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The year 2020 tested the biotech industry and the entire nation. Maryland’s life sciences community can be proud that it passed those tests with distinction. As COVID-19 spread across the globe, Maryland companies stepped up to help save millions of lives. Maryland-based leaders such as AstraZeneca; Becton, Dickinson and Company; GlaxoSmithKline; Emergent BioSolutions; Novavax; Pfizer; and Qiagen Sciences were among the Maryland companies involved in these efforts.

Image: https://www.fiercebiotech.com

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Leiden & Tokyo, June 7, 2021 - MIMETAS has been awarded the ‘Deshima Business Award” in the category ‘newly established’ by the NCCJ, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The award highlights companies with Dutch roots that lead the way in Japan – those companies that have demonstrated successful business development in Japan and have added value to society.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=llOFRNF_VeQ&feature=youtu.be

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The quantum-computing power of IonQ Inc. could eventually be put to work in some of SoftBank Group Corp.’s portfolio companies as part of a recently-announced strategic partnership with the tech investor.

SoftBank Investment Advisers, which runs its SoftBank Vision Funds 1 and 2, has taken a “large” equity stake in the College Park, Md.-based startup, though not a majority stake, said Peter Chapman, chief executive of IonQ, without giving specifics.

IonQ is SoftBank’s first investment in quantum computing, said Kirthiga Reddy, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.

Image: IonQ's trapped-ion chip, pictured above, will eventually be placed in a quantum-computing device about the size of an Xbox video-game console, expected to be completed by 2023. PHOTO: IONQ

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Gaithersburg, MD (June 8, 2021) – miRecule, Inc. (“miRecule”), an emerging biotech company focused on the development of cutting-edge RNA therapeutics, announced the hiring of Fu-An Kang, Ph.D. to serve as its Vice President of Research. Dr. Kang joins miRecule after serving for 6 years as the Senior Director of Chemistry at Abzena, a leading chemistry, biologics and antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) research organization.

Image: https://mirecule.com

Maryland is Open for Business Make Your Move

Maryland is offering a new program to match international prospects with local incubators throughout the state. The Maryland Soft Landing Program, announced by Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz at the 2021 SelectUSA Investment Summit, will promote existing “soft landing” programs in the state’s various business incubators, while growing Maryland’s hub of international companies.

 

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NEWARK, Del., June 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) is pleased to announce funding for 10 new projects in technology, workforce development, and their Global Health Fund initiative, resulting from the Institute's Project Call 4.1, and with a total value of approximately $4.6M.

The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (PRNewsfoto/National Institute for Innovati) "Since our inception five years ago, we have been able to fund many great projects that have resulted in significant advancements in the biopharma industry, and this year is no different. The eagerness and ambition this industry has to continuously improve is always encouraging, and I am looking forward to seeing how our newest projects will contribute to accelerating the industry's manufacturing process," states Kelvin H. Lee, Institute Director.

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The efforts to develop a Covid-19 vaccine accelerated the already strong demand for life sciences real estate in Maryland, and tenants now want lab space faster than developers can build it. 

The market's vacancy rate has fallen so low that life sciences companies often can't find space that meets their time-sensitive needs, experts say, leading them to look to other markets. 

Image: Courtesy of Matan Cos. A rendering of one of Matan Cos.' Progress Labs buildings on the I-270 corridor.

Carten Cordell

In 1976, an Atari engineer named Ron Wayne took a 10% ownership stake in a new technology startup created by a pair of fellow co-workers, meant to serve as the tiebreaker in the ambitious triumvirate.

The enterprise showed early potential, but Wayne became concerned that should the young venture flounder, he would be personally liable for the company’s debts as well. So, he cashed out his 10% stake for $2,300. 

 

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This episode is the first of a new podcast series, where we will visit with different leaders striving to grow economic development in their areas or regions of interest. We will be discussing new initiatives, new models, the interest and investment in Technology Parks, Incubators and Accelerators as well as other creative economic development platforms being implemented throughout the country within public and private initiatives.

 

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As states ease COVID restrictions, more and more people post their vaccine selfies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updates its mask guidance. It’s beginning to feel like the country is getting back to normal and, in many ways, we are. But the truth is that what we do now in this moment will determine whether we’ve learned the right lessons from the last year of a pandemic that’s cost the world more than 3 million lives.

 

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Are you a biohealth start-up in Maryland, DC or Virginia seeking feedback on your biohealth business idea, pitch deck, or commercialization plan? Schedule your feedback session with BHI EIRs on one of the following dates. Pre-registration is required; Sign up here tinyurl.com/EIRfeedback

For questions/more information, contact BHI.

 

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June 3, 2021 (Washington, D.C.)— The once-in-a-generation pandemic highlighted both the region’s continued lag in economic competitiveness and the absence of a cohesive and coordinated economic development strategy. The Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) initiative, launched by Connected DMV, has released the first regional cross-sector blueprint to advance economic opportunity and social equity in Greater Washington, the culmination of a year of work by the REDS Steering Committee.

