Medimmune logo

MedImmune, the global biologics arm of AstraZeneca, announced that it has signed an in-licensing agreement with Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: PGNX) for Progenics’ Clostridium difficile late-stage preclinical program.  The agreement was led by MedImmune’s Infectious Diseases & Vaccines Innovative Medicines (iMed) Unit.

Clostridium difficile infections are the leading cause of hospital-acquired bacterial infections in the U.S. and are associated with more than 20,000 deaths and more than $1 billion in healthcare costs annually. The disease causes severe diarrhea in patients and significantly lengthens the time patients stay in the hospital, leading to poorer outcomes. MedImmune’s program for this property will assess the potential efficacy and safety of treatment of the infection with investigational monoclonal antibodies targeting toxins that mediate the disease.


NHLBI Funding and Research Opportunities

The following funding opportunities from the NHLBI or other components of the National Institutes of Health, might be of interest:

Request for Applications (RFAs):

Program Announcement (PA):

Please note that most links to RFAs, PAs, and Guide Notices will take you to the NIH Web site. RFPs will take you to FedBizOpps. Links to RFPs will not work past their proposal receipt date. Archived versions of RFPs posted on FedBizOpps can be found on the FedBizOpps site using the FedBizOpps search function. Under “Document to Search,” select Archived Documents.


CONGRATULATIONS to 20 INNoVATE 2012 graduates—celebrating completion of their unique commercialization training program--co-sponsored by UMBC, NSF & JHU-- in Rockville last night. (See class below)

- Gaurav Basu (Skin-S)
- David Beylin (Brain Biosciences Inc.)
- Kostyantyn Bobyk (MyoTherapeutics, LLC)
- Eva Chin (MyoTherapeutics, LLC)
- Gina Devasahayam (GenetikSignal, Inc.)
- Ghadeer Hasan (Relocation Support Services)
- Lawrence Jones (TelaSense)
- Dun Liang (ViDDx)
- Saravana Murthy (Onc-Marcare)
- Oluwadamilola Ogunyankin (Jifad Fuels)
- Ping Qiu (NoInfection Pharmaceutical)
- Zelicia Read (Vital-Sight, Inc.)
- Anthony Saleh (Nitron Therapeutics)
- Colleen Sico (InnoSico, LLC)
- Andrew Stewart (Tolerogenix)
- Raimon Sunyer (TelaSense)
- Rajesh Thangapazham (Skin-S)
- Leonard Wayne (ExTenebris Optics, LLC)
- Christopher van de Wetering (Chesapeake Cellular)
- Mark Ziats (NeuroNetDx)


University of Maryland System’s Diverse Space Offerings Provide Sterilization Technology Company the Ability to Grow Locally

Baltimore, MD, December 18, 2012 – The University of Maryland (UM) BioPark announced today that Noxilizer, Inc., a sterilization technology company, is the latest advancing life sciences company to sign a lease for space within the BioPark. Noxilizer relocates to the UM BioPark from the bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park in Baltimore County to accommodate the company’s explansion plans.

Said Jane Shaab, UM Research Park Corporation Senior Vice President, “Noxilizer’s move to the UM BioPark symbolizes the diverse space offerings within the University of Maryland system. This move also adds to our mix of growing technology businesses, research centers, and educational offerings.”


University of Maryland, Baltimore said Monday it reached its $650 million fundraising goal, a record for the school.

The campaign, launched in fiscal 2005, has supported several campus projects, including construction of a new campus center, improvements at the law school, an endowed scholarship for nursing students and nearly twice as many endowed chairs and professorships at the School of Medicine.


Two little-hyped drugs developed by Human Genome Sciences Inc. and Sucampo Inc. (Nasdaq: SCMP) have won Food & Drug Administration nods.

The approval of HGS' Raxibacumab as a treatment and prevention for inhaled anthrax and the supplemental approval of Sucampo's Rescula, for glaucoma and ocular hypertension, both represents wins for Maryland biotech.


Startups are coming out of the woodwork to vie for InvestMaryland cash. Under a business plan competition, the state-run investment program is offering prizes of $100,000 to three early-stage companies.

Prizes will go to a company in the life sciences, one in the IT space and one in a general category.

Not surprisingly, a whopping 259 startups applied — a colorful bunch that includes entities such as BodyCount LLC, A.I.R. Lawn Care and Fraud Sniffr, as well as some more traditional tech and biotech companies, according to an official list. About 10 percent of the companies that applied are from out of state.


Dr. Gene Green, a senior executive within Johns Hopkins Medicine's doctors group, has been appointed president of Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.

He replaces veteran hospital chief Brian Gragnolati, who will now turn his attention full-time to his corporate duties as senior vice president in charge of the system's Community Division. The division includes Suburban, Howard County General Hospital and Sibley Memorial Hospital in D.C.


