New biomanufacturing lab space to be built in Frederick Maryland Business News

State-of-the-art biomanufacturing-ready office space is coming to Frederick County.

Matan Companies recently broke ground on the new Progress Labs at Riverside I in Frederick.  Located in Riverside Research Park, the 215,000 square-foot project is adjacent to the National Cancer Institute’s Frederick National Laboratory and just four miles from Fort Detrick.

This project is a significant addition to Maryland’s biohealth cluster, which is home to numerous leading companies and federal agencies and where office and laboratory space for bio companies remains in high demand.


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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Applicant Assistance Program (AAP) is designed to assist small businesses with an interest in preparing and submitting a Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) application to any of the following Institutes and Centers:

  • The National Cancer Institute (NCI SBIR) 
  • The National Institute on Aging (NIA SBIR) 
  • The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI SBIR) 
  • The National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke (NINDS SBIR) 
  • The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR SBIR) 
  • The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH SBIR) 
  • The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS SBIR) 
  • The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS SBIR) 
  • New this cycle! The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD SBIR) 
  • New this cycle! The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA SBIR)


Technician looking through microscope in a lab.

German-based BioNTech has announced that they will soon be joining Montgomery County, Maryland’s growing list of world-renowned international companies in the “Immunology Capital Next to the Nation’s Capital.” BioNTech is acquiring a Gaithersburg manufacturing facility and cell therapy R&D platform from Kite, a unit of Gilead Sciences, to support the development of BioNTech’s expanding pipeline of novel cell therapies.


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Since its emergence in December 2019, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread worldwide, causing a global pandemic (coronavirus disease-19 or COVID-19) with more than 188 million confirmed infections and more than 4 million fatalities (as of July 19, 2021) ( While the majority of the infections are asymptomatic or manifest in mild to moderate forms, a small percentage of people develop severe respiratory illness with a fatal outcome.

Image: Figure 1 Key mutations in the spike protein of SARS-CoV Variants of Concern (VoC) (B.1.1.7, B.1.351, B.1.1.248, and B.1.617.2) and Variants of Interest (B.1.526, B.1.427, and B.1.429). Mutations occur on all spike protein subunits. Mutations in other areas of the genome have been identified and are currently under investigation.  

Dollar bills scattered about.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected the University of Maryland to lead one of five multi-institutional hubs that will provide entrepreneurial training to academic researchers in science and engineering in order to foster and maintain U.S. global leadership in innovation.

The $15 million I-Corps Hubs, funded over five years, will extend the foundation’s Innovation Corps, or I-Corps, program that helps researchers commercialize their technologies and translate the impact of their work to the broader public. Each regional hub will include at least eight universities. 



ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, August 23, 2021 – BioHealth Innovation Inc. (BHI) announces the addition of Diane Ignar, Ph.D., and Dr. Loleta Robinson to the expanding Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) team. The Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program at BHI ensures that disruptive technologies receive all the resources required to transform the technology from a discovery into a commercially relevant product and eventually have a measurable impact on human health. The program was created to support scientists, early-stage startups, and licensed technologies to provide them with access to these resources. Diane will work with NIH’s National Institute on Aging, and Loleta will work with their Office of Extramural Research.


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George Mason University boosts the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region economy by supplying an educated, skilled, and multifaceted workforce, by partnering with key employers, and through the Mason-based Virginia Small Business Development Center.

In 2020, the Small Business Development Center network assisted 9,500 businesses, resulting in $86 million in new capital received and 1,167 loans obtained.

Mason incubated and supported or accelerated more than 1,600 Virginia companies in fiscal year 2019.

Investing in our local economy means cultivating Mason’s existing private and public partnerships—and forging new ones—to drive innovation.


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QIAGEN has announced it has received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its QIAreach® SARS CoV-2 Antigen Test, which is designed for environments that require a high volume of fast and accurate test results.

The rapid portable test can detect SARS-CoV-2 antigen in people with active infections in 2 to 15 minutes and can process an average of around 30 swab samples per hour, providing digital test results that do not require subjective interpretation. Clinical studies have shown the test to have a sensitivity of at least 80% and a specificity of 98.0%.


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Ranked among the top US states for thriving business climates for over six years, according to Forbes, Utah's tech prowess, unicorn startups and public-private development makes the University of Utah Research Park the key location to begin the new decade. The University of Utah Research Park, dubbed Bionic Valley in the 1980's, residing in the region identified as Silicon Slopes, is a sleeping giant housing more than 48 companies alongside 81 academic departments and employs a workforce of more than 14,000 has a staggering annual impact to the regional economy. In addition, the Milken Institute's 2018 State Technology and Science Index ranked the state of Utah fifth in the US for its "capabilities and broader commercialization ecosystems that contribute to firm expansion, high-skills job creation and broad economic growth". 


