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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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NEW Gallagher Scholarship Fund for bioSTEM

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 23, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Dear Members and Friends,

Thanks for helping us make THRiVE 2019 a huge success! It was great to connect with so many of you and enjoy a day filled with dozens of industry leading CEOs, ground breaking panels and hot topic discussions. I hope you enjoyed the topics and much as I did on; Virginia’s bioscience transformations in artificial intelligence & data science, exploring the medical device & med tech boom, opportunities in helping to meet the biomedical needs of military and veterans and the impact of innovation on the opioid and addiction crisis. To see photos from THRiVE, click here.

INTRODUCING A NEW SCHOLARSHIP FUND-WE NEED YOUR HELP

Our hard work in the Foundation launched a new and exciting initiative at THRiVE, as I had the honor and privilege of revealing the new Jeff Gallagher STEM Scholarship Fund. This scholarship will provide summer bioscience camp opportunities to students whose families do not have the financial resources to pay for their children’s attendance. The camps provide real opportunities for children who are smart, willing and eager to have a chance at becoming future colleagues in our exciting, life-saving industry and here’s our chance to help.

Virginia Bio seeded the fund with $10,000, and the Board issued a challenge to raise a matching
$10,000 from attendees and members. I made a $1,000 donation as did several of our Board colleagues. For those of you who have already donated, THANK YOU! If you haven’t done so yet, we’ve made it very quick and easy to donate; simply click on Jeff Gallagher STEM Scholarship. We know the kids are so grateful for your support.

In addition to our work in STEM and workforce, the Foundation is the link to student chapters on campuses across the state. We are delighted to share that we recently received a letter from JMU Bio Chapter President, Kyle Sperber, reporting on the recently completed school year. I think you’ll be impressed to read about the student’s accomplishments and inspired by their enthusiasm for learning and interacting with members of industry. Take a minute to read this heartfelt letter by clicking here.

Lastly, I look forward to keeping everyone informed about all the progress of the Foundation initiatives. Fellow board members involved are Mark Herzog, kaleo and Denise Toney, Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, Commonwealth of Virginia, and colleagues with colleges, universities and companies from around the state. If you would like to become involved, please let us know!

Sincerely,


Jim Powers
Chairman, Virginia BIO Foundation
Chairman and CEO, HemoShear Therapeutiucs

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Don't miss THRiVE 2019

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 25, 2019

Dear members and friends,

Next Thursday, May 2, in Richmond a unique opportunity to hear from and meet 40 leaders of our industry in one place on one day.  It’s the biggest gathering of members of our industry in two years.

Make connections, learn actionable intelligence and get inspired by this intense power packed agenda and social gathering.   

You’ll get an in depth briefing on:

unprecedented efforts to make accessible the best-in-world data and AI capabilities in Ashburn to firms and researchers across the state and become home to the nation’s most ambitious and necessary bioinformatics projects;

new technological and collaborative tools Virginians are bringing to fight the complex addiction/opioid epidemic from the life science innovation industry. 

You’ll hear national level keynotes from:

Captain Joseph Cohen, who leads the Defense Health Agencies Defense Health Program Research and Development Portfolio - technologies sought and under development to meet the current and future health care needs of our military and their families;

Eric Major, a co-founder in 2004 of the NoVa startup K2M which designed, developed, and commercialized innovative complex spine and minimally invasive spine technologies, who led the company’ growth through the recent acquisition by Stryker for $1.4B, who now serves as President of Stryker’s Spine Division.  

Greg Crist, who leads national advocacy for AdvaMed, the med device / med tech industry’s leading advocate before policymakers in Washington, and our ally in Virginia.

You will get a first-time overview and in depth look at Virginia’s the med device / med tech industry, hear from a wide range of companies and researchers working across a range of technologies.

You’ll meet people behind exciting recent headlines of important new initiatives statewide, and award-winning lifetime achievements for outstanding contributions to the industry.

You’ll have the chance to network all day with connections from across the state.

Really, friends, it will be an extraordinary day.

So, check out the agenda in full, and register today.  See you there!

 

Best,

Jeff


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We need your help

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Members and Friends,

By now many of you have received the news that I will be transitioning out of my CEO role at Virginia Bio, and many of you have called or written me. Thanks for those well wishes. And thanks for the opportunity to serve the life science community and witness your commitment to making the world a better place.

