Maryland Tech Council Establishes Business Continuity Task Force to Help Maryland Tech and Life Sciences Companies Affected by COVID-19

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Frederick, Maryland, May 21, 2020 — The Maryland Tech Council (MTC) announces today the formation of its Business Continuity Task Force to assist tech and life science entrepreneurs in Maryland who are navigating the economic downturn due to COVID-19. The MTC Task Force is comprised of experienced business leaders who have led companies through financial crises such as the 2008 Recession. Small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) in the life sciences and technology industries are invited to apply online to be matched with a task force member to receive assistance.

“One of MTC’s main beliefs is using innovation to improve quality of life, which is critical now with the challenges caused by the business disruptions related to the coronavirus. Our members are companies from across the region, and we want to use the community we have built to support business leaders that are presently struggling,” said MTC CEO Martin Rosendale. “The aim of the task force is to

focus beyond the current situation, and to help those companies with their plans on how to excel well beyond the circumstances caused by COVID-19.”

The Business Continuity Task Force is guided by policies and principles of the Maryland Tech Council Venture Mentoring Services (MTC VMS) program. The MTC VMS Program is one of the leading team mentoring services available in the State of Maryland that is both highly sophisticated and results-driven. It exists to foster an environment that encourages innovation, while expanding financial and business opportunities for tech, cyber and life science start-ups.  

The founding members of the MTC Task Force include:

  • Martin Rosendale, CEO of Maryland Tech Council
  • Bill Enright, Serial Biopharmaceutical Executive and CEO of Vaccitech Ltd.
  • Jay Turakhia, Business Banking Market Leader, SunTrust/Truist
  • Eddie Snyder, Principal and Chairman, Snyder Cohn
  • Dennis O’Brien, Financial and Operations Executive with international life science experience
  • Neil Davis, Former Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives, TEDCO
  • Doug Holly, Principal at Eagle Management Group with engineering technology experience
  • Tom Thomson, Managing Partner, T. Thomson & Associates, LLC

Once they are paired with a task force member, business leaders will share their challenges via an initial call and may receive immediate guidance as well as referrals to specialists and available resources to support their businesses.

Companies requesting assistance should apply at the following link: https://mdtechcouncil.com/maryland-technology-council-business-continuity-task-force/

Click here to read the release on BusinessWire

 

About Maryland Tech Council

The Maryland Tech Council (MTC) is a collaborative community that is actively engaged in building strong technology and life science industries by supporting the efforts of our individual members. We are the largest technology and life sciences trade association in the state of Maryland, and we provide value by giving members a forum to learn, share, and connect. MTC brings the region’s community together into a single, united organization that empowers our members to achieve their business goals through advocacy, networking and education. The vision for the Maryland Tech Council is to propel Maryland to become the number one innovation economy for life sciences and technology in the country. For more information: mdtechcouncil.com.

Westat Selected as Strategic Partner for Montgomery County COVID-19 Adaptation & Recovery Study

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ROCKVILLE, Md. – May 19, 2020—The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) has selected Rockville-based Westat as its strategic partner in conducting a longitudinal COVID-19 Adaptation and Recovery Study.

This three-year survey of Montgomery County businesses will track and analyze the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the County’s businesses through spring of 2023. Nationally-recognized and employee-owned, Westat provides research services to agencies of the U.S. Government, businesses, foundations, and state and local governments.

“This is an important project, as data is critical for lawmakers and policymakers to make informed decisions,” said Benjamin H. Wu, President and CEO of MCEDC. “This multi-year survey will be used to guide Montgomery County’s post-pandemic initiatives and allow us to best understand the evolving issues that are priorities for the business community.”

“Businesses representing different industries, sizes, and ownership demographics will be included in our sampling plan to ensure the survey results provide a full picture of business adaptation. We are excited to partner with MCEDC to support the long-term vitality of business in our home County,” said Dr. Kerry Levin, Westat Vice President for Social Policy and Research and the project lead.

MCEDC and Westat will begin administering the first of six monthly surveys beginning in June 2020, with quarterly surveys implemented thereafter. Data analyses will be shared with the County Executive, the County Council, and external stakeholders. As the multi-year study progresses, MCEDC will provide quarterly public briefings on the survey results.

Anticipated survey topics and trends to track include business adaptation strategies during the stay-at-home order, firm closures, and unanticipated opportunities for growth during recovery, among others. The survey also intends to follow the impact of federal, state, and local COVID-19 relief dollars on local businesses.

