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The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced an agreement to feature Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)-funded early-stage biomedical companies in an Innovation Zone at the 2019 BIO International Convention. The Innovation Zone companies, focused on drug discovery, diagnostics and other therapeutic platform technologies, will have dedicated exhibit space and participate in BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™ system. Select companies will make 15-minute company presentations in the BIO Business Forum.

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Dr. Horea Rus is an expert in diagnosing and treating patients with multiple sclerosis, and his research laboratory at the University of Maryland is producing new tools for treating the disease that attacks the central nervous system.

On Tuesday, Rus and former postdoc research fellow Cosmin Tegla were issued U.S. Patent 10,280,465 for developing a biomarker, using Sirtuin 1, RGC-32, FasL, and IL-21 proteins, that indicates if a patient with relapsing-remitting MS is in relapse.

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Sirnaomics Inc. has taken in yet another $11 million in investments, closing a Series C funding round that totaled $47 million.

The Gaithersburg biopharmaceutical company kicked off the round last year with $25 million in Series C1 financing — one of the biggest venture deals of the year last year in a generous overall haul for Maryland biotech companies. That was followed by an $11 million raise as part of a Series C2 round in January.

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The US FDA approves an extended indication of GSK’s lupus treatment, Benlysta IV, for children five years and older, giving pediatric patients a new therapeutic option. Benlysta (belimumab) from Glaxo-Smith Kline was previously approved in 2011 by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the intravenous administration in adults with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) – the recent approval from the FDA extends the indication to children five years and above.

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For Paragon Bioservices, news came quickly earlier this month. On a Thursday in mid-April, Gov. Larry Hogan and other state and county officials joined biotech community supporters at an Anne Arundel County site near BWI Airport that’s increasing capacity for the company’s work with large firms to manufacture new treatments. Specifically, speakers talked about the company’s expertise in gene therapy, which is an area of medicine that involves introducing DNA to fight a genetic disease.

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United Therapeutics and Deka Research and Development have received FDA 510(k) clearance for the co-developed RemUnity system.

The RemUnity system is a subcutaneous delivery system for Remodulin injections. The two companies have co-developed the device that is indicated to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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Two years after Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures opened new office and lab space for its FastForward 1812 incubator on the Johns Hopkins Hospital campus, two companies have moved on to bigger space. LifeSprout, which had been in the incubator for about a year, moved last month to City Garage, where it will have manufacturing capabilities.

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BrainScope announced today the publication of a study conducted by physicians at Washington University Barnes Jewish Medical Center in St. Louis in the peer-reviewed journal The American Journal of Emergency Medicine entitled “Reduction in unnecessary CT scans head-injury in the emergency department using an FDA cleared device.” The study demonstrated that the FDA-cleared BrainScope One medical device reduced the use of unnecessary head CT scans by nearly one-third in a hospital emergency room setting when compared to the use of standard clinical practice.

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Project Onramp today announced they have placed more than 50 students in well-paid internships with top companies for summer 2019 through its first-in-the-nation Project Onramp program. The program will give the students – many of them the first in their families to attend college – hands-on experience and a valuable start towards a career in biotechnology.

“Project Onramp has created a new model for extending opportunities in the thriving biotech industry for high-achieving students who don’t have the personal or family connections that often play a big part in awarding internships,” said David Lucchino, chairman of MassBio and CEO and co-founder of Frequency Therapeutics. “The enthusiastic response from leading life sciences companies in Massachusetts has been overwhelming.”

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Are you an experienced biohealth industry executive seeking full time or part time employment as a consultant or start-up C suite executive? BioHealth Innovation is establishing a database of experienced industry executives who may be able to share their expertise with early stage/growing companies.  To be considered by companies or technology transfer organizations seeking leaders for their spin-out companies and/or advisors to support their business growth, please complete the following form.

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Recorded at the National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation Competition in College Park in front of a live audience!

Laurie Strongin is Founder and CEO of the Washington, DC-based Hope for Henry Foundation which is reinventing the pediatric patient experience in hospitals around the country. Laurie’s work with Hope for Henry and the memoir she published, “Saving Henry,” have placed her at the forefront of supporting the rights of patients and their families and the responsible use of new medical technologies. Laurie’s advocacy has led her to service on the nation’s preeminent science policy and bioethics panels. Her activism has produced op-eds in national newspapers; appearances on television and radio; collaborations with Congressional leadership; and recognition from the White House. An in-demand inspirational speaker, Laurie has been featured as a People magazine “Heroes Among Us” and was the subject of profiles in the USA Today and the Washington Post and on Good Morning America. Laurie serves on the board of directors of the National Marrow Donor Program/Be the Match; on the Advisory Committee to Disney’s “Team of Heroes,” and on the Advisory Committee of the Association of Child Life Professionals. Learn more athttps://hopeforhenry.org/.

Listen now on Google Play bit.ly/2CzdnA9, iTunes, apple.co/2Arsfze, TuneIn bit.ly/2M60Wmx.

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The University of Maryland has opened a 215,600-square-foot computer science facility on its College Park campus.

The university says the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering will support team-based, interdisciplinary research in virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, robotics, computer vision, algorithms, programming languages and systems.

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Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and GreyB Services released today their findings from The First Annual Kilpatrick Townsend & GreyB Services Patenting Trends Study (Study). The Study provides clear and actionable information that assists decision makers in envisioning the technological future of their respective industries and setting their companies’ strategies over the coming years and decades in an increasingly globalized economy. 

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The privacy and security of patient data continues to be increasingly important as access to this data increases and threats to this sensitive information continue to grow. At the same time, several new federal health information policies will make electronic health information about individuals more widely available to individuals and their caregivers and health care professionals. Lucia Savage, Former Chief Privacy Officer of HHS Office of the National Coordinator, will provide the opening keynote for the Privacy and Analytics (PANDAS) conference, focusing on innovation that equips privacy teams to effectively navigate the shift that occurs when organizations begin to more frequently utilize consumer tools to deliver healthcare.

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Car crashes, battle wounds, and surgeries can leave people with gaping holes in soft tissue that are often too large for their bodies to repair. Now, researchers have developed a nanofiber-reinforced injectable gel that can rebuild missing muscle and connective tissues by serving as a scaffold and recruiting the body’s wound-healing cells. So far, the team has tested the material only in rats and rabbits. But if it performs as well in humans, it could give reconstructive surgeons a fast and easy way to help patients regenerate lost tissues without scarring or deformity.

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The newly published document, “2018: Evidence and Opportunity: Impact of Life Sciences in North Carolina,” is a fascinating story of transformation for a state that once held the unfortunate reputation as the second-poorest in the nation.

It marks the 10th anniversary of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s contract with TEConomy Partners to track and evaluate the state’s life science landscape.

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The National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation (NCC-PDI) announced five winners of its "Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!" competition who will each receive $50,000 in grant funding and access to the consortium's first-of-its-kind "Pediatric Device Innovator Accelerator Program" led by MedTech Innovator. A panel of expert judges from business, healthcare, regulatory and legal sectors selected the winners based on the clinical significance and commercial feasibility of their medical devices for children. The competition focused solely on advancing care in pediatric orthopedics and spine, a sector that the FDA identified as an emerging underserved specialty which lacks innovation.

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The University of Vermont Health Network Ventures and legal firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati recently invested in BioFactura’s $6M Series B Financing Round.

“With the commitment from the UVM fund and WSGR, BioFactura is now securing value-added institutional investors who bring significant financial and business resources to bear as we advance our biopharmaceutical products to the clinic,” said Darryl Sampey, BioFactura’s President and CEO.

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In February 2019, the French immuno-oncology diagnostics company HalioDx opened its first laboratory in North America. The five-year-old company, a Qiagen spin-off, selected Richmond, VA, as the location of the lab, in part, because the state’s capital city is only a two-hour drive from the FDA’s headquarters in Maryland.

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On Tuesday, May 7, the Center for Biotechnology Education will hold its 14th annual research symposium. During the event at the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, biotechnology students and some high school students will participate in a poster session devoted to their research.

Following the poster session, Barry O’Keefe, a scientist at the National Cancer Institute, will give a keynote address about natural product-based drug discovery. O’Keefe is acting chief of the Molecular Targets Program at the Center for Cancer Research and chief of the Natural Products Branch, Developmental Therapeutics Program at the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis.

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Wed, May 8, 2019, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT

Inova Center for Personal Health, 8100 Innovation Park Drive, Conference Center, Fairfax, VA 22031

The Titanic represents to many of us the iconic tale of what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. The tragedy is embodied in that instant when The Ship struck The Iceberg, killing over 1,500 passengers and crew—and the hubris of thinking we can build something too big to fail. But while the iceberg may have represented the killing blow, what many do not realize is that the demise of the Titanic was in fact a result of a series of small decisions and missteps across a number of dimensions.

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Startups may spring from pure academics or from a healthy and heterogenous mixture of science, business experience, and inspired thinking. Rachel King, CEO of GlycoMimetics, and others brought experience to the company. Her cofounder, Dr. John Magnani, brought original science, and an expert team soon joined in response to the inspiration created by the company’s concept. The germ idea was to make a formerly “undruggable” set of disease targets druggable. Deep, careful studies of molecular structures were required, followed by rational drug design to achieve the goal of small molecule therapy mimicking natural carbohydrates critical to the “glycosylation” of cellular proteins.

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Precigen, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intrexon Corporation (NASDAQ: XON) and a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of innovative gene and cellular therapies to improve the lives of patients, today announced the official opening of its new manufacturing facility. Precigen commenced the build-out of the nearly 5,000 square foot manufacturing facility in 2018 to support gene therapy manufacturing. The good manufacturing practices (GMP) facility was designed with agility and control in mind, focusing on rapid manufacturing and the ability to scale production appropriately to meet early stage clinical trial needs.

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CoapTech LLC, a medical device company focused on delivering transformative solutions for minimally-invasive surgery, announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 10, 2019 granted the company 510(k) clearance for its PUMA-G System, which enables ultrasound-based placement of percutaneous gastrostomy feeding tubes.