It has been a wonderful 7 years for me and, I think, for the organization as together, with our great staff, we’ve truly helped our members succeed and our industry thrive.

The future looks bright for this wonderful organization and the industry in Virginia, due to the solid foundation built through the efforts and support of you our collaborators, members and leaders. We have put Virginia on the life science map and we have learned how to collaborate better, how to shape and put forward a shared vision, craft and pursue strategies, contribute to the public policy process, serve our companies and drive the life science industry - all to help the people we ultimately serve.

But science changes, business and politics change, the set of possibilities changes, and it’s time for a change for us, to a new CEO, who will be as dedicated to Virginia Bio’s mission as any of us has ever been, but with a personality, vision, and skill set of their own ready to race after the new opportunities that change offers and demands. And it’s time for me to listen for the next calling.

I will continue to lead the organization until our new CEO is in place. I’ll stay on as a special assistant to the CEO to help get her or him up to speed and meet our members and stakeholders, then I’ll continue part-time to continue Virginia Bio’s involvement on several initiatives with statewide significance.

Your help is critical. Help us find the next CEO. Please forward news of the opening to outstanding candidates you may know. It is likely (we’ve been counseled) that the successful candidate will emerge from a connection with one of our members or stakeholders. Here is the link.

Moving ahead strongly as we search.
Staff has worked overtime to assure that we are all set to have a robust schedule of programs and services for the year ahead during the search and onboarding of the new CEO. Please use and enjoy them.

THRiVE 2019
Virginia Bio’s biannual statewide flagship conference, will be held in Richmond on May 2. There’s an extraordinary agenda planned, and terrific networking opportunities to connect you with colleagues across the state and open opportunities for you.

Also, the annual BioHealth Capital Region Forum, which we are co-sponsoring with colleagues in Maryland and DC in Gaithersburg, MD on April 8-9; Women Building Bio: all day regional conference is set for September 19 at Inova Center for Personalized Health; and we have the signed contract in hand for the Virginia Reception and meeting rooms at the Clift Hotel during JPMorgan in San Francisco next January. In addition, we are busy scheduling the next year’s luncheons and networking events in NoVa, Charlottesville, Hampton Roads, Roanoke/Blacksburg and Richmond, webinars and our STEM and workforce efforts through the Foundation.

My sincere thanks for your support of Virginia Bio. I consider myself blessed to have had the opportunity to work on your behalf and get to know so many of you. I look forward to watching each of you and this irreplaceable organization thrive in the years to come.

Best regards,

 

 

Jeff Gallagher

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Creating Environments to Connect and Innovate

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Members and Friends,

 

If you look at history, innovation doesn't come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.

-Steven Johnson, Author, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

 

At Virginia Bio, our goal is to help you, our members succeed and our industry thrive, extending the benefits of life science to Virginia and the world. A strong component is creating environments and events where you can share your innovative projects and learn about others, connect with new opportunities and find solutions to your needs. Check these out.

March Luncheon-A Dynamic Duo Lights the Way to Cell Discovery-March 14, 2019

Introducing Renee Hart: President & Chief Business Officer & Sean Heart: Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer from Lumacyte. LumaCyte, is a rapidly growing advanced research and bioanalytics instrumentation company headquartered in Charlottesville, VA and we are thrilled to introduce this husband and wife team who are passionate about helping humankind better understand disease and accelerate therapies and cures.

 

AgBio 2019-Transforming the Agricultural Industry-March 27, 2019

This conference is right around the corner at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, VA. If you’re interested in connecting with national and state leaders of innovation in Agriculture from Virginia and North Carolina, then this full-day conference is for you. These two states are uniting to bring innovative bioscience and technology to the farms! We’ll be providing a toolkit of essential tools and proactive solutions to increase efficiency and yields - creating healthier plant crops, animals and bringing full circle to the health of the human.  Register now.

 

Bio Health Capital Region Forum-April 8-9, 2019

We produce this forum with our colleagues in Maryland and DC to make the connections and create a sense of region that will strengthen and empower all our companies and researchers.  This Forum will highlight the accomplishments of today and chart our opportunities of tomorrow. This two-day event, hosted at Medimmune in Gaithersburg, MD, is invitation-only and free for executive level biotech leaders.

 

THRiVE 2019 Conference-Creating the Future of Bioscience in Virginia-May 2, 2019,  Richmond.

