Program to ‘fast-track’ emerging companies reflects how innovation and entrepreneurship are growing as VCU sets funding records.

After years of supporting startups that license inventions created by university researchers, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation has launched its first formal Startup Accelerator program.

“Our accelerator will fast-track our VCU-borne companies, giving them more personalized coaching and advisory services from our lineup of entrepreneur experts-in-residence,” said P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D., vice president for research and innovation. “Innovation is taking place at a rapid pace at VCU, and this program will further raise our national visibility and continue to position Central Virginia as a key American technological hub.”

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New facility expected to support expanded cGMP manufacturing of clinical and commercial supply of Company’s pipeline of mRNA cell therapies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases

GAITHERSBURG, Md., March 05, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cartesian Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: RNAC), a clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering mRNA cell therapy for autoimmune diseases, today announced its plans to transition its corporate headquarters to Frederick, Maryland. The approximately 20,000 square foot state-of-the-art current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) compliant facility has clinical and commercial manufacturing scale capabilities designed to support the Company's maturing pipeline of innovative mRNA cell therapies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.


By Vic Suarez - The COVID-19 global pandemic has underscored the critical need for resilient and secure supply chains, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry. As the United States grapples with near-all-time high drug shortages1 and the vulnerability of its supply chain, it has become a national security imperative to address the overreliance on imports for active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) to the United States. Today, China is the sole source for about 20% of the API of our most vital medicines.2 More dangerously, China’s overwhelming global dominance of the key starting materials (KSM) required to produce these essential medicines cannot be readily substituted due to the current levels of market concentration: approximately 45% of KSM, a vital subcategory of API, are solely sourced from China, according to the API Innovation Center.3 To be sure, this level of import dependence on any single nation poses a serious risk to the nation’s general preparedness and resilience, and could become devastating in a crisis.


Maryland thought leaders support the diversification of Maryland’s workforce

COLUMBIA, Md. (March 5, 2024) – TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, recently announced the newly appointed Equitech Growth Commission, that manages the Cultivate Maryland initiative.

The Cultivate Maryland initiative was established by the Maryland General Assembly as the Equitech Growth Fund and Commission during the 2023 legislative session to increase Maryland’s competitiveness as an innovation economy. This decision was made in response to a recent study that outlined the need for promoting more diversity and inclusion in Maryland’s technology ecosystem.

As established, the Cultivate Maryland initiative is managed by a 24-member commission – the Equitech Growth Commission. Of these individuals, 10 are appointed by the Governor, three are appointed by the Speaker of the House, three are appointed by the President of the Senate.

“Maryland needs more strategies to support the growth and development of our economy,” said Governor Wes Moore. “The Equitech Growth Commission is one of the many new strategies in place to bring Maryland to the forefront of the competition, and we are excited to see the positive change they bring.”


Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) is set to launch its first BioBoost series on March 20, 2024, in Rockville, MD. This pioneering event, titled "The Future of Bio/Life Science Funding in 2024," promises to be a cornerstone for professionals in the bio/life science sector. Attendees will have the unique opportunity to delve into the latest investment trends, overcome industry challenges, and discover new funding opportunities through insightful discussions led by esteemed industry experts.

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In honor of Women’s History Month, which kicks off today, we wanted to highlight 10 incredible women making a mark in the life sciences in the BioHealth Capital Region. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Arti Santhanam, Executive Director, Emerging Technology Centers (ETC)
Dr. Arti Santhanam was recently appointed Executive Director of Emerging Technology Centers (ETC). While new to the role, Dr. Santhanam is a long-time player in the BioHealth Capital Region.

Dr. Santhanam’s contributions over the last decade at TEDCO, especially within her role in the Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII), have been instrumental in fostering Maryland’s diverse and innovative ecosystem. Established in 2012, MII has invested $52.3M, resulting in 176 startups from notable universities like Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland, and Morgan.