Image: https://www.connecteddmv.org

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Startups can’t stay in the early stage forever. While a young company can benefit from the early momentum of pitch wins and resources found in a community, it eventually must figure out its business model, and ultimately scale.

Hearing leading local investors describe Baltimore’s startup community at a Baltimore Innovation Week 2021 panel discussion dubbed “Strengthening Baltimore as a Hub for Innovation,” this reporter was left with the impression that the ecosystem as a whole feels a bit like a startup.

Image: Photo by Flicker user Phil! Gold

JJI JLABS DC 2Line 300dpi RGB

In diverse cities like the District of Columbia, health inequities are driven by systemic racial and socioeconomic disparities.[1] Underserved communities, including neighborhoods where most residents are people of color or where income disparities exist, are unjustly burdened with disproportionate comorbidities, negative health outcomes and obstacles to accessing care. [2]

According to a recent Health Equity Report by the District of Columbia Department of Health, the District’s mortality rate caused by leading diseases such as chronic heart disease, cancer, and diabetes outranked the United States’ rate in 2015.[3] These rates were even higher in the District’s Black and Hispanic residents compared to its White residents.[2]

 

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In 2007, there were five times as many men as women in officer roles at Genentech, and female directors (the level preceding officers) were leaving at twice the rate as their male counterparts. To achieve equitable representation among men and women in leadership positions and stem the flow of departing talent, we rethought and revised our recruiting, professional development, and succession planning processes. Today, because of those efforts and a top-down commitment to change, men and women are nearly equally represented among our overall employee population and in officer and director roles.

 

Courtesy of Weller Development Co.
A previous rendering of Port Covington; developers now see a future in constructing a life sciences hub.

A Maryland mega-development, initially pitched as a home for Under Armour, may now become a biotech cluster, according to developers.

The $5.5B Port Covington development on Baltimore’s waterfront has had several iterations; home to the athletic clothing firm, a cybersecurity center and then a development on pause during the coronavirus pandemic. But in an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Steven Siegel, a partner with Weller Development Co., suggested life sciences may be part of the company’s focus going forward. 

Image: Courtesy of Weller Development Co. - A previous rendering of Port Covington; developers now see a future in constructing a life sciences hub.

Fairfax County Economic Development Authority CEO Victor Hoskins is leading Connected DMV's efforts to build regional cooperation.
JOANNE S. LAWTON

The entire D.C. region is poised to work together on economic development efforts to reverse its widening gap between the rich and the poor, according to a group of government, business and academic leaders — but the hard part will be actually making all of the region’s localities play nice together.

Connected DMV, an organization of public and private sector officials assembled as the Covid-19 crisis unfolded, is out with its first stab at crafting a “regional economic development strategy,” released first to the Washington Business Journal on Thursday. As helmed by Fairfax County economic development head Victor Hoskins, the report makes some familiar arguments about the need for regional collaboration and lays out some discrete areas where officials can actually work together.

Image: Fairfax County Economic Development Authority CEO Victor Hoskins is leading Connected DMV's efforts to build regional cooperation. JOANNE S. LAWTON

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today unveiled a new type of public-private partnership that enables investments using venture capital practices. Through the BARDA Ventures program, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, is launching a partnership with the nonprofit organization Global Health Investment Corporation (GHIC) to accelerate development and commercialization of technologies and medical products needed to respond to or prevent public health emergencies, such as pandemics, and other health security threats.

 

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As the first buildings at Port Covington begin to rise, the project’s developers have a vision for the mini-city sprouting on a South Baltimore peninsula as the nation’s next big biotech hub.

The waterfront neighborhood of apartments, offices, stores and parks now under construction could rival life sciences cores such as Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Mission Bay in San Francisco, members of the development team say.

 

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BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI), is a Montgomery County innovation intermediary that translates market-relevant research into commercial success by bringing together management, funding, and markets. BHI is seeking two experienced life science professionals with product development and investment experience to join the BHI team to serve as a part-time Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

These positions will report to and work closely with our lead at the NIH Small business Education and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) Office to support academic and small business innovators in their efforts to validate the potential health impacts of promising scientific discoveries and advance them into healthcare products that improve patient care and enhance health.

Click here to download the full job description.

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“5 Questions With…” is a weekly BioBuzz series where we reach out to interesting people in the BioHealth Capital Region to share a little about themselves, their work, and maybe something completely unrelated. This week we welcome Sue Carr, RPh, President and Founder, CarrTech, LLC.

Sue Carr RPh is President and Founder of CarrTech LLC, a medical device company. CarrTech has developed, patented, and prototyped an all-in-one package one needle filter device to increase safety and compliance while reducing time and waste. Sue has over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry in retail management and clinical hospital pharmacy, specializing in ICU, ER, Oncology, and NICU.

 

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GrowthCap is pleased to announce The Top 25 Healthcare Investors of 2021. In our inaugural year for these awards, we wanted to bring forth and recognize not only the most experienced and talented investors in healthcare but also those that help advance innovation across the sector. Over 750 investors were considered.  Whether in healthcare software, healthcare services, medical technologies, biotechnology, the connected patient experience, or other areas, the accomplished individuals who were ultimately selected have demonstrated a deep commitment to healthcare and as a result have succeeded both from a business standpoint as well as in having significant societal impact.

Image: https://growthcapadvisory.com

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As biopharma companies continue to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and position themselves for recovery, digital and analytics can be a powerful tool in manufacturing and operations. It can drive the next wave of business optimization by transforming operational performance, shortening time to market, improving quality and yield, reducing supply chain volatility, and accelerating technology transfers.

 

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There is no denying that the venture capital industry is red hot right now. When you open up websites like Forbes, Techcrunch, and Business Insider, it is almost impossible to miss all of the news about the biggest deals in Silicon Valley being made by these firms.

 

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Anew partnership led by University of Maryland researchers has entered a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) that could provide up to $68 million to drive advances in artificial intelligence and autonomy. 

An interdisciplinary research team from UMD and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) aims to create a new generation of technologies and devices—from wearables to unmanned aircraft—able to intelligently work alone or in teams with other devices, as well as safely and effectively collaborate with their human operators in different environments.

 

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Five finalists have been named in the prestigious annual “Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!” competition presented by the National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation (NCC-PDI). Representing innovations in electrophysiology devices that treat congenital heart disease (CHD) and arrhythmias in pediatric patients, these five finalists now have access to a pediatric accelerator program led by MedTech Innovator and will compete for a share of $150,000 in grant funding from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the final virtual pitch event in September 2021. The pediatric pitch event is part of the 9th Annual Symposium on Pediatric Device Innovation, co-located with the MedTech Conference, powered by AdvaMed.

 

Qaigen

HILDEN, Germany & GERMANTOWN, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE:QGEN; Frankfurt Prime Standard:QIA) today announced a global collaboration with Mirati Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:MRTX) to continue developing a tissue-based KRAS companion diagnostic to identify patients with cancers that have a KRASG12C mutation who may benefit from treatment with adagrasib, Mirati’s investigational, highly selective and potent oral small molecule inhibitor of KRASG12C.

 

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The bio economy is booming across the U.S., and not just in Boston or San Francisco. States are witnessing a resurgence of life science research and technology commercialization. There is a boom of advanced manufacturing as construction of wet lab space takes place in research parks and tech incubators creating new space to attract and grow bio tech companies. Innovative federal and state policies are aiding in the emergence of bio tech entrepreneurs.

  • Discover which states are taking the lead in leveraging bio technologies
  • Examine ways the nation can safeguard the bio economy
  • Explore new federal and state opportunities for growing this critical tech sector

Town in Korea

As one of the most important global bio-health conventions, BIO KOREA 2021 International Convention has garnered great attention from home and abroad. To facilitate the discussion on the future bio-health industry in the ‘COVID-19 era’, the BIO KOREA 2021 to be held on June 9 to 21 will evolve around the theme of “New Normal: Breaking Barriers with Bio Innovation”.

 

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LEIDEN, the Netherlands, May 27, 2021 / B3C newswire / -- MIMETAS, the global leader in human-relevant organ-on-a-chip models, has just opened their Phenotypic Screening Center. The center facilitates large-scale screening campaigns on Organ-on-a-Chip models, a powerful technology that improves the human physiological relevance of cultured tissues by utilizing microfluidic techniques. In contrast to other Organ-on-a-Chip platforms, the MIMETAS OrganoPlate® technology offers the scalability and the throughput needed for drug discovery studies.

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A study led by researchers from the Institute Cajal of Spanish Research Council (CSIC) in Madrid, Spain in collaboration with the Bioengineering Department of George Mason University in Virginia, U.S. has updated one of the world's largest databases on neuronal types, Hippocampome.org.

The study, which is published in the journal PLOS Biology, represents the most comprehensive mapping performed to date between neural activity recoded in vivo and identified neuron types. This major breakthrough may enable biologically meaningful computer modeling of the full neuronal circuit of the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in memory function.

Image: https://medicalxpress.com

Laurie and Rich

Dr. Laurie E. Locascio, Vice President for Research at both the University of Maryland College Park and Baltimore, Visits BioTalk to Discuss Her Career, Tech Transfer, and the Two Institutions Working Together

Listen now on Apple https://apple.co/3oZKsNP, Google https://bit.ly/3vpYr1T, Spotify https://spoti.fi/2QZm3vd, and TuneIn https://bit.ly/2RQqs40.

Laurie E. Locascio, Ph.D., is the Vice President for Research at the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

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Montgomery County (MOCO), Maryland, sits at the epicenter of biopharma growth, investment, and innovation that makes the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) one of the top bio clusters in the world. The past 15 or so months has seen the region’s biohealth momentum accelerate significantly, spurred on by the race to develop a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, expansion in the cell and gene therapy sector, as well as increased activity around advanced biomanufacturing, among other positive indicators. 

Image: https://biobuzz.io