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A Word from Jeff Gallagher, CEO, Virginia Bio It’s my privilege to travel the state and meet hundreds of companies, research institutions, and individuals who are doing fascinating innovative work and making valuable contributions to our economy and to the health and well-being of people around the globe. Every month in this blog I’ll take a short look at an outstanding member of Virginia’s bioscience community, or update you on important information that impacts the community.

 

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Hitting the pavement for our members

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dear Members and Friends,

One of the missions of Virginia Bio is to lead, and sometimes that means identifying big opportunities for our members and the state and put our shoulder to the wheel.   Let me share a few.

Last week, it was my treat to serve as MC for the VCU School of Engineering’s first Medicines for All Summit, bringing together industry, academic researchers, global public health experts from across the nation and world to Richmond, to spark the collaborative work of the M4All Institute, recently formed with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  By re-engineering the chemistries and manufacturing processes by which small molecule pharmaceuticals are made, M4All is already making an impact on the price and distribution of one major global public health drug – an antiretroviral, with more in the pipeline, and also holds the promise of significantly reducing the cost and barriers to entry to the generic drug industry, improving access to medicines for all.  The technology opens the possibility for entirely new modes of manufacture, and could seed a cluster of innovative companies in the region.

This Wednesday, we were honored to co-host a conference on Digital Health “Bringing Data to Life” along with Vibrent Health, Inova Center for Personalized Health and Dulles Region Chamber of Commerce.  150 attendees heard from a wide variety of companies and university researchers, as well as NIH and NSF funders working in this emerging area. It was the first small step toward a vision of gathering all the considerable strengths in Virginia, DC and Maryland in this hot space, and perhaps creating a Center or Network of Excellence to work together on solving the toughest challenges and pursing opportunities no one company or university can pursue alone.    

Several weeks ago, at the invitation of Virginia Beach Economic Development, I gave remarks at a symposium at the Oxford Biotech Network on the occasion of their Annual Dinner, “Doing (Bioscience) Business to the United States”.  My conversations during my visit opened my eyes to a commonality of strategies among English companies - if not European companies broadly:  they all plan on crossing the pond at some point to establish a US presence to access the US market, and that provides opportunities to Virginia. I applaud the Virginia Beach team for their vision, and the relationship they’ve built with OBN.        

Switching gears to state economic development policy, I’ve lent a hand over the last six months on the Region 4 GoVirginia Foundation Board and the Virginia Research Investment Fund project evaluation team to help build up the systems and processes for these new and significant economic development programs impacting our industry, and to help connect them throughout our community.  Lesson learned:  its’ not easy to stand up a new state program.  I am hopeful these two programs will thrive.  Further reflecting on this fact gives me renewed gratitude for the accomplishments of VBHRC over four short years.

Finally, in a different vein, Cassandra Isley on our team has been working closely with our new member Canon Virginia, Inc., which is undertaking a large expansion of its medical device CMO work in Newport News, to help them connect to members across the state.  We wish them the best, as the realization of their plans will be a strong addition to that region, and to the medical device industry across the state.

If you see major opportunities to grow bioscience R&D and commercialization in Virginia that you don’t think we are aware of, please let us know and we will do our best to help in any way we can.


Best regards,

 

 

 

Jeff 

Tags:  #biotech #m4all #innovateconference #vabeachbio 

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Reasons to Celebrate

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 23, 2017

Dear members and friends,

“Life should not only be lived, it should be celebrated.” Especially in our industry, perhaps, where so many people work so hard, so well and so long to move ahead our communal progress in fighting disease, promoting health, feeding and fueling the world.

If you followed our news stories this past month you would have read some great reasons for celebration of all kinds of bioscience companies across the state. The news was great for these drug and device development companies themselves, also for the many suppliers, professionals, CROs who work with them, for the people they will hire, and of course for the patients and customers we all serve. And as it takes success to build success, these stories help build the momentum and the story of the vibrancy and diversity of bioscience R&D and commercialization in Virginia to the benefit of our entire community.

