Announcing Finalists for the 2nd Annual
BioBuzz Awards

We’re excited to announce this year’s finalists for the second annual 2021 BioBuzz Awards. These awards celebrate the people and companies across our regional community and their efforts and accomplishments to impact human health and build a stronger biotech community.

With so many people doing amazing things across the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR), it was hard to highlight just a few.  Special thanks to our annual sponsors, partners, and collaborators who provided nominations from areas of the region including Charlottesville, VA, Montgomery County, MD, Baltimore, MD, and Frederick, MD.  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.

As always, the BioBuzz Awards winners will be chosen by YOU.  We have and always will be a community-first company, and we believe that each and every person plays an important role in what makes this community so great. We hope you’ll take the time to make your vote count.

So, we are excited to announce the following finalists for following BioBuzz Awards; the BioBuzz Media Award, Community Builder Award, Workforce Champion of the Year Award, the John Holaday BioHealth Leadership Award, Breakthrough Life Science Company of the Year Award, the Employer of the Year Award, and the COVID-19 Impact Award.

The ‘John Holaday’ BioHealth Leadership Award 

In honor of the late John Holaday, Ph.D., renowned scientist, CEO, philanthropist, mentor and community leader, this award recognizes a regional biohealth leader who embodies Holaday’s personal credo — “do well by doing good”, and exemplifies a similar unwavering devotion to excellence. With this award we want you to nominate a servant leader who is carrying on John’s legacy and lives each day with a passionate pursuit of excellence and innovation in their own work to make a difference in the lives of others. As CEO and Founder EntreMed, and MaxCyte, Holaday had an important role in building the foundation for the biohealth industry that exists here today, and we want to honor that legacy through this award.

Alain Cappeluti, NexImmune

Alain Cappeluti is a serial entrepreneur and biotech executive whose journey goes back to the early days when Maryland’s biotech ecosystem was just emerging.  He was the second employee at Human Genome Sciences (HGS), an organization that has had a profound impact on shaping the BHCR. Cappeluti brings more than three decades of public and private company experience to the table, having directly participated in about $4B in corporate financing transactions, including M&A, IPOs and real estate. 

Cappeluti was instrumental in the successful HGS spinout, CoGenesys, serving as its CFO until Teva Pharmaceuticals acquired the company in 2008. Several other companies Cappeluti has helped to launch include OTraces, Inc., ConverGene, LLC., and Noble Life Sciences which has grown over the past 10 years into a leading CRO providing GLP and non-GLP preclinical services for the development of drugs, vaccines and medical devices. Most recently Cappeluti helped co-found JHU spin-out NexImmune, launched in 2011 to help bring to market a new generation of immunotherapies.

Learn more about Alain in our article about serial entrepreneurs in the BHCR.

Doug Doerfler, MaxCyte

Doug Doerfler has more than four decades of experience in the discovery, development and commercialization of biotechnology products and in international financing for life science ventures. He has held many high level executive positions in industry, including: Senior corporate development and operations roles at PFRM, Inc., CEO and Director at Immunicon Corporation; and various executive positions at Life Technologies (Bethesda Research Labs/Gibco, now ThermoFisher Scientific). 

In 1998 Doerfler co-founded MaxCyte, along with John Holaday, whose core technology is an advanced cell engineering platform that has grown alongside the advancing cell and gene therapy field. The organization has fifteen cell therapy commercial partners  with over 75 programmes  licensed for clinical use.. In July 2021, MaxCyte announced the dual listing of its shares of common stock on both the London Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Global Market (“Nasdaq”) under the symbol “MXCT”

Doerfler is an active advocate for the BHCR bioscience industry, serving on multiple boards and providing mentorship and guidance to the region’s bioscience entrepreneurs. He has served on the BIO Board for over twenty years, founding Chair of BIO’s Capital Formation Committee  and currently serves on the executive board of BIO and is the Chair Emeritus for the Maryland Tech Council. 

You can learn more about Doug Doerfler on the BioTalk Podcast with Rich Bendis.

Ken Malone, Early Charm Ventures

Ken Malone is a co-founder of Early Charm Ventures, a venture studio founded in 2012 in Baltimore (Charm City) that converts science to business. Early Charm specializes in teaming with entrepreneurial-minded faculty who are rooted in drug design, custom materials, aquaculture technologies, and machine vision, and turning their technological innovations into companies focused on growth. 