Registration is now open!  Every two years we gather the life science industry in Virginia to connect, celebrate, learn and drive the development of life science R&D and commercialization in Virginia. Connect with leaders of bioscience companies big and small, research universities, policy makers, innovative health care systems, patient groups, CROs and specialized professionals.  This is the big one.  Check out the website for the terrific agenda – great keynotes, a spotlight on medical device and med tech, innovations in treatment of addiction, applying Virginia’s huge data and AI resources to biomedical challenges, and more.  And note these special touches:

Virginia Bio Innovation Showcase 2019New this year! Learn about new technologies under development in  companies and universities across the state in this continuous video display and meet-up area, and uncover opportunities to develop, collaborate and invest. Submit your innovation on line – it’s easy.  Attendees will vote on the top innovations, we’ll announce winners on site, provide a cash prize and give further exposure in Virginia Bio’s marketing campaign.

 

Choose Your Own Adventure.  At your option, take a tour of some of the extraordinary bioscience organizations in  Richmond -  the McGuire VA Medical Center Innovation Center,  the Medicines for All Institute at VCU College of Engineering, the laboratories of the state’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services and Pfizer’s Center for Global Research and Development, Consumer HealthCare Products.

 

Award Nominations!  As is our tradition, during the Conference we will recognize two individuals, companies, organizations, events, discoveries or collaborations in the biosciences exemplifying the excellence, variety and dynamism of the Virginia biosciences community.   Please help us by submitting one or more nominations.  The two awardees will be selected by a panel comprised of past Board Chairs of Virginia Bio.

 

 

VA Drug Discovery RX at Hotel Roanoke-May 21-22, 2019

Every year the university researchers and companies working in drug discovery across Virginia meet to share discoveries and progress, form collaborations, learn new approaches and develop opportunities.   Join us in Roanoke this year!  

 

Best regards,

 

Jeff

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Recapping JPMorgan Healthcare Conference-Guest writer

Posted By Warren Martin, Wednesday, January 16, 2019

By now we are all back to our “day jobs” after a very successful week at JPM.   I wish to thank our Board of Directors, Jeff Gallagher, Cassandra Isley, Sherri Halloran and Caron Trumbo for their commitment to plan and host such a successful evening to showcase our VABIO life science community.  I also want to thank our sponsors of the reception.  We raised a record amount of funds to host our reception.  Our sponsors clearly recognize the importance of supporting an evening of conversation and collaboration.  Finally,  I also want to highlight what’s now becoming a tradition and challenge of getting to the reception in spite of San Francisco’s rain.   For those of us luckily enough to have arrived the day before or morning of….great planning.  For those of us that were delayed into SFO or from SFO to downtown, plan on rain next year and here’s part of what you missed:

  • We had over two hundred attendees representing, science, academia, sources of capital, serial VIP life science executives and SME professionals.
  • This group traveled from all over the country and internationally as well.
  • Every conversation included at a minimum, next stage trials, research, FDA and capital.
  • VABIO was extremely well represented by our “home grown” attendance and leading prominence in our industry.
  • We highlighted a number of our VABIO members for their 2018 achievements, milestones and successes.
  • There is an incredible wave of life science innovation and disruption occurring in our industry and within VABIO.
  • The room was filled with an excitement and enthusiasm that left everyone energized for the upcoming week at and around JPM.

Thank you again for your commitment to VABIO and our life science industry.  It’s now back to creating value and building meaningful businesses.

 

Best regards,

Warren Martin
Executive Transaction Advisor | Life Sciences & Technology, Falls River Group
Virginia Bio Board of Directors, Member

 

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Reflect on your mission and work this holiday season

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Dear Members and Friends,

Pause with me, will you, in the light of the holiday season, and let’s reflect on your mission and work.

Sharing gifts, as tokens of love and friendship and as acts of charitable commitment to the common good is a hallmark of the holidays. So, it’s hard not to acknowledge the extraordinary gift of $50 Million made by the Fralin family to Virginia Tech to accelerate the recruitment and retention of world leading researchers to undertake breakthrough basic and translational biomedical research. These resources for the newly and aptly named Fralin Biomedical Research Institute will complement the recent investment by the state and Virginia Tech in new facilities – facilities under construction which will double the size and technical capabilities of that prodigious young institution. And days later Virginia Tech Foundation and Carilion Clinic announced creation of a new $7 million VTC Seed Fund to provide the smaller investments at an earlier and riskier stage than the existing VTC Innovation Fund and other available sources of capital, which are needed for the commercialization ecosystem to thrive.

