In an interview with PharmaShots, Dr. Murat Kalayoglu, MD, Ph.D., President, and Chief Executive Officer at Cartesian Therapeutics shared his insights on the P-I/IIa study of Descartes-08 for the treatment of the chronic autoimmune disorder generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG)


  • Descartes-08 is an autologous T-cell product that is engineered with RNA to encode for CAR 
  • The company focuses to use RNA instead of DNA to engineer the cell target that helps to target antigen without increasing the risk of these cells proliferating out of control and causing the typical CAR-T cell toxicities 
  • Cartesian has currently three RNA cell therapies i.e., Descartes-08 & Descartes-11 which are being developed for multiple myeloma, high-risk patients, newly diagnosed multiple myeloma while Descartes-30 is an off-the-shelf, RNA engineered cell therapy. The company is expected to complete the P-II studies in 2022 and registration studies in 2024


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A Baltimore startup that uses computer software to develop cancer drugs has raised $1.5 million in new funding, according to a recent filing.


Rasio Therapeutics is part of Early Charm Ventures, a Baltimore company focused on running and growing startups. The $1.5 million investment comes from BlueDot Bio, a relatively new investment company, said Ken Malone, managing director of Early Charm Ventures.


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Peterborough, 30 November 2021

  • Gut health could be boosted without reliance on antibiotics and other medicines
  • Bacteriophages are natural and abundant
  • Exploration aligns with AB Agri's sustainability agenda for food production

AB Agri has partnered with US biotechnology company Intralytix to explore the use of bacteriophages – the natural viruses of bacteria – in animal feed as an alternative to antibiotics and other drugs.


GAITHERSBURG, Md. (7News) — The Omicron variant is quickly becoming a household name but the hope is that it won’t enter households here in the D.C. area.

After what happened a few months ago with the Delta variant many are growing more concerned with this variant especially because on the surface preliminarily it appears to be more stubborn.

Most scientists believe it’s not a question of if but when it will become an issue here in the United States, so a handful of companies are already working on vaccines to combat it.

In Gaithersburg, Maryland, Novavax says it has already started working on a version of its COVID-19 vaccine to target this new variant detected in South Africa.

Click here to read more via 7News

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Venture capital investment in global healthtech companies is projected to reach $42 billion by the end of the year, according to Silicon Valley Bank's latest report, "The Future of HealthTech."

The first three quarters of 2021 closed with what SVB called an astounding $34 billion invested globally across 1,040 deals.

U.S.-based virtual and hybrid care companies raised north of $9.6 billion in 2021, and the report projected $3 billion in funding for U.S. mental health companies this year. The majority of funding (60%) came from 98 mega rounds, led by the largest mega-round in healthtech history: Devoted Health's $1.2 billion Series D funding.


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As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 5 million lives, a group of researchers is working to get ahead of the next killer pathogen.

They aim to identify and establish a bank of warrior antibodies in Maryland, close to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. The antibodies would be derived from a who’s who of viruses most likely to wreak havoc, such as coronaviruses, influenzas, and flaviviruses that cause Zika and debilitating conditions such as encephalitis.

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Creative Bio-Peptides, Inc., an emerging drug development company focused on the development of leading-edge multi-chemokine antagonist therapeutic peptides for neuroinflammatory/neurodegenerative conditions, has been awarded $5.8M in non-dilutive funding from three NIH agencies.

“BHI congratulates Creative Bio-Peptides on this significant accomplishment and recognition by the National Institutes of Health,” said Rich Bendis, President & CEO, BioHealth Innovation. “We are proud of our partnership with Creative Bio-Peptides and how both teams worked together in successfully submitting multiple proposals which were funded in this extremely competitive SBIR process.”

Two of the three grants each represent multi-million-dollar funding over a 2-year period as part of the NIH’s HEAL Initiative, committed to providing safe non-opioid pain treatments for the 50 million Americans living with daily chronic pain as well as the 2 million Americans living with dependency or addiction to opioids.

