BioBuzz: The BioHealth Capital Region, Epicenter of U.S. Regulatory Infrastructure

By March 29, 2021News

As one of the world’s top bio hubs, the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) is rife with life science assets.

The region has been at the forefront of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine race, and it is rapidly becoming a center for advanced manufacturing. The BHCR cell and gene therapy ecosystem is thriving, and the area boasts one of the richest and most diverse tapestries of life science talent and workforce development programming. What’s more, Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia are home to several dynamic university systems that keep the talent and tech transfer pipeline humming and full.

That said, one major BHCR asset tends to fly under the radar, yet just might be the source from which all else flows—the region’s expansive regulatory ecosystem.

The BHCR is home to a wide array of government and private sector regulatory organizations, including but not limited to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and private-sector regulatory stalwarts like United States Pharmacopeia (USP).

These critical regulatory bodies, and the non-dilutive funding some can provide to promising companies, have acted as a magnet, drawing (and keeping) scores of entrepreneurs, international companies, established biopharma organizations, and emerging life science entities to the region.

Indeed, COVID-19 has temporarily disrupted the value of proximity, as companies in all sectors were forced to transition to nearly 100% remote work environments. However, as more vaccinations get into arms and the pandemic recedes, the intrinsic value of proximity and access will recover. That’s not to say the 9 to 5 in the office, road warriors of the I-270 corridor will return full force; remote work is here to stay. But the importance of face-to-face interactions and connecting in person at lunch or via conferences will eventually return. That is to say that the BHCR’s robust regulatory ecosystem will continue to be a significant biopharma industry asset even in the COVID-19 new normal.

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