Maryland Life Science Companies Share Hopes for Annual BIO Convention

Over a period of four days, life sciences companies from across the globe will descend on San Diego for the annual Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) meeting. Multiple companies from Maryland, as well as the Department of Commerce, will be among them, showcasing the strength of the BioHealth Capital Region.

The annual convention brings together more than 15,000 companies within the life sciences space that will network and share information about their ongoing research in various panel discussions and fireside chats that are scheduled throughout the four-day event. The Department of Commerce and its partners are supporting Maryland companies attending the convention, and are also showcasing the strengths of the state in order to attract new business to Maryland. Ulyana Desiderio, Director of the Office of Life Sciences, said Commerce staff have scheduled over 40 official partnering meetings, and are looking forward to hosting attendees and delegates in the Maryland pavilion as well as at a networking reception on Tuesday evening.

Patrick Wynn, who joined Commerce last month as the Director of the Office of Strategic Industries and Entrepreneurship, said “participating in the BIO convention is important towards our mission of attracting life sciences companies and investors to Maryland, as well as putting Maryland on map for those who are thinking of expanding into the United States.”  Stefanie Trop, Manager of Business and Innovation Development in the Office of Life Sciences, said that the Commerce team will also be meeting with foreign governments and other economic development agencies “to identify mutually beneficial partnership opportunities in our increasingly global environment.”  For example, Maryland is looking forward to co-costing a breakfast reception with a delegation from Quebec to celebrate a Quebec–Maryland cooperative agreement.

Trop expressed her excitement and said she is excited that BIO will provide her an opportunity to learn more about new developments in cell therapy and other biopharma fields. 

In addition to Commerce, several of the Maryland-based companies planning to attend BIO spoke with BioBuzz ahead of the convention start to share their hopes and goals.


Sebastien Maloveste, Vice President of Business Development for Beltsville-based NextCure, expressed excitement about the opportunities that can be found at BIO. A veteran of the conference, Maloveste said the company is sending representatives in order to establish partnerships and collaborations that will allow it to leverage its pipeline. The company will showcase its capabilities during a partnership panel.

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“We are particularly eager to meet our potential partners in person, which we had limited opportunities to do during the pandemic. We are also pleased to show our progress in advancing our clinical pipeline in addressing specific disease settings and our understanding of the novel biology supporting our programs,” Maloveste said.

Rise BioServices

Sathya Janardhanan, Vice President of Development & Manufacturing at Rise BioServices, a microbiome-focused company, expressed excitement about returning to the in-person conference this year after the 2021 virtual conference. Janardhanan said they are looking forward to in-person interactions with companies that could be potential partners, as well as with other groups that could become collaborators.

“With the concerted effort of our team, we launched our GMP manufacturing facility to support production of microbial products, including Live Biotherapeutic Products (LBPs), complete with a GMP- and GLP-testing laboratory. We are making these resources available to other companies with the launch of Rise BioServices,” Janardhanan said. “Utilizing our product expertise in the microbiome space and our specialized technologies around the microbiome product class, we leverage our specialization focus in live microbial products to support emerging companies in the microbiome drug development, medical foods, and probiotics industries. We are very excited to share our experience and information related to our technical resources with companies at BIO.”

Gain Therapeutics

Gain Therapeutics Chief Executive Officer Eric Richman called the annual convention a productive forum that brings life sciences representatives from across the industry to form a “wonderful milieu in which to share ideas and pursue networking opportunities.” He said BIO is “an event we never miss.”

Richman noted that after two years of communicating virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he and his team are excited about meeting in person with stakeholders and potential partners.

“This is a significant year for Gain as we prepare to commence a FTIH study of our lead compound in development for GBA-associated Parkinson’s disease, GT-02287.  Recent preclinical studies show robust Parkinson’s-specific disease-modifying effects both in vitro and in vivo with this first-in-class novel therapeutic targeting genetically defined neurodegenerative diseases,” he said.

Gain will participate in multiple panels where it will share this information.

It’s not just companies that will attend the convention. The Maryland Department of Commerce will host a pavilion that highlights the state’s life sciences ecosystem as a whole, touting many of the advantages offered there. Representatives from Frederick County are also showcasing the business development opportunities in that county. Solash Aviles Montanez, business development specialist with the county, along with Mary Ford-Naill from the city of Frederick, expressed their excitement about BIO. Both the city and county have had a presence at BIO in past years. Being at BIO is a “good opportunity to market our area and everything we have to offer,” they both said.

“BIO provides an opportunity to connect face-to-face with hundreds of biotech and life science companies and professionals, Frederick City and County understand that this is a key industry sector to attract and make connections to support our existing companies,” Aviles Montanez and Ford-Naill said. “We are really looking forward to making key connections with companies that are looking to have a presence on the East Coast.”