Six BioHealth Capital Region Biotech Innovators Honored as BioBuzz’s 2023 Annual Award Winners

Presented by EwingCole | ECBuild, BioBuzz’s 4th annual peer-nominated awards honored six life science leaders and innovators in the BioHealth Capital Region.

May 30, 2024

BioBuzz has been building life science communities for 14 years because we believe in the power of personal networks to unlock your career potential. For our next chapter, we’re building upon the success of our community to help solve today’s greatest challenges in hiring and career development. There is a better, more equitable way to connect talent with opportunity… and we’re building it.

Biotech leaders and innovators around the BioHealth Capital Region celebrated the 30 finalists and six winners of BioBuzz’s 2023 Annual Awards at South Duvall’s invite-only Executive Happy Hour at City Garage Science & Technology Center presented by EwingCole | ECBuild.

Reflecting on the event, Matt Brown of South Duvall shared, “It was great celebrating both individual advocates of the life science community and companies large and small at City Garage Science & Technology Center. Getting so many interesting people in the same room is always fun. We are excited to do it again next year.”

With over 35,000 impressions and 7,000+ votes during the nomination process, the Annual Awards showcased the enthusiastic participation across the region.

“Nominated by and voted on by our community of life science professionals, our Annual Awards are community-driven and our celebrations have always been so much more than a BioBuzz event,” said Chris Frew, CEO, BioBuzz Networks. “They’re symbolic of the larger community and the role that we all play in uplifting the industry and those making an impact.”

The ‘John Holaday’ BioHealth Leadership Award Winner

Jeff Galvin, CEO, American Gene Technologies and AddImmune

Jeff Galvin has over 30 years of entrepreneurial experience, including successful ventures in Silicon Valley as a tech entrepreneur and investor. His journey in biotech began unexpectedly after meeting Dr. Roscoe Brady at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This chance encounter led to the founding of AGT in 2008, with a mission to leverage gene and cell therapy technologies to alleviate human suffering and bring forth the beginning of a new life sciences technology revolution on a global scale that would lead to cures for thousands of diseases, including cancer.

Galvin has led AGT under the company motto of “Where Creativity Cures.”  This quote exemplifies his entrepreneurial spirit and his relentless commitment to never losing sight of the goal – which is bringing forth a cure for HIV, and many other diseases. Galvin was a 2022 Inductee into the Montgomery County Business Hall of Fame, and aside from his business leadership he is well known for leading by example in the community as well. Galvin regularly speaks with students about STEM and life science careers at K-12 schools and the University of Maryland Shady Grove campuses as well as regularly speaking at the Kids Museum.

After positive Phase 1 data from their HIV Cure program (AGT103-T) last year, under Galvin’s leadership, AGT spun out AddImmune as a new company to exclusively focus on advancing the commercializing of that program and entered into a Business Combination Agreement with 10X III Capital Venture Acquisition Corp. III (10X III) this past August to take the company public.

Last year, Galvin accepted the BioBuzz Media Award on behalf of American Gene Technologies for their HIV-focused video series, “The Cure Chronicles.” Hosted by Galvin, this series features thoughtful and compelling conversations with people in the HIV community discussing a wide range of topics through the perspectives of people living with HIV, advocates, medical experts, policymakers, and more. Now in its 23rd episode, “The Cure Chronicles” is just one of the many reasons Galvin returns as a winner in 2023. 


  • Carol Nacy, Founder and CEO, Sequella
  • Jane Shaab, Senior Vice President, UMB Health Science Research Corporation (RPC), Associate Vice President for Economic Development, University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • Jeff Schubert and Tracy Staley, Co-Founders, Texcell
  • Troy LeMaile-Stovall, CEO, TEDCO

2023 Community Builder of the Year Winner

Sally Allain, Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS @ Washington, D.C.

As the Head of JLABS @ Washington, DC, Sally sets the strategic direction and oversees all activities for JLABS in the greater Washington-Maryland-Virginia region. In her role, Sally is responsible for external engagement, innovation sourcing, company onboarding, portfolio management, and operational and P&L excellence. She also leads in building strategic partnerships with corporate, academic, government and industry organizations that aim to strengthen the region’s life sciences innovation network.

Sally brings more than 20 years of international life science, healthcare, and biotech experience, from positions held in both the US and the UK, and in the management of global R&D programs.

Sally joined JLABS after serving as Senior Director, Strategy & Operations on the Global External Innovation team at Johnson & Johnson where she supported the establishment of a new operating model for the organization, global portfolio management, and strategic business development efforts. Prior, Sally held roles within Janssen R&D, Immunology, where she directed a team responsible for managing the global alliance portfolio and research operations for early discovery to early development projects. She also supported new strategies for Immunology’s Translational Medicine team to enhance capabilities, capacity and ability to shape smaller and shorter clinical trials.

Sally understands the needs of healthcare entrepreneurs, having launched her research career at a San Diego-based biotech startup acquired by Centocor R&D. She then worked internationally for a UK-based governmental economic development agency driving early-stage programs aimed at accelerating the development and commercialization of products. This included programs focused on the intra-ocular delivery of biologics for the treatment of AMD and an international stem cell technology program.

As a Champion for Health Equity, Sally helped shape and lead J&J’s WiSTEM2D Scholars Award Program to fuel the STEM2D talent pipeline, and she co-leads Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s Board Fellows Program.

In 2022 Sally was recognized within PharmaVoice’s Top 100, acknowledging standout executives and R&D disrupters; and in 2023, recognized by the Washington Business Journal in their Power 100.

Sally received her MBA from the University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business; a Master of Science Degree in Microbiology / Immunology from Virginia Tech; and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Virginia Tech. She sits on the Boards of BioHealth Innovation and Mindshare, two organizations supporting early-stage companies, and was selected to be an Executive Fellow at The Economic Club of Washington, DC.


2023 Workforce Champion of the Year Winner

BioHub Maryland

As an initiative of the Maryland Tech Council, the largest technology and life sciences trade association in the state, BioHub Maryland helps life sciences companies of all stages and sizes grow by training the next generation of life sciences talent.


The Startup of the Year Award Winner

Astek Diagnostics (Baltimore, MD) 

Led by Mustafa Al-Adhami, PhD, Astek Diagnostics is a biomedical company focused on creating a platform to determine antibiotic sensitivity. Through this venture, the company developed the JIDDU. This device is a diagnostic platform that provides physicians with information to diagnose and treat urinary tract infections, finding any antibiotic susceptibility and preventing the use of ineffective or excessive antibiotics—a practice that can cause the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.


The Breakthrough Life Science Company of the Year Award Winner

Cartesian Therapeutics (Gaithersburg, MD)

Cartesian Therapeutics is a clinical-stage company pioneering RNA cell therapies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. The company’s lead asset, Descartes-08, is a potential first-in-class, RNA-engineered chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (rCAR-T) in Phase 2b clinical development for patients with generalized myasthenia gravis, with additional Phase 2 studies planned in systemic lupus erythematosus as well as ocular autoimmune and vasculitic autoimmune basket trials. Cartesian operates a wholly owned, state-of-the-art cGMP manufacturing facility in Gaithersburg, MD with expansion plans for Frederick, MD in 2024.


The Employer of the Year Award Winner

MilliporeSigma (Rockville, MD)

The life science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada, has more than 28,000 employees and more than 55 total manufacturing and testing sites worldwide, with a portfolio of more than 300,000 products focused on scientific discovery, biomanufacturing and testing services. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and electronics.

More than 64,000 employees work to make a positive difference in millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From providing products and services that accelerate drug development and manufacturing as well as discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere.