Maryland Showcases Life Sciences Ecosystem at BIODigital 2021

When the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) convenes its annual trade show this month, Maryland’s life sciences ecosystem, which played a significant role in combating the global COVID-19 pandemic, will be on full display.

Over the last year, Maryland has taken on a significant role in battling the COVID-19 pandemic.  Several Maryland biopharma companies are developing and manufacturing vaccines against the virus while others are engaged in the production of therapeutics and diagnostics. The role the companies and universities have played in battling the epidemic have attracted significant investment capital into the state. More than $1.16 billion was raised from venture capital groups and an additional $2.3 billion was secured from government grants.

That financial momentum has continued into 2021 with seven Maryland companies raising more than $10 million in venture funds. Additionally, only last month, Australian digital diagnostics company Ellume announced plans to build a U.S. manufacturing facility to accelerate domestic production of its COVID-19 home tests in Frederick County and bring more than 1,500 jobs by the end of 2022. 

Maryland believes the strides made by the state’s ecosystem could serve as a significant catalyst for new partnering opportunities for over 70 local life sciences organizations that are participating in the BIODigital 2021 conference.  The Maryland Department of Commerce, the state’s primary economic development agency, and Maryland Life Sciences, the state’s largest technology, and life sciences trade association, created a partnership to maximize the value for the state’s delegation at the conference. 

The Global Marketplace showcases Maryland among leading biotech hubs from around the world and highlights 15 organizations that represent the state’s unique blend of life sciences industry, federal agencies, and flagship universities.  In addition, more than 30 Maryland life sciences companies received complimentary full registration access to the virtual conference through this partnership. Companies will be able to participate in educational sessions, networking events, and one-on-one partnering meetings to raise funds and identify strategic partners for continued growth.

“We want to promote Maryland as one of the top U.S. hubs for life sciences and innovation,” Michelle Ferrone, Chief Operating Officer of the Maryland Tech Council told BioBuzz.


Ulyana Desiderio, the Director of BioHealth and Life Sciences at the Maryland Department of Commerce, said the state delegation wants to build on the momentum created by Maryland’s historical strengths in infectious disease research, biomanufacturing, high concentration of STEM workforce, proximity to federal agencies, and an entrepreneurial mindset.

Like the 2020 meeting, BIODigital 2021 will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Desiderio said the virtual format may benefit many of the smaller companies seeking one-on-one time with investors and other key industry players.  She said people are used to the online aspect after a year of virtual meetings and the ease of connecting will allow companies to maximize their conference experience. “We want everyone to walk away from BIO this year blown away by what Maryland has to offer,” Desiderio said.

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Alex Keown is a freelance journalist who writes about a variety of subjects including the pharma, biotech, and life science industries. Prior to freelancing, Alex has served as a staff writer and editor for several publications.