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PASADENA, Calif., Nov. 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Alexandria Venture Investments, the strategic venture capital platform of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE: ARE), an urban office REIT and the first, longest-tenured and pioneering owner, operator and developer uniquely focused on collaborative life science, agtech and technology campuses in AAA innovation cluster locations, has accelerated its efforts to support the agrifoodtech sector by investing in innovative companies that are developing groundbreaking technologies to meaningfully improve human health and nutrition, as well as those companies that are combating climate change through sustainable agriculture technologies and practices. Recognized by AgFunder as one of the top five most active U.S.-based investors in the agrifoodtech sector in 2021, Alexandria Venture Investments is on track to double its investment activity this year, a move supported broadly by the increase in private capital that has flowed into the sector from climate change-focused funds. Venture investing in the overall agrifoodtech sector has grown dramatically in recent years, from $8.9 billion in 2016 to $24 billion in the first half of 2021 alone, amounting to a more than fourfold increase in funding over the last five years. 


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ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Emmes today announced that it conducted the data and statistical analysis for the third iteration of the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT-3), using its proprietary Advantage eClinical system.  The ACTT-3 trial assessed the efficacy and safety of interferon beta-1a plus remdesivir compared to remdesivir alone in hospitalized adults with COVID-19.

Preliminary data from prior small studies had suggested a potential benefit of interferon beta-1a, a natural antiviral component of the immune system, for COVID-19 patients.  The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, sponsored a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial that included 969 participants at 63 hospitals in five countries, including the U.S. to evaluate the combination of interferon beta-1a and remdesivir.


Montgomery County failed in its bid lure Amazon, the e-commerce giant that opted to build its second headquarters in Arlington, Va.

But top county officials have an alternate vision for the area surrounding the White Flint Metro station — a “life sciences hub” that exploits the presence of the close-by National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration.

“My goal is to produce a signature project that restates Montgomery County’s case as the leading life sciences center in the country,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc B. Elrich (D) in an interview. “(White Flint) is sitting on the Metro. It’s right down from the Beltway, and there’s a ton of under-developed property there.”

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Acquisition strengthens Parkinson’s disease portfolio and diversifies revenue and cash flow

ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 24, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUPN) today announced that it has successfully completed its previously announced acquisition of Adamas Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADMS).

“Adamas fits squarely within our corporate development strategy, adding a late-stage commercial product with significant revenue,” said Jack Khattar, President and CEO of Supernus Pharmaceuticals. “In addition, the acquisition adds a new growth catalyst, diversifies our revenue base and cash flow, and is expected to be significantly accretive in 2022.”

Compelling Strategic Rationale

  • Strengthens Parkinson’s disease portfolio with GOCOVRI® (amantadine) extended release capsules, the first and only FDA-approved medicine indicated for the treatment of both OFF and dyskinesia in patients with Parkinson’s disease receiving levodopa-based therapy and Osmolex ER® (amantadine) extended release tablets, approved for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and drug-induced extrapyramidal reactions in adult patients.
  • Diversifies and increases revenue base and cash flow, and combined with the acquisition of US WorldMeds CNS products in 2020, significantly reduces the reliance on net sales of Trokendi XR®.
  • Potential synergies of $60 million to $80 million in year one due to strong overlap with existing infrastructure.
  • The acquisition is expected to be significantly accretive in 2022.


November 26, 2021

QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE: QGEN; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today announced its polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests remain accurate and effective in detecting SARS-CoV-2 infections in light of the emergence of a new variant of concern detected in South Africa.

QIAGEN has successfully assessed its SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests against the genetic mutations of the variant, which is known by its scientific name, B.1.1.529. The assessment was made against data available in the GISAID and GenBank public databases.

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Study uses data to reveal the cities with the most developed healthtech ecosystems in the world, and identify the cities that are leading the technological advancement of different healthcare sectors, including telemedicine and mental health.

  • Out of the 85 best cities for healthtech in the world, Boston ranks #1.
  • Boston is the highest ranking city in the index and the global capital of biometric data gathering, hearing aids, cardiovascular and gynaecology. New York and San Francisco rank second and third.
  • Taipei leads the index for R&D funding levels in healthtech, followed by Beijing and Boston.
  • Boston has the highest number of healthtech startups, ahead of San Francisco and Singapore. 
  • Healthtech employees in Zurich receive the highest salaries, followed by Basel and San Jose (USA). Employees in Beijing receive the lowest salaries for the same job roles.

