses and business startups. This fall, for example, the Obama administration directed federal agencies and labs to measure and expand their technology transfer efforts. At the state level, Gov. Martin O’Malley’s (D-MD) Maryland Innovation Initiative, announced in January, would provide seed funding and foster greater cross-university collaboration to help close the state’s gap between its research levels and commercialization results.

Some universities, too, are rethinking their policies. Penn State, for example, announced in December that the university is no longer required to own intellectual property created by industry-sponsored research. “In short we consider the net present value of the interactions and relationships that our faculty and students have with industrial professionals to be real and therefore greater than the apparent future value of the proceeds from such IP,” wrote Hank Foley, Penn State’s vice president for research, in announcing this news. “Our goal … is to flatten any and all barriers or impediments to innovation and that includes our own past stance on intellectual property.”

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Emerging Technology Center JHU Eastern, 1101 East 33rd Street, Baltimore, MD

Join Governor Martin O'Malley for a reception and press conference celebrating Innovate Maryland.

Inspiring collaboration, commercialization and job creation in public and private universities.

Please register to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The National Capitol Area Chapter of SoPE in concert with Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, MedChi, and Medical Society of Northern Virginia presents:

"Beyond the Stethoscope--How MD-MBAs Influence the Current Challenges in Healthcare"

Telling Our Stories: How physicians have taken the science of business and integrated it with their medical training to accelerate their faculty positions, redefine their careers, change their perspectives and leave a bigger footprint.

HIG

H.I.G. BioVentures, a Miami-based venture firm with ties to Maryland’s biotech cluster, has raised a fresh $268 million to invest in drug, medical device and diagnostics companies.

Managing Director Bruce Robertson, who lives in Maryland and is a familiar face in the I-270 life sciences community, said he’s “very optimistic” the firm will be able to deploy some of that capital in the D.C. region – something that hasn't happened with H.I.G’s last $150 million bio fund.

FLC

The President has issued an innovation challenge, and the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) can help you answer it! Join the FLC at its 2012 national meeting, Bridging Federal Technologies and Industry, in Pittsburgh, Pa., April 30-May 3, at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel.

The meeting offers technology transfer (T2) training, as well as informational sessions such as:

  • Partnering with federal laboratories
  • Leveraging social media • Available entrepreneur programs
  • Case studies
  • And much more!

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With President Barack Obama signing the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Bill into law today, the crowdfunding provision could mark a new era for startups and make it easier to raise money with more investment from new investors who fuel early and later-stage healthcare companies.

But some investors believe that with less-rigorous regulatory checks and balances on company finances, the risk of investors getting burned by fraud will lead to new dynamics in the investment landscape, like novice investors partnering with individuals and groups with more experience. Three individuals from the investment landscape share their thoughts.

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For scientists pursuing careers in biotech, clusters of life science-related companies and research institutions in the eastern United States may be a promising place to look for jobs. These so-called bioclusters have a 30-year history in the region and, in recent years, have seen an uptick in active support from academic institutions and state and local governments. We focus on three leaders in the region, the bioclusters in Massachusetts, Maryland/Washington, DC, and North Carolina. By Shawna Williams

Bioclusters have their roots in a pair of 1980 government decisions, explains Peter Abair, head of economic development and global affairs at the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, an industry group. One of these, the Bayh-Dole Act, for the first time allowed discoveries made with federal dollars to be licensed for commercial purposes. The other was a Supreme Court decision that DNA could be patented.

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Join us on April 25th at Stella Restaurant for another BioBuzz in Montgomery County!

This month's corporate sponsor, BioHealth Innovation, inc. (BHI) is an innovation intermediary that translates market-relevant research into commercial success by connecting management, funding and markets. BHI's vision is to transform the Central Maryland region into a leading global bio-health entrepreneurial and commercialization hub. BHI will identify and translate market relevant research into commercial success by connecting research assets to appropriate funding, management and markets.

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When the Human Genome Project got underway in 1990 it was expected to take 15 years to sequence the over 3 billion chemical base pairs that spell out our genetic code. In true Moore’s Law tradition the emergence of faster and more efficient sequencing technologies along the way led to the Project’s early completion in 2003. Today, 22 years after scientists first committed to the audacious goal of sequencing the genome, the next generation of sequencers are setting their sites much higher.

 

About a thousand times higher.

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In the world of drug development, honing an effective molecule is just the first step. As everyone in the drug delivery business knows, issues like solubility, permeability and targeting can be vexing challenges to getting treatment where it needs to go. But what if you could deliver drugs the same way the body dispatches white blood cells to fight infection, or the same way a virus proliferates throughout the body?

That's what researchers at U.S. universities are working on, aiming to develop synthetic cells that could target ailments and release drugs to treat them. As Popular Mechanics reports, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania are using plastics to build artificial white blood cells called leuko-polymersomes, which would be guided by synthetic molecules designed to mimic the natural receptors white blood cells use to find enflamed tissues and stick to them.

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Dr. Charles Hamner has been researching the nanotechnology industry since, as he puts it, “before they called it nanotechnology.”

But he says it’s not an industry – “It’s a community, because the technology is going to spread across all industries,” particularly into biotechnology.

 

Nanotech deals with small particles, at the molecular level, and is applied by companies to create technological innovation. An example is Liquidia, a biotech that uses the nanoparticles in its vaccines.

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Maryland has chosen a London firm to oversee the selection of venture capital firms interested in making investments in young state companies through the InvestMaryland program.

Altius Associates was tapped to ensure the process is open and transparent and not influenced by the state, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development said in a statement.

NCATS

Over the past decade, collaborative research efforts to support the discovery and development of medicines has increased dramatically. Last month, the National Institutes of Health and Eli Lilly and Company announced a new collaboration: they will generate a publicly available resource to profile the effects of thousands of approved and investigational medicines in a variety of advanced disease-relevant testing systems [1]. In-depth knowledge of the biological profiles of these medicines may enable researchers to better predict treatment outcomes, improve drug development, and lead to more specific and effective approaches.

MedImmune

Pharmaceutical giants AstraZeneca PLC and Amgen Inc. just announced a deal to co-develop and co-commercialize five product candidates, all monoclonal antibodies. No surprise here: LLC    – AZ’s Gaithersburg-based biologics arm that specializes in antibody-based products — will be taking on a good deal of the work.

The Maryland biotech took the lead on negotiating the transaction with Amgen and will lead the development of three of the five compounds, President Peter Greenleaf said in an interview Monday afternoon.

BioBeat

Back in the old days of biotech, the business was pretty straightforward. You’d craft your scientific idea, aim a new drug at patients in need, charm investors to give you some money, run bang-up clinical trials, win FDA approval. Do all that, and you’re good as gold. Charge insurers whatever the market will bear, and count the money.

That model worked for a long time, but there’s another hoop everyone needs to jump through now, and I’m not sure everyone in the industry has fully come to terms with it. No matter what happens with President Obama’s healthcare reform in the Supreme Court or Congress, there are forces now that limit what society will pay for new drugs. We don’t have actual price controls in the law, but the pressure to wring costs out of the $2.6 trillion U.S. healthcare system is intense and will only grow as the baby boomers get older. Drugmakers can’t duck and hide from this issue anymore.

Coffee

Companies like Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) aren’t healthcare companies, but one venture capitalist believes their example can guide personalized medicine.

Bob Kocher, a partner at venture capital firm Venrock, said that these consumer-focused companies have all taken steps toward personalizing their offerings. Personalization increases the value of those offerings and helps the companies make delivery of services and products more efficient.