Ken brought his venture studio model from Mississippi to Baltimore because, ‘there’s no bigger stage for basic research in the world than Baltimore.’  Ken and his team show up to the labs and offices every day to do the heavy lifting and work directly on growing their companies at every stage of their life cycles. They are the management team, the operators, and the entrepreneurs that get intimate with their portfolio companies.  

Though not originally from Baltimore, Ken fits right in with the “Smalltimore” moniker, and is always building relationships and networks across the city and beyond that to help his portfolio succeed.  That’s part of Ken’s own “charm.”  He embodies the city’s entrepreneurial culture and is committed to helping other Baltimore entrepreneurs, companies, and the overall city succeed.  They build companies and entrepreneurs that create sustainable value.

Early Charm has grown by about 20 people in the past year, and the recent doubling of Production and Development Space at the 1100 Wicomico building, where they are part of the Baltimore Innovation Center, is bringing job creation and investment to southwest Baltimore. Learn more about Ken in his Five Questions Interview with BioBuzz.

Breakthrough Company of the Year

This award recognizes the companies who have pursued their mission with dedication and perseverance and built momentum towards commercialization with a substantial breakthrough this past year. Nominees should be selected from companies who have achieved important milestones such as advancing to a clinical-stage company, achieving successful pivotal trials, or getting FDA approval for the commercialization of their technology to bring it to the patients who need it.

Adaptive Phage Therapeutics

Adaptive Phage Therapeutics (APT) has had quite a year.  From fundraising and expanded leadership, to new collaborations and an advancing Clinical pipeline, APT has made some breakthrough milestones to make their technology available to even more patients.

APT is a clinical-stage biotech advancing therapies to treat multi-drug resistant infections with their PhageBank™ approach, which leverages a library of phages that collectively provide evergreen broad spectrum and polymicrobial coverage. PhageBank™ therapy is matched through a proprietary phage susceptibility assay that APT has teamed with Mayo Clinic Laboratories to commercialize on a global scale. PhageBank™ is positioned to be the first antimicrobial to increase the spectrum of coverage and does not require market-suppressing antibiotic stewardship. 

Notable Milestones

  • Last November the FDA cleared an expanded access IND for APT’s PhageBank™ therapy to combat COVID-19-related bacteria infections
  • In February the FDA cleared an IND application for PhageBank™ for the treatment of prosthetic joint infections
  • In March the FDA cleared another IND application for PhageBank™, this time for the treatment of diabetic foot osteomyelitis
  • In May APT raised a $40.75 million Series B investment round led by Deerfield Management Company and existing investor Mayo Clinic.
  • In June, APT initiated a Phase 1/2 trial of PhageBank™ in urinary tract infections

Cartesian Therapeutics

Founded in 2016 and with three assets in clinical trials, Cartesian has emerged as the leader in RNA cell therapy.  The company is pioneering RNA cell therapies in and beyond oncology, with products in development for autoimmune, oncologic and respiratory disorders.  All investigational therapies are manufactured at Cartesian’s wholly-owned, state-of-the-art cGMP manufacturing facility in Gaithersburg, MD. 

RNA Armory® is Cartesian’s proprietary cell therapy platform that enables RNA-engineering any cell, to target to any tissue, any combination of therapies. The platform is agnostic to cell type: Cartesian chooses the best cell for the job, whether autologous or off-the shelf.

Notable Milestones

  • In February, Cartesian initiated a Phase 2 clinical trial of the first RNA-engineered cell therapy for frontline cancer
  • In May, Cartesian won its fourth NIH grant supporting RNA cell therapy clinical trials
  • In August, Cartesian announced clinical responses in its first cohort of a Phase 1b/2a trial in Myasthenia Gravis
  • This September, Cartesian strengthened their leadership team with the addition of Miloš Miljković, M.D., as CMO

Delfi Diagnostics

Delfi is developing a new class of liquid biopsy tests for early detection based on altered genome-wide fragmentation profiles, also known as “fragmentomes,” representing aberrant packaging of DNA in cancer cells. By applying advanced machine learning algorithms, these fragment patterns are detectable at a very low sequencing cost. Delfi is using this technology to develop highly sensitive and specific cancer detection assays intended for wide and cost-effective distribution and adoption.

By examining cell-free DNA fragments across the genome, Delfi’s machine learning system analyzes orders of magnitude more data on the presence or absence of cancer than possible with conventional technologies that look for limited changes in DNA sequences, methylation, or proteins. Delfi’s highly accurate assays are not affected by confounding conditions such as clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP) or other diseases.