Landos BioPharma in Blacksburg closed a $10M Series A funding, led by a NY life science investment firm. It’s focusing its unique technology on autoimmune diseases, beginning with a unique — and potentially more effective — way to treat Crohn’s disease. The technology has roots at Virginia Tech, as does CEO Dr. Josep Bassaganya-Riera.

Ceres Nanosciences several months ago closed an $8M Series A investment round, and in the last weeks announced it is part of a team including George Mason University (and its National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases), which received an award of $8M from Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to extend Ceres’ NanoTrap technology platform to develop an effective disease surveillance platform that can be rapidly deployed in the field, operated by untrained users, and improve early response. This technology, too, has roots at a Virginia university - George Mason University.

Aperiomics, Ashburn, Virginia, announced the close of a half-million-dollar seed funding round led by Pipeline Angels, a national network of new and seasoned women angel investors. Aperiomics, a biotechnology company that saves lives by harnessing the power of deep next-generation sequencing to identify all known pathogens (bacteria, virus, fungi or parasite) in a single test. Technology and talent at George Washington University’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus was the seed for this company, led by CEO Crystal Icenhour.

Finally, Hemoshear Therapeutics in Charlottesville announced a partnership with Takeda Pharmaceutical to discover and develop novel therapeutics for liver diseases, including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). HemoShear will receive upfront payments and R&D funding and Takeda will receive exclusive access to HemoShear’s proprietary disease modeling platform to discover and develop best-in-class therapeutics for specific liver diseases. Yes, this technology originated at UVA.

We are privileged at Virginia Bio to know the people who comprise and lead these companies, proud they are Virginia Bio members and delighted to be able to help them in their important work. We’ve watched them over the years and have seen their perseverance, good will, the ability to evolve strategy - even to pivot if needs be, a bedrock pursuit of great science, a distinguishing technology, continual awareness of the ultimate need for and beneficiaries of their work, perseverance (but I repeat myself), and 101% commitment.

“Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed,” advised another quote.

Let’s go!



Jeff

Tags:  #biotech #landos #ceres #aperiomics #hemoshear 

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Women Building Bio Conference Next Week

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 21, 2017
Updated: Thursday, September 21, 2017

Dear Members and Friends,

The Women Building Bio: the XX Factor conference is like no other, and it’s upon us: next Tuesday, September 26, all day at the Inova Center for Personalized Health in Fairfax, VA. Register now!

We expect 300 women and men to attend and participate. For those of you who attended last year’s inaugural event, you know the special vibe. Attendees from across the state and region are eager to meet and learn about one another. Come make many new contacts, and plant the seed for friendships and future collaborations. There’s plenty of time built in to network.

Download the App now, and learn about the 40 outstanding women featured on the program, and see who else is already registered to attend.
Hear outstanding leaders in science, business, government, philanthropy engage in insightful discussions on recent developments and trends, and share tips on personal professional development.

A new program element this year, features several presenters whose organizations and programs enable you to plug in, get training and take action all year round. We’re featuring experts at training women for the boardroom, mentoring and accelerating your startup, making your voice known via automated mobile technology when it counts on issues that matter to you to policymakers, and designing with sex and gender in mind.

The program also features inspiring pairs of mentors/mentees share their journey, illustrating the grace and vision of the mentor and the talent of the younger generation just waiting to be nurtured and unleashed. You will be amazed.


Have some fun with us that day, too. We’ll end the day with two-hour reception in the lovely atrium. And share the event on social media as it unfolds. Last year we trended as the number two topic in Greater Washington, DC. This year let’s make it to the top! We’ve got a prize to the number one tweeter. Please use #XXfactor2017 for all your posts!

Many thanks to our host Inova, and our sponsors George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Activation Capital, University of Virginia Health System, AstraZeneca/MedImmune, BIO, Pfizer, Vibrent Health, Virginia Tech University, Silverline Communications, William & Mary, Cherry Bekaert, Greenberg Traurig, LifeNet Health, HHMI Janelia Research Campus, Merck, Sanofi, UVA Licensing and Ventures, iGIANT and Prince William County.

