Bio Innovation Conference to Highlight Cell and Gene Therapy Industry & Why Maryland is Becoming the #1 Destination for Biotech Companies

October 3, 2019

The cell and gene therapy field has exploded over the past few years.  Fueled by innovations in immunotherapy, cell engineering and biomanufacturing, as well as landmark FDA approvals, a new era of medicine is upon us that is delivering new approaches to the treatment of cancer and other serious and life-threatening diseases. 

This nascent industry is expanding all across the globe and Maryland, in particular, has seen an exponential boom within its cell and gene therapy cluster.  It’s this boom that Maryland Tech Council (MTC) CEO Marty Rosendale hopes to capitalize on to help Maryland rise above the likes of leading clusters such as Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area to be the number one destination for life science companies.

Rosendale is a competitive guy, and he’s seen this same fire and competitive drive from many of the trade organization’s 435 tech and life science members. In a recent Baltimore Business Journal article titled, “Md. Tech Council CEO wants state biotech industry to aim higher than ‘top 3′”, Rosendale shared, “I think it’s time to look again, focus in on areas we’re already doing very well in, and aim for No. 1.”

An important distinction is that “Being the #1 place for companies to grow their business is different from being #1 in the rankings of GEN and JLL,” he added. 

Rosendale believes that Maryland, the anchor of the Biohealth Capital Region (BHCR), is already #1 for many companies due to the region’s strong quality of life, close proximity to the National Institutes of Health and other research institutions and its deep talent pool. 

He points to recent examples like Kite Pharma choosing to build its manufacturing site in Frederick County and the recent acquisition of Paragon Bioservices by Catalent as confirmation of the BHCR’s ascending reputation as a global biohealth cluster. Add to this the region’s growing cell and gene therapy industry, its blossoming immunotherapy ecosystem and a rapidly developing advanced biomanufacturing capability, and it’s easy to see the source of Rosendale’s confidence. 

“Success will bring more success. The more we can drive success it will build on itself and the message will become clearer and clearer. It’s about getting that message out and incorporating it into the public discussion,” he added.

Getting the message out and building on the region’s success is what motivated Maryland Life Sciences (a division of MTC) to launch the upcoming Bio Innovation Conference, which is expected to draw a crowd of more than 400 life science professionals on Monday. 

“The Bio Innovation Conference is focused on cell and gene therapy this year and what’s happening in this space and why it’s happening in Maryland,” stated Rosendale. “It is designed to explore what can we do, together, to help build this industry. We have panels on advanced biomanufacturing, capital markets and the science behind the industry – and great keynotes in Dr. John Tisdale of NIH and Michelle McMurray-Heath of JLABS @ Washington DC,” he added.

SUGGESTED READ: Gene Therapy Companies In Maryand

“We’re experiencing an exciting time in the region, with wave upon wave of innovations, collaborations, acquisitions, tech transfer and growth,” said Rosendale. “Companies from all over the country are moving here to experience all that Maryland and the region have to offer. This conference provides the perfect backdrop to showcase it all and discuss how to further propel us to the No. 1 spot among life sciences hubs.”  

Notable speakers in the cell and gene therapy/biomanufacturing space include:

  • Pete Buzy, President, Paragon Gene Therapy, Catalent Biologics
  • Doug Doerfler, President and CEO, MaxCyte
  • Jeff Galvin, Founder and CEO, American Technologies
  • Jeffrey Hung, PhD, CEO, Vigene Biosciences
  • Christopher McDonald, Vice President of Manufacturing, Kite Pharma (A Gilead Company)
  • Ram Palanki, PharmD, Senior Vice President of Commercial Strategy and Operations, REGENXBIO
  • Jon Rowley, PhD, Founder and Chief Product Officer, Rooster Bio
  • Aaron Vernon, Vice President, Engineering and Supply Chain, Autolus

“In our recent podcast, Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly Shulz summed up what we need in one word: Stories. We need to tell stories. We need to tell people our success stories and why they’ve been successful and why being in Maryland helped them succeed. The more we can tell these stories, the more we can get everyone talking about our region and thereby increase our recognition,” Rosendale stated.

If you are attending the Bio Innovation Conference on Monday, you’ll hear dozens of success stories and will walk away with no doubt as to why biotech, particularly cell and gene therapy and biomanufacturing, is thriving in Maryland.

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