The twinkling of stars and wonders of the winter sky create more holiday ambiance. Last week you helped put one more star in the sky. NASA announced the successful launch of a rocket carrying supplies and scientific experiments to the Space Station. One experiment was created by the young Virginia company, Tympanogen. Hearing the news, memories of some of the transcendent moments of early flights to space came to mind - earthlings experiencing the first sight of an “Earthrise” over the moon’s horizon, astronauts so moved by their celestial point of view they recited “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All” one Christmas flight.

Just as sure as there will be love and kindness and wonder this Holiday Season, there will be illness and pain. Contagion takes no holiday. New medicines and devices help us gain ground, but lack of access to care vexes us still. And just as sure, many of you will skimp on your vacation, sneak into the lab, answer emails before the kids get up, set up appointments for JPM during TV timeouts, track legislation while shopping at the mall, and drive the order your customer desperately need to the shipper yourself to make sure it goes out. Because you’ve seen the Earthrise. Because you know people are hurting and you know people are waiting for the breakthroughs you hope to make. What you all do in your work, taking the mysteries of life science and the challenges and wonders of the human body, of animals and plants, and finding new ways to keep us healthy, heal our illnesses, feed us and help provide our energy and environmental needs – these are your daily gifts to your families and ours, and families across the world, and to future generations. You take wonders beyond our ken and work and work and work them toward reality, sometimes against obstacles few can really appreciate. Sometimes you succeed; frequently you fail and learn and go back in the next morning and begin again. You lasso the moon for us.

So, whether you are celebrating the winter holidays with joy and mirth or celebrating the holy days of your faith, we wish you and your loved ones respite, renewal and refreshment for your journey.

We feel so fortunate to know each of you, and to have a chance to help you.

Best wishes from Caron, Cassandra, Sherri and Jeff

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Strategic Partnerships for our Members!

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 15, 2018
Virginia Bio’s mission is to fuel the network of leaders that drive bioscience. With thoughtful consideration, we sought two strategic affiliate partnerships to bring value and ignite new opportunities for our members. FFAR, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and Veterans Health Administration Innovators Network at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center. Our partners are your partners.

I would like to introduce our first affiliate partner FFAR, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, headquartered in Washington D.C. Their mission is to build partnerships supporting innovative science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges. Last year, FFAR awarded $45.8 million in grants for ground-breaking research. In addition to supporting science, FFAR fosters the next generation of researchers with New Innovator awards and the FFAR Fellows Program where graduate students receive training from industry mentors.

Agriculture generates one of the largest economic impacts for the state of Virginia producing over $70 billion of revenue annually and providing over 334,000 jobs. With being the Commonwealth’s largest private industry, our food and agriculture bio companies spearhead the cutting-edge science and research to excel such growth. We hope you leverage the FFAR partnership and add to your list of beneficial collaborators.

You will have the opportunity to meet the FFAR team along with their Executive Director Sally Rockey, at our Ag Bio 2019 Conference on March 27, 2019 at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Virginia. Virginia Bio is merging strengths with North Carolina. We will have Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture Betinna Ring delivering the keynote with the invited Commissioner Steve Troxler of North Carolina. Within this impressive 90,000 square feet facility we will bring forth the new generation of thought leaders in Ag Bio, new discoveries and innovations creating an impact, the drivers of solutions tackling the biggest challenges in Ag Bio, and beneficial industry partners and investors to further advancement. We hope to see you there.

Our second affiliate partner is the Veterans Health Administration Innovators Network at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia. In 2016, the McGuire VA Medical Center became one of 22 sites to join the national VA Center for Innovation as part of its Innovators Network. With the VACI’s investment program, new innovations in Veteran health care transform from concept to reality. What innovations can you bring to the table?

The Veterans Health Administration Innovators Network establishes partnerships with healthcare, academic, and tech organizations throughout the Richmond area and regions beyond. VA innovation has resulted in significant medical technology breakthroughs. It has been involved in the creation of the artificial pancreas, nicotine patch, first electronic health record, and cardiac pacemaker.

