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In these changing times, the concept of Open Innovation is one that we at AstraZeneca have fully embraced.

By sharing new ideas and enabling scientific innovation to cross boundaries between companies, academia, government and non-profit organizations, we can accelerate new ideas into innovative medicines.

An Open Innovation discussion at BIO

I will discuss the importance that AstraZeneca places on Open Innovation today at this year’s BIO International Convention. An interactive session will include a panel discussion and presentations of cases studies of notable Open Innovation success stories.

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The University of Maryland has signed an agreement for a student-exchange program with the University of Jordan that will boost research and the flow of students between College Park and the Middle East country’s largest and oldest university.

The announcement of the pact by University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh comes as a delegation led by Gov. Martin O’Malley visits Jordan on the first leg of an eight-day trip to Jordan and Israel.

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A doctor might ask for a patient's family disease history, or exercise or smoking habits, but whether they have trouble getting food onto the table or paying energy bills is unlikely to appear on any clinic questionnaire.

Those sorts of factors could have just as much, if not more, of an impact on a person's everyday health, argue the founders of a startup out of the Johns Hopkins University. Their company, Healthify, is giving clinics that serve largely low-income populations the means to gather and use that information.

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The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is pleased to announce the election of Rachel King, President and CEO, GlycoMimetics, Inc, as the new Chair of its Board of Directors for the 2013-2014 term, and the election of David Pyott, Chairman, President, & CEO, Allergan, Inc., as its new Board Secretary. BIO also is pleased to announce the re-election of Mark Skaletsky, Chairman & CEO, Fenway Pharmaceuticals, Inc., as Board Treasurer, and the election of 19 Directors to serve on BIO's Board Executive Committee for the new term. In addition, BIO welcomes the election of eight new members to its Board of Directors, voted upon at this year's 2013 BIO International Convention.

"Rachel King brings a depth of industry experience and passion for advocacy that will serve BIO and its members well," said Jim Greenwood, BIO President & CEO. "I look forward to working closely with Rachel and our newly-constituted Board of Directors in the years to come."

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The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today issued the annual Scientific American Worldview Report and Bio-Innovation Scorecard. On Wednesday, April 24, the Scientific American Worldview Super Session will take place during the 2013 BIO International Convention, the global biotechnology event, in Chicago, Ill. at McCormick Place.

Moderated by Fareed Zakaria, author, journalist and host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, the Convention Super Session is the marquee discussion forum among industry leaders on the state of biotech hubs and innovation around the globe. Panelists include Trevor Mundel, President, Global Health Program for The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Robert Hariri, Chief Executive Officer, Celgene Cellular Therapeutics; Tomas Philipson, Daniel Levin Professor of Public Policy, The University of Chicago; and Sam Pitroda, Chairman, National Innovation Council, Government of India. The session will be held from 3:45pm to 5:15pm.

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President Obama has challenged us all to help win the future by out-educating, out-innovating, and out-building our competitors in the 21st century.

Know someone who is doing extraordinary things to make a difference in your community? Nominate them to be a Champion of Change. We’ll consider your nominations as we feature people who are bringing about change in their communities on the White House website to share their ideas on how to win the future.

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Entrepreneurs in any industry need to start with a big idea – and a big tolerance for risk. But in health care, startups often need to take on a unique set of regulatory hurdles, complex systems and entrenched ways of getting things done to successfully build and scale.

At the TEDMED conference Thursday, a few of the industry’s most seasoned entrepreneurs and investors gave emerging startups a dose of advice. Here are a few of their tips:

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The Washington region raised some $286 million in venture funding last quarter, assuming you stretch your idea of the region to include Stevensville, Md., and Blacksburg, Va. So what did we learn from three months of venture data? Here are five takeaways.

1. Deals down, dollars up: The number of deals in Q1 2013 (30 deals) was down compared with the prior quarter (36 deals), as well as Q1 2012 (45 deals), while the dollar amount was up. When 2012 went out with the crappiest quarter since 2009, the drop was attributed to the lack of big deals.

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Twelve Maryland companies, including five from the Baltimore area, received a total of $83.8 million in venture capital funding in the first quarter.

That was up 20 percent from the $69.7 million that 15 Maryland firms received in first quarter 2012, according to a MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. The report uses data from Thomson Reuters.

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U.S. Small Business Administration chief Karen Mills was in Baltimore on Thursday to highlight the agency’s education program for entrepreneurs.

Baltimore was one of the first cities to launch SBA’s Emerging Leaders program, formerly called E200 back in 2008. The program offers a seven-month course in which a select group of business owners learn the skills they need to grow their companies.

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The Washington region raised a collective $286 million in venture capital during the first three months of 2013, thanks in large part to a $110 million financing for D.C.-based LivingSocial Inc., according to the MoneyTree report released Friday by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association.

At first blush, the number looks like good news for the region, a marked improvement from the $95 million raised in fourth quarter of 2012. Assuming the upswing holds for three more quarters, we just might be on track to fulfill Steve Case's prediction of a $1 billion year.