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BioBuzz – Four Leading VC’s Give Advice on Raising Capital During COVID-19

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Six Key Takeaways for Entrepreneurs and Startups on Fundraising and How Investors View the Post-Coronavirus Landscape

Over 200 entrepreneurs, startup company executives and those with aspirations of starting a BioHealth company turned in for a live, virtual panel discussion to learn about how COVID-19 is impacting access to the capital every company needs to succeed.

Panelists included notable investors such as Andrea Alms, Co-Fund Manager at BioHealth Capital; Adam Dakin, Managing Director at DreamIT HealthTechMatthew Miessau, Associate at Epidarex Capital; and Adair Newhall, Principal at Greenspring Associates. 

The program,  “Venture Versus the Virus”, was organized by The Society of Physician Entrepreneurs (SoPE), and produced in collaboration with BioBuzz. The program focused on venture capital (VC) key opinion leaders (KOLs) with ties to the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) and delivered some nuanced insights for entrepreneurs, while also elucidating larger VC market themes that have emerged during COVID-19.

Dr. Jeffrey Hausfeld, Chairman and Co-Founder of SoPE and the Chief Medical Officer and Chairman of the Board at Frederick, Maryland’s emerging biosimilars company BioFactura co-moderated the event along with Dr. Rania Nasis, Director at SoPE and New York Tristate Chapter Co-Leader and the CEO of Starlings, a startup advisory company.

Here are some of the key takeaways. For the full conversation, you can watch the complete webinar recording here:

Deals Are Still Getting Done But Investors Are Wary

The panelists had slightly different takes on how VC firms and investors are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. All agreed that there is still money out there for startups and entrepreneurs, however, many investors have hit a “pause” on investing as they wait to see the ripple effect the pandemic has on various markets.

Adair Newhall noted that investors are waiting for the public downturn to hit private markets, which could take three to six months and drop private values between 20-40%. The good news, according to Newhall: Biotech has seen less disruption than other sectors because of its direct involvement in working on COVID-19 projects.

Miessau, Alms and Durkin all expressed a positive outlook for the life science sector and that it was business as usual at their firms for now.

Series B/C Rounds Might See More Significant Negative Impacts Due To COVID-19

Durkin noted that life science companies closer to commercialization seeking Series B/C rounds might be more negatively impacted by COVID-19 than early stage companies that are seeking funding based on promise and projections. The panelist believed that companies close to commercializing a product and clinical-stage organizations, where supply chain and social distancing could disrupt ongoing trials and prevent trials from starting, could be impacted more seriously than companies seeking pre-seed, seed round and Series A funding.

Click here to read more via BioBuzz

BioBuzz: In Conversation: Sally Allain, Head, JLABS @ Washington, DC – Johnson & Johnson Innovation

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BioBuzz recently caught up with the Head of JLABS @ Washington, DC, Sally Allain, to discuss her growing, local team, what it’s like to be back home in the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) and how JLABS plans to support regional start-ups and entrepreneurs by connecting them to the Johnson & Johnson global network of experts, mentors, and programming.

JLABS is part of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, whose goal is to accelerate life science innovation worldwide to solve unmet medical and healthcare needs for patients. This innovation model provides scientists, entrepreneurs, and emerging companies with one-stop access to science and technology experts who can facilitate collaborations across the pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer companies of Johnson & Johnson. JLABS is the “no strings attached” incubator program for early-stage biotech companies that is now part of the BHCR ecosystem.

This incubator network helps emerging companies grow by bringing the power of Johnson & Johnson’s 250 operating companies and over 130,000 employees from 175 countries around the world to an entrepreneur’s doorstep. Since opening its flagship site in San Diego in 2012, Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS now includes 13 global sites and over 650 portfolio companies.

JLABS @ Washington, DC will be located within a redevelopment of 12 acres on the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center property. The new facility, which is currently under construction, is embedded within the new Children’s National Research and Innovation Campus. JLABS @ Washington, DC will host up to 50 companies within its 32,000 square foot facility. 

It has been just over a year since the opening of JLABS @ Washington, DC was publicly announced. What has it been like getting to know the local biohealth community and what have you learned about this ecosystem?

