BBJ – A new virtual community looks to connect Maryland’s biotech players

February 9, 2016

BioBuzz and our upcoming BioHive were recently featured in the Baltimore Business Journal by Sarah Gantz.

Biohealth is all over the map in Maryland. There’s the biotech corridor in Montgomery County, where companies like MedImmune LLC and Emergent BioSolutions Inc. call home. The students and academic researchers at Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland are up in Baltimore. Then there are the government agencies and their many, many contractors spread throughout the Baltimore-Washington region.

Chris Frew wanted to find a way to connect all the dots.

Enter BioHive, an online community engagement website for the movers and shakers of biohealth.

BioHive, currently in Beta mode and officially launching this spring, is designed to be a place where people in the biohealth industry can meet, re-connect, discuss industry news and work on projects together. Members create profiles, then they can share links to news articles, comment on other members’ posts and even host video conferences. Eventually, BioHive will host virtual seminars or education sessions.

“We want it to be an experience,” said Frew, who is developing BioHive with Andrew Eckert.

BioHive is part of BioBuzz, a nonprofit Frew founded in 2010 and runs with Eckert. The group organizes meet-ups and events within the Maryland biotech industry. Frew sees BioHive as a virtual extension of BioBuzz and a way for people who can’t attend every meet-up to stay in the loop and feel like they were there.

BioBuzz has about 5,000 users and its events draw crowds of between 100 and 150, on average. Frew hopes to tap into BioBuzz’s members to build up a userbase of about 1,000 people for BioHive.

BioBuzz is supported by industry sponsors, including BioHealth Innovation, Johns Hopkins University and MedImmune. Frew is in the process of landing sponsors for BioHive, too, so that the platform can remain free for users.

Frew is working with Breezio, a Rockville-based community engagement software startup, to build out BioHive’s features. Frew is vice president of sales at Breezio.

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