Two Baltimore-area startups have received a total of $300,000 from InvestMaryland.

Plasmonix Inc., a life sciences company based at bwtech@UMBC Research & Technology Park, received $100,000 from the startup funding initiative. Bambeco, an eco-friendly home decor and furniture company in South Baltimore, received $200,000. Bambeco previously got $400,000 from InvestMaryland in November.

In total, the program has given out about $1.65 million.


More than three years on from the end of the Great Recession, only six states have regained employment levels enjoyed prior to the recession, and 17 states are still more than 5 percent below their pre-recession employment levels. As many state economies continue to struggle through the lingering effects of the Great Recession, a question commonly asked is, “What is this seemingly invisible force that prevents the economy from returning to prerecession and especially 1990s growth rates?” In other words, why is it that, despite massive monetary and fiscal stimulus, employment seems locked in a persistent malaise? Some argue that the problem is a lack of consumer demand and that more federal government stimulus spending is the answer. Others argue that it is uncertainty over the massive national debt and that fiscal austerity is the answer.

However, one diagnosis that has gone largely unnoticed holds that this invisible force is the decline in the competitiveness of the U.S. economy in the global marketplace. As ITIF points out in Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage, this decline has been a relatively untold story over the past decade, although its symptoms have clearly manifested in the dramatic fall in manufacturing employment and investment since 2000. The failure of the United States to adapt to a global economy that is evermore dependent on knowledge and innovation for growth—the so-called “New Economy”—is causing traded sector firms, and manufacturers in particular, to look to other, more competitive countries when it comes to choosing locations. And this loss of traded sector activity, including jobs and investment, holds back the entire U.S. economy and its component state economies as well.


New Enterprise Associates has co-led an $11 million first round investment in Galera Therapeutics Inc., a biotech company focused on the development of breakthrough drugs targeting oxygen metabolic pathways in cancer, fibrosis and other human diseases, the company announced.

New Enterprise Associates and Novartis Venture Fund (NVF) co-led the round with Correlation Ventures also investing. Proceeds will be used to expand clinical development of Galera’s small molecule therapeutics.


Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) today announced a partnership to develop therapeutics to treat an inherited form of muscular dystrophy.

The goal of the new agreement is to develop a small-molecule-based medicine to potentially reverse facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, or FSHD, by inhibiting the activity of a protein that is incorrectly expressed by the DUX4 gene in people with the disease. The protein activity is what damages muscle cells and leads to progressive muscle weakness and atrophy in FSHD patients.


In a press statement which Yemen Post received a copy of, GlaxoSmithKline GSK welcomed the publication of the third Access to Medicine (ATM) Index, which measures the performance of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies on their efforts to improve access to medicines and healthcare in developing countries. GSK was ranked a top of the Index in 2012 for the third time of publishing, scoring highest in four categories including general access to medicine management, research and development activity, capability advancement and drug donation and philanthropy.

“In Yemen and across the developing world, GSK is committed to finding new and innovative ways to ensure access to medicines,” said Mr Omar Mulhi, Country Manager, GSK Yemen. “We are collaborating with government, NGOs and other private-sector companies to improve people’s health and well-being no matter where they live, while continuing to expand our business and invest in research.”


A set of new initiatives put forward in further detail Friday by the National Institutes of Health could have far-reaching implications for faculty members, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers conducting biomedical research.

The plans, first proposed in June by three working groups, are intended to strengthen and shape the biomedical research work force in the coming decades, focusing especially on diversity issues and on training for rising postdoctoral researchers and graduate students.

Many details of how the goals would be pursued are still unclear, although the NIH on Friday approved a rough implementation plan. The plans, likely to be enforced through grant guidelines, will encourage institutions to adopt individual development plans for all research trainees, and require them to track outcomes for all research trainees, from undergraduates through postdoctoral researchers. They would also create a new grant program for innovative approaches to research training, increase stipends for postdoctoral students, and provide more funding for grants to encourage research independence sooner.


A Hunt Valley venture capital firm is the first to receive funds from the state’s new $84 million InvestMaryland program.

Grotech Ventures will receive $12 million to invest in early-stage companies. If the recipients are successful, Grotech will return 100 percent of the principal investment and 80 percent of its profits to the state’s general fund.

This week’s announcement marks the next major step for the program, a key economic development initiative of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) that the General Assembly approved in 2011. The state raised the $84 million this year through an online auction of tax credits to insurance companies that operate in Maryland.


GLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK) has been ranked top of the Index in 2012 for the third time after scoring high in four categories including general access to medicine management, research and development activity, capability advancement and drug donation and philanthropy.

The Country Manager for Ghana, Manu Otuo, commenting on the development, welcomed the publication of the third Access to Medicine (ATM) Index, which measures the performance of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies on their efforts to improve access to medicine and healthcare in developing countries.


Doctors at Johns Hopkins University are experimenting with a breakthrough surgical procedure that will hopefully help combat Alzheimer’s disease.

According to a report by Johns Hopkins Medicine , doctors implanted one of the devices Thursday. The medical team at Johns Hopkins was the first to perform this surgery in the United States

The procedure involves placing a pacemaker of sorts on the brain. The device works similarly to a pacemaker for the heart but instead it stimulates the brain. The same procedure is used to battle Parkinson’s disease.


Children’s National Medical Center researchers hope the general public’s generosity can fill in the gaps left by dwindling governmental and philanthropic support.

Following a business trend that is exploding in the technology and nonprofit medical community, Children’s Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation launched in late November a “crowdfunding” initiative — the process of raising small amounts from a massive pool of individuals, often nationwide and mostly through online and social media routes.


Forum Agenda: 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Jones Day Terrace & Conference Center

51 Louisiana Ave, NW | Washington, D.C.

With the increasing adoption of cloud computing, mobile devices and web-based applications, hackers have more opportunities than ever to infiltrate and crash network systems, especially in healthcare, which is increasingly becoming more vulnerable. The two greatest areas of opportunity for investment capital and the start-up community is in healthcare and cyber security. The nexus of these two sectors provides an even greater and more focused set of opportunities for investment. The Angel Venture Forum brings together all star roundtables of experts to opine and discuss the topics and the opportunities herein.

Montgomery County ED

Date: December 12, 2012 3:30-5:30pm

Presenters: Steven M. Ferguson, CLP, Deputy Director, Licensing and Entrepreneurship, NIH Office of Technology Transfer and Mark Rohrbaugh, J.D., Ph.D., Director NIH Office of Technology Transfer 

Come hear the story behind the NIH Office of Technology Transfer winning the 2012 Deals of Distinction™ Award, one of the most prestigious for technology transfer that was just presented to NIH by the Licensing Executive Society on October 17th  at their Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada.   The award was given to NIH along with the University of Illinois at Chicago and Gilead Sciences  for license agreements granted to the Medicines Patent Pool, a newly established initiative of UNITAID, an international organization established to grant licenses for the generic manufacture and purchase of drugs against HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.  In making the award the Licensing Executives Society cited this model partnership as "an innovative endeavor in facilitating access to HIV treatment in developing countries" and one that "showcases the success of public-private partnerships to improve availability of medicine".


There are only 7 Days Left to apply for the InvestMaryland Challenge. Application Deadline is December 13. Enter your early-stage business into the Challenge for a chance to win more than $425,000 in prizes and awards. There are three - $100,000 Awards in Life Sciences, IT, and a nation-wide general industry category. Additionally, there are chances to win free incubator space, cash prizes, mentorships, legal and other business services. Enter today at


The National Business Incubation Association has again awarded the NBIA Soft Landings International Incubator designation to the Emerging Technology Centers of Baltimore. This was ETC’s third renewal of the designation they first received in 2006.

Through its Soft Landings program, NBIA recognizes business incubation programs that are especially capable of helping nondomestic companies enter the incubator’s domestic market. “ETC was selected for the program because of its slate of business services for nondomestic firms and its demonstrated success at helping these firms enter the U.S. market,” said Randy Morris, NBIA director of member services.


Grotech Ventures has been selected as the first private venture capital firm to receive funds to invest through the state’s $84 million InvestMaryland program.

The newly launched program has previously given awards directly to early stage technology companies.

Grotech Ventures, with offices in Hunt Valley and Tysons Corner, Va., received $12 million from InvestMaryland to invest in early-stage companies in Maryland. If the investments are successful, the firm is expected to repay the funds and 80 percent of the profits to the state.


Cerecor Inc today announced that it has signed an option with Johns Hopkins University (JHU) for an exclusive license to develop and commercialize small molecule D-Amino Acid Oxidase inhibitors ("DAAO inhibitors") that were developed at the Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute ("BSi").

DAAO inhibitors inhibit the degradation of D-serine, an amino acid which has a central role in the normal function of the glutamate / NMDA system in the human brain.  Growing evidence suggests that deficits in glutamate transmission are central to the neurobiology of schizophrenia.  D-serine, when administered in multi-gram quantities per day, has been shown in multiple studies to improve cognition (executive function) and reduce positive symptoms in schizophrenics. DAAO inhibition in the brain, as a means of increasing D-serine levels, has been a target for treating schizophrenia by major pharmaceutical companies for many years. 


The University of Maryland Medical Center is one of the nation’s top hospitals, according to the annual Leapfrog Group survey. This is the seventh year UMMC has received this distinction.

The Leapfrog Group survey analyzes patient safety and quality performance measures from almost 1,200 hospitals. UMMC is one of only two hospitals in the U.S. (and the only one on the East Coast) to make the list every year since it began in 2006.


Baltimore’s newest incubator is officially open for business — and class.

Betamore, located at 1111 Light St. in Federal Hill, aims to help grow technology companies by day and teach the next generation of entrepreneurs by night. The incubator will host technology companies developing products for Internet and mobile devices and offer co-working space for freelancers and contractors in other technology sectors. After work hours, the entrepreneurs from tenant companies and other experts in the area will teach classes on practical technology and entrepreneurship skills, like Web development and pitching to investors.


While accelerators may be in a bubble, they’re also beginning to have a measurable, positive impact on the ecosystem. The real opportunity, though, is not in creating another Y Combinator, but in building vertical-specific accelerators that bring together industry partnerships to create learning and business opportunities for their startups. In healthtech, there’s Rock Health, Blueprint, Healthbox, New York Digital Health Accelerator and Startup Health to name a few.

The roster is growing, and today we have another addition to the list from veteran accelerator DreamIt Ventures. Today, DreamIt is partnering with Independence Blue Cross (IBC) and The University of Pennsylvania Health System (Penn Medicine) to create a digital health accelerator, designed to provide with entrepreneurs with the resources they need to take advantage of opportunities in the changing landscape of the health industry.


KQED and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation each invested $1.25 million in Matter Ventures, a media startup accelerator they've created with help from Public Radio Exchange.

Corey Ford, who ran the accelerator Runway, is CEO of Matter Ventures.

The accelerator -- publicized last year as Public Media Accelerator -- will pick startups for its four month program and pay them a $50,000 investment as they work in shared space in the South Park area of San Francisco.


A new $50 million investment fund will provide seed capital to launch new businesses that use technologies from government and university research labs in the Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia.

The Chesapeake Regional Innovation Fund will provide seed capital for startups and emerging technology companies focused on innovations in energy, life sciences and security. The first investments are anticipated for later in 2013.


Early stage startups already see New York as a hub for media, advertising and fashion. But the city is starting to build up its name in health tech as well.

At the start of this year, both Startup Health and Blueprint Health – two incubator-type programs that provide funding, mentorship and connections – announced their first classes of startups.  Then, in October, the New York Digital Health Accelerator, backed by the New York eHealth Collaborative nonprofit and the private New York City Fund, introduced its own batch of health tech startups.


NHLBI Funding and Research Opportunities

The following funding opportunities from the NHLBI or other components of the National Institutes of Health, might be of interest:

NIH Guide Notice:

Program Announcement (PA):

Please note that most links to RFAs, PAs, and Guide Notices will take you to the NIH Web site. RFPs will take you to FedBizOpps. Links to RFPs will not work past their proposal receipt date. Archived versions of RFPs posted on FedBizOpps can be found on the FedBizOpps site using the FedBizOpps search function. Under “Document to Search,” select Archived Documents.


As of Friday, the Division of Economic and Community Outreach changed its name to the Division of Innovation and Applied Research.

The department “serves as a point of entry for businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and community members interested in collaborating with the University,” according to Towson’s website.

The name change is a small part of the work that Dyan Brasington, the vice president for Division of Innovation and Applied Research, is doing under President Maravene Loeschke.

Johns Hopkins University

The Johns Hopkins University performed $2.1 billion in medical, science, and engineering research in fiscal 2011, making it the leading U.S. academic institution in total research and development spending for the 33rd year in a row, according to a new National Science Foundation ranking.

The university also once again ranked first on the NSF's separate list for federally funded research and development, spending $1.88 billion in FY2011 on research supported by NSF, NASA, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense. In FY2002, Johns Hopkins became the first university to reach the $1 billion mark on either list, recording $1.14 billion in total research and $1.023 billion in federally sponsored research that year.


A Maryland biotechnology company is pushing for the state to expand eligibility to a pool of money from tobacco companies that funds anti-smoking and health programs.

20/20 Gene Systems Inc., a Rockville-based company, is requesting that $2 million in grants be made available for research into new screening and treatment methods that could lower mortality rates due to cancer. The money would come from the state’s Cigarette Restitution Fund.


Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett wants to provide some high-tech companies with capital in exchange for ownership stakes in the businesses, a first for a local jurisdiction.

Leggett’s economic development team hopes to have such a bill before the County Council in two weeks. The proposal would be similar to Maryland’s State Challenge Investment Program, said Peter Bang, chief operating officer for the county’s Department of Economic Development.