Berlin, Germany, November 2021 - software development company has released a study that analyzes the healthtech capabilities of 85 global cities. As a company that helps organizations use technology for positive impact in multiple industries including healthcare, Moove It decided to conduct a study to identify which global locations have the most developed healthtech ecosystems. To do this, they assessed each city against a range of factors related to investment, corporate infrastructure, human capital, and their healthtech credentials in different sectors. The resulting index gives insight into which cities have the most robust healthtech ecosystems, and which are the global capitals of healthtech in different healthcare sectors.

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Industry veteran to lead regenerative cell therapy products company

November 18, 2021

BALTIMORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--LifeSprout, Inc., a privately held regenerative medicine company founded with technology licensed from Johns Hopkins University, today announced the appointment of Michael Kranda as CEO and member of the board of directors.

“We’re pleased to have attracted an executive of Michael’s caliber to lead LifeSprout at this pivotal time for the company as we proceed to leverage the full potential of our regenerative cell therapy platform,” said Sashank Reddy, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder of LifeSprout.

“I welcome the opportunity to lead the LifeSprout team, and collaborate with the thought leaders in tissue engineering, nano biotechnology, and materials science from Johns Hopkins to establish a new standard of bio stimulatory products for cell therapy applications,” said Kranda, LifeSprout, Inc. CEO.

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November 22, 2021

TYSONS, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Red Cell Partners (“Red Cell”), an investment and incubation firm that backs, builds, and scales technology-led companies in healthcare and defense, today announced the formation of Zephyr AI, Inc. (“Zephyr AI”).

Zephyr AI’s mission is to transform drug discovery, redefine personalized medicine, and empower healthcare systems to achieve better patient outcomes at lower cost. Zephyr AI integrates artificial intelligence with extensive datasets to upend traditional “guess and test” drug development and personalized medicine processes to unearth novel therapeutics, new applications for existing therapeutics, and advanced biomarkers for individualized treatments.

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– Potential to bring in-house cell-based therapies that potentiate checkpoint inhibitors

November 23, 2021 06:41 PM Eastern Standard Time

ROCKVILLE, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc., (“ITI”) a privately held clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on advancing its proprietary nucleic acid immunotherapy platform, announced today an exclusive option to license or acquire a series of innovative technologies in the immuno-oncology space from iOncologi, Inc., (“iOi”).

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(RTTNews) - Qiagen N.V. (QGEN) Friday announced its polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests remain accurate and effective in detecting SARS-CoV-2 infections in light of the emergence of a new variant of concern detected in South Africa.

"The best way to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic is a combination of extensive vaccinations, rigorous testing with gold-standard PCR tests, aggressive surveillance of new variants and above all compassionate treatment for those infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus"


A depiction of what the White Flint area could become. Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) has hired an Annapolis veteran to lead efforts to redevelop the region into a

Montgomery County failed in its bid lure Amazon, the e-commerce giant that opted to build its second headquarters in Arlington, Va.

But top county officials have an alternate vision for the area surrounding the White Flint Metro station — a “life sciences hub” that exploits the presence of the close-by National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration.

Image: A depiction of what the White Flint area could become. Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) has hired an Annapolis veteran to lead efforts to redevelop the region into a "life sciences hub." Montgomery County Capital Budget photo. 

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OTTAWA, ON, Nov. 24, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - Health Canada

Health Canada has completed its onsite inspection of the Emergent BioSolutions   facility in Baltimore, Maryland. The European Medicines Agency and South African Health Products Regulatory Authority also participated in this inspection remotely. All three regulators found the facility to be compliant with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).


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The Center for Innovative Technology is now known as the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation. But it’s more than just a name change.

The rebranding is seen as a vital step in helping to propel Virginia forward as a nationwide leader in innovation, startups and technology, said Bob Stolle, president and CEO of VIPC


Photo by Flickr user Sue, used under a Creative Commons license

Baltimore leaders are coalescing around a big vision to build a more inclusive tech economy over the next decade, but there will be many small steps required to get there.

It means involving the whole community. That’s why ecosystem-building org UpSurge Baltimore rallied more than 200 partners this year to center Baltimore’s growth as a tech hub through the lens of equitech. UpSurge launched in April with equitech as a framework for prioritizing startups and companies with diverse leadership, teams and products that address societal barriers. It also partnered with Techstars to bring an accelerator to Baltimore focused around that vision. Around the same time, it also launched UpSurge Teams to convene.

Image: Photo by Flickr user Sue, used under a Creative Commons license

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COLUMBIA, Md., Nov. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- TEDCO, Maryland's economic engine for technology companies, announced its recent round of funding, including investments in 12 start-up companies and funding to 36 university projects through the Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII). 

Established in 2012, the MII program was created as a partnership between the State of Maryland and five Maryland academic research institutions: Johns Hopkins University; Morgan State University; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and University of Maryland, College Park. The program's mission is to accelerate promising technologies with significant commercial potential to market while leveraging each partner University's strengths.



ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Potential one-time gene therapy for the treatment of Duchenne, includes a novel, optimized microdystrophin transgene and REGENXBIO's proprietary NAV® AAV8 vector
  • Commercial-scale cGMP material to be used in clinical development
  • Company on track to submit IND by end of 2021

REGENXBIO Inc. (Nasdaq: RGNX) today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Orphan Drug Designation for RGX-202, a potential one-time gene therapy for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Duchenne). RGX-202 is designed to deliver a novel, optimized microdystrophin transgene with a unique C-terminal domain and a muscle specific promoter to support targeted therapy for improved resistance to muscle damage associated with Duchenne. RGX-202 uses REGENXBIO's proprietary NAV® AAV8 vector. 

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In institutions and companies, investigators spent some two decades working on RNA-based drugs and vaccines before COVID-19 afforded many of them an opportunity to apply all that research into patients, with support from governments and regulators eager to fight the pandemic.

For two once obscure companies—Moderna, which went public in 2018, and BioNTech, which followed a year later—that opportunity has translated into multiple billions of dollars in new revenues. Not surprisingly as a result, both companies far outpace the other public companies ranked by GEN this year among top RNA-based biopharma companies.


The Baltimore skyline.

(Photo by Flicker user Phil! Gold)

The first cohort of the Techstars Equitech Accelerator is bringing global startups to Baltimore, and supporting companies already growing from a base in the city.

On Thursday, the accelerator announced the first 12-company cohort for the Baltimore-based program, kicking off the programming phase for one of the key initatives aimed at making the city a top-tier tech hub through the lens of equitech. This framework, coined and championed by UpSurge Baltimore, prioritizes supporting companies that are led by underrepresented founders, building diverse teams and developing solutions that aim to address systemic societal challenges.

Image: The Baltimore skyline. (Photo by Flicker user Phil! Gold)

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BrainBox HeadSmart II Study Investigators Aim to Provide Clinicians with First-Ever Biomarkers and other Functional measurements for Acute Traumatic Encephalopathy (ATE.) A clinical trial of multi-modal diagnostic/prognostic test, already underway, is published in Frontiers in Neurology/NeuroTrauma.

Investigators in a major clinical trial of patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI or concussion) describe for the first time objective diagnostic criteria, based on blood biomarkers and neurologic testing, for acute traumatic encephalopathy (ATE), the immediate physiologic consequence the injury.

Acute Traumatic Encephalopathy (ATE) represents the condition of an objective measure of TBI associated symptoms or dysfunction that occur as long as 90 days following an acute head injury, according to the investigators. It may be manifest by neuropsychiatric dysfunction, imaging pathology, or biomarker abnormalities in a patient presenting with a history consistent with TBI. Objective criteria for ATE have the potential to advance the understanding of mild TBI and significantly improve its subsequent clinical management.