In its first year, McGuire received funding for 10 projects to develop innovative ideas in areas of software applications, process automation, 3-D printed products, and more. A combination of national funding and local training opportunities aim to foster innovation and improve the veteran experience.

Virginia Bio’s long-standing commitment to our member companies and to honor those who serve for our country – we bring together for collaboration and to display the talents under one roof at our largest state-wide biannual conference THRiVE: creating the future of bioscience held May 2, 2019 in Richmond. Mark your calendars now.

The valor, courage and sacrifice from our veterans and military personnel have touched all of us one way or another. 2018 actually marks the Centennial Commemoration of the end of World War I on November 11, 1918. “To care for him who shall have born the battle”, a quote from Lincoln’s second inaugural address. Considered one of President Lincoln’s best speeches he affirmed the government’s obligation to care for those injured during the war. Together we bring science and innovation to heal their wounds and improve their lives.

November is a month of notable celebration to praise our veterans and for giving thanks during the Thanksgiving holiday. Virginia Bio is thankful and grateful to serve our members, our partners, our veterans and military personnel, and our Commonwealth.

Well wishes during this celebratory month.

Best Regards,

Cassandra Isley
Virginia Bio
Vice President, Strategy and Development

Tags:  #veterans #vamedicalcenter #g2gconsulting #biotech  affiliations  agriculture  partners 

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Recapping Women Building Bio

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Dear members and friends,

 

The secret”, quipped the sage, ”is to gang up on the problem.  Not each other.”  

 

That’s a good working definition of collaboration.  It also captures a core value of Virginia Bio’s Women Building Bio initiative and the theme of the 3rd Annual Women Building Bio conference we held at Inova Center for Personalized Health two weeks ago.

 

We brought together leaders of state and regional collaborations to share their missions and operations, highlight issues and opportunities, and offer ways for others to get involved and succeed at the tough job of working together.  Let me share the four panels and five individual presenters (for brevity sake  the names and titles of these distinguished women and men are at the end of this letter). 

-        Leaders from the region’s clinical and translational research centers, including two NCATS CTSA hubs, shared their work. These centers, by definition, act as hubs for a wide array of stakeholders(clinicians, researchers, academic health centers, industry, patient groups and community groups) to get more cures to more patients faster.  And they look to collaborate with one another across the state and region as well.  

 

-        The second panel was women leading commercialization and tech transfer efforts at major research institutions.  They discussed new approaches to improve the impact of their research on society, ways that outside partners can effectively engage, and even visionary ways they are looking to work together with one another.

    

-        One of the most prominent public-private biomedical collaborations in the state is the Global Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Institute, featured on the third panel.  Leaders from three founding institutions – Inova, UVA and GMU, illuminated its mission, provided examples of early work and success, and shared their aspiration to invite and engage other Virginia research universities, health care systems and industry into shared work. 

 

-        The final panel brought together national thought leaders living and working in Virginia and the region to focus on Innovating in Disruption and Disruptive Innovation.  They shared insights and approaches to help individuals, firms and collaborations identify and navigate the enormous changes we all face.  

 

-        In addition to panels the program featured lightning presentations by four women in the middle of breakthroughs in biomedical research and commercialization, offering attendees a close look and instant introduction to fresh opportunities for connections and collaborations. 

 

-        Finally, our keynote hailed from a global leading healthcare company and shared the professional development message he shares with women and men throughout that company – the importance of building a personal brand based on a foundation of soft skills to power a career, raise up the next generation, and help your team achieve its goals.  

 

Over its first 3 years the Women Building Bio conference has presented nearly 75 outstanding women leading the field and the industry in Virginia, DC and MD, and it brought many hundreds of attendees in touch with these leaders and one another.  We do this to help introduce, inspire and weave new networks of connectedness, because we believe these will provide the foundation for novel solutions to intractable problems and identification of previously unimaginable opportunities. 

Let’s go find some important problems to gang up on!

 

Watch in the weeks ahead for new ways the Women Building Bio initiative will continue year-round.  

 

Best,

 

Jeff Gallagher

 

 

Presenters at the 3rd Annual Women Building Bio conference:

Clinical and Translational Research Centers

Kristen Williams, Scientific Director, Participant & Clinical Interactions, Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Children’s National Health System

F. Gerard Moeller, Director, Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research at VCU and Associate Vice President for Clinical Research at VCU

Karen Johnston, Professor and Chair of Neurology and Public Health Sciences, Associate VP for Clinical & Translational Research and Director of Translational Health Research Institute (THRIV), UVA.

