This event is free for executive-level biotech leaders and is organized by the following event partners – Association of University Research Parks, AstraZeneca, BioHealth Innovation, BRAINBox Solutions, Inc, Children’s National Hospital, Emergent BioSolutions, George Mason University, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS @ Washington, DC, Maryland Department of Commerce, and Virginia Bio.

2022 Agenda

9:00 AM – 9:15AM: Welcoming Remarks

  • Rich Bendis, President and CEO, BioHealth Innovation
  • Ronald Piervincenzi, CEO, USP

9:15 AM – 9:30 AM: Imagine the Future Together

BioHealth Capital Region Leaders welcome attendees to the 8th Annual Forum. The theme this year reflects an in-person opportunity for our region to come back together and celebrate successes and the robust future we have when we work together.

  • Rich Bendis, President and CEO, BioHealth Innovation

9:30 AM – 9:50 AM: GEN Top 10 BioCluster Update

Alex Philippidis, Senior Business Editor of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News returns to the Forum to give his annual update on the GEN rankings of the Top 10 Bio Clusters in the United States. The BioHealth Capital Region is currently ranked #4 with a goal to be Top 3 by 2023, and Alex will briefly discuss each of the 10 top clusters and discuss how they have performed in the past year and prospects for the future. He will also mention the Up and Coming Regions of the Country.

  • Alex Philippidis, Senior Business Editor, GEN

9:50 AM – 10:10 AM: BioHealth Capital Region Update

Pete Briskman, Executive Managing Director and Co-Lead for the Mid-Atlantic Life Sciences Practice, will follow Alex and do a deeper dive into the BioHealth Capital Region’s outstanding performance in 2021 and the outlook for 2022.

  • Pete Briskman, Executive Managing Director, JLL

10:10 AM – 10:30 AM: KEYNOTE: BARDA Innovation Programs

  • Gary Disbrow, Director of BARDA

10:30 AM – 11:10 AM: – Synopsis: Next Generation Immunity

Innovation, investment, and response for Infectious Disease Medical Countermeasures grew significantly during COVID-19. The pandemic response initially emphasized diagnostics, vaccines, and PPE, with later emphasis on surveillance, antivirals, mAbs, and other preventive and therapeutic measures. With many learnings in hand and the worst of COVID-19 hopefully behind us, how should we now prepare for future infectious disease outbreaks? This panel will explore the need and strategy for a balanced and innovative portfolio of MCMs, alongside reimagined regulatory approval processes. The panel will also discuss the suitability of our current MCM and societal strategies for this age of innovation.

  • Stu Soloman, CEO, Connected DMV
  • John Mascola, Scientific Officer, ModeX Therapeutics
  • Rebecca Farkas, Head of the Office of Technology, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI)


11:25 AM – 11:55 AM:

Progress on Addressing the Needs of Children in Disasters

Dr. Joelle Simpson from Children’s National will discuss the unique needs of Children in Disasters and the role of Community Hospitals and Tertiary Care Centers. What the progress has been over the last 5 years, and the development of National Coalitions to address these issues. They will also discuss Children’s National role as a Regional and National Leader and the unique partnerships it has formed to address these challenges. Lastly, what are the lessons learned from Covid, and how do we focus on Health Equity as we move forward.

  • Michael Anderson, Senior Advisor, Children’s National Hospital
  • Mary Anne Hillard, EVP, General Counsel, and CNRIC Executive, Children’s National Hospital
  • Joelle Simpsons, Principal Investigator, Children’s Nationals Hospital

11:55 AM – 12:35 PM: How Standards Help Bring New Medicines to Market: An Introduction to US Pharmacopeia

For more than 200 years US Pharmacopeia (USP) has been setting standards that help bring new medicines to market by supporting regulatory predictability in manufacturing and innovation. In this session, you will learn more about USP, the standards they are working on to support new medicines such as mAbs and vaccines, and how they are helping address barriers to adoption of new manufacturing technologies. The discussion will also include a perspective from a new biopharma company on how standards are helping them bring new medicines to market.

  • Anthony Lakavage, Senior VP, Global External Affairs, USP
  • Fouad Alem, VP, Biologics, USP

Dennis Hall, VP Manufacturing Services, USP

11:55 AM – 12:35 PM: Infectious Diseases Resources for Research and Development

Local and regional resources are available to support research and development of countermeasures to combat infectious diseases, including pathogens of priority for national and global pandemic preparedness. Learn about opportunities to access in vitro and in vivo services in BSL-3 and BSL-4 environments, how to access them, and ways in which the teams can help you to advance your novel therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostics pipelines.