Notable Milestones

  • The company launched in January 2021 with a $100 million Series A round led by OrbiMed
  • In February, Defi brought on Tara Maddala as VP of Clinical Development and Allison Ryan as VP of Data Science
  • In March, Delfi began enrolling for a prospective lung cancer screening trial ahead of a planned commercial test
  • In June, Peter Bosch joined the team as CMO
  • In August, Delfi’s liquid biopsy showed promise for reducing lung cancer deaths
  • In October, Delfi continued expanding their C-suite with the addition of Doug Schenkel as CFO and brought on three additional VPs to support their mission

The BioBuzz Media Award

This award honors a media campaign that most aligns with our mission; ‘to create exceptional experiences that better connect people and employers and foster a stronger regional ecosystem.’ At its core, it recognizes the media campaigns or platforms that have successfully engaged, informed, and connected people and reflect favorably on the BHCR. Eligible nominations may include social media, podcasts, video series, blog series, event or webinar series, and other advertising, marketing, and public relations campaigns. Nominees should be selected based on the strategic approach, quality, and results achieved.

American Gene Technologies – #DNAValley

In Sept 2020 AGT CEO and Founder Jeff Galvin tweeted how he believes that Montgomery County, MD is set to be the next Silicon Valley for biotech and is poised to become the epicenter of the gene therapy revolution. Since then, the hashtag has evolved into a rallying cry on social media, being used to not only promote AGT’s tremendous work but the work of its fellow neighbors, including RoosterBio, Kite, Autolus, and more.

What makes AGT stand out for this award is that if you follow AGT on social media, or their blog, you’ll notice that the company goes the extra mile to communicate beyond their corporate brand and the science that is coming out of their labs. You’ll notice that they emphasize the community, the importance of Maryland’s ecosystem and the great work that so many other companies are doing. You’ll also notice how often CEO, Jeff Galvin, is out in the community speaking with students, advocacy groups or other industry partners about the importance of gene therapy and of the Maryland biotech community.

Just this month, American Gene Technologies launched the #DNAValley YouTube series to continue bolstering the biotech boom in Montgomery County, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for this channel!

Maryland Life Sciences – “It’s Better Here

Last December as we were gearing up to put 2020 behind us, Maryland Life Sciences launched a new monthly newsletter, “It’s Better Here,” with the goal of amplifying to the world why Maryland, and the BioHealth Capital Region as a whole, is the place to work.

Since its inception, the “It’s Better Here” newsletter has highlighted a variety of hot topics ranging from biomanufacturing to vaccine development, industry awards to company spotlights, and everything in between, helping to keep folks in the know on everything that’s happening in our area.

And, of course, we can’t have a call out to the “It’s Better Here” newsletter without also calling out to their beautiful BioCapital Life Sciences map, illustrated by a local artist from the area.


Last November TEDCO CEO and Executive Director Troy LeMaile-Stovall launched TEDCO Talks, a new virtual thought leadership series where Troy connects with regional leaders to have engaging discussions on a range of topics, including the future of the Maryland innovation ecosystem. 

In the last year alone, the “TEDCO Talks” YouTube channel has posted over 35 interviews and currently has over 130 subscribers. Guests have included everybody from Rich Bendis at BioHealth Innovation to Sally Allain at JLABS to BioBuzz’s own Chris Frew. We also greatly admire Troy’s tremendous efforts in elevating the voices of women and people of color through this channel.

Community Builder Award

This award honors someone in the region who has gone above and beyond their responsibilities to make an impact on the ecosystem by being a thoughtful community builder who fosters intentional collaborations and meaningful contributions of their time, energy, and expertise to support the biohealth community. This person is a servant leader who sees beyond their job description or the balance sheet and strives to create a rising tide for all across the BioHealth Capital Region so that we can collectively make a greater impact on public health and patients around the world.

Amritha Jaishankar – Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF)/TEDCO

Amritha Jaishankar serves as the Executive Director, Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF). In this role, Amritha is responsible for oversight of all MSCRF activities, programs, scientific management and oversight of the portfolio, as well as MSCRF business development. She works with stem cell scientists and a variety of key stakeholders to develop a collaborative research program and promote commercialization of stem cell technologies. 

MSCRF has invested over $170 million in identifying, supporting, and accelerating cutting-edge research, innovation, clinical trials and commercialization of human stem cell-based technologies in Maryland. Amritha is scientist by training who has devoted her career to developing cures for debilitating and life-threatening conditions of our time and to advancing this field, through various roles in federal, university, and industry settings. She is passionate about using stem cell technologies to accelerate cures for patients in need. Her experience in and outside of the laboratory has made her a proven leader and champion for stem cell research and commercialization. 