COLUMBIA, Md., Nov. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- TEDCO, Maryland's economic engine for technology companies, announced today the findings of an independent study detailing the impact 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 provides significant value to the state's start-up community, supporting 10,433 Maryland jobs and more than $2.3 billion in statewide economic activity as of 2021.


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Montgomery County announced that it has collaborated with M&T Bank to establish a Small Business Accelerator Program to aid minority business owners.

The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights and M&T Bank announced this week that they will partner to host a new 10-week business accelerator program to small businesses based in the county.

The program, set to begin January 11, 2022, will be free for participants and will feature business mentors, coaches and subject matter experts.

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MFA in performance alum Rob Jansen leads a workshop,

The University of Maryland secured its place among the nation’s top schools for entrepreneurship in new rankings that reflect its commitment to innovation education during the height of virtual learning amid the pandemic.

In the 2022 edition of the annual rankings, announced today by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine, UMD placed No. 10 for undergraduate entrepreneurship education across all institutions—its seventh consecutive year in the top 10 and 10th straight year in the top 25—and No. 4 among public universities. It was also listed at No. 24 for graduate entrepreneurship education. New this year, The Princeton Review ranked schools regionally, and UMD came in at No. 2 in the Northeast.

Image: MFA in performance alum Rob Jansen leads a workshop, "The Art of Presence: How to Warm Up for a Presentation," at the Startup UMD Suite in the Diamondback Garage. UMD's efforts to support entrepreneurs and innovators were recognized yesterday by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. Photo by Emma Howells

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PASADENA, Calif. and DURHAM, N.C., Nov. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE: ARE), an urban office REIT and the first, longest-tenured and pioneering owner, operator and developer uniquely focused on collaborative life science, agtech and technology campuses in AAA innovation cluster locations, today announced that it is advancing the revolution for complex integrated R&D and next-gen manufacturing in Research Triangle, N.C. through its strategic partnerships with top-tier emerging biotechnology companies, along with its acquisition of purpose-focused development sites in the region, to enable their increased control over the quality of their medicines, patient access, supply chains, and their intellectual property, critical processes and talent.  


Kolaleh Eskandanian, PhD, MBA, PMP, vice president and chief innovation officer at Children’s National Hospital, spoke on gender gaps in healthcare leadership during the 6th annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference hosted by Becker’s Healthcare.

Although women account for nearly half of entry-level jobs in the healthcare industry, female clinician-scientist executives continue to be sparse among healthcare leadership ranks. Less than a third of C-suite roles – approximately 26 percent – are filled by women and tend to focus on human resources or marketing, according to a recent analysis by Becker’s Hospital Review.

Image: Kolaleh Eskandanian, PhD, MBA, PMP, vice president and chief innovation officer at Children’s National Hospital, spoke on gender gaps in healthcare leadership during the 6th annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference hosted by Becker’s Healthcare.


GERMANTOWN, Md., Nov. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Maryland-based biotech company Deka Biosciences ("Deka") today announced that it has successfully closed a USD 20 Million Series A financing with a syndicate of life science investors led by Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment arm of Bayer AG, and new investor Lumira Ventures. Additional investors include O-Bio (Echo Investment Capital), Viva BioInnovator, and Alexandria Venture Investments.

Deka Biosciences 2021 Novel cytokine-based therapies have the potential to provide patients with innovative curative treatment options for cancer, autoimmune diseases, and many types of infectious diseases. Understanding the known function of each cytokine, Deka has developed Diakines™ – intentionally engineered therapeutic proteins that are designed to deliver clinically validated cytokines, coupled in combination in the Diakine™ structure, to diseased tissue. Deka has also combined this therapeutic platform with companion diagnostic assays that ensure delivery of each Diakine™ to patients that will benefit the most.

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935 Prose is a 10-story trophy-class, state-of-the-art research/lab building that marries iconic design, and superior lab functionality. It is positioned to recruit and retain the best-and-brightest scientific talent and will set a new standard for life science facilities. Located in the heart of North Bethesda’s nationally-acclaimed, metro-accessible, Pike & Rose mixed-use neighborhood.

Image: From PDF