TEDCO CEO Sees a Cohesive Region as Key to Growth

TEDCO CEO Troy LeMaile-Stovall believes the growth of the life sciences ecosystem in Maryland requires a greater sense of cohesion.

During a virtual meeting of the Maryland Life Sciences Advisory Board, LeMaile-Stovall, who was tapped as the new CEO of TEDCO, shared his thoughts on ways to expand the state’s booming life sciences industry and, for him, the first step is looking inward. Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) is an entrepreneurial organization designed to identify and invest in technology companies across Maryland. During his remarks, LeMaile-Stovall noted that the definition of an ecosystem is when the degree of separation between the parts of a unit is considerably small. The path to growth lies through greater cohesion, he said. That type of cohesion includes examining how the life sciences industry overlaps with other industries in the state and finding best practices to integrate them.

“We want to take advantage of Maryland’s diversity and grow it across different areas,” he said.

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Other means of growth will include leveraging the federal healthcare-based assets unique to Maryland that includes the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the National Cancer Institute, among others. Additionally, LeMaile-Stovall pointed to military institutions that can advance some technological innovations and the state’s university system as valuable assets.

Troy LeMaile-Stovall, TEDCO CEO

While LeMaile-Stovall did not provide many details during the informal presentation regarding growth, he also suggested that inclusion will play a significant role.

“We have to find ways to expand and include more people,” LeMaile-Stovall said. Recently, he was awarded as the DC Chamber of Commerce’s Chairman’s Choice honoree for his efforts in addressing workforce and economic challenges.

When addressing the Maryland Life Sciences Advisory Board (LSAB), LeMaile-Stovall added that inclusivity goes beyond race and gender, it’s also those who are economically disenfranchised. “This will be the way to move forward. We have to make sure the talent of Maryland is best represented.”

The strength of the state’s life sciences and technology communities were showcased by Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent announcement of Maryland’s Future 20. LeMaile-Stovall said 12 of the 20 companies on that list were TEDCO companies. TEDCO companies that made the list of innovative startups from multiple industries include Medcura, pathOtrak, Silfra Biosystems, Theradaptive, Inc. and Vita Therapeutics.

“When you look at the list, they represent the future power of Maryland,” LeMaile-Stovall said. “This thing we call an ecosystem has to be the engine that drives that growth. We have the pieces here in Maryland.”

Arti Santhanam, Executive Director of Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII), called TEDCO the “glue of the startup ecosystem in Maryland.” MII, a partnership between the state and five academic institutions, is designed to promote the commercialization of research conducted in the partnership universities and leverage each institution’s strengths through financing opportunities. MII has funding programs under its umbrella that assist TEDCO, partly through grants and investments. Santhanam, who also spoke with the LSAB, said 60% to 70% of projects that come through MII are life sciences. MII funds up to $265,000 through two phases of investments. During her brief comments to the LSAB, Santhanam said the goal of the MII investment strategy is to finance startups that can ultimately attract additional investments from outside of the state in order to strengthen their position within the Maryland ecosystem. MII has invested more than $33 million into more than 90 startups since 2012, Santhanam noted.

Through investments such as these, MII has shown a significant level of success. She added that TEDCO and MII have helped launch multiple companies that ultimately reinvest in the growth of the state.

“The backbone of growing the ecosystem is TEDCO,” Santhanam said.