Weekly Quick Hits (BHCR) – Week of September 25, 2023

At BioBuzz, community is at the very heart of who we are as a company, and as people, and the Baltimore community is particularly part of who we are because it’s our home. This week we want to celebrate the spirit of Pava LaPere, a Baltimore community leader and Tech CEO who we lost from our community this past week. We want to honor what she lived for because she was a beacon of good in the world. She lived to build, explore, and inspire others – which she did. She believed in the power of community and ecosystems to do good. She was on a mission to help ecosystems flourish by being more open and more equitable – which she was accomplishing through her company, EcoMap. Our team knew Pava’s smile and her unparalleled capacity for sharing information and inspiration in equal doses, and we’ll honor her with our work and carry her spirit of community forward as best we can.

The BioBuzz Team | September 29, 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 

BioHealth Capital Region Named Top 3 BioPharma Cluster

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN) ranked Maryland, DC, and Virginia as the #3 biopharma cluster in its national top 10, behind only the SF Bay area and Boston/Cambridge, and ahead of New York/New Jersey and Los Angeles/Orange County. GEN focused on NIH funding, VC funding, issued patents, lab space, and jobs to issue the rankings. Last year saw the BCHR at #4 on the same list.

Deka Biosciences Closes $20 M Round

Deka, based in Germantown, MD, is pushing forward its individualized cytokine therapy for cancer and inflammatory diseases with new funding from a syndicate of investors including its CEO John Mumm. A precision medicine platform, the company is moving toward dosing its third cohort in a Phase 1 clinical trial. Mumm has told BioBuzz, “We want to build an environment, build a culture and a place where people feel like they can make a difference and Maryland was the right place to do it.”

DC’s Nanochon Raising $3.5 M for 3D-printed Knee Cartilage Implant

FDA approval and human trials are key milestones ahead for Nanochon and its lead product Chondrograft, which marries orthopedic implant and tissue growth technologies. Nanochon won the 2021 Crab Trap Competition at the BioHealth Capital Region Investment Conference. 

Galen Robotics Gains FDA Approval, Announces Bridge Funding Round

Galen is moving toward Series B financing to advance its Galen ES technology, used for ENT surgery. The company is based in Baltimore and aims to establish Digital-Surgery-as-a-Service (DSaaS) technology through its cooperatively controlled robotic surgical assistant technology. Galen raised a $15 million Series A round in 2022.  

Scheer Partners Announces Real Estate Partnership with JH Tech Ventures 

Scientific industry real estate specialty firm Scheer Partners has announced its sponsorship of FastForward lab and office facilities operated by Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures. The JHTV Innovation Hubs are on the Johns Hopkins medical campus in East Baltimore and in the R House in the city’s Remington neighborhood. 

TEDCO to Put $200K into Natáur for Plant-Based Taurine

Baltimore’s Natáur has been awarded $200,000 by TEDCO’s Social Impact Funds to advance its development of taurine from non-animal sources. Taurine is described as an essential amino acid for babies and functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain, among other things. Natáur’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and aims to market the “only sustainable and eco-friendly source of taurine that can be produced at scale,” according to the company, which also calls it a “longevity vitamin.”

In the Clinic

Frederick’s Theradaptive Gets $7.4 M DOD Clinical Trial Award

Theradaptive uses protein engineering to advance the development of new targeted protein therapeutics for bone and tissue regeneration, and through the Department of Defence’s Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program it will receive up to $7.4 million, subject to FDA approval, for phase I/II clinical studies. CEO and founder Luis Alvarez set up the company based on MIT research to address the two-thirds of military veterans with service-related injuries who have musculoskeletal injuries. There are more than 1 million veterans in the BioHealth Capital Region, according to the VA.  

New Products

Bronchosleeve Inventors Are Collegiate Inventor Competition Finalists

Johns Hopkins University undergraduate biomedical engineering (BME) students who formed OnPoint Ventilation are set to present to judges from the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in late October. Their Bronchosleeve product is intended to reduce complications associated with a common chest surgery procedure undergone by 600,000 patients annually. The product came out of the top-ranked JHU BME program’s well-known Design Team program.

Community Building

JLABS @ Washington, DC Hosts Girls in Bio

Girls in Bio, led by and focused on female STEM students in middle school and high school, held its kickoff event at JLABS @ Washington, DC on Sept. 21. The Group met with Polaris Genomics Chief Medical Officer Anne Naclerio, who encouraged the group to find female peers and mentors and build those relationships to get jobs or fellowships. “While it’s not always easy, you can do anything you want to do,” Dr. Naclerio told the group. Polaris Genomics is focused on the development of biomarker blood tests for PTSD. Reach out to Girls in Bio at [email protected] for more information about the group and upcoming events.