 

Best Regards,

 

 

Jeff

 

Tags:  inova  virginia bio  women in science  womenbuildingbio  xxfactor 

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Cybersecurity for Biomedical Companies

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 17, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dear members and friends,

The biomedical industry is increasingly taking note of the risks and costs of cyberattacks. In late June, a number of biopharma companies, including a global industry giant, were hit by a well-publicized worldwide hack. The companies were denied access to data as ransomware demands flashed on their screens, and they were exposed to the risk of exposure of proprietary and competitive scientific and commercial information.

Closer to home, some of you may remember that last Spring my own email address list was hacked, despite protection on my office computer, and certain addresses used as the basis of a phishing scheme.

We asked around, received recommendations, interviewed folks, and ultimately engaged BlueStone Analytics of Charlottesville to provide a cybersecurity assessment and implementation plan to Virginia Bio. The firm has similar work for some of our member companies.

The firm undertook a series of interviews with staff, inspected our hardware and work patterns, preformed a dark web threat intelligence collection, a vulnerability scan of networks and a security architecture review, launched a simulated attack on our system, and finally prepared and delivered to us a Cybersecurity Assessment Report on the first of August.

Most importantly, the firm’s report contains a Security Action plan, which lists nine specific recommendations and additional options to improve our security, encompassing not only the computers and network in our office, but also our mobile devices and cloud based support.

The first seven items were highly recommended, and I am pleased to report all seven recommendations we have completed or are underway. We have implemented universal two-factor authentication (2FA) for all staff, we have changed the passwords on printers and other peripherals which are an attractive opening for cyberattacks; we have installed uniform end-point protection for all devices, we have resumed a practice of regular and systematic data backup; we have turned on device encryption on our mobile devices, and all staff have begun use of Virtual Private Network (VPN). All staff also have started a course of cybersecurity training which will span several months.

The above recommendations have been implemented for all devices used by all four Virginia Bio employees. In the FY 2017/18 budget recently approved by the Board we budgeted for these and other improvements. We believe we owe this to our member companies and to the industry at large. If you have questions about the tools or software we’ve used and our experience with them, please contact Sherri Halloran.

We’ve asked BlueStone Analytics to help us put on a series of webinars in the Fall focused on cybersecurity for startup and scale-up bioscience companies, and access to the webinars will be made available to members free of charge. We will invite you to join the webinars, become aware of the risks and learn about steps you can take to significantly reduce the risk, so watch for an invitation in the coming weeks.

Best regards,

 

 


Jeff

Tags:  bluestone analytics  cybersecurity  hacking  intelligence  phishing  virginia bio 

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Virginia Bio Sets Plan and Goals for the New Term

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 20, 2017
Updated: Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dear members and friends,

I’m writing from a hotel room in DC, about to spend the day on Capitol Hill visiting Virginia Members of Congress or their staffs to lend our voice in support of timely passage of the FDA Reauthorization Act, including PDUFA and MDUFA, BSUFA and GUFA, to put in place continued funding and continuing improvements in FDA before current authorizations expire. The FDA Reauthorization Act passed the House last week, and the Senate is considering whether to take it up.

Please write our senators urging them to take the FDA Reauthorization bill up quickly and pass it as is. The Senators’ health legislative assistants are: Marvin Figueroa (Senator Warner)  and Kristen Malloy (Senator Kaine).

July brings a new year to Virginia Bio, embodied in a plan and budget forged by staff and our Board of Directors in which we set priorities and goals, and plan our programs and events for the year ahead.

One area of change in the year ahead will be in our public policy efforts, state and federal, and is designed to enable greater engagement by our members directly and through Virginia Bio, thus greater effectiveness in representing our industry.

We are excited to be implementing a tech-enabled way for our members to interact with their elected representatives in a quick, timely and informed way on issues. This is the BioAction policy messaging system developed by BIO and provided to us for the use of our members at no cost. It’s an integrated mobile and social media tool, which allows individuals who choose to sign up to receive updates on federal policy issues, to access background information, and to quickly and easily message their representatives via text, tweet or email their position on the issue. In May we sent Members an email with information on how (it’s easy) to get involved, and we will be working with BIO to incorporate into the BioAction platform coverage and support of pertinent Virginia state policy issues as well. For those of you who want to be engaged, this will be an extraordinary tool. Join this effort now!  