Maryland company continues toward goal of supporting improved patient safety

COLUMBIA, Md. (February 29, 2024) – TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, announced a recent $400,000 investment into Linshom Medical, Inc., a medical device company developing an innovative wearable sensor technology to support patient respiratory monitoring. This recent investment came in two parts – $250,000 from the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funding and $150,000 from the Venture Funds – and was done in conjunction with Abell Foundation.

TEDCO’s SSBCI funds were provided after the State of Maryland chose TEDCO to be one of the various stewards of this essential funding, allowing for more investments in target communities and areas with small, micro and Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individual (SEDI) businesses. Click here to learn more.

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BETHESDA, Md., Feb. 27, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Gain Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: GANX) (“Gain”, or the “Company”), a clinical-stage biotechnology company leading the discovery and development of the next generation of allosteric small molecule therapies, announces the initiation of the Multiple Ascending Dose (MAD) part of the Phase 1 clinical trial of GT-02287, Gain’s lead drug candidate for the treatment of GBA1 Parkinson’s disease.

Based on the safety and tolerability profile observed in the Single Ascending Dose (SAD) cohorts of the study, the Bellberry Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) in Australia approved the start of the MAD part of the study in parallel with the completion of the last SAD cohorts. Following the HREC approval, administration of GT-02287 in the MAD part of the study has been initiated.


MANASSAS, Va. & TEL AVIV, Israel--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ATCC, the world’s premier biological materials management and standards organization, and Tissue Dynamics, a disruptive pharma-tech company integrating advanced artificial intelligence tools with bionic human organoids, today announced a partnership to develop workflow friendly cardiac organoids-based kits for improved cardiac safety testing in drug development. The collaboration will be done under the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD) framework, which awarded both companies a two-year grant. The BIRD Foundation, established in 1977, bolsters transformative partnerships that stimulate, promote, and support industrial research and development in a wide range of technology sectors.


When the Biden Administration unleashed its proposed march-in guidelines last December, it claimed they would be a powerful tool for lowering drug prices by allowing the government to “march in” to license copiers under the authorities of the Bayh-Dole Act.

It did so despite previously joining every other Administration denying price control petitions as not authorized under the law. It should have known the proposal would have minimal impact on drug prices—but would have a devastating impact on American innovation. That’s because the guidelines apply to all federal R&D agencies—not just the National Institutes of Health — so they cover inventions across the spectrum, not just the life sciences.

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Join us for an engaging episode of BioTalk as we sit down with Lance Kawaguchi, Chief Executive Officer of the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. Lance's career trajectory from global finance to non-profit leadership is as inspiring as it is impactful, driven by a personal mission to combat brain cancer following the loss of his mother.

Listen now via your favorite podcast platforms:
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In this episode, we explore Lance's journey from senior investment banker to non-profit leader, propelled by personal loss and a vision for change. We delve into the SouthPoleTrek4Cancer initiative, spearheading a global effort to raise awareness and funds for brain and rare cancer charities, culminating in a historic journey to the South Pole. We recognize Lance's leadership achievements, including ringing the Nasdaq bell twice as a cancer charity CEO, and his success in bringing the GBM AGILE Clinical Trial Platform from the US to Australia, accelerating breakthrough research efforts.

Click here to read the transcript.

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Attention life sciences companies seeking lab space in Baltimore: Starting June 1st, a fully built-out lab/office space will be available at the Science & Technology Park at Johns Hopkins, located at 1812 Ashland Avenue. This 170,000 square foot facility is designed to accommodate companies at any stage, from startups to established firms.

The building hosts the Johns Hopkins "Fast Forward" innovation hub, promoting the advancement and commercialization of innovations. Situated within a community focused on research and development, it offers an unparalleled opportunity for companies to grow and collaborate in a leading-edge environment.

Don't miss this chance to locate your company in a premier life sciences hub. Contact Matthew L. Seward with Cushman & Wakefield for more details.

Click here to learn more.


Beyond the Breakthrough 112 Tatiana Litvin Vechnyak

Being a university in Washington DC poses interesting challenges, but Georgetown University's Tatiana Litvin-Vechnyak is determined to turn them into opportunities.