Since 2016, she has led an Accelerating Cures initiative at MSCRF and has helped create a vibrant and growing stem cell community in the region. She was recently recognized for her leadership in life sciences and contributions to the community by Women In Bio Capital Region and as a 2020 Leading Women honoree by The Daily Record, Maryland. Amritha also serves on a number of advisory boards and committees in the region.

Ben Skowronski – CRB, & President, ISPE Chesapeake Bay Chapter

Ben Skowronski is currently the Site Lead for CRB’s Rockville Office. CRB is a full-service network of engineers, architects, constructors and consultants focused on delivering design, construction and consulting solutions for the life sciences industry. CRB has been behind many of the new cutting edge facilities you see across the region. Ben joined CRB over six years ago as Director of BD for their MidAtlantic region and has been a major part of CRB’s incredible growth from an office of just five people to now over 90 local employees.

Ben has been an active member of the Chesapeake Bay Area Chapter of ISPE for almost a decade, most recently serving two terms as President, and prior to that he was VP as well as MAST Vendor Showcase Committee Chairman. It’s no wonder that Ben’s is one of the more recognizable faces that you see across the BioHealth Capital Region – he has played a big role in getting the community together for many years. Ben was integral in helping grow the annual vendor showcase and helped to reformat the event into the anticipated annual event you know today, and helped to grow attendance by more than 400% during his involvement. Most recently Ben formed an industry advisory board for the Chesapeake Chapter to help guide it’s mission, and is helping to recruit the next board of directors for the chapter to ensure the great impact that ISPE is known for will continue after he steps down as President. 

Additionally, Ben’s active support of the BioHealth Capital Region includes being a member of the Bioprocessing Advisory Board at Frederick Community College. Ben has presented at BIO Innovation Conference, the National Institute of Health and the American Society of Plumbing Engineers and assisted numerous universities, hospitals and pharmaceutical/biotech companies on the design and implementation of high purity water systems.

Mary Ford-Naill, Frederick City, and Solash Aviles Montanez, Frederick County

Mary Ford-Naill joined the City of Frederick, Maryland in 2017 as its Economic Development Manager. With over 30 years of commercial and residential real estate industry experience, Mary’s role focuses on promoting business attraction and retention initiatives within the City.  Mary serves as the Department of Economic Development’s representative to the Tech Frederick Advisory Board and the Golden Mile Alliance Board.  Additionally, she was appointed by Mayor Michael O’Connor to serve on the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Review Panel. 

Solash earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology from the University of Puerto Rico. While in college, she supported research development where she became more interested in the life science industries and how this industry improves the quality of life for the public. After college, Solash moved to Maryland where she worked as a Quality Control Analyst at Sanofi Pasteur Biologics. In addition, she also worked at Emergent BioSolutions, and most recently at Lonza’s Walkersville facility where she gained experience in quality control and compliance issues. 

Mary and Solash have been a force in helping to bring regional exposure and new business to Frederick while also helping to strengthen the workforce by promoting the relocation benefits of a biotech career in Frederick, MD and helping to attract talent in Frederick’s life sciences industry.

Nikki Hastings – QDS Capital, CvilleBioHub, MAVN

Nikki Hastings is the former Executive Director and a current entrepreneur in residence of CvilleBioHub in Charlottesville, Virginia working to strengthen and grow the regional biotechnology industry ecosystem. Over the past decade, she has contributed to the growth of early-stage companies including HemoShear Therapeutics and Contraline by leading operational and growth needs and supporting the translation of research concepts into commercial viability. Nikki holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia and a B.S. from North Carolina State University in the same field.

Since beginning her career in industry, she has been passionate about connecting people and resources within this community, which began with grad student friends reaching out to find about local biotech industry job opportunities.  She and several other local industry leaders co-founded CvilleBioHub because they saw an opportunity to bring more awareness to the industry cluster for those interested in being involved and connected. One of the many quick wins CvilleBioHub created is their CHIP internship program.

Workforce Champion of the Year Award

This award recognizes the program or organization that has made a measurable contribution to enhancing the biotech workforce within the region. Talent is the single most important, and limiting, variable to the success of a company and of a regional economy. These nominees are recognized for their outstanding contributions and innovative approach to attracting, training, or growing the biotech workforce within the region.