 

Tech transfer and commercialization from research institutions

Sharon Kreuger, Director, Innovation, Grants and Relationships, University of Virginia School of Medicine

Kolaleh Eskandanian, Vice President & Chief Innovation Officer, Children’s National Health System

Ivelina Metcheva, Executive Director, VCU Innovation Gateway

Brandy Salmon, Associate Vice President for Innovation and Partnerships, Virginia Tech.

 

GGBRI

Deborah Crawford, Vice President Research, George Mason University

Laurence Bray, Associate Professor, Bioengineering, George Mason University

John Moynihan, Chief Medical Officer and Chair of the Department of Surgery, Inova Fairfax Hospital

Richard Shannon, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Virginia.

 

Innovating in Disruption and Disruptive Innovation

Margaret Anderson, Managing Director, Deloitte Consulting

Tanisha Carino, Ph.D., Executive Director, FasterCures, Washington, DC

Meghana Chalasani, Operations Research Analyst, Decision Support and Analysis Team (DSAT), Office of Strategic Programs/Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER)

Cynthia Rice, Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy, JDRF

 

Breakthroughs

Sharon Ramey, Research Professor and Distinguished Research Scholar, Virginia Tech Carillion Research Institute

Jessica Foley, Chief Science Officer, Focused Ultrasound Foundation

Tracey Vetterick, Head of Oncology Early Portfolio Strategy, AstraZeneca

Alessandra Luchini, Associate Professor, College of Science, George Mason University.

 

Keynote

Gerry Gribbon, Field Director, Healthcare Policy and Advocacy for East Coast, Johnson & Johnson and Regional Business Director, Janssen Inc.  

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Breakthroughs to cures is not rocket science

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2018

Dear Members and friends,

“Taking breakthroughs to cures is not rocket science”, I said. “It’s immensely harder.”

At the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network 2018 Virginia Cancer Research Breakfast last week I had the pleasure of learning about outstanding research into new cures across Virginia, and I had the honor of making remarks on behalf the people who commercialize these life-saving innovations.

Four outstanding researchers spoke about their exciting work and the organizations which enable it: Dr. Donald “Skip” Trump, CEO and Executive Director of the Inova Schar Cancer Institute, the Breakfast’s presenting sponsor; Dr. Steven Grossman, Deputy Director of VCU Massey Cancer Center; Dr. Kimberly Dunsmore, Senior Vice President and Chair of Pediatrics, Carilion Clinic; and, Dr. Sanchita Bhatnagar, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Biogenetics, University of Virginia. Wow.

What do you say after that group? Ideally, it’s something a listener can’t just get from asking Alexa. So, I started with the words above, and well here’s the rest. Alexa are you listening?

The complexity, breadth, depth and acceleration of science involved in oncology is staggering - protein pathways which make NYC subway maps seem intelligible by comparison and give rise to whispers about the “intelligence of cancer”, genomics, epigenetics, the exquisite immune system. Compare that to launching a rigid inanimate space ship at some planet-size rock obeying Newtonian laws of motion … sheesh.

But as extraordinary as the science challenge is, the rest is not trivial. I’d argue the system required to take research breakthroughs to real products for real patients with safety, efficacy and commercial viability is every bit as complex, challenging and ever-changing.

One might even think it’s impossible – if it weren’t for the extraordinary progress that’s actually been made! The overall cancer death rate in the United States fell by 25% from 1990 to 2014. In the last 5 years, in oncology alone over 70 new therapeutic drugs were approved in the US. Today, there are over 1,500 clinical trials underway in the US in immune-oncology alone.

Still, facing the enormity of the challenge it is easy to feel alone and overwhelmed. No one person, company or institute can do it alone. How do you master the knowledge and gain the experience to simultaneously solve for: choosing the indication, defining and finding the patient population, modeling and achieving the pricing, market access and reimbursement to attract the capital, competing or combining with other therapies, etc.

That’s why Virginia Bio exists - to connect innovators and commercializers to the people, ideas and resources they need to succeed in their life-saving mission.

A patient who is diagnosed with cancer needs a “team” to help them run the course – clinicians, yes, plus family, friends, co-workers, survivors. They’ll provide real help and never let the patient feel alone.