Weirdly, being located at the heart of the US capital doesn’t always help Georgetown University when it comes to creating spinout companies. State universities often have economic development mandates that they can follow, but in Washington DC Georgetown is in something of a vacuum — with little direction for what to focus on, less set funding and fewer people pushing to advance the technologies coming out of the institution.


AstraZeneca today announced the successful completion of the acquisition of Gracell Biotechnologies Inc. (Gracell, NASDAQ: GRCL), a global clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative cell therapies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases, furthering AstraZeneca’s cell therapy ambition.

The acquisition enriches AstraZeneca’s growing pipeline of cell therapies with GC012F, a novel, clinical-stage FasTCAR-enabled BCMA and CD19 dual-targeting autologous chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy. GC012F is a potential new treatment for multiple myeloma, as well as other haematologic malignancies and autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

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COLUMBIA, Md. (February 21, 2024) – TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, announced the findings of an independent economic impact study detailing the contributions of TEDCO’s six core programs to the state of Maryland. 

Conducted by the University of Baltimore’s Jacob France Institute, the study found that TEDCO continues to be a significant economic driving force in Maryland creating nearly $2.7 billion in statewide economic activity as of 2023.  TEDCO has invested in or supported the growth of a portfolio of 442 of Maryland’s leading technology companies, more than doubling the number of companies identified in the first TEDCO impact study in 2008.


First Lady Jill Biden announces funding as first major deliverable from new White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research 

As the first major deliverable of the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), today announced the ARPA-H Sprint for Women’s Health, which commits $100 million towards transformative research and development in women’s health. ARPA-H, which was created in 2022 as part of President Biden’s bipartisan Unity Agenda, seeks to advance and accelerate health solutions. 


GAITHERSBURG, Md., Feb. 21, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Emergent BioSolutions Inc. (NYSE: EBS), a global company providing solutions that address public health threats and delivering life-extending products to market, today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Joseph C. Papa as president and CEO, effective February 21, 2024. Mr. Papa succeeds Haywood Miller, who will step down from his role as interim CEO, effective February 21, 2024.

"Following a thorough search process, we are pleased to appoint Joe Papa as president and CEO of Emergent,” said Zsolt Harsanyi, Ph.D., chairman of the Board of Directors. “He is a recognized industry leader with unparalleled experience in all facets of the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. Joe has a solid track record of driving growth and successfully navigating companies through periods of transformation. His leadership will be instrumental in strengthening Emergent’s balance sheet and returning to growth, as we continue to deliver on our mission to protect and enhance life. On behalf of the Board, I would also like to thank Haywood Miller for his leadership and contributions during this interim period.”


Washington DC: The heart of the BioHealth Capital Region

The BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) encompasses Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C., and more than 1,800 life science and companies are established there. BHCR is among the top-performing biotech clusters in the U.S., with first-class educational facilities, innovative companies, and over 70 federal labs. While the area of Washington D.C. is smaller than Virginia and Maryland where companies are spread across, Washington is still a destination of choice with innovative biotech companies and events

The BHCR was ranked third biopharma cluster in the U.S. by Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News behind the San Francisco Bay Area and the Boston/Cambridge area. The criteria to measure the performance of these hubs were the National Institutes of Health funding, venture capital funding, the number of biotechnology patents, the total lab space, and the number of jobs. This region, with Washington D.C. at its heart, is one of the most dynamic in the biotech industry.


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By Sara Gilgore – Staff Reporter, Washington Business Journal - 

It was her mother’s 86th birthday when Michelle Riley-Brown received a call that would change the trajectory of her career.

Holding the phone to her ear in her Houston home on March 3, 2023, the veteran health executive learned she was not only the first woman — but the first African American woman — to be named president and CEO of Children’s National Hospital in D.C.

The New Orleans native and youngest of five siblings — four of whom went into health care — immediately thought of her late father, a general surgeon who dedicated his life to medicine.

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GSK plc (LSE/NYSE: GSK) today announced that it has completed the acquisition of Aiolos Bio (Aiolos), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on addressing the unmet treatment needs of patients with respiratory and inflammatory conditions.