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The purpose of the NHLBI SBIR Phase IIB Small Market Award is to provide support to Phase II SBIR awardees developing NHLBI mission-related technologies that address a rare disease or young pediatric populations. The goal of this FOA is to de-risk these technologies so that development can continue with private funding after NHLBI support ends; therefore, applicants must submit a Commercialization Plan, which should include details on any independent third-party funding that has already been secured or is anticipated during the project period. It is expected that the level of this independent third-party funding will be equal to or greater than one-third of the NHLBI funds being requested throughout the project period. Projects proposed in response to this FOA must require eventual Federal regulatory approval/clearance, and may address preclinical and/or clinical stages of technology development. Clinical trials may be proposed as appropriate, but are not required.

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There’s been discussion recently about a lack of life science venture capital enthusiasm for emerging digital health companies. I happen to feel that this concern is misplaced. I engaged industry and opinion leaders on this subject plus have my own thoughts on the digital health funding environment.

In his latest article in Forbes, contributor David Shaywitz characterizes life science venture capitalists as just “kicking tires” on potential digital health investments, citing fears from prominent investor Nimesh Shah that innovations in digital health are “merely a bubble,” and that these firms lack a “real biz model.”

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The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) and the Rockville Institute come together annually to offer this dynamic, interactive seminar series. The series stimulates an exchange of ideas among practitioners, researchers, policymakers, students, and the public at large about contemporary social issues. Seminars are free and open to the public.

LGBT Youth in Foster Care: Challenges and Strategies
Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 4:30pm

What Is a Meaningful Use of an Electronic Health Record?
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 4:30pm

Enhancing Learning in STEM Through the Creation of Master Teachers
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 4:30pm

New York City nonprofit Venture for America, which provides entrepreneurship training for recent college graduates, is adding Baltimore to its roster of cities this year.  

Venture was founded in 2011 to encourage entrepreneurship through practical experience. It officially launched last year in five cities: Detroit, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Las Vegas and Providence, Rhode Island. This year, Baltimore and Cleveland are on board.

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Remedium Technologies Inc., a medical device company developing innovative products to control severe hemorrhaging, was awarded a $500,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation to test the company's sprayable foam for rapidly halting traumatic bleeding, company officials announce today.

In collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Maryland, Remedium will complete pre-clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Hemogrip(TM) Foam in controlling non-compressible hemorrhaging, i.e., bleeding not accessible to direct pressure. Hemogrip(TM) is a high-pressure, sprayable foam that can expand into an injured body cavity, adhere to tissue and stop hemorrhaging within minutes during the expansion process. There are currently no hemostatic products available for treatment of non-compressible bleeds, which account for 85 percent of hemorrhage-related deaths.

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The U.S. market for remote patient monitoring, valued at $104.5 million in 2012, is forecasted to reach $296.5 million by 2019, a compound annual growth rate of 16 percent, according to a new report from GBI Research.

Chronic diseases represent an overwhelming burden for healthcare systems in developed countries, due to increasingly elderly populations, and a clear need exists for remote patient monitoring to help lift the load off stretched healthcare resources, according to the report Remote Patient Monitoring Market to 2019 – Potential to Reduce Healthcare Cost Burden and Improve Quality of Care to Drive Future Growth.

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With nearly half a billion dollars raised in venture capital funding for health information technology, the first three months of 2013 represented a "record quarter," according to Mercom Capital Group.

Some $493 million was raised industry-wide, according to Mercom's 2013 Healthcare IT Funding and M&A Report, in twice as many deals as the previous quarter (104, up from 51). There were nearly four times as many early stage deals – 42, up from 14 – compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.

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Two Baltimore companies took top honors in the state’s first InvestMaryland Challenge.

GrayBug, which is developing drug delivery technology; and RedOwl Analytics, a software company, were the winners of the startup business competition’s life science and information technology categories. An LED lighting company in Cecil County, i-Lighting, won the contest’s category for general industry. Some 260 startups from 26 states, including Maryland, threw their hats in the ring.

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Eight years of work, thousands of researchers around the world, $1 billion spent — and finally it was done. On April 14, 2003, a decade ago this week, scientists announced that they had completed the Human Genome Project, compiling a list of the three billion letters of genetic code that make up what they considered to be a sort of everyperson’s DNA.

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The need for innovation in healthcare has arguably never been greater.  A range of factors, from aging world populations to rising standards of living in developing countries, are poised to drive long-run demand for innovative drugs, devices and medical technologies that can improve outcomes and reduce costs.

Ironically, however, funding for healthcare innovation remains in short supply.  As industry participants are keenly aware, life science venture capital financing – which has played a critical role in helping translate research ideas into commercially useful medical technologies – is becoming increasingly scarce.

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Cleave Biosciences has added $10 million in Series A financing from new investor New Enterprise Associates, bringing its Series A total to $54 million. In the fall of 2011, Cleave raised $44 million from US Venture Partners, 5AM Ventures, Clarus Ventures, OrbiMed Advisors, Astellas Venture Management and Osage University Partners. The company is focused on cancer drug discovery and development.

