Meet Your 2022 BioBuzz Award Winners

You nominated, you voted, and we tallied.

It’s time to announce the winners of our 3rd Annual BioBuzz Awards – a celebration of the exciting and groundbreaking work being done by the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) and Greater Philadelphia life science communities and the individuals that make innovation happen.

The wave of support across networks and social media was amazing and illustrates the strength of our ecosystems in the Biohealth Capital Region and the Greater Philadelphia area. 

From all of us at BioBuzz, thank you so much for casting your vote and being such an important part of our regional community.

This Year’s Award Categories

And now cue the drumroll as we present to you the 2022 BioBuzz Award winners! Congrats to all of this year’s winners as well as our amazing finalists and nominees.

The ‘John Holaday’ BioHealth Leadership Award

In honor of the late John Holaday, Ph.D., renowned scientist, CEO, philanthropist, mentor and community leader, this award recognizes a regional biohealth leader who embodies Holaday’s personal credo — “do well by doing good”, and exemplifies a similar unwavering devotion to excellence. With this award we wanted you to nominate a servant leader who is carrying on John’s legacy and lives each day with a passionate pursuit of excellence and innovation in their own work to make a difference in the lives of others. As CEO and Founder EntreMed, and MaxCyte, Holaday had an important role in building the foundation for the biohealth industry that exists here today, and we want to honor that legacy through this award.

Award Winner: 

Dr. Kurt Newman, President & CEO, Children’s National Hospital (48.1% of the vote)

Dr. Kurt Newman is a surgeon and recognized leader in pediatric health nationally and in Washington, D.C. Since becoming CEO in 2011, he has fostered a culture of patient-centered care and championed innovations in research, operations, and clinical care. He has forged productive partnerships with other health systems in the region, with government and community entities and with industry at the local, national and global level. He is also a strong advocate for expanding mental health access for kids and has led two national forums on this issue. 

Dr. Newman was recognized as the Washington Business Journal’s 2021 CEO of the Year. in addition to his work during the continuing pandemic, WBJ added, “Newman also vastly expanded the enterprise, opening the first phase of its $215 million research and innovation campus at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C., expanding its behavioral health facilities at the renovated Takoma Theatre, unveiling a new sports medicine center in partnership with Fight for Children in downtown Silver Spring’s newly-dubbed Inventa Towers and inking a deal to provide crucial pediatric services in what will be Southeast D.C.’s best hope for health care: a $375 million state-of-the-art hospital to be built on the St. Elizabeths East campus.”

Dr. Newman plans to soon retire from his position, continuing to lead the organization while the board searches for his replacement.

The Community Builder Award

This award honors a thoughtful community builder that fosters intentional collaborations and meaningful contributions of their time, energy, and expertise to support the biohealth ecosystems in the BioHealth Capital Region and Philadelphia. This individual or organization has gone above and beyond their responsibilities to make an impact on the ecosystem. This person or organization is a servant leader who sees beyond their job description or the balance sheet and strives to create a rising tide for all across so that we can collectively make a greater impact on public health and patients around the world.

Award Winner: 

Venture Café Philadelphia (36.2% of the vote)

The Venture Café Philadelphia taps into the expertise and network of the University City Science Center to partner with companies and organizations that are evolving business, education, technology, social justice, science, and the arts within Philadelphia and beyond. Along with pitch nights, thought-provoking content, and one-on-one sessions. Venture Café’s flagship program – Thursday Gathering – provides attendees with hundreds of connection and action opportunities each week, both online and at their inspiring venues.

Fulton Bank Ad

The BioBuzz Media Award

This award honors a media campaign that most aligns with our own mission; ‘to create exceptional experiences that better connect people and employers and foster a stronger regional ecosystem.’ At its core, it recognizes the media campaigns or platforms that have successfully engaged, informed, and connected people within scientific communities. Eligible nominations may include social media, podcasts, video series, blog series, event or webinar series, and other advertising, marketing, and public relations campaigns. Nominees are selected based on the strategic approach, quality, and results achieved.

Award Winner:

American Gene Technologies®’ “The Cure Chronicles” Video Series (41.9% of the vote)

Rockville, Maryland’s American Gene Technologies® (AGT), a leading gene therapy biotech company working to develop a functional cure for HIV and treatments for other diseases, launched a new HIV-focused video series in 2022 entitled “The Cure Chronicles”.