I am originally from the DC metro area and studied at Virginia Tech, so it is great to be back in the region after spending time in California and internationally working within those life science hubs. Over the past several months, we’ve been meeting with the local leaders within industry, government, research and academic institutions and medical centers across the DMV. Making these connections and having a close-up look into the region’s innovators is inspiring.

The research strengths and scientific expertise within the DMV are incredible. It is why Johnson & Johnson Innovation brought JLABS here – to be more closely connected to and support this rich ecosystem that is poised to further accelerate healthcare innovation.

We have a very good feel for how JLABS @ Washington, DC can best partner to move science and technology forward in the region and we’ve already begun!

 

Click here to read more via BioBuzz

Emmes Ranked as a Top Biosciences Employer in Greater Washington

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ROCKVILLE, Md.May 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Emmes today announced that it was ranked as the seventh largest biosciences employer in the greater Washington area.  The ranking is compiled annually by the Washington Business Journal.

Emmes reported revenues of $125 million in 2019 and has more than 750 employees globally.  More than 675 employees work in MarylandVirginia and Washington, D.C.

The company is expecting to hire nearly 70 new employees to support new and expanded clinical research projects.  This represents an increase of approximately 10 percent of its area-wide workforce.  The positions include clinical operations staff, biostatisticians, bioinformatics experts, project control analysts, project managers, data management staff, technical writers, clinical research auditors, and proposal manager.  The company has offices in Rockville, MDFrederick, MD and Tysons Corner, VA.  Emmes continues to maintain a robust teleworking environment.

“We provide the backbone of support to both government and biopharmaceutical companies involved in developing treatments and vaccines associated with a wide range of diseases and disorders,” said Dr. Anne Lindblad, president and chief executive officer.  “Our operational, data management, regulatory, safety,  statistical and data analysis support for clinical trials and human health research is highly valued, and the result is continued growth.  This means promoting employees, giving people more opportunities for job expansion and flexibility, and adding new staff.”

Dr. Lindblad noted that three new executives have joined the leadership team since November: a chief business officer, vice president of clinical operations, and chief medical officer.  Two new business development directors were just hired.  The company also promoted three employees to the position of vice president.

About Emmes
Emmes is a leading Contract Research Organization working with both public and private sector organizations.  We collaborate with our clients to produce valued, trusted scientific research, and our team members are passionate about making a difference in the quality of human health.  Emmes has supported more than a thousand studies across a diverse range of diseases since our formation in 1977.  Our research is contributing to a healthier world. For more information, visit the Emmes website at www.emmes.com.

Dr. Faz Bashi, M.D. joins Rich Bendis Virtually for a New Episode of BioTalk

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Angel Investor, Dr. Faz Bashi, M.D., joins BioTalk from the West Coast to discuss the Venture Capital, partnerships and staying connected in the age of COVID-19

Dr. Faz Bashi, M.D., has a background in Immunology and Virology from UCSF. Faz is an active member of the LSA screening committee for Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals as well as the Medical Device + Digital Health Screening Committee. He is the Emeritus Board member of the Angel Capital Association (ACA), and Chair of the ACA’s Life Sciences Syndication Group, and Affiliate Partner at Boston Millennia Partners and Lead Venture Investor at Portfolia’s FemTech Fund

He currently serves as a member of the Life Science Council at Springboard Enterprises (www.sb.co), Advisory Board of FemTech Focus (www.femtechfocus.com), and External Advisory Board Member at The Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design. He is an active Advisor with several startups, and in addition to human health and science, he is equally committed to Animal /Pet Health. He is currently investor and advisor to Vet24Seven (www.ask.vet) as well as Anubis Bio (www.anubisbio.com).

Listen now on Apple https://apple.co/3cojc4B, Google http://bit.ly/33sWjJc, Spotify https://spoti.fi/3bmjPu0, and TuneIn https://bit.ly/3dBiAZz.

Click here to read the transcript.

Caribou Biosciences and MaxCyte Enter into Clinical and Commercial License Agreement

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– Agreement enables Caribou to utilize MaxCyte’s ExPERT® platform for its CRISPR gene-edited, allogeneic T cell therapy programs

BERKELEY, CA, and GAITHERSBURG, MD, May 07, 2020 – Caribou Biosciences, Inc. (“Caribou”), a leading CRISPR genome editing company, and MaxCyte, Inc, a global cell-based therapies and life sciences company, today announced a clinical and commercial license agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Caribou gains rights to use MaxCyte’s Flow Electroporation® technology and ExPERT platform for the advancement of its CRISPR gene-edited, allogeneic T cell therapy programs.

