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A word from John Newby, CEO, Virginia Bio: This blog provides an update on upcoming events and important information that impacts our community, and spotlights industry leaders from state-of-the-art companies and research institutions driving the future of bioscience around the state, our region and our world.

 

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August 2020 CEO Letter

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 31, 2020

Members and Friends,

The Virginia Bio team hopes that you, your family and colleagues are faring well and staying healthy. Always remember that Virginia Bio is here to serve you, and we appreciate all of the emails and phone call inquiries and news pieces. Here is this month’s update.

Women Building Bio 2020 is Here! Our 5th Annual Women Building Bio Conference will be held virtually on September 16 and will feature the new CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier, and the Chief Operating Officer, VP Communications, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Lori Reilly. The half-day event will focus on networking, leadership and life challenges and opportunities in the current environment, how to “pivot” to capture those opportunities and much more. Other highlights of the day include:

- Breakout sessions on COVID’s Effect on Research and Healthcare and (b) STEM/STEAM Career Paths;

- Keynote address from Dr. Michelle Bateson, PhD, VP and Head of R&D Global Categories, GSK Consumer Healthcare; and

- Interactive company spotlights.


We would like to thank our sponsors, without whom this would not be possible: PhRMA, BIO, George Mason University, AstraZeneca, GSK, Prince William County, Activation Capital, VCU School of Engineering, Focused Ultrasound Foundation and Ceres Nanosciences. Registration is now open! Please contact Frank Wilton to become a sponsor!

Member Benefit Spotlight: PSC Biotech. PSC Biotech provides electronic quality management and inspection management software solutions that enable life science companies to efficiently deliver their products to regulated industries. Among other offerings, these solutions include:

• ACE Essentials™: The pre-configured, ready-to-use, cloud-based quality management software solution for life science and biotech companies and startups. ACE Essentials™ is a turn-key solution that comes with pre-configured, validated workflows and includes a wide range of procedures to get your business up and running quickly in a regulated industry.

• Computer Systems Validation (CSV) and Computer Software Assurance Services: PSC provides Computer System Validation and Computer Software Assurance professional services for hardware, software and computer systems to ensure full compliance with FDA and EMA guidelines.

Your Virginia Bio membership provides cost savings on PSC’s software solutions, with discounts ranging from 10% to 15% off list price. Please find more information on these discounts here and contact Frank Wilton with questions.

Upcoming Events:

Please click here to see the most current date changes for all of Virginia Bio’s and our industry’s events. Here is a brief summary of upcoming events, as of this writing:


September 2020 (date TBD): Virtual Town Hall with Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger
September 16, 2020: Virtual 5th Annual Women Building Bio Summit
October 5, 2020: Biotech & Beer (Ampel BioSolutions, Charlottesville)
October 20-21, 2020: BioHealth Capital Region Investor Conference (Gaithersburg, MD)
October 22, 2020: BioHealth Capital Region Forum (Gaithersburg, MD)
November 11-13, 2020: Virtual Southeast Life Sciences AdvanSE Conference

Your Ideas. Virginia Bio wants to hear from you! Contact us at questions@vabio.org you’re your ideas, comments, suggestions and advice regarding how Virginia Bio can best support you and our biotechnology ecosystem.

Please stay safe, and let us know how we can help you. Thank you for all that you do to make Virginia’s life science ecosystem stronger!

John


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July CEO Letter

Posted By Administration, Friday, July 31, 2020

Members and Friends,

The Virginia Bio team hopes that you, your family and colleagues are faring well and staying healthy. Always remember that Virginia Bio is here to serve you, and we appreciate all of the emails and phone call inquiries and news pieces. Here is this month’s update.

Women Building Bio 2020 is Here!
We look forward to you joining us at the 5th Annual Women Building Bio Virtual Conference on Thursday, September 16th. The conference will spotlight women building our industry and create an enhanced opportunity for collaboration, networking and community building. The development of women leadership in R&D and commercialization of bioscience is critical to all of our success. Patients are waiting, resources are limited, change is accelerating, and competition is global. We are proud to continue this annual series and to expand it beyond the borders of Virginia with this virtual event..


We are excited to have several national voices in bioscience joining us, including:

Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, which represents 1,000 life sciences companies and organizations from 30 countries, supporting companies that discover and deploy scientific breakthroughs that improve human heath, environmental stewardship, and sustainable agriculture.


Lori Reilly, Esq., Chief Operating Officer, VP Communications, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), which advocates for the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, advancing public policies in the United States and around the world that support innovative medical research, yield progress for patients today and provide hope for the treatments and cures of tomorrow; and


Camille Schrier
, Miss America 2020, STEM advocate, biochemist, a Virginia Commonwealth University Doctor of Pharmacy candidate and certified naloxone trainer, who has dedicated her year of service to reducing opioid abuse, medication errors, and the associated mortality of both by educating across communities and demographics, from pediatrics to geriatrics.


If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, contact Frank Wilton. Look for registration opening, early August.

Advocacy In Action: Tune in Monday, August 3 at 1p as Virginia Bio Testifies Before the Virginia House of Delegates Health, Welfare and Institutions Subcommittee on Health Professions. General Assembly 2020 saw several bills introduced that could make innovation in our industry more difficult. Those bills had aimed to (a) create a government board to impose artificial price caps on prescription drugs, (b) impose new reporting requirements upon the industry regarding prescription drug prices, and (c) allow a parallel Canadian prescription drug supply chain. While none of these bills passed, the House established a work group to study these issues, and that work is now being spearheaded by the HWI Health Professions Subcommittee. The August 3 hearing, at which Virginia Bio, PhRMA and the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services will testify, is the second in a series of hearings were several key stakeholders will be informing and fielding questions from legislators regarding our industry, the mechanics and business of prescription drug development and related pricing. Ultimately, the subcommittee will provide a report to the General Assembly in December with respect to recommendations for legislation regarding drug price limits, drug price review boards and other policy recommendations. We encourage you to tune in here to view our testimony and follow the progress of this Subcommittee as the industry prepares for the very possible resurrection of one or more of these bills in the next General Assembly session.