GSK – Apprenticeship Program

GSK’s Apprentice Program is a 2-4-year long program that provides students with the opportunity to jumpstart their career while pursuing a college education. During their program, apprentices receive a combination of paid on-the-job training while studying towards their associates degree, fully-funded, at GSK’s partnering college. All apprenticeships are registered with the Department of Labor at each site, and apprentices receive a certificate of completion from the Department of Labor at the end of their program.

GSK partners with educational institutions worldwide, including our own local Montgomery College. During the program, apprentices are immersed in the world of biotech and learn specialized, highly sought-after skills to kickstart their career and make them stand out to any employer. In addition to their professors at Montgomery College, apprentices also have a close support system of mentors at GSK that includes their direct line manager and their cohort of fellow apprentices from around the world.

Kite – Apprenticeship Program with Hood College and Frederick Community College

This past March Hood College announced that they were partnering with neighboring biopharmaceutical company, Kite Pharma, to help train the cell therapy workforce in Frederick. A key part of the partnership includes installing a new state-of-the-art lab in Hood’s Hodson Science and Technology Center.

Frederick Community College (FCC) is excited that Kite has chosen to work with their biotech program partnering in the first of its kind apprenticeship program. This partnership gives FCC students the unique opportunity of contributing to Kite’s mission of bringing life changing therapies to everyone.

Thermo Fisher – Diversity & Inclusion

Thermo Fisher’s D&I strategy is embedded in every stage of the colleague experience – from recruiting and hiring to training, development and long-term career planning. Their growing cross- divisional team helps to activate the D&I strategy and goals throughout each of Thermo Fisher’s businesses and corporate functions.

They track the progress of D&I objectives through a core set of metrics that are reviewed during routine business operating mechanisms and shared each month with leaders across the company. This enables frequent, meaningful, data-driven discussions across businesses and functions on a range of D&I factors, including gender and racial/ethnic representation and diverse hiring practices. Their approach also ensures they consistently prioritize where they have opportunities to improve.

Thermo Fisher continues to receive external recognition for integrating D&I into their culture and practices. In 2020, they were named a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality for the sixth consecutive year, and they were also named a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion, receiving a perfect score on the program’s index for the past four years. Thermo Fisher believes that establishing an inclusive culture is critical to empowering their colleagues so they can contribute their best ideas and bring their true selves to work each day.

Montgomery College / Universities at Shady Grove – Biotech Bootcamps

Earlier this year a new Biotech Bootcamp series was launched to help address the workforce shortage in the biotech field and train new workers with zero to minimal previous biotech experience. The first two pilot programs were pulled together by Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove (USG), in conjunction with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), and Worksource Montgomery who provided the funding as a part of Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation. Quality Biological and other industry partners joined to develop the curriculum and interview graduates.

The fist pilot started with 11 Montgomery County residents completed a pilot Biotech Boot Camp offered by UMBC at the Universities at Shady Grove and Montgomery College. The participants were all people who had recently become unemployed or underemployed due to the pandemic. After four weeks of intensive, hands-on training in basic biotech techniques, they are now qualified to apply for in-demand, entry-level roles in the biotech industry.

While some industries have experienced significant setbacks and lost jobs during the pandemic, the biotech industry has seen explosive growth. Hundreds of biotech companies in the region are struggling to fill critical roles with qualified workers. This Biotech Bootcamp seeks to address this mismatch between available workers and available jobs. 

UMBC and Montgomery College partnered with WorkSource Montgomery to identify eligible participants for a skills-based introductory training course. With the support of the Montgomery County government, the experience was tuition-free for participants. The program resulted in a high placement rate after completion which has begun the discussion on how to make these bootcamps more regular in 2022.

Are they successful? Well, according to Montgomery College, at least 80% of the participants from their two bootcamps were offered full time positions so the program seems to be working quite well based on these early statistics. 

Employer of the Year Award

This award honors the life science employers who are the foundation of a vibrant biotech cluster. Being a great employer is about building an exceptional workforce, developing an employee-centric culture that keeps employees engaged and empowers them to be ambassadors for your company, fostering a more inclusive and resilient workforce. It’s also about the ability to attract top talent and achieve your needed growth without compromising these elements. Nominees should reflect these essential elements and have a talent brand.


CRB is a leading provider of sustainable engineering, architecture, construction and consulting solutions to the global life sciences and food and beverage industries. CRB’s more than 1,400 employees provide best-in-class solutions that drive success and positive change for its clients, its people and its communities. CRB is a privately held company with a rich history of serving clients throughout the world, consistently striving for the highest standard of technical knowledge, creativity and execution.