 

Caribou will obtain non-exclusive clinical and commercial rights to use MaxCyte’s platform to develop CRISPR gene-edited, allogeneic T cell therapies. In return, MaxCyte will receive undisclosed development and approval milestones and sales-based payments in addition to other licensing fees.

 

“As we advance our lead allogeneic CAR-T cell therapy program, we are preparing for the future by securing access to a transfection platform for both clinical and commercial implementation,” said Steven Kanner, Ph.D., Caribou’s Chief Scientific Officer.

 

Doug Doerfler, President & CEO of MaxCyte, said: “We are proud to support Caribou Biosciences as it develops its allogeneic cell therapy programs. This important agreement represents another key expansion for MaxCyte, emphasizing the value of our technology platform to companies developing pioneering gene-editing and cell therapies. We believe that such programs have high potential to deliver positive clinical impact for patients facing serious and difficult-to-treat diseases.”

 

MaxCyte’s ExPERT instrument family represents the next generation of leading, clinically validated, electroporation technology for complex and scalable cell engineering. By delivering high transfection efficiency, seamless scalability and enhanced functionality, the ExPERT platform delivers the high-end performance essential to enable the next wave of biological and cellular therapeutics.

 

About Caribou Biosciences, Inc.

Caribou is a leading company in CRISPR genome editing founded by pioneers of CRISPR biology. The company is developing an internal pipeline of off-the-shelf CAR-T cell therapies, gene-edited natural killer (NK) cell therapies, and engineered gut microbes. Additionally, Caribou offers licenses to its CRISPR-Cas9 foundational IP in multiple fields including research tools, internal research use, diagnostics, and industrial biotechnology. Interested companies may contact Caribou at licensing@cariboubio.com. For more information about Caribou, visit www.cariboubio.com and follow the Company @CaribouBio. “Caribou Biosciences” and the Caribou logo are registered trademarks of Caribou Biosciences, Inc.

 

About MaxCyte

MaxCyte, the clinical-stage global cell-based therapies and life sciences company, uses its proprietary next-generation cell and gene therapies to revolutionise medical treatments and ultimately save lives. The Company’s premier cell engineering enabling technology is currently being deployed by leading drug developers worldwide, including all of the top ten global biopharmaceutical companies. MaxCyte licences have been granted to more than 100 cell therapy programmes, with more than 70 licensed for clinical use, and the Company has now entered into ten clinical/commercial license agreements with leading cell therapy and gene editing developers. MaxCyte was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, US. For more information, visit www.maxcyte.com

Caribou Contact:

Greg Kelley, Ogilvy
gregory.kelley@ogilvy.com
+1 617-761-6724

 

MaxCyte Contacts:

 

MaxCyte Inc.Doug Doerfler, Chief Executive Officer

Ron Holtz, Chief Financial Officer

 

+1 301-944-1660

US Investor Relations

Michael Levitan

Solebury Trout

+1 646-378-2920

mlevitan@soleburytrout.com

 

US Media Relations

Jamie Lacey-Moreira

PressComm PR, LLC

+1 410-299-3310

jamielacey@presscommpr.com

BioBuzz: Rockville, Maryland’s Sanaria at Center of an Unlikely Global Health Success Story

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In 2009, a remarkable partnership started with an unsolicited email and a “cold call.”

Ten years later, Rockville, Maryland’s Sanaria and the Bioko Island Malaria Elimination Project (BIMEP) consortium won the P3 Impact Award from a pool of nearly 2,000 applicants, marking a milestone for a unique and remarkable global health consortium that’s turning the tide in the global fight against malaria.

BIMEP, which is the fusion of two impactful malaria programs, started its mitigation efforts in Equatorial Guinea’s (EG) Bioko Island in 2004. Since that time, “BIMEP has succeeded in reducing the rate of transmission of malaria by mosquitoes on Bioko Island by 99%, reducing the prevalence of malaria infection in children 2-14 years old by 76%, and reducing all-cause mortality among children under 5, largely attributable to malaria, by 63%,” according to Sanaria’s website.

The award, which was bestowed at the 2019 Concordia Summit held in New York City at the time of the UN General Assembly, was the latest achievement of the collaboration between Sanaria, Medical Care Development International (MCDI), the government of EG, Marathon Oil, Noble Energy, the Atlantic Methanol Production Company (AMPCO) and a host of other public, private and leading scientific subject matter expert partners. The Concordia Foundation, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business in Society, and the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships created the P3 Impact Award to honor leading public-private partnerships that improve communities and the world.

Click here to read more via BioBuzz

Baltimore Sun: University of Maryland Injects Coronavirus Vaccine in First Volunteers, Aiming for Approvals in Fall

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The trial at the university’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health and three other sites in the United States and Germany is for four separate but similar vaccines developed by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and the German biotech company BioNTech. Pfizer planned to announce the U.S. trials Tuesday morning.

“We’re not skipping any steps, but we are speeding them up quite a bit,” said Dr. Kirsten Lyke, an infectious disease expert and the study’s lead investigator in Baltimore. “This vaccine is actually four different vaccines, with testing moving rapidly, head-to-head. … We’re hoping one rises to the top.”

Lyke, a professor of medicine and faculty member at the university’s vaccine development center, said she and other researchers learned a lot from work on quick-moving threats such as the Ebola virus about how to expedite the vaccine trial process.

There are no vaccines or even specific treatments for COVID-19, the disease caused by this coronavirus. With almost 250,000 deaths globally and more than 68,000 in the United States, federal and international regulators have moved with urgency and allowed several vaccine trials to move ahead at unprecedented speed. More than one vaccine likely will be approved and needed to protect billions of people across the globe.

Read more via the Baltimore Sun

Intralytix Receives Multimillion-Dollar Clinical Trial Award From NIAID for Bacteriophage Therapy for Shigella Infections in Humans

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COLUMBIA, Md., May 4, 2020 (Newswire.com) – ​Intralytix, Inc. announced today that it has received a multimillion-dollar grant (AI 148054) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), for the clinical development of its bacteriophage therapy preparation for managing infections caused by the bacterial pathogen Shigella. Dr. Alexander Sulakvelidze, Executive Vice President of Intralytix and the Program Director of the multi-PI grant, commented, “We are very pleased to have this collaborative opportunity with NIAID. The project will address a significant public health issue, as it is expected to help reduce the burden of disease caused by Shigella. It will also help enhance our program on developing bacteriophage-based therapeutic preparations as complementing modalities to other anti-infectives, such as vaccines and antibiotics, for managing bacterial diseases, including those caused by multi-drug resistant bacterial pathogens.” Dr. Sulakvelidze concluded, “This award paves the way for an important clinical study, and also shows that Intralytix continues to demonstrate innovative leadership in successfully developing bacteriophage products for various applications.”

This NIAID-funded project will assess the safety and efficacy of the Shigella bacteriophage preparation developed by Intralytix in Phase 1/2a clinical trials. “We believe that our bacteriophage preparation will help reduce the severity or incidence of disease caused by Shigella,” commented Dr. Jennifer Schwartz, Director of Clinical Development at Intralytix. She noted that “Shigella infections affect approximately 125 million people worldwide each year, with the majority of the 14,000 associated deaths occurring in young children. Bacteriophage therapy has been and is used in Eastern Europe and Asia but has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration due to the lack of adequate clinical trials. Not only are these Phase 1/2a trials expected to have a public health impact on Shigella infections, but they will also help pave the way for the development of bacteriophage therapies against other important bacterial pathogens, including those having epidemic potential, such as cholera. We look forward to starting this important project in collaboration with the NIAID and our academic collaborators.”

The content of this press release is solely the responsibility of Intralytix and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIAID or the NIH.

About Intralytix Inc.

Intralytix, Inc. is a privately held company headquartered in Columbia, Maryland. The Company is focused on using its core bacteriophage technology platform to improve human health through the development and commercialization of innovative products for food safety, animal health, human therapeutics, oral care, cosmetic, and dietary supplements/probiotic applications.

Intralytix was the first company in the world to receive FDA-approval for a bacteriophage-based product for food safety applications. The Company currently has the world’s largest portfolio of FDA-approved bacteriophage-based products on commercial markets and is the largest producer of bacteriophage preparations for food safety applications worldwide. Intralytix is currently sponsoring a clinical trial at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, for which it is IND-holder (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03808103?term=Intralytix&rank=1), and the Company also has several additional human therapeutic bacteriophage products in various stages of development. To learn more, please visit www.intralytix.com or contact Dr. Alexander Sulakvelidze (410-625-2533, asulakvelidze@intralytix.com).

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