Weekly Quick Hits (BHCR) – Week of September 18, 2023

We’re making news lately, with Baltimore TV channels coming to our City Garage HQ during the job fair BioBuzz & Randy Seiler held to support laid-off Emergent BioSolutions workers. We also heard poignant news from our friends at UpSurge, reminding us that our community of innovators are people first, many of whom are motivated by personal or family health issues that drive them to improve patient care and quality of life.

By Sam Hopkins | September 22, 2023

Quick Hits is BioBuzz’s weekly round up of all the life science news you don’t want to miss, in your region of interest. Don’t miss a beat; SUBSCRIBE to our weekly Quick Hits newsletter via LinkedIn (BioHealth Capital Region, Greater Philadelphia, Research Triangle Park) or get it delivered to your inbox every week.

Funding, Awards and Collaborations

Baltimore News Covers BioBuzz Job Fair for Laid-Off Emergent Workers

BioBuzz’s Chris Frew was interviewed by ABC affiliate WMAR and reinforced the importance of keeping jobs in Maryland. BioBuzz is focused on fully informing the workforce and employers about talent needs and job opportunities over the course of careers and company life cycles. 

Crab Trap: Noble Life Sciences Awards CRO Services to Luminoah

Sykesville’s Noble Life Sciences awarded clinical research (CRO) services to medtech company Luminoah at the BioHealth Innovation Crab Trap competition. Charlottesville-based Luminoah won the final pitch contest with its approach to improving enteral feeding using wearable technology and remote patient monitoring, as well as consumable nutrition pouches.

$3M Funding to VerImmune from Proxima VC

VerImmune, an immuno-oncology company based at JLabs which recently won Amgen’s Golden Ticket prize in Singapore, has landed more than $3 million in follow-on seed funding. The funding follows the successful FDA pre-IND meeting as well as the completion of a key process development milestone, according to the company.

TEDCO’s Nijhara Selected as 2023 Influential Marylander; Stem Cell Research Commission Announces Grants

The head of TEDCO’s Stem Cell Research Fund, Ruchika Nijhara, is one of The Daily Record’s 2023 Influential Marylanders, honored on September 21. The Stem Cell Research Commission led by Nijhara announced $4 million in new grant funding on Wednesday. Nijhara cited the new money as proof of durable funding support to the state’s stem-cell research and commercialization ecosystem. 

Goucher Colleague Gets $10M Alumni Gift for Science Center

Alumna Judy Lewent has donated a record gift to Goucher College to build a new Science Innovation Center on its Towson, MD campus. Lewent said that the sum from herself and her husband supports the school’s courage and desire to “elevate its science facilities to solve global challenges.”

USG Lab for Entrepreneurship and Transformative Leadership Launches Fall Equity Incubator 

The Universities at Shady Grove has kicked off its eight-week Equity Incubator, aiming to expand access to venture formation support and nurture new leaders. One of the incubator participants is biotech educator Amrita Madabushi

FDA awards nearly $7.5 million to pediatric device consortium led by Children’s National Hospital

To foster the development and commercialization of medical devices designed for children, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has awarded a nearly $7.5 million grant to the Alliance for Pediatric Device Innovation (APDI), a consortium led by Children’s National Hospital. Read more here.

Real Estate

Fierce Biotech Cites JLL Report, Highlighting Baltimore/DC

Commercial real estate firm JLL pointed to Greater DC and Baltimore as a leading life science cluster in its recent report predicted a life sciences real estate comeback. Fierce Biotech also pointed to opportunities for emerging biotechs as demand in top markets shrinks in square-footage terms. “While later-stage companies can pause development plans and hold off on physical expansions to operate within their existing footprints, earlier-stage companies need to get moving into lab space,” Fierce reported.  

New Products

Luminis Health and Luna Partner to Launch PT At Home 

Maryland regional health system Luminis Health has announced a partnership with physical therapy provider Luna to introduce PT at Home, a new in-home, in-person outpatient physical therapy option for patient physical therapy.

On the Hill – Regulatory and Advocacy

Ecphora Capital CEO at US-Japan Women in STEM Roundtable

Deborah Hemingway, Managing Partner of Ecphora Capital and member of multiple company advisory boards, represented American women entrepreneurs working in scientific and engineering professions at a Capitol Hill roundtable with Japanese counterparts. In a LinkedIn post, Hemingway highlighted three key needs that she shared for promoting the success of women leaders in STEM: mentorship; support in the home; and data-driven decisions. Hemingway will host a session on Data + KPIs as part of the Entrepreneurship Seminar Series at City Garage, in partnership with BioBuzz and The LaunchPort. Register for the October 6 event here.

People on the Move

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Reports on Maryland Job Opportunities

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that job growth in Maryland in August made it the third-fastest-growing state in the country regarding employment opportunities. Maryland added 12,400 jobs in August, the Department of Labor announced, which was the largest increase since summer 2022. 

Jamie McDonald Steps Down as UpSurge CEO to Address Family Health

UpSurge Baltimore, focused on building the city into the first equitable technology (equitech) startup city, will undergo a leadership change as founding CEO Jamie McDonald steps down to prioritize time with her husband, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2021. In a LinkedIn post, McDonald stated that leading UpSurge has been the best job she’s ever had and that she is optimistic about the organization’s future. UpSurge will accept applications for a new CEO until September 29. BioBuzz and its team count UpSurge and Jamie as colleagues and honored leaders in building the Baltimore entrepreneurial ecosystem and send our best wishes to the McDonald family. 

Rockville CRO Emmes Appoints New CEO

Peter Ronco has been named Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Ronco has held senior roles at Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Myers-Squibb, Accenture, and Pfizer, and adds pharmaceutical industry expertise to Emmes’s growth plans, according to BioHealth Innovation