One example of CRB’s recent growth is the company’s involvement in many COVID-related projects during 2020 and 2021, such as the development of an mRNA vaccine production facility in Switzerland. CRB has spearheaded the growth of the biohealth capital region by leading major capital projects such as Novavax, TCR2, and Civica’s new facility in Virginia to name a few.


Novavax, Inc. has been one of the most notable biotechnology companies in the region throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. The company received $1.6B in warp speed contract funding to produce 100M doses of their COVID vaccine which was an outstanding award for a small, clinical-stage company with no marketed products. Novavx responded and began to scale their operations, growing from about 450 employee to now 885 employees in the past year (according to LinkedIn).

In order to scale their operation so rapidly and retain a core Novavax culture, they formalized their own SuperNOVA employer brand which was launched in early 2021. Many companies talk about employer branding, but Novavax took it to a new level.

Novavax is conducting now late-stage clinical trials for NVX-CoV2373, its vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. NanoFlu™, its quadrivalent influenza nanoparticle vaccine, met all primary objectives in its pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial in older adults. Both vaccine candidates incorporate Novavax’ proprietary saponin-based Matrix-M™ adjuvant to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies.

If you find science, speed, and success exhilarating, you’re a SuperNova. Novavax’s growing team is powered by SuperNOVAs.

United Therapeutics

United Therapeutics builds on the strength of its research and development expertise and a distinctive, entrepreneurial culture that encourages diversity, innovation, creativity, sustainability, and, simply, fun. Since inception, the company’s mission has been to find a cure for pulmonary arterial hypertension and other life-threatening diseases. Toward this goal United Therapeutics has successfully gained FDA approval for five medicines, is always conducting new clinical trials, and is working to create an unlimited supply of manufactured organs for transplantation. 

The company’s long-term mission is to provide an unlimited supply of transplantable organs for those who need them! Based in Silver Spring, MD, their employees employees, or #Unitherians as they call them, can be found collaborating across the United States and around the world around their common mission. As a group, Unitherians are relentless in our pursuit of “medicines for life” and company’s culture is one that continues to support research and develop treatments for cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, pediatric cancers, and other orphan diseases.

Earlier this year, the United Therapeutics converted to a Public Benefit Corporation showing a commitment to improving patients’ health, promoting healthy communities, and addressing important sustainability priorities through its use of green-building technologies, while simultaneously delivering strong shareholder returns. Giving back is the Unitherian way.

COVID-19 Impact Award

2020 was a year like no other. And with that being said, 2021 was also quite challenging. Much more, perhaps, then we had hoped at the end of 2020. This award honors those life science & biohealth technology companies who have responded to the pandemic and developed a product, project, or service this year that has made the greatest impact on easing the effects of COVID-19. Nominees should be considered based on the impact they have or will have on COVID-19 and our public health.

American Gene Technologies – CLIA Lab

AGT developed its own COVID-19 testing lab using high accuracy RT-PCR tests. These tests detect genes specific to COVID-19 by amplifying RNA, providing diagnostic results with as few as 10 copies of the virus per mL. This allows AGT to detect infected individuals early before they become contagious.

As capacity for the COVID lab increases in 2021, AGT has made its RT-PCR tests available to clinics across Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia. Responsible business practices at AGT keep the turnaround time low, so patients can expect results within 12 hours, providing reassurance that they can safely return to work, see family, or even travel.

Ellume – COVID Diagnostic Test

Ellume has developed a suite of products in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a home test that gives test results in 15 minutes and antibody tests for the laboratory market. These rapid diagnostic tests help to reduce disease burden, manage outbreaks and community transmission, and reduce pressure on healthcare systems. The Australian company invested $16 million into Frederick County, occupying 180,000 square feet of space on Executive Court South in the Progress Labs corporate park. The project is expected to create about 1,500 new jobs by the end of 2022.

Novavax – Flu/COVID Vaccine

In September, Novavax announced enrollment of the first participants in a Phase 1/2 study to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of a combination vaccine using Novavax’ seasonal influenza and COVID-19 vaccines. The clinical trial combines Novavax’ recombinant protein-based NVX-CoV2373 and NanoFlu™ vaccine candidates and patented saponin-based Matrix-M™ adjuvant in a single formulation (COVID-NanoFlu Combination Vaccine). Both NVX-CoV2373 and NanoFlu have previously demonstrated strong results as standalone vaccines in Phase 3 clinical trials.

Please cast your vote for the 2nd Annual BioBuzz Awards and help us to recognize the leaders in the region who are making an impact on growing the ecosystem and bringing life-changing products to patients in need!