  • Kristen Herring, VP, The Conafay Group
  • Farhang Alem, Interim Director. George Mason University, Regional Biocontainment Lab
  • Paul Duprex, Director, University of Pittsburgh, Center for Vaccine Research
  • Todd Parsley, Chief Executive Officer, Noble Life Sciences
  • LTC Brett Swierczewsi, Director of Research Program Office, USAMRIID


1:30 PM – 2:15 PM: The FDA Centers for Regulatory Science and Innovation

Headquartered in White Oak, Maryland, the FDA is the world’s leading regulator of drugs and devices and is committed to helping deliver innovation, safe and effective treatments and cures to patients who need them as quickly as possible. Learn how the FDA — through the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) and the extramural Centers for Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSI) works with the research hospitals, academic medical centers, and the industry to life sciences innovations.

  • Kolaleh Eskandanian, VP & Chief Innovation Officer, Children’s National
  • Vasum Peiris, Chief Medical Officer and Director for Pediatrics and Special Populations, Center for Devices and Radiological Health U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • William Bentley, Professor and Director, University of Maryland

2:20 PM – 2:50 PM: Regional Support for BioHealth Entrepreneurs

The BioHealth Capital Region is a nurturing space for innovators, researchers, and problem solvers. Within the region’s three jurisdictions (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) local startups can find technical assistance, lab infrastructure, mentoring and funding from private and public sector partners.  Learn more about the resources available in BHCR’s entrepreneurial ecosystem as you commercialize your technology and grow your company. 

  • John Newby, CEO, Virginia Biotechnology Association
  • Grant Warner, Director of Innovation, College of Engineering at Howard University
  • Troy LeMaile-Stovall, CEO, TEDCO
  • Chandra Briggman, President & CEO, Activation Capital

2:20 PM – 2:50 PM: Cultivating Talent in the BioHealth Capital Region

Throughout the region, large life sciences corporations and smaller growth-stag companies are hiring and expanding their teams. Sometimes, their talent needs are similar, but the companies’ stages and sizes require different skills. Hear from a variety of regional leaders about their current hiring needs, expectations for the future, and the strategies they are applying to attract and retain top Talent as we navigate the existing ecosystem – a valuable panel for employers and job seekers.

  • Chris Frew, Founder & CEO Workforce Genetics/BioBuzz
  • Thomas Watkins, Director of Talent Acquisition , USP
  • Stacy Rollinger, SPHR – Vice President of Human Resources, NextCure
  • Karen Haslbeck, Head of Human Resources, NexImmune
  • Sadiye Rieder, Associate Director, Research Scientist, Horizon

2:50 PM – 3:20 PM: NIH Helps Innovators Turn Discovery Into Health

In addition to supporting cutting edge basic science, NIH educates and assists NIH-funded innovators as they transition from discovery science to product development. NIH entrepreneurship programs and professional advisory services support academic innovators and small businesses to validate the potential health impacts of their discoveries. These programs, together with NIH’s $1.2 billion/year investment in U.S. small businesses strengthen the life science product development ecosystem.

  • Matthew McMahon, Director, SEED, National Institutes of Health

2:50 PM – 3:20 PM: Innovation through Collaboration: Opportunities in the BHCR

Successful BioHealth companies understand that collaboration is the key to solving our most pressing healthcare challenges. From incubation to Open Innovation to investing in start-ups, the BioHealth Capital Region’s private sector is replete with partnerships, knowledge transfer, and opportunities to accelerate research in order to save more lives more quickly. Hear from the region’s biggest life sciences companies and labs about the ways they foster collaboration with external researchers and innovators–your company could be next!

  • Sally Allain, Head, JLABS @ Washington, DC and Interim head of JLABS North East, Johnson & Johnson Innovation
  • Pam Hill, Global Head of Innovation, AstraZeneca
  • Ray Blanchard, Associate Director | IP & Licensing, QIAGEN

3:25 PM – 4:10 PM: BioHealth Investment Climate Fireside Chat

Joel S. Marcus is the Executive Chairman and Founder of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:ARE). Since co-founding the company in 1994 as a garage startup with $19 Million in Series A capital, he has led the remarkable growth of Alexandria into an S&P 500® company that as of June 30, 2022 has a total equity capitalization of $23.4 billion, ranking it in the top 10% among all publicly traded U.S. REITs.  Today, Alexandria is the leading owner, operator and developer of collaborative campuses for transformative Life Science companies, with approximately 75 Million square feet of real estate in the top innovation clusters in the U.S., including Greater Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, NYC, San Diego, Seattle, Maryland and Research Triangle. In 1996, Mr. Marcus founded the company’s strategic venture capital platform, Alexandria Venture Investments, which has been the most prolific Life Science venture investor for the last 5 years and has approximately $1.7 Billion under management.

Mr. Marcus will discuss the vibrant BioHealth investment market and the tremendous growth it has experienced over the last few years in spite of the Pandemic. He will also discuss some of the hottest technologies and market segments for investment and Alexandria’s proven venture investment philosophy. Alexandria has been a key leader and trusted partner to hundreds of industry innovators in the BioHealth Capital Region for nearly three decades. The pioneering, mission-driven company continues to grow its presence in the Region, where it has amassed nearly 4 Million square feet of high-quality laboratory and office space primarily located in Rockville and Gaithersburg and is one of the most active early-stage life science investors.

  • Rich Bendis, President & CEO, BioHealth Innovation, Inc.
  • Joel Marcus, Executive Chairman and Founder, Alexandria

4:10 PM – 4:50 PM: Opening the Aperature: Strengthening our Ecosystem Through Diverse

The pandemic has made clear the imperatives of health equity and greater investment in minority-owned biotechs and suppliers.  Fundamental to improvements in these areas, however, is the need to source diverse talent into the industry.  Hear from Maurice Jones, CEO of OneTen and a dynamic national leader on the importance of corporate diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) and the need to “start at the beginning” by priming the life science workforce pipeline starting with high school talent through degreed candidates

  • Maurice Jones, President & CEO, OneTen, INC.

Neuroene Therapeutics Wins 7th Annual BioHealth Capital Region Crab Trap Competition

ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, September 26, 2022 – When it was announced that the winner of the 7th Annual BioHealth Capital Region Crab Trap would be the recipients of a larger than ever prize pool, organizers didn’t expect that two companies would benefit thanks to unique circumstances. The main winner, Neuroene Therapeutics, a biotech company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel therapeutics for difficult-to-treat neurological disorders, was selected from five finalists as the company with the most commercial potential at the 7th Annual Crab Trap Competition.

“I am so excited that Neuroene Therapeutics has won the 7th Annual Crab Trap! Especially since there were so many other competitors with such amazing technologies,” said Sherine Chan, Neuroene Co-Founder. ” I felt that the coaching from BHI helped make our pitch infinitely better. This win is incredible for our company. We recently moved to Washington, DC, and JLABS, and this reinforces that our decision to move here was a really good one.”

Prizes for the qualifying Crab Trap winner included: A $10,000 cash prize from Wilson Sonsini, a $5,000 cash from Montgomery County (for a firm headquartered in Montgomery County), a one-year residency at JLABS @ Washington, DC, and Preclinical CRO services from Noble Life Sciences.

Because Neuroene was already located at JLABS @ Washington, D.C., Judge Sally Allain, Head of JLABS @ Washington, DC, offered the one-year residency to the runner-up, Polaris Genomics, a Gaithersburg, Maryland company bringing molecular diagnostics to mental health care, to expand into the District. A suprise came from Judy Costello, Special Projects Manager, Office of the County Executive at Montgomery County Government, who presented Polaris with a check for $5,000 as a local finalist to continue their growth in the County as their Headquarters.

“While developing new technologies to improve mental healthcare is a national effort, recognition and support from our local biotech innovation ecosystem is foundational,” said Charles Cathlin, Polaris CEO & Co-Founder. “Polaris Genomics is dedicating funds received from Montgomery County, Maryland toward our mission of harnessing genomics to make invisible wounds like PTSD visible and we’re excited for the opportunity to partner with JLABS.”

This year’s judges included industry leaders Sally Allain, Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS @ Washington, DC, Lora Green, Partner, Patents and Innovations, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Katherine Hill Ritchie, Senior Director, Venture Funds, TEDCO, Conley Jones, Principal-Science & Technology, Alexandria Real Restate Equities/Venture Investments, John Newby, CEO, VA Bio, Ethel Rubin, Entrepreneur-In-Residence, BioHalth Innovation Inc., Brett Shealy, Vice President, Life Sciences, J.P. Morgan, and was moderated by Rich Bendis, President & CEO, BioHealth Innovation, Inc.

In addition to Neuroene and Polaris, the judges and the audience viewed three other finalists’ presentations: Kubanda Cryotherapy from Baltimore, Maryland, Perfusion Medical from Richmond, Virginia, and VPIX Medical who came all the way from South Korea to compete.

“Being able to hold the Crap Trap live this year from US Pharmacopeia made the event very special for the BioHealth Capital Region. After the past two years of having the Forum, Investment Conference and Crab Trap all virtually, I am grateful to the competing companies, judges, and sponsors who came together again.” said Richard Bendis, BHI President & CEO. “Having the surprise of two winners this year made the 7th Annual Crab Trap even more special, and we are excited for the growth and development of all five competitors.”

Neuroene joins previous Crab Trap winners, Nanochon (2021), BrainScope (2020), Floreo (2019), Galen Robotics (2018), LifeSprout (2017), and Sonavex (2016).

Founded in 2016, the Crab Trap Competition focuses on companies in therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices, healthcare services, e-health, mobile health, electronic medical records, health informatics, and biohealth cyber security.

About BioHealth Innovation, Inc.

BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI) is a public-private nonprofit organization focused on accelerating biohealth (therapeutic, diagnostic, medtech, and health IT) commercialization in the BioHealth Capital Region (Maryland, DC, and Virginia).


Media contacts:
Richard Bendis
Phone: 301-637-6439, e-mail: rbendis@biohealthinnovation.org

2022 Finalists

Kubanda Cryotherapy

Kubanda has developed a low-cost cryotherapy device for treating veterinary tumors, shifting the care paradigm from expensive, seldom-used specialty centers to patients’ local, general veterinary clinics. Presenter: Bailey Surtees, CEO. Kubandacryotherapy.com.

Neuroene Therapeutics
Neuroene is a biotherapeutics company developing neural cell therapies with single-dose curative potential for the treatment of chronic neurological disorders. Presenter: Sherine Chan, CEO. Neuroenetherapeutics.com.
Perfusion Medical
Perfusion Medical is commercializing PEG-20k, a breakthrough IV solution for restoration of tissue perfusion invented at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine. Presenter: Gerard Eldering, CEO. Perfusionmedical.com.
Polaris Genomics
Polaris Genomics is bringing molecular diagnostics to mental health care and has developed an RNA panel, TruGen-1, that accelerates the research, development, and evaluation of mental health diagnostics and novel therapeutics. Presenter: Charles Cathlin. Polarisgenomics.com.
VPIX Medical
VPIX Medical has developed a real-time, digital biopsy platform, which enables surgeons to perform enhanced cancer surgery.
Presenter: Heejoon Um, Director. Vpixmedical.com.



Previous Crab Trap Winners

2021 – NanoChon
Nanochon is developing an implant designed to not only replace lost and damaged cartilage, but also to encourage new tissue growth. Using 3-D printing and a novel material, the Nanochon implant is a sturdy medical advancement that is both an orthopedic load bearing implant as well a tissue growth scaffold. The Nanochon implant has the potential to deliver faster and more successful recoveries for patients, while reducing costs to health providers, payers, and patients. Nanochon’s aim is to set a new clinical standard for cartilage restoration.
2020 – BrainScope
BrainScope is a developer of a non-invasive medical device intended to objectively assess head-injured patients for both brain bleeds & concussions at point of care. The company’s device is FDA-cleared, portable, EEG-based, assessment tool that empowers physicians to quickly triage patients for brain bleeds, concussion and the need for a CT scan, providing healthcare professionals with objective diagnostic insights that enable better patient care. The company is reportedly in the process of raising $15 million of venture funding on March 25, 2021. The funds will be used to speed up and expand the company’s commercial execution. Previously, The company was approved for a Paycheck Protection Program Loan for $1.07 million from Sandy Spring Bank on April 09, 2020. The application cited 40 jobs to be retained with the financing.
2019 – Floreo Inc.
Floreo is a developer of a learning platform designed to build a new generation of training program for people with autism and other developmental challenges. The company’s platform leverages the power of virtual reality to develop a supplementary method of teaching social and communication skills, enabling individuals with an autism spectrum disorder to build real-world skills. The company was approved for a Paycheck Protection Program Loan in the range of $150,000-350,000 from Wells Fargo Bank, National Association on May 3, 2020. The application cited jobs to be retained with the financing.
2018 – Galen Robotics
Galen Robotics, is a developer of a surgical robot designed to aid surgeons across several disciplines with minimal disturbance to existing workflows. The company’s robot is designed to assist doctors in executing precise movements with certain surgical instruments, while reducing risks from hand shakiness, enabling surgeons to make minimally invasive interventions safer, faster and more precise. The company is reportedly seeking $25 million of Series A venture funding from undisclosed investors as of March 19, 2021. Previously, the company raised $7 million of seed funding from Verte Capital, TEDCO and Maryland Department of Commerce on November 6, 2020.
2017 – LifeSprout
LifeSprout is a Developer of synthetic soft tissue substitutes intended to be used for aesthetic and reconstructive medicine in tissue reproduction. The company’s tissue substitutes focus on regrowth human tissue by transferring tissue from one part of the body to another, enabling doctors to repair patients’ soft tissue damage from trauma, natural aging, surgery, cancer and metabolic disease.
2016 –  Sonavex

Sonavex, a medical device company intended to create novel and automated ultrasound technology. The company has developed a portfolio of novel ultrasound solutions to visualize and quantify critical clinical data for improved outcomes and reduced costs in new surgical applications, empowering clinicians with actionable data to deliver superior patient care and deliver savings to the healthcare system.

George Mason

February 12, 2019


February 12, 2019


February 12, 2019


February 12, 2019


February 12, 2019

Have you heard of the BioHealth Capital Region?

February 13, 2017

MedImmune just unveiled a new brand for the biotech industry. Question is: Will it stick?

February 13, 2017