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Fueling an Innovation Ecosystem for Startups to Thrive

Virtual Event

July 14, 2020 @ 12:00 PM 1:00 PM

Join us for a lively discussion between our region’s top innovators and connectors to hear about their efforts to help grow the innovation ecosystem and the pipeline of successful startups across the BioHealth Capital Region.

On this webinar, you will learn how you can take advantage of the many resources available throughout the region that will help your company go to market AND increase the opportunity to find success in the process.

Meet our Presenters


Moderator / Rich Bendis
Founder, President, and CEO of BioHealth Innovation, Inc.

Mr. Bendis is the Founder, President and CEO of BioHealth Innovation, Inc. He is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, angel investor, investment banker, innovation and technology-based economic development leader, international speaker and consultant in the technology and healthcare industries. He also serves as the founding President and CEO of Innovation America, a national public-private partnership focused on accelerating the growth of innovation economy in America. He was also the founding Chairman of The Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation and Founder and CEO of Innovation Philadelphia. He was recently asked to serve as the Co-Chairman of the AURP BioHealth Caucus.

As one of the most recognized experts in the field of the innovation economy, Mr. Bendis has served on numerous distinguished boards and task forces including the White House U.S. Innovation Partnership Advisory Task Force, the Small Business Innovation Research Committee, the National Association of State Venture Funds Board; State Science and Technology Institute and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneurial Institute as a National/Regional Judge and Entrepreneur of the Year winner.

Sally Allain, MSc., M.B.A.
Head of JLABS, Washington, D.C.

As Head of JLABS @ Washington, DC, Sally sets the strategic direction and oversees all operational activities for JLABS in the greater Washington metro region, including Maryland and Virginia.

In this role, Sally is responsible for the process of evaluating and selecting a strong portfolio of innovators for JLABS @ Washington, DC, and building strategic partnerships with corporate, academic, government, and industry organizations that aim to strengthen the region’s life sciences innovation network.

Chris Barrow
Executive Director, Life Sciences at J.P. Morgan

Chris joined J.P. Morgan in 2012 in the Philadelphia office, where he and his team focus on providing financial solutions to life sciences companies located in the Mid-Atlantic area, including Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Chris currently helps biotech, specialty pharmaceutical, specialty pharmacy, medical device, medtech, medical diagnostics and contract research organizations gain access to J.P. Morgan’s well-known healthcare commercial and investment banking resources. He has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry with roles that have spanned public accounting to banking.

Kolaleh Eskandanian, Ph.D., M.B.A., P.M.P.
Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Children’s National Hospital

Kolaleh is the Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at CNH. She is also the principal investigator of the FDA-funded National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation, focused on accelerating the path to market for pediatric devices.  

Dr. Eskandanian works with a large network of small and large businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies—all to promote addressing the unmet medical needs of children. She is the producer of two annual innovation competitions that select small businesses that demonstrate the ability to address a significant medical need in the pediatric space. Since early 2014, over 100 pediatric medical device companies have been funded and/or received technical expertise through these competitions. As a result of this initiative, over 10 pediatric medical devices have received FDA clearance or CE mark approval.

Dr. Eskandanian is the lead inventor of the first-ever adverse event reporting system, initially deployed in a research academic environment. This technology and its derivatives have now been in the market for over 10 years. She has had leadership roles in the development of the first web-based trouble entry management system for a Fortune 100 company in the telecommunications sector. She has been a key contributor in securing over $50 million in government funding for two large research enterprises.  Prior to joining CNH, Kolaleh held positions with Intelsat, Accenture, and Georgetown University. 

Kolaleh’s background is in mechanical engineering with a PhD in operations science from Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics and an MBA from American University Kogod School of Business.

Dr. Arti Santhanam
Executive Director at the Maryland Innovation Initiative at TEDCO

Dr. Santhanam currently manages the Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII) fund investing in commercialization and start-up companies spun out of five participating universities; Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland College Park, Baltimore, and Baltimore County campuses, as well as Morgan State University.

Established in 2012, MII has invested $35M that has resulted in 95 startups, >$445M follow-on funding, and 7 exits to date. At TEDCO, Dr. Santhanam has served various roles over the years including Investment Analyst for the Maryland Venture Fund and Director for the Life Science Investment Fund. 

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