We also will be revamping our Virginia Bio state public policy web pages to make them an up-to-date and ready source of concise information on key policy matters impacting the industry. We will draw from a wealth of information from our federal allies BIO, PhRMA, AdvaMed and MDMA and We Work for Health. A very talented University of Richmond senior will intern with us for the year to help collect and summarize and keep the website concise, informative and up-to-date, and issue alerts when needed.

In Virginia, we’ll provide new and purposeful opportunities for our members to interact with members of the General Assembly. During the Session, we’ll hold a series of Bioscience Caucus coffees at the General Assembly during the day. Each event will be themed, and leaders of companies and members of the industry from, for example, a geographic region or an industry sector, will be featured. Legislators and staff, and administration staff, will be invited to drop by; we’ve learned this is far more practical for them and creates a greater impression of presence. We’ll also schedule one or more days during the Session to invite members to Richmond and help them schedule visits with their delegates and Senators, creating a “Capitol Hill Day” for the industry. And we’ll forego our traditional reception and dinners in Richmond because changes in gift laws over the past several years have caused legislators to avoid such events.

Finally, the Virginia gubernatorial election occurs November 7. We have invited the two major candidates Ed Gillespie (Republican) and Lt. Governor Ralph Northam (Democrat) to meet and hear from our members and the bioscience community in a number of different forums over the next several months, and will send out alerts and invites as they are scheduled.

Please contact me if you’d like to be specially involved in our public policy work.

Best regards,



Jeff

Tags:  bioaction  gubernatorial election  virginia bioscience 

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Healing our heroes – getting down to work

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dear Members and Friends,

 

Just a few feet in front of me, a highly articulated gleaming metal hand and wrist was mounted on a busy workbench, and moving fluidly through a series of strikingly natural gestures. My eyes were drawn to two thin wire leads issuing from it, snaking across the bench and affixed by skin patches to the forearm of a young man, and then i realized - as he moved his hand of flesh and bone, the prosthetic hand on the bench moved as one.

I was midway through a tour of several of the many research labs at McGuire Veterans Administration Medical Center in Richmond, one of the top tier of the many hundreds of Veterans Health Administration facilities nationwide. The tour was graciously arranged by the Director of McGuire VAMC, John Brandecker.

In a flash, I understood in a way that I had not before the depth and breadth of research at McGuire VAMC, and by McGuire researchers at nearby Virginia Commonwealth University where most have joint faculty appointments. Hundreds of clinical trials are underway, both intramural and with external partners, and innovations are being generated in labs and clinics. In one lab, researchers are undertaking funded studies advancing new developments in restoring movement after spinal cord injury using exoskeletons muscular manipulation and electrostimulation of the spinal cord. In another lab, they’re developing Bluetooth enabled control of prosthetics with brainwaves. They’re developing innovations in surgical procedures and cancer therapy.

VA clinicians and researchers tackle biomedical issues unique to Veterans, but they also push advance research and care in health and wellness which their 9 million patients share with the rest of us - cardiac, diabetes, cancer and neurological disease, to name a few.

As I hope you know, Virginia Bio has made a commitment to help our companies and researchers understand the needs and ongoing work in research in the Veterans Administration, with the goal of creating new opportunities for growing our industry and helping our heroes. To do this right, one needs to know not only VA leadership and the exciting national programs and opportunities, but also what’s going on at the facilities across the country. That’s why I was touring McGuire VAMC.

And that’s why we are planning new and different ways to introduce the researchers and leaders at the VA system in Virginia and nationally to companies, scientists and clinicians around Virginia. Already our Medical Device CEO roundtable is exploring a quarterly meeting at McGuire, and we are planning ways to move this ahead. Look for more opportunities ahead.

We are moving ahead on our commitment in other ways, as well. On September 26 at our Women Building Bio conference, hosted at the Inova Center for Personalized Health in Fairfax, Dr. Rachel Ramoni, Chief Research and Development Officer (CRADO) of the Veterans Health Administration will be featured on the program. Dr. Ramoni oversees the VHA’s $1.6B research enterprise, encompassing groundbreaking national programs like the Million Veteran Study, as well as multicenter trials for industry. Women Building Bio will provide the opportunity to 350 leaders, women and men, from across Virginia and the near abroad of DC and Maryland, to understand and become engaged in that important work.

I’m writing this from a sidewalk table outside a Subway restaurant in (humidity free) San Diego at the BIO convention. Yesterday, I attended a press conference here at BIO announcing the Virginia Beach Innovation Challenge to this international gathering. The City of Virginia Beach has partnered with the Center for Advancing Innovation to create a long-term program to identify technologies, assemble startup teams and plant 20 startup companies focused on breakthroughs impacting Veterans’ health. We look forward to helping this great and novel way to harness the power of biomedical science and innovation for focused economic development and helping our heroes.

Lastly, remember that Virginia BIO has engaged a consultant expert in federal nondilutive funding for bioscience. Early each month, we post on our website for members only a report containing dozens of new opportunities issued by the National Institutes of Health, NSF and DARPA, among others, and importantly including DOD and the VA. I encourage our members to calendar a 15-minute date with the new list early every month to quickly determine if any opportunities align with your work, and if you are not a member to join now and enjoy access this valuable member benefit.

We’ve made a commitment, and now we’re working it. It’s a great opportunity for growth and development for biomedical science and industry in Virginia, and a great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our military and Veterans and their families. Please let me know of your ideas to move this ahead successfully.

Best regards,

 

Jeff

Tags:  #veterans #vamedicalcenter #g2gconsulting #biotech 

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Remembering a Great Man and Great Biotech Leader with Virginia Roots

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dear Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,

 

Today I mourn the loss of Henri Termeer –  a mentor and a friend for over twenty years.  Henri was a passionate advocate for patients and the industry he helped to create. He inspired hundreds – if not thousands – of entrepreneurs with his drive and enthusiasm. That sparkle in his eye that caught your attention and that famous grin that drew you to him, made him eminently likable and inspired you to be your best.  Simply put, Henri Termeer changed the world.

 

While we often group Henri Termeer, Genzyme, and Cambridge in the same sentence, the roots of Henri’s business success were actually formed in Virginia.  In 1971 Henri arrived in Charlottesville from his native Netherlands to attend the University of Virginia’s Darden Business School. Like many immigrants, Henri came to America to learn business and to participate in Teddy Roosevelt’s great narrative of “the arena” of men working to make the world a better place. Termeer’s growth into one of the greatest biotech leaders in the industry started in the classrooms of UVA and with a relationship he later formed with another UVA graduate, Sheridan Snyder. Snyder had formed Genzyme a mere 18 months prior to Henri’s joining as President in 1983.  From a small shop in a warehouse next to Tufts, Termeer created a company that helped dying children, employed thousands, and eventually created fabulous wealth for its employees and shareholders when it was sold for $20 billion in 2011.

 

Henri was kind and generous with both his time and money. I will never forget the day I told him 12 years ago that I was leaving UVA to set up a pharma company. He was genuinely excited for me. We were fishing off the coast of Nantucket with his son Nick when he said to me, “Building a company that truly helps people is like running a marathon – it is hard, it takes discipline, and it takes time. It is not a sprint, Andrew. So, you now have just picked out a pair of sneakers!” Over the years, he encouraged me during my marathon. He would always take my calls or make time to see me at JP Morgan or on his many trips to Charlottesville for a Darden Board meeting. He was unfailingly generous with his resources; he introduced me to his team at Genzyme and helped me secure my first partnership to screen compounds.  On another occasion, he told me something I needed to hear and that I'll never forget, to “focus relentlessly on the patient, and that will make everything clear"  this was not a suggestion, but a commandment. I also saw his generosity displayed in remarkable philanthropic gifts.  In a world of big venture capital, staggering IPOs, huge acquisition deals and other remarkable liquidity events, but not always advancements of remedies for patients, I have tried to follow Henri’s words and actions to take the time to build my company properly by focusing first on helping patients and letting the financial piece come second.

A great hallmark of Henri’s success was his persistence and sound judgement.  A few years ago, I was struggling with raising capital and trying to figure out what I was going to do to keep the company moving forward. It was hard as I contemplated the company’s strategy: should I give up on my work in the orphan-indicated brain cancer space or stay the course?  Henri reminded me, with a hearty chuckle, of the time he was nearly out of money and desperately flying around in a small plane with a very pregnant researcher who was also the mother of a Gaucher’s Disease patient trying to get the next raise closed. Or the time when the data from a Gaucher’s Disease clinical trial said enzyme replacement therapy did not work as a therapy.  Henri’s solution was to gather 8 MIT professors to figure out if it was a dosing problem. Having heard their response to give up, Henri ended up ignoring their advice and went back and re-ran the trial –  properly – and it worked. Like Churchill, Termeer never, never gave up!

Thank you, Henri for your generous spirit and friendship. And thank you for instilling confidence in me that I am the only person who could change the course of a disease’s history. He would say, “Andrew, if not Cavion, who will do this? Who then?”  As Henri took his valuable time to help and encourage me, I learned from him what a big difference a conversation can make.  We all model ourselves after great leaders and the thing I took from Henri was to make it a point to be open to answer calls and share thoughts with starting-out, startup CEOs and colleagues. In fact, this is why I love my involvement with Virginia Bio: there are so many people who are willing to work with their colleagues (and the next generation) and to remind them to always put patients first. To all the Virginia CEO’s and entrepreneurs, Henri would be thrilled with your work and would encourage you to figure out how to make your science and company work for the benefit of patients.

 

May Henri’s soul rest in God’s tender mercy and may his legacy continue to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs here in Virginia and beyond.

 

If you would like to read an oral history of Henri Termeer, please click here.

 

Best,

 

 

Andrew Krouse
President and CEO of Cavion, Vice Chairman of Virginia Bio.

Tags:  #biotech #genzyme 

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Thank you!

Posted By Caron Trumbo, Thursday, April 20, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Dear Members and Friends,

 

From all of us, thank you for making THRiVE 2017 a huge success.   Wow and Phew! 

 

It was a great team effort – and our team is way bigger than the four of us on staff.  We had five terrific co-hosts anchoring us firmly in Virginia Beach / Hampton Roads.  We had more than 20 sponsors and exhibitors, 37 different experts and leaders from across Virginia and beyond on the program, and 250 in attendance.  Heartfelt thanks to all.

Not storm, nor tornado warnings, nor hotel evacuation alarm, could deter this group! We even ended the day with a beautiful rainbow over the oceanfront.   

 

Presentations of the day and lots of photos are available on our website and through the event app

 

Throughout the day, there were several exciting announcements. During his welcoming remarks, Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms, announced the launch of the VABeachBIO Innovation Challenge, the first of it's kind in the country. The challenge will center around inventions to improve Veteran healthcare.

 

The Virginia Bioscience Health Research Corporation, aka The Catalyst also announced that applications are open for Round 7 of grants to fund the development, validation and application of new approaches to diagnosing, preventing and treating neurological conditions, including brain injuries, brain developmental disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, neuropsychiatric and behavioral disorders, as well as addiction and substance abuse.

 

 

We thought you’d enjoy a few comments we’ve received from attendees.

 

“Thrive 2017 was one of the more valuable and productive conferences I’ve attended in the past year. The quality and relevance of the panel speakers was very well matched to the needs of the VaBio community. The accessibility of the conference speakers was great – the format of the conference allowed for meaningful conversations with the speakers and it allowed me to uncover new opportunities and identify new collaborators and potential funding sources. Of course, the enthusiasm and camaraderie from the other VABio members was the best part – a really great forum for reconnecting and discussing collaborations with other members. Finally, the quality and comfort of the venue, the accommodations, the food, the receptions, etc. was exceptional. Overall, a very big return on investment of time and expense to attend.” 

 

“One high-powered conference….”

 

“Thank you, so much, for a fabulous event this last week!  Thrive was a huge success and I benefited on many levels.  This was my first Virginia Bio event.  I have a number of new contacts and my plate is full making sure that I follow up expeditiously.  I look forward to the next event and appreciate your efforts to ensure the healthy growth of Virginia as a bio-tech hub for the nation.  You all are a great team and I am glad to know you.”

 

“Great balance of science and business and fun….”

 

“Thrive 2017 achieved the vision Virginia Bio talked about: an event to celebrate, connect and educate our community of entrepreneurs, academic researchers, companies, investors and healthcare providers.  The evolution of Virginia-based funding sources and the inclusion of the VA/VHA and USAMRMC signify strategic options for companies to build partnerships and secure capital.  The chance to celebrate the ongoing success of our peers in this community was fantastic.  I am reminded of the power of the people in this community and our ability to help each other in many ways.  Wow.  Thank you!!”

 

If you were there with us, thanks!  If not, become involved and experience the power of the people in this community to help and to lift up one other. Building the time into your busy schedules to make one of our upcoming events, like Women Building Bio; the XX Factor conference on September 26 in Fairfax.

 

 

Best regards,

 

Sherri Halloran

Cassandra Isley

Stephone Jones

Caron Trumbo

Jeff Gallagher

Tags:  #biotech #thriveinva #thankyou 

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Never Give In

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017

Dear Members and Friends,

Two points.

One.  Attend our every-two-year statewide conference THRiVE 2017 on April 6 at Virginia Beach!  It’s going to be fantastic!

Meet and hear from new sources of private Virginia capital for R&D commercialization, and sources to get over the valley of death                 


Get a glimpse of the future of bioscience in Virginia from leaders of three outstanding and very different Virginia bioscience organizations


Learn how to help Heal our Heroes, and hear leaders from DC and across the state discuss   unmet needs and opportunities in biomedical R&D and clinical innovation for our veterans and military personnel.


Network to your heart’s content. 


Two - shifting gears.   “Never give in.  Never give in.  Never, never, never, never ….”, Winston Churchill famously said reflecting on the survival of Britain and triumph of the Allies in WWII. 

In more mundane ways, I’ve noticed recently.

-        Last March, my beloved Tar Heels lost the NCAA basketball championship on a last second shot by Villanova.

-        In June, my beloved Cavaliers became the first NBA team ever to come back from down 3 games to 1 to win the NBA championship.

-        In October, my beloved RedSox came back from down 3 games to 1 against my even more beloved Indians to return the championship to Boston after 70 years.   

-        In January the Patriots came back from the largest deficit ever in a Super Bowl to beat the Falcons (no beloving either way).

-        And just a few weeks ago, my wife’s beloved VCU Rams basketball team won two games back to back in which they were losing with 0.4 (zero point four) seconds left on the clock and action stopped (no kidding!).  

Bioscience R&D and commercialization is not war and it’s not sports.  It’s also no place for instant gratification.  Our issues tend to be complex, our journeys take us into regulation and reimbursement and intellectual property, not to mention that our projects address and arise from the beautiful complexity and subtlety of human life.

From the vantage point of my 7th decade, I’ve seen a lot of shots on goal, a lot of misses and a good deal of scoring.  I’ve seen a lot of “overnight success”, then peeked behind the curtain at decades of sustained, intelligent, inspired effort.

It’s hard to know which of our ideas will take root, which of our products or services will meet needs well and succeed.  I hope all of yours do.  But one thing I do know is that a necessary trait of the successful, of the ones who brought healing and health and new value to the world, is they never gave up. 

I encourage all of you in your important work, as I was encouraged by my former colleagues at Lyotropic Therapeutics and more recently as I am encouraged by the Board, Executive Committee and staff of Virginia Bio.

Keep on.  Ask for help.  Be flexible.  Welcome good faith critique.  Listen.  Be flexible.  Be resourceful.  Be generous along the way. 

 

And never give in. 


Jeff  

Tags:  #biotech #thriveinva #nevergivein #startuplife 

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Can you help?

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dear members and friends,

 

Two calls to action -  one ASAP and the other for the long term. 

 

State public policy

 

The General Assembly is reaching the close of the Session.  The Session has been defined by budget battles in light of the projected shortfall in state revenue, and by a power struggle between legislative and executive branches over control of the state’s economic development apparatus, VEDP. 

 

Until last week, the priority issues of Virginia Bio have escaped threat of harm, but the recently released House budget cut funding for VBHRC by $2.5M, or 50% for the coming year.   Fortunately, the Senate budget maintained VBHRC funding at $5M, as did the Governor’s Introduced Budget.  The differences between the House and Senate budgets are being resolved by a dozen Budget Conferees from Senate and House by negotiations now, and continuing into this weekend.

 

A cut of that size will mean many of the outstanding applications for grants under the current program cannot be funded, and VBHRC will have little capacity to create some of the focused statewide R&D infrastructure that last year’s General Assembly authorized them to do. 

 

Please take a moment to contact one or more of the conferees and indicate your support for VBHRC, and the importance for full funding of $5M.   This is Budget Item 106 I.1.    The list of conferees and their contact information here.

 

      

Healing our Heroes

 

One of the pillars of our statewide conference THRIVE 2017, on April 6 at Virginia Beach, will be a program focused on biomedical research, development and commercialization in support of veteran and military health and medicine. 

 

The long-term vision here is that Virginia is uniquely resourced and uniquely positioned to take a lead role in biomedical R&D and commercialization in this area.   We have an extensive active military and veteran population, and broad and deep support socially and politically for these communities.   We have researchers and companies working in these areas already, and others which could do so.   We have major military installations, and major veteran and military health care institutions.  We are proximate to greater Washington DC where many of the decision makers, convening events, and research facilities are located. The Conference program seeks to encourage and enable the extension of this commitment of support to an area of research, clinical and economic development opportunity of increasing attention to state policy makers.

 

The purposes of the program are:  

·       to gather from across the Commonwealth leading clinicians, researchers and industry R&D and executives who are currently working in - or who are committed to begin working in, areas of biomedical research and development which will support the work of the to assist the work, plus state public policy leaders, and to improve the lives;

·       to inform them of current and future needs of the programs for the veterans and military, to focus on priority areas of unmet needs and opportunities; 

·       to build a consensus to extend Virginia’s commitment to our veterans and military personnel to leading the national effort to heal our heroes, and

·       to inform national leaders of military and Veterans Health in this area of the resources and strengths Virginia researchers and institutions have to bring to bear.

 

Among the leading national and state speakers at the conference on April 6 will be:

 

Dr. Jennifer Lee, MD, the Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Policy and Services, Veterans Administration. In this position, Dr. Lee provides guidance to the Under Secretary for Health on matters related to health care policy, strategic objectives, and policy requirements for legislatively mandated health care delivery programs.  She also provides leadership for the various Health Policy and Services programs within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), including its research enterprise, to ensure VA’s overall strategic objectives and agency priority goals are met.

 

Rachel B. Ramoni, D.M.D., Sc.D.  Dr. Ramoni is Chief Research and Development Officer, Veterans Health Administration.  As CRADO, she oversees VA's nationwide research enterprise, encompassing some 2,000 active projects at more than 100 sites. The program's total budget in fiscal 2016 was $1.8 billion. The figure includes both direct VA support, and research funding from outside entities such as the National Institutes of Health, other federal agencies, and nonprofit and private organizations.

 

David Cifu, M.D.  is Chairman and the Herman J. Flax, MD Endowed Professor (tenured) of the Department of PM&R at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine in Richmond, Virginia. He is also Chief of PM&R Services of the VCU Health System and Founding Director of the VCU-Center for Rehabilitation Sciences and Engineering (CERSE). He is the Senior TBI Specialist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He is Principal Investigator of the VA/DoD $62.2 million Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (CENC).

 

Please join us on April 6 at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront for our every-two-year statewide gathering of the bio-community from industry, university and policy, and join us in taking steps toward further developing Virginia into the state which leads the nation’s efforts to support and Heal our Heroes through biomedical R&D and commercialization.

Register Now

 

Best,

 

 

Jeff  

Tags:  #biotech  #vbhrc #thriveinva 

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