2020’s Top 10 Most Read News Stories from the BioHealth Capital Region
A recap of 2020’s most-viewed stories on BioBuzz.io
To say that 2020 was an eventful year is the understatement of the century.
2020 found the United States embroiled in a chaotic political environment, reckoning with social unrest and racial injustice, and voting in one of the most consequential presidential elections in the country’s history. Much of this occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, which reared its ugly head early in 2020 and has subsequently killed over 300,000 Americans, devastated the U.S. economy, and wreaked havoc on countries and people across the globe.
Yes, most of us can’t wait to give the proverbial “finger” to 2020 at 11:59 on December 31st as we look with hope towards Spring and brighter days in 2021.
2020 was not all darkness and despair, however. There were moments of extraordinary courage displayed by healthcare workers all over the world. And acts of kindness from ordinary folks doing their part to donate or create needed PPE, help their neighbors, and volunteer their time at the local organizations. 2020 saw unprecedented sacrifices from small businesses and every day people to stop the spread and flatten the curve. Telemedicine and working from home became the norm. This year found teachers and students making the best of no in-person school or hybrid schooling, waiting for the day they could reunite in class, perform in school concerts, or play the sport they love in front of their family and friends.
Most of all, perhaps, 2020 showcased what a determined, innovative, and tireless life science community could do in the face of the greatest public health crisis in recent memory. Biotech and biopharma companies with help from Operation Warp Speed, CDMOs, and supply chain partners achieved what was thought to be impossible: developing and commercializing a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in less than a calendar year.
Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines were developed and approved in record time and are making an impact right now. Multiple other vaccines are in late-stage development, including a few vaccines from Novavax and AstraZeneca/Oxford right here in the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR).
The BHCR life science community stepped up to play a crucial role in the fight against COVID-19 across a number of areas, including vaccine development, vaccine material supply, diagnostic testing, vaccine manufacturing, and an overall can-do spirit that was palpable throughout this difficult, trying year.
We are not out of the woods yet, by any means, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As we say goodbye with glee to 2020, and welcome what 2021 might bring, we are taking a look back at the most read BHCR news stories that appeared on BioBuzz.io in 2020.
Here are the most popular BioBuzz stories from a most unpopular year…
Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Prepares for Commercial Launch from New Maryland Site on the Heels of 2020 Hiring Spree
Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (Aurinia) is a late-stage clinical biopharmaceutical company (Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:AUP); NASDAQ (NASDAQ:AUPH) focused on commercializing therapies for rare autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, the company announced in March 2020 that it had established its U.S. commercial center of operations in Rockville, Maryland, which is actively staffing up with key personnel.
The Biohealth Capital Region (BHCR) is at the leading edge of the rare disease market with companies like American Gene Technologies, REGENXBIO, Cerecor, Asklepion Pharmaceuticals, Lediant, and others advancing their pipelines towards rare disease treatments and cures. The region’s robust rare disease sector also includes a host of companies that support rare disease research and development like Jeeva Informatics, GeneDx, Aperiomics, and HemoShere among others. In short, the portfolio of rare disease companies and growing support ecosystems make the BHCR a global hub for rare disease R&D.
After receiving almost 100 nominations from our sponsors, advertisers, and regional partners and spending many hours evaluating them with our editorial team, we came to one conclusion. There is absolutely no shortage of amazing people and companies in the BHCR. The people in this region are working towards things that will change the world, and that’s not an exaggeration.
2019 was a banner year for the biotech industry which was brimming with innovation and growth, especially within the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR). From Kite Pharma’s announcement of its new state-of-the-art cell manufacturing facility in Frederick County, Maryland, and the opening of the 32,000 square foot JLABS @ Washington, D.C. to Viela Bio’s $150M IPO and Paragon Bioservices $1.2B acquisition by Catalent, 2019 was an exciting year for so many companies and people in the region.
As the New Year begins, it’s time to turn the spotlight on 2020 and ask: Who will be the next big success story that could emerge in the new year?
The BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) is rapidly becoming an industry hub for companies that are developing next-generation therapeutics that focus on personalized and regenerative medicine for the treatment and potential cure of unmet medical needs. Autolus, Inc., a CAR T-cell therapy company, and REGENXBIO, a gene therapy company focused on therapies for rare diseases, are two examples of emerging leaders in the personalized medicine field making their imprint on the region.
Gene therapies represent some of the most promising advancements in science and human health in recent history. The BioHealth Capital Region, and Maryland in particular, is rapidly becoming a hub for companies in this field. With the NIH and the National Cancer Institute at the nucleus, some of the most advanced scientific research and technology development in the field is happening in a short 30-mile radius around Montgomery County, Maryland.
…by some estimates, Maryland is home to twenty percent of the top vaccine influencers in the world; the state is also home to three of the top 10 global vaccine manufacturers. The legacy of vaccine leadership and innovation runs deep in Maryland and can be found at the likes of pharma giants like AstraZeneca, whose acquisition of MedImmune was a watershed moment for the region, as well as privately-held, smaller companies like Immunomic Therapeutics and others.
While these big therapeutic companies are taking the top headlines, there is a whole ecosystem of innovative biotech and life science technology companies behind them that are developing the tools, technologies, and infrastructure that is propelling the industry forward. We have identified five companies that stand out for their unique technologies and solutions that are responsible for driving progress in the cell and gene therapy field and helping their partners bring their products through the clinic and to the patients that need them.
Altimmune Becomes the Second Maryland-Based Biotech to Advance Potential Coronavirus/COVID-19 Vaccine
Altimmune, which is located in Gaithersburg, Maryland announced that it had made progress on a potential vaccine. The company has advanced a potential single-dose, recombinant intranasal vaccine using its proprietary technology. Altimmune’s research scientists have completed the design and synthesis of the vaccine and it is now moving into animal testing. Altimmune projects that clinical testing of the coronavirus vaccine could begin as early as August 2020.
In addition to the region’s medical diagnostics companies working to bolster testing capabilities, BHCR companies like Altimmune, Novavax, Emergent BioSolutions, Sanaria, GlaxoSmithKline, Cel-Sci, and Integrated Biotherapeutics are racing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s a roundup of 14 BHCR organizations striving to develop or assist in the development of COVID-19 vaccines.
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Steve brings nearly twenty years of experience in marketing and content creation to the WorkForce Genetics team. He loves writing engaging content and working with partners, companies, and individuals to share their unique stories and showcase their work. Steve holds a BA in English from Providence College and an MA in American Literature from Montclair State University. He lives in Frederick, Maryland with his wife, two sons, and the family dog.