State and Federal Legislator Town Halls
. With support from Virginia Bio Member G2G Consulting, we held our latest virtual town hall on July 10th with Congressman Rob Wittman (R, VA-01), a biologist and member of the House Committee on Natural Resources and House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Wittman informed participants about Congress’s discussions regarding additional COVID-19 stimulus and opportunities for biotech partnership with the Department of Defense to support COVID-19 prevention and therapies, among other topics.Our next State and Federal Legislator Town Hall will feature Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D, VA-07), a member of the House Committees on Agriculture and Foreign Affairs, in August.

Upcoming Events:


Please click here to see the most current date changes for all of Virginia Bio’s and our industry’s events. Here is a brief summary of upcoming events, as of this writing:


August 2020 (date TBD): Virtual Town Hall with Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger
September 16, 2020: *Virtual* 5th AnnualWomen Building Bio Summit
October 5, 2020: Biotech & Beer with special guest Former Governor Terry McAuliffe, (Ampel BioSolutions, Charlottesville)
October 20-21, 2020: BioHealth Capital Region Investor Conference (Gaithersburg, MD)
October 22, 2020: BioHealth Capital Region Forum (Gaithersburg, MD)
November 11-13, 2020: Virtual Southeast Life Sciences AdvanSE Conference

Your Ideas. Virginia Bio wants to hear from you! Contact us at questions@vabio.org you’re your ideas, comments, suggestions and advice regarding how Virginia Bio can best support you and our biotechnology ecosystem.

Please stay safe, and let us know how we can help you during this difficult time. Thank you for all that you do to make Virginia’s life science ecosystem stronger!

John


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June CEO Letter

Posted By Caron Trumbo, Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Members and Friends,

We hope your summer has been as busy and productive as it has been for the Virginia Bio team! Always remember that Virginia Bio is here to serve you, and we appreciate all of the emails and phone call inquiries and news pieces. Here is this month’s update.


Aperiomics wins the 2020 Southeast Life Sciences (formerly Southeast Bio) PitchRounds! 
Virginia Bio co-sponsored this year’s virtual PitchRounds pitch competition for early stage companies that are working on novel coronavirus/COVID-19, and other life science work. Over 70 southeast-based early stage companies (including five from Virginia) covering the entire range of med-tech and life science, including diagnostic, treatments, vaccines, telehealth technologies, devices, hygienics and PPE applied, and 19 companies were selected to pitch. Congratulations to Virginia Bio’s own Dr. Crystal Icenhour and Aperiomics for winning this year’s PitchRounds! I am sure that the judges were impressed not only with Aperiomics’ innovative COVID-19 diagnostic solutions, but also Crystal’s pitch given “on the scene” at one of Aperiomics’ community testing events. Well done!

The Commonwealth Invests in Life Sciences Companies with Recent CIT CRCF Funding Round. On June 17th, 26 companies and 4 universities were awarded Commonwealth Research and Commercialization Fund (CRCF) grants to commercialize their research in life sciences, clean energy and other areas. During this round, 30 awards were made totaling $2.48M, with 11 of the 30 awardees being in the life sciences sector! CRCF is administered by Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), and has awarded more than $30 million to help launch nearly 380 early-stage technology projects in strategically important industries. For more information on these recent awards, see Governor Northam’s press release, here.

Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative Investing up to $500 m in Small and Medium-sized Biotech Companies. Pfizer has established the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative, which will invest up to $500 million across a portfolio of clinical-stage biotechnology companies. It is designed to help biotechnology companies by providing access to the funding and scientific expertise needed to ensure continuity of their most promising clinical development programs. The PBGI will focus on making non-controlling equity investments in clinical-stage public companies, with a primary focus on companies with small- to medium-sized market capitalizations across a range of therapeutic categories that are consistent with Pfizer’s core areas of focus. If you are interested in learning more, please contact PBGI@pfizer.com


Virginia Bio Advocacy for the Industry: Virginia House of Delegates Prescription Drug Pricing Work Group. As you will recall, General Assembly 2020 saw several bills introduced that could make innovation in our industry more difficult. Those bills had aimed to (a) create a government board to impose artificial price caps on prescription drugs, (b) impose new reporting requirements upon the industry regarding prescription drug prices, and (c) allow a parallel Canadian prescription drug supply chain. While none of these bills passed, the House established a work group to study these issues (House Joint Resolution No. 52 (HJ52)). This work group, led by the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee’s Health Professions Subcommittee will have several virtual hearings, the first occurring on July 7 at 10:00 a.m., and the second at a later date in July or early August at which Virginia Bio will address the Subcommittee. Ultimately, the workgroup will provide a report to the General Assembly in December with respect to recommendations for legislation regarding drug price limits, drug price review boards and other policy recommendations. We encourage you to tune in and follow the progress of the working group as we prepare for the very possible resurrection of one or more of these bills in the next General Assembly session. Please click here for viewing and other information.

State and Federal Legislator Town Halls
. With sponsorship from Amgen and support from our government relations firm Hancock Daniel, we held our latest virtual town hall on June 25th with Delegate Mark