BioFactura, a leading developer and manufacturer of biosimilars and biodefense products, is one of the crown jewels of Frederick, Maryland’s growing biotech hub. The company is thriving and has secured strong funding from both private and government sources that see the potential of the company’s StableFast™ biosimilars platform. In May 2021, BioFactura reached an important milestone, announcing that it had moved its first biosimilar product into the clinic.
Secretary of Commerce tours new I-270 Innovation Labs, flexible lab space meeting critical industry need
From left to right: Kelly Shultz – Secretary of Commerce, State of Maryland; Luis Rugeles – Co-founder & CEO, I-270 Innovation Labs; and Doug Bane – Co-founder & COO, I-270 Innovation Labs.
A serial entrepreneur and ecosystem builder, Julie Lenzer is currently the Chief Innovation Officer at the University of Maryland and Founding Director for the newly-launched Quantum Startup Foundry. In these roles, she is charged with fostering and deploying innovation to drive economic and social impact from both university-affiliated and community-based innovators and oversees the university’s tech transfer office, the Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Veteran’s Business Outreach Center (VBOC), the Mixed/Augmented/Virtual Reality Innovation Center (MAVRIC), as well as university engagement with the Discovery District (UMD’s 150-acre research park). An active angel investor, she is also on the investment committee of the $10M Maryland Momentum Fund and UMD’s newly-launched Discovery Fund.
Over the next few years, thousands of new positions in the biopharma and life sciences industry are expected to open up across the BioHealth Capital Region and the greater Philadelphia area known as Cellicon Valley.
Whether you are fresh out of the university or a seasoned veteran, many job seekers question whether or not they should aim for large biopharmaceutical companies, such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer or GlaxoSmithKline, or look at nimble, growth-stage companies, such as American Gene Technologies, Vita Therapeutics, or BioFactura, Inc., which is currently scaling their cGMP and Quality operations.
Late in 2019, Fulton Bank launched a brand-new division to support emerging Life Science and Technology companies. Many traditional banks have historically shied away from these types of companies, which often operate in pre-revenue business models that are more complicated to assess. However, if successful, these companies represent some of the greatest potential for growth and economic impact.
TEDCO Talks’, a video series launched by TEDCO in November 2020, serves as a platform for individuals to hear from thought leaders on economic development in the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR), and particularly in Maryland. These 30-minute virtual ‘fireside chats’ cover a range of topics, such as advice to small businesses dealing with COVID-19, available funding programs and benefits, diversity and inclusion, and more.
“Fiscal Year 2021 was an extraordinary one for Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures despite the challenges of the pandemic,” Executive Director Christy Wyskiel told BioBuzz in an email. “We took full advantage of the momentum from the last few years.”
With the availability of academic positions on the decline, and a boom in startups resulting from disruptive technologies, some PhDs are looking to utilize their unique set of skills in a slightly nontraditional way – venture capitalism (VC). One VC firm, called Fifty Years, has recently concluded its inaugural program (PhD to VC), which aimed at preparing young scientists with the skills needed to jumpstart their VC careers.
Why would any sane person leave the bleeding-edge medical device space after 25 years for a biotech startup? The medical device world allows you to represent products where you see the benefits to patients immediately. We had the privilege of wearing scrubs and offering our expertise in the procedure room. I was fortunate to work with some of the greatest cardiovascular minds in the world. Having built that trust and credibility is something I’ll never forget. So why move along?
The new hub, dubbed JLABS @ Washington, D.C., will host up to 50 startups spanning pharmaceuticals, medical devices, consumer and health tech companies, including those working on pediatric care. The first group of companies moving in include spinouts from the Children’s National Health System, J&J’s partner in running the site, startups local to the D.C. area and those from other parts of the country.