As previously announced,1 the acquisition of Aiolos includes AIO-001, a potentially best-in-class, long-acting anti-thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) monoclonal antibody ready to enter phase II clinical development for the treatment of adult patients with asthma. AIO-001 could expand GSK’s respiratory biologics portfolio to potentially reach the 40% of severe asthma patients with low T2 inflammation (a type of overactive immune response associated with asthma).2 AIO-001 has the potential to be administered every six months due to its high potency and long half-life, which could redefine the standard-of-care.


The National Institutes of Health is investing $515 million more into long COVID research efforts, three years after launching the initiative with $1.15 billion.

The cash infusion for the Recover program, announced Tuesday, will bolster ongoing research into the underlying biology and potential treatments for long COVID. NIH Director Monica Bertagnolli, M.D., said in a release that nearly 90,000 people were participating in ongoing Recover observational trials across more than 300 sites. 

“The amount of data being produced is unparalleled compared to any program in the world,” Bertagnolli said.


FREDERICK, Md.Feb. 13, 2024 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Waisman Biomanufacturing, a leading contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) which is strategically part of the University of Wisconsin Madison, announced today a strategic partnership with RoosterBio, Inc., a leading provider of human mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs), highly engineered media solutions, and bioprocess development services.

Through this collaboration, Waisman Biomanufacturing will incorporate RoosterBio's cutting-edge MSC and exosome bioprocessing products, manufacturing protocols, and analytical services into its portfolio of biologics manufacturing services, expanding Waisman Biomanufacturing's capabilities for the production of advanced therapies for clinical trials.


BioHealth Innovation (BHI) is an innovation intermediary that facilitates the commercialization of emerging technologies in the BioHealth Capital Region (Maryland, DC and Virginia). We are seeking an entry-level Life Sciences Business Strategist to join our team remotely.


Contention over the Bayh-Dole march-in rights provision is in the news again. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) proposes using the process as a “back door” for drug price controls. In comments on NIST’s Draft Interagency Guidance Framework for Considering the Exercise of March-In Rights, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) states that the clause cannot be used for price controls.


In January, a team of multidisciplinary doctors performed the first case in the world of using bilateral high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) pallidotomy on Jesus, a 22-year-old patient with dyskinetic cerebral palsy.

The procedure is part of a clinical trial led by Chima Oluigbo, M.D., pediatric neurosurgeon at Children’s National Hospital.

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VIENNA, Va.--()--CEL-SCI Corporation (“CEL-SCI” or the “Company”) (NYSE American: CVM), a Phase 3 cancer immunotherapy company, today announced the pricing of an offering of 3,875,000 shares of its common stock at an offering price of $2.00 per share, for gross proceeds of $7.75 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and offering expenses. All of the shares of common stock are being offered by the Company. The offering is expected to close on February 13, 2024, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

The Company intends to use the net proceeds from this offering to fund the continued development of Multikine*, for general corporate purposes, and working capital.

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WASHINGTON – Today, the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) released its “Competitiveness Through Entrepreneurship: A Strategy for U.S. Innovation” (PDF) report that includes 10 recommendations for how the U.S. Department of Commerce, the federal government, and the private sector can foster an entrepreneurship ecosystem that ensures the United States leads in critical technology innovation.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo charged NACIE – a 32-member council comprised of leading entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, academics, and economic development leaders – with developing the report and recommendations with the aim of ensuring America’s continued global leadership in developing, commercializing, and scaling advanced technologies.

“America is the most competitive it’s ever been because we are home to the greatest innovators. But to maintain that position of power in the world, we need to keep making smart investments that will keep us ahead of the curve. That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration is laser-focused on building, strengthening, and investing in American technological innovation at every level of the economy and in every community,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “NACIE’s report and recommendations provide a roadmap to help ensure America remains a global leader by expanding research and development, increasing access to capital, and fueling inclusive business growth across the country.”


ROCKVILLE, Md.Feb. 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ --  I-Mab (the "Company") (NASDAQ: IMAB), a global biotech company exclusively focused on bringing highly differentiated immunotherapies and biologics for cancer treatment to patients around the world, today announced that as part of its strategy to become a U.S.-based biotech, its Chinese subsidiaries have entered into definitive agreements with I-Mab Biopharma (Hangzhou) Co., Ltd. (the "Hangzhou Company"), an unconsolidated affiliate of the Company, and a group of China-based investors to divest the Company's assets and business operations in China.

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BioHealth Innovation (BHI) deeply mourns the loss of Dr. William G. Hearl, a former BHI Board member and a prominent contributor to the BioHealth Capital Region. Rich Bendis, BHI's President and CEO, shared, "Bill's unwavering commitment and leadership in our region have been instrumental to its growth. His dedication to fostering innovation and supporting emerging entrepreneurs and the biotech community was truly remarkable. We have lost not just a great leader but a friend who inspired many." Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and colleagues at Immunomic Therapeutics. To read more about Dr. Hearl's legacy, visit


Germantown, MD, USA (February 07, 2024) – Amarex Clinical Research, LLC, an NSF company, announces December 2023 marked its 25th year advancing patient access to safe and effective clinical products through delivery of outstanding regulatory and clinical trial services to Sponsors within the life sciences industry.

Amarex was founded in 1998 by scientists from diverse backgrounds in academia, industry, and the FDA. Born from a vision of wanting better services from CRO vendors by correcting the many inefficiencies and deficiencies in the management and conduct of clinical trials, our founders revisited the clinical trial process and developed improved, cost-effective methods for clinical product development without sacrificing quality. Amarex’s unmatched value to Sponsors continues to differentiate Amarex from the competition by assigning senior level staff to every project, optimizing time and cost with efficient and effective processes and procedures, building true collaborative partnerships with Sponsors, and through a commitment to long-term client relationships in order to achieve successful clinical development program outcomes.


Join Children’s National Hospital for a pivotal symposium on the journey of AGAMREE® from academic research to market approval for DMD treatment in children. This event highlights the critical role of academic entrepreneurship and collaboration with industry in advancing treatments for rare diseases. Featuring insights from experts on the Vamorolone drug development program, regulatory pathways, and the venture philanthropy business model, this symposium is for those committed to making a difference in the biotech and healthcare sectors. Don't miss this opportunity to engage, learn, and network with leaders in the field.

Meredith 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?

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By Sara Gilgore – Staff Reporter, Washington Business Journal - AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE: AZN) is leaving no doubt about its commitment to Montgomery County, pouring $300 million into a new U.S. manufacturing hub it’s establishing in Rockville just a couple months after taking over another building nearby.

The British pharmaceutical giant said Tuesday the facility at 9950 Medical Center Drive will start out as a space to make T-cell therapies for clinical trials in cancer, and could support other disease areas and commercial work going forward. The company also said it expects to create more than 150 new jobs at the site.


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GAITHERSBURG, Md., Feb. 06, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NexImmune, Inc. a biotechnology company developing a novel approach to immunotherapy designed to orchestrate a targeted immune response by directing the function of antigen-specific T cells in oncology, autoimmune and infectious diseases, today announced the closing of its previously announced registered direct offering of 304,731 shares of its common stock (or common stock equivalents in lieu thereof) at a purchase price of $12.05 per share (or per common stock equivalent in lieu thereof) in a registered direct offering priced at-the-market under Nasdaq rules. In a concurrent private placement, the Company also issued unregistered warrants to purchase up to an aggregate of 304,731 shares of its common stock at an exercise price of $12.05 per share. The warrants are exercisable immediately and have a term of two years from the date of issuance.

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Biosim AI, founded by a professor at the University of Maryland in College Park, has closed on $12.25 million in its bid to commercialize technology to “enable and accelerate drug discovery at quantum accuracy.” So far, the company has raised $13 million, with investors including Armenia’s SmartGate VC, according to Crunchbase.

Armenian-born Garegin Papoian, Monroe Martin Professor at UMD’s Chemistry & Biochemistry and Institute for Physical Science and Technology, founded Biosim AI in 2020, raising a small pre-seed investment from his home country firm, SmartGate VC.