“The Cure Chronicles” features thoughtful and compelling conversations with people in the HIV community and can be found on AGT’s website, YouTube as well as other digital media platforms. The series is hosted by AGT’s CEO Jeff Galvin and discusses a wide range of HIV topics through the perspectives of people living with HIV, advocates, medical experts, policymakers, and more. The series recently went live with its 13th episode.

The Workforce Champion of the Year Award

This award recognizes the program or organization that has made a measurable contribution to enhancing the biotech workforce within the BioHealth Capital Region and Philadelphia. Talent is the single most important, and limiting, variable to the success of a company and of a regional economy. These nominees are recognized for their outstanding contributions and innovative approach to attracting, training, or growing the biotech workforce.

Award Winner:

The Biomedical Technician Training Program (BTT Program) – Iovance, Wistar Institute, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and Philadelphia Works (46.4% of the vote)

The Biomedical Technician Training (BTT) Program was created by Dr. William Wunner at The Wistar Institute in partnership with Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) in 2000. In 2019 the BTT Program became a registered pre-apprenticeship that can lead into Wistar’s Fox Biomedical Research Technician (BRT) Apprenticeship.

This year, six (6) organizations came together for the next iteration of the BTT Program under a new grant awarded. The Wistar Institute, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, Iovance Biotherapeutics, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and Philadelphia Works recently announced their partnership for a paid workforce development training program called Biomedical Technician Training Program: Aseptic Manufacturing.

The aseptic manufacturing program is 22 weeks long and will include 10 weeks of evening classes followed by a full-time lab orientation at The Wistar Institute. The last phase of the program is a 10-week externship with Iovance Biotherapeutics, where students will work at the Iovance iCTC (Cell Therapy Center) at the Navy Yard. After completion of the BTT Program, trainees can obtain positions that are traditionally held by graduates of four-year baccalaureate programs.

Learn more about the program.

The Breakthrough Life Science Company of the Year Award

This award recognizes the companies who have pursued their mission with dedication and perseverance and built momentum towards commercialization with a substantial breakthrough this past year. Nominees should be selected from companies that have achieved important milestones such as advancing to a clinical-stage company, achieving successful pivotal trials, or getting FDA approval for the commercialization of their technology to bring it to the patients who need it.

Award Winner:

Vaccitech (36.7% of the vote)

Vaccitech is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of novel immunotherapies for the treatment of chronic infectious diseases, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and other T cell-related diseases. Headquartered in the UK, Vaccitech also has a presence in Baltimore after acquiring Avidea Technologies in late 2021.

The company’s unique platforms, ChAdOx, MVA, and SNAPvax, are designed to harness the power of the immune system’s T cells and can be combined in prime-boost regimens, providing advantages in terms of tolerability, manufacturability, and efficacy.

Notable News & Milestones

The Employer of the Year Award

This award honors the life science employers who are the foundation of a vibrant biotech cluster. Being a great employer is about building an exceptional workforce, developing an employee-centric culture that keeps employees engaged and empowers them to be ambassadors for your company, fostering a more inclusive and resilient workforce. It’s also about the ability to attract top talent and achieve your needed growth without compromising these elements. Nominees should reflect these essential elements and have a talent brand.

Award Winner:

Center for Breakthrough Medicines (43.1% of the vote)

CBM is a cell and gene therapy CDMO based in the heart of Philadelphia that offers pre-clinical through commercial manufacturing capabilities including process development for cell therapy, plasmid DNA, and viral vector manufacturing, as well as cell banking, cell processing, and a full suite of complementary testing and analytical capabilities.

The company has had a tremendous year despite the headwinds of the bear market, with audacious plans to build the largest cell therapy manufacturing operation in the world. And with that comes the need for hiring. In the first quarter alone, CBM hired approximately 200 people to help the CDMO meet its goals.

Take a look through CBM’s webpage and social media and you’ll immediately get a sense of the company’s vibrant culture. Staff at all levels, from senior leadership to more junior levels, are celebrated for their involvement in conferences, speaking engagements, outreach efforts, and more. 

2022 BioBuzz Awards Wrap-up

As always, a huge thank you to all who supported this year’s Awards. From nominating to voting, from sharing on social media to rallying your coworkers and colleagues.

Cheers to a strong end to 2022, and an even stronger 2023. 🥂 

If you’d like to watch the full version with all winners, enjoy!