9603 Medical Center Drive Front Door

Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:ARE), an S&P 500® company, is an office REIT uniquely focused on collaborative life science and technology campuses in AAA innovation cluster locations, including Greater Boston, San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, San Diego, Seattle, Maryland, and Research Triangle. Alexandria has a longstanding and proven track record of developing Class A properties clustered in life science and technology campuses that provide its innovative tenants with highly dynamic and collaborative environments that enhance their ability to successfully recruit and retain world-class talent and inspire productivity, efficiency, creativity, and success. For more information, please visit

In April of 2019, Kite, a Gilead Company, announced their decision to locate to Frederick County, MD and open a new manufacturing facility on a 20-acre site located at the Urbana Corporate Center.  A lot of progress has happened since then; Kite finished their brand new 279,000 SF biologics manufacturing facility in April 2021.  To learn more, Solash Aviles and Jodie Bollinger from the Frederick County Office of Economic Development met with Chris McDonald, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Manufacturing at Kite and Jim Jackson, Vice President, Manufacturing Operations and Site Head at Kite. 


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GERMANTOWN, Md. & HILDEN, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE: QGEN; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today announced that the number of biological samples processed with consumables kits has passed the three billion mark – a record that underlines its leadership in enabling molecular laboratories to gain valuable insights in research, combatting diseases and forensics.

This milestone particularly underscores QIAGEN’s standout position in sample preparation, the most crucial stage of molecular testing at which DNA, RNA or proteins are extracted from human samples. QIAGEN’s sample prep kits have become the gold standard in sample extraction and earned over 200,000 references in academic studies. With more than 500 consumable kits and automated systems such as QIAsymphony, QIAcube Connect, QIAcube HT and EZ1, QIAGEN is the most trusted brand in sample preparation.


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Gaithersburg, MD, August 24, 2021 – Cartesian Therapeutics, a fully integrated, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering RNA cell therapy in and beyond oncology, today announced clinical data from the first cohort of an ongoing Phase 1/2a clinical trial of Descartes-08 in patients with generalized Myasthenia Gravis (gMG). Descartes-08 is an mRNA-modified, autologous CAR T-cell product directed against B-Cell Maturation Antigen (BCMA).

The cohort was intended to test safety and tolerability. Descartes-08 was well tolerated, with no cytokine release syndrome (CRS) or other serious product-related adverse events. Of note, all patients experienced at least a full class improvement on the MGFA Clinical Classification. Patients also showed marked improvement on the Myasthenia Gravis Composite (MGC) scale, a standard measure of overall disease severity. About three months after Descartes-08 administration, mean improvement in MGC scale was over 50%.


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Since the precise 3D structure of a protein is essential for its function, misfolding can result in significant downstream consequences. If this misfolding occurs to an enzyme, oftentimes the catalytic reaction can no longer take place, leading to substrate accumulation to toxic levels and subsequent cellular dysfunction. 

There are many reasons why enzymes misfold. The most obvious is a genetic mutation in which a change to the amino acid sequence leads to an incorrect folding pattern. However, there are other causes of misfolding that can affect even wildtype enzymes, including states that increase cellular stress such as aging and inflammation. 


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With so many new public biotechnology companies minted in the last 18 months, it has become more difficult to sift out the winners from the losers. During 2020, the biotech industry gave birth to an unprecedented 89 new public companies, and 2021 is on pace to beat this record-setting year. Of all the strong-performing IPOs and biotech companies out there, companies focused on precision medicine, or compounds that directly affect disease-causing genes or proteins, continue to be the subsector getting significant attention, with high valuations being assigned to early- and mid-stage companies.


Ignar and Robinson

Biohealth and Entrepreneur Experts Joins Robust Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) Team

ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, August 23, 2021 BioHealth Innovation Inc. (BHI) announces the addition of Diane Ignar, Ph.D., and Dr. Loleta Robinson to the expanding Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR) team. The Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program at BHI ensures that disruptive technologies receive all the resources required to transform the technology from a discovery into a commercially relevant product and eventually have a measurable impact on human health. The program was created to support scientists, early-stage startups, and licensed technologies to provide them with access to these resources. Diane will work with NIH’s National Institute on Aging, and Loleta will work with their Office of Extramural Research.

 “BHI is pleased to welcome Diane and Loleta to our growing group of EIRs working with the National Institutes of Health,” said Richard Bendis, BHI President, and CEO. “Their backgrounds in healthcare, venture capital, and helping early-stage businesses are key to our mission for the program nationally, and regionally.”

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BALTIMORE, Aug. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Empower Therapeutics Inc., a Baltimore-based startup, has secured worldwide, exclusive rights to a simple, reliable brainwave biomarker for pain sensitivity. Empower plans to leverage the technology, which is jointly owned by the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Birmingham, U.K., to develop a cutting-edge digital therapeutics platform to determine and modify pain sensitivity for chronic pain therapy.   


Courtesy of Alexandria Real Estate Equities
Alexandria Real Estate Equities Chairman Joel Marcus

When Joel Marcus, a trained accountant and biotech industry lawyer, started lab real estate giant Alexandria Real Estate Equities in the 1990s, the sure bet many see in biotech wasn’t visible to many. The company’s first leases in San Francisco charged lab tenants just $6 per SF. Now, the REIT's average tenant pays just shy of $70.  

Image: Courtesy of Alexandria Real Estate Equities Alexandria Real Estate Equities Chairman Joel Marcus


A key factor in the success of a developing drug or therapy is the success of early clinical trials. A focus on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards for phase 1, first-in-human trials is critical to maximize the chances of success from a project’s start. For cell therapy development, where even small errors can make a big difference, it’s even more important.


Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures operates several FastForward startup accelerator programs for student-led ventures and other growing spinout companies.


Startups with ties to Johns Hopkins ties have contributed significantly to the highest-ever amounts of capital being raked in across Maryland and beyond. For example, three spinout companies raised mega-deals in fiscal 2021, or venture deals worth $100 million or more.

Image: Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures operates several FastForward startup accelerator programs for student-led ventures and other growing spinout companies. KAITLIN NEWMAN  

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I'm pleased to share with you JHTV's annual report for Fiscal Year 2021. The pandemic made FY21 an unusual one, but the JHTV team made it an extraordinary one, as the report demonstrates. We took full advantage of the momentum that had been building prior to the pandemic and used our digital connectivity to continue bringing the benefits of academic discovery to the world. Among our FY21 achievements:

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BOSTON – July 27, 2021 – Boston Properties, Inc. (NYSE: BXP), the largest publicly traded developer, owner, and manager of Class A office properties in the United States, announced today that it has agreed to purchase the Shady Grove Bio+Tech Campus in Rockville, Maryland. The property includes seven existing buildings comprising approximately 435,000 square feet across 31 acres in the Shady Grove life sciences cluster, a highly desirable location for leading and emerging companies in the biotechnology sector.


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Armed with brilliant ideas, experience and a determination to disrupt, these 50 women are making an impact on society and culture through healthcare, robotics, music, dance, and so much more. It’s the third chapter of our 50 Over 50 project, launched in June and produced in partnership with Mika Brzezinski’s Know Your Value initiative.



The MDC Studio is pleased to announce the spin-out of the company, Sonosa Medical, Inc., as an independent entity. Founded in 2019, Sonosa Medical is developing next-generation devices poised to transform the diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The company is led by Dr. Stephen Restaino as Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Jeffrey Wolf as Medical Advisor, and Dr. Gil Blankenship as Chairman of the Board. Dr. Restaino and his team have been developing novel technology for the detection and treatment of OSA using a wearable device. Their work has been funded by a $3.35 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).


United Therapeutics: stuff in beaker.

This is what it is ALL about - the largest 3D printed hydrogel. This lung model can be perfused and ventilated and this blueprint replicates the entire conducting airway and large vasculature of the lung. Blueprint by Gregory Hurst. BioInk Formulation by Aman Kaur. Huge #DreamTeam Effort!

Looking to be on one of UT's dream teams? Look no further:

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FZata, Inc. is developing our ground-breaking “Live Biologics In A Pill” platform for oral delivery of live biologics. Live Biologics In A Pill will open up a new route of oral administration for innovative live biologic therapeutics. FZata is pleased to announce that our lead drug, FZ002, has advanced to manufacturing stage and IND-enabling studies. FZ002 is a first-in-class live biotherapeutic product (LBP) yeast for the treatment of Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) infection.  C. diff bacteria can cause life-threatening diarrhea. Infections occur most often in people who have taken antibiotics for other conditions. It is the most common healthcare-associated infection and the CDC has labeled it at the highest urgent threat level.


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Starting in 2022, drugmakers filing new drug applications with clinical data will have to pay the FDA $3.1 million.

The FDA's fee for new drugs with clinical data has risen from a little more than $2 million in 2017 to $3.1 million in 2022.

The 2022 fee for FDA approval applications not requiring clinical data will be about $1.6 million in 2022, which is about $200,000 more than the previous two years.

Drugmakers pay these fees to ensure the FDA responds to applications within 10 months for standard applications and within six months for expedited reviews.


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Jeff Galvin, CEO of American Gene Technologies and Rich Bendis, CEO and President of BioHealth Innovation, Inc. have a fireside chat about the rapid evolution of the BioHealth Capital Region.

On the heels of Silicon Valley’s branding as one of the world’s largest tech hubs, the BioHealth Capital Region aims to brand the DMV region as one of the most prominent BioHealth clusters in the Mid-Atlantic. BioHealth Innovation, Inc. was founded 11 years ago in an effort to drive ideas from labs into markets through innovation-driven economic development organizations and initiatives.

Galvin and Bendis discuss the abundance of opportunities for growth within the region as it is home to a wide variety of research institutions, top scientists, and annual grants. Additionally, they discuss how BioHealth Innovation, Inc. cultivates success for companies within the competitive region.


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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

For questions/more information, contact BHI.


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RIVERDALE, Md., Aug. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Medcura, Inc., a commercial-stage medical device company, today announced it has raised $7.4 million in private equity to support its growing product line and development of its lead surgical candidate for clinical evaluation. The financing includes the sale of Series A Preferred stock as well as common stock based, in part, from certain investors benefitting from a Maryland Investment Incentive Program. 

"Medcura has reached a pivotal point in our growth," said Larry Tiffany, CEO of Medcura. "Our products are positively impacting the lives of patients and our community. With these funds we can accelerate product development, expand our commercial footprint and bring the company's potentially lifesaving technology to operating rooms and battlefields worldwide."