Similarly, the women and men translating and developing the discoveries of basic research into reality need a team, too. A team that includes quality control specialists, bankers, GMP manufacturers, repair technicians, regulatory specialists, patent attorneys, and on and on.

And the team is not complete without patients. Frequently when I visit a drug development company or CRO I see they’ve put photos of patients they serve throughout their offices and on their websites. I see it at the insurers, law firms and accountants who love this industry, too. It helps us focus, connect with our passion and renew our resolve.

Which leads me to my message. For those who are battling cancer, for those of you whose moms and dads, sisters and brothers, children, friends, colleagues are battling cancer …. You are not alone. Your team includes millions of passionate, dedicated, skilled, educated, unstoppable, insightful men and women in industry across Virginia, the nation and world working around the clock, and making progress day by day.

Godspeed to researchers and commercializers everywhere, and thanks to Brian Donahue, Director of Government Relations at ACSCAN for the invitation, and the opportunity to learn and reflect.

Best Regards,

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Capital, Talent, & Technology

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 23, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Dear Members and Friends,

Capital, talent and technology are essential for your life science company to succeed, and for the state industry to thrive. Let’s take a quick look at access to capital - recent developments and help for you in the months ahead.

The last several months reflect a good streak of companies landing capital from a wide range of sources. To mention just a few … Adial Pharmaceuticals closed its IPO several weeks ago with gross proceeds in excess of $7M; Polymer Solutions was acquired by a leading international strategic SGS; and Cadence was acquired by a leading private equity firm providing capital to fuel continued impressive growth. Among others Bonumose, Caretaker Medical, Ceres Nanosciences, First String Research, Immunarray/BrainBox Solutions and Nutriati closed significant private investment rounds this year.

University of Virginia’s Licensing and Ventures Seed Fund announced a new investment in a medical device spinout, 510 Kardiac. Earlier this year Inova launched a new Translational Research Funding Program. The Virginia Catalyst (VBHRC) recently announced a $2.7M round of grants awarded and has opened the next (9th) round for applications. CRCF recently made a new round of awards including many life science companies. SBIRs were awarded to multiple applicants around the state. Thanks again to CIT for tirelessly traversing the state to teach best practices for successful SBIR applicants.

Every month Virginia Bio makes available to members via our website a fresh, comprehensive list of scores of nondilutive federal funding for life sciences and medicine from all areas of the federal government, prepared by our consultant G2G. Under our agreement, G2G also offers our members a free first hour consultation. For a good number of companies nondilutive federal funding has been a key strategy and essential for the journey to mature capitalization. If you don’t access these regularly but want to, contact Caron Trumbo at Virginia Bio to get started.

Southeast Bio annually brings together investors who are actually making investments in life science companies from Virginia to Florida in its flagship conference, this year in Atlanta on November 13-14. https://www.southeastbio.org/ The deadline for companies to apply on line to be selected as presenters, either on the Early Stage or Main Stage, is very close - August 28. Virginia Bio is bringing David Day, Executive Director of SEBio, to Virginia on September 19 for a networking reception from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the iLAB in Charlottesville. David is one of the great connectors in the Southeast. Previously for many years he served as Assistant Vice President for Technology, Transfer and Director, Office of Technology Licensing for the University of Florida (UF) leading their commercialization efforts and gaining recognition as one of the top five programs in the nation. By the way, SEBio annually awards honors healthcare and life sciences organizations in the Southeast US whose achievements are bringing the region into focus as a hub of medical and technological innovation, and nominations are open until noon September 17.

Finally, it’s not too early to make your plans for JPMorgan Healthcare Conference week in San Francisco in early January 2019. Once again we’ll coordinate the Virginia Reception at the prestigious Velvet Room of the Clift Hotel on Sunday evening, January 6, at 5:00 – 7:00 pm. We’ve also arranged again for use of the popular suite of private and semiprivate meeting rooms at the Clift which are available to our members and can be reserved and guaranteed on our website in advance. For companies in SF for the JPM Phenomenon, the reception and meeting rooms provide great venues to meet new contacts and to invite colleagues. If you’d like to help move this ahead, let us know and we’ll hook you up with Warren Martin, with global M&A advisors Falls River Group, who again will lead the committee making this happen.

 

Best Regards,

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