Cleave is discovering novel drugs that affect protein degradation pathways. Cancer cells frequently make an excess of proteins and hence become dependent on protein degradation for their survival. By attacking key targets in these pathways, cancer cells fail to balance this excess protein synthesis with protein degradation and can no longer survive.

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When he was young, Daniel J. Abdun-Nabi wasn’t all that interested in subjects like biology. He gravitated toward political science and the law in college, and worked for the federal Securities and Exchange Commission soon after graduating.

“I went out of my office and saw the Capitol. It was awe-inspiring,” Abdun-Nabi, 58, who grew up near Boston, said of working in Washington, D.C.

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The Tech Council of Maryland (TCM), Maryland’s largest technology trade association with more than 400 biotechnology and technology members employing more than 200,000 in the region, today commended state policy makers for advancing key priorities for the tech community during this year’s legislative session. The 2013 session concluded on Tuesday.

“Maryland’s policy makers delivered on our biggest priorities: stronger incentives for R&D and biotechnology, new incentives for cybersecurity investments, and corporate tax code certainty for employers,” said Larry Letow, TCM’s chairman. “We have many strong advocates in Annapolis who understand that Maryland’s technology and biotechnology companies are catalysts for innovation, job growth and prosperity.”

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Friday, May 24 • 12:00 - 2:00 pm • Marriott Bethesda North Conference Center

Join the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development to celebrate small businesses. Attend the inaugural Small Business Awards program.

The award luncheon will provide countless opportunities to show your appreciation for the estimated 33,000 small businesses of Montgomery County—businesses that contribute directly to the strength of the area's economy. Eight awards will be presented to eight distinct companies.

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The Global Virus Network plans to move its headquarters to the University of Maryland BioPark in Baltimore, officials announced Thursday.

Emerging pandemic viral threats and current viral killers are a worldwide problem. For this reason, the nonprofit  GVN brings together the top medical virologists from more than 30 institutions in 21 countries, to promote international collaborative research, education and advocacy.

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David Mott at New Enterprise Associates has spearheaded the development of an orphan drug accelerator that plans to hunt down the best in vivo-stage assets in academia, biopharma and the nonprofits, assemble them in a portfolio of rare disease therapies and mold them into pipeline programs that can be spun out into a slate of new biotech companies.

NEA's high-profile biotech partner Mott--who helmed MedImmune until AstraZeneca ($AZN) came along and scooped it up for $15.6 billion--partnered with Pfizer Ventures and gained the support of Alexandria Real Estate Equities in piecing together the initial $16 million in startup funds for the newly coined Cambridge, MA-based Cydan.

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GlaxoSmithKline, Britain's biggest drugmaker, is placing a small but important bet on a new way of treating diseases by targeting electrical signals in the body.

The company said on Wednesday it would offer a $1 million prize to stimulate innovation in the field, as well as funding up to 40 researchers working in external laboratories.

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The University of Maryland (UM) BioPark announced today that the Global Virus Network (GVN) is the Park’s newest tenant. The GVN is a non-profit organization comprised of the top medical virologist in more than 30 institutions spanning 21 nations – and growing. GVN's mission is to combat emerging pandemic viral threats and current viral killers through international collaborative research, training the next generation of medical virologist, education and advocacy.   

Said Jim Hughes, President, Research Park Corporation, University of Maryland Baltimore, “It’s exciting for the UM BioPark to include the prestigious Global Virus Network as one of our tenants. We are also pleased to be able to offer GVN continued close proximity to its Scientific Director, Co-Founder, and world-renowned virus researcher Dr. Robert Gallo from the UM School of Medicine, whose Institute of Human Virology is located conveniently just down the street from the GVN’s new BioPark headquarters.” 

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Pluristem Therapeutics (NASDSQ: PSTI) announced today that following favorable preclinical studies, United Therapeutics Corporation received approval to perform a human Phase I study in Australia using Pluristem's PLacental eXpanded (PLX-PAD) cells in patients diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH). On June 20, 2011 United Therapeutics and Pluristem entered into a licensing agreement pursuant to which United Therapeutics will develop, market and sell Pluristem's PLX-PAD cells for PAH.

PAH is characterized by abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs and leads to an increased workload on the right side of the heart.

Sanofi piers

Pieris AG and The Sanofi Group have jointly agreed to expand their ongoing discovery and development partnership to include a novel multispecific Anticalin® program. Under the existing framework of the 2010 agreement, the new program will entitle Pieris to an upfront payment from Sanofi and committed research funding as well as payments for the achievement of research, preclinical, regulatory and commercial milestones. Specific financial terms were not disclosed.

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A test that detects human papillomavirus, a virus directly related to cervical cancer, has hit the market following approval by the China Food and Drug Administration.

"The careHPV test is faster, better and cheaper," says Qiao Youlin, a respected epidemiologist, who headed a research project into the development of careHPV between 2003 and 2008. The research was assisted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which contributed $13 million to the project.