Path to World Vaccine Conference was through ‘Vaccine Alley’ this year

More than a dozen biotech companies or researchers from the Maryland biotech cluster, which some have also dubbed ‘Vaccine Alley’, were among the most recognized finalists at this year’s Vaccine Industry Excellence (ViE) Awards in Washington, DC at the World Vaccine Conference.  In fact, 15 out of the 54 finalists, or 27%. were from right here in Maryland.  This year’s conference was held in Washington, DC so could this have been a case of home court advantage?  Probably not. More than likely it’s because this region holds 20% of the top influencers worldwide in vaccine development.

With dozens of Federal research institutes such as NIH, NCI, NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and several top ranking research universities focusing on vaccine research it’s no wonder that we maintain such an influence in the vaccine field.  Those institutional foundations have produced a dense population of intellectual expertise in the field causing a very robust industry of successful CMO’s, CRO’s and vaccine development companies to flourish here.  It’s assets like these combined with a robust ecosystem that contributed to GSK’s decision to open their global vaccines R&D center here in Rockville, MD.

There is no doubt that it’s helpful to have so many potential customers, employees and collaborators just down the alley from you when growing a new vaccine business, and many of those on this year’s ViE awards list have taken full advantage that.

Check out the Regional Asset Map to explore all the Vaccines and Therapeutics companies we have in the region.

The ViE Awards are divided by nine categories in which six finalists are short listed before the conference based on nominations.  Congrats to the Winners and the “Highly Recommended” awardees highlighted below!

This year’s Winners from Maryland include:

Emergent BioSolutions – Best CMO

Immunomic Therapeutics & Astellas – Best Therapeutic Vaccine

GSK – Best Prophylactic Vaccine


The 2nd place “Highly Recommended” awardees included:

ABL, Inc. – Best CMO

GSK – Best Pharma

ICON Clinical Research – Best CRO




Below is a full list of all of the finalists including the 15 highlighted in red who are from Maryland.  Of the nine categories only one did not have representation from this region.

Congrats to all of the finalists for their hard work and accomplishments to advance vaccine research and improve human health.

The Full List of 2018 FINALISTS Are:

 Best Contract Manufacturing Organization Award

  1. VGXI
  2. Baxter Biopharma Solutions
  3. Paragon Bioservices
  4. IDT Biologika
  5. ABL Inc – Highly Recommended
  6. Catalent Pharma Solutions
  7. Emergent BioSolutions – WINNER

The Best Therapeutic Vaccine

  1. Inovio – VGX-3100 – Cervical cancer
  2. Immunomic Therapeutics/Astellas – ASP0892 – Peanut Allergy Vaccine – WINNER
  3. Moderna/Merck – mRNA-4157 – cancer vaccine
  4. BioNTech – mRNA cancer vaccine
  5. 2A Pharma – HPV
  6. Advaxis – ADXS – DUAL – HPV associated cancers

The Best Prophylactic Vaccine

  1. GSK – Shingrix – Shingles – WINNER
  2. PaxVax – Oral Cholera
  3. Pfizer – PF-06290510, Staph aureus
  4. GeneOne Life Sciences/Inovio (GLS-5700) – Zika
  5. GeoVax – Zika vaccine
  6. Takeda – TAK-003, Dengue

The Best Pharma Award

  1. GSK – Highly Recommended
  2. Pfizer
  3. Sanofi Pasteur
  4. Janssen
  5. Merck (MSD)
  6. Medimmune

Best Contract Research Organization Award

  1. PPD
  2. Syneos Health
  3. SGS Life Sciences
  4. ICON Clinical Research – Highly Recommended
  5. IQVIA
  6. PRA HealthSciences
  7. Accelovance

The Best Academic Research Team Award

  1. Prof Myron M. Levine – University of Maryland School of Medicine
  2. Dr David Weiner
  3. Dr Nina Bhardwaj
  4. Dr Neal Halsey – Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  5. Dr Robert A. Seder – Vaccine Research Center, NIAID
  6. Dr James Crowe

Best Production/Process Development Award

  1. Eppendorf
  2. Batavia Biosciences
  3. BD Life Sciences
  4. Avanti Polar Lipids
  5. GE Healthcare Life Sciences
  6. MilliporeSigma

The Best Biotech Award

  1. Altimmune
  2. GeoVax
  3. Reata Pharmaceuticals
  4. BioNTech
  5. Genocea Biosciences
  6. Amgen

Best Clinical Trial Site OR Network Award

  1. Platinum Research Network
  2. VaxCorps (Benchmark Research, PMG Research, Research Centers of America)
  3. Centre for the Evaluation of Vaccinations (University of Antwerp)
  4. Alliance for Multispecialty Research (AMR)
  5. Optimal Research
  6. Elite Research Network
  7. HIV Vaccine Trials Network



Chris Frew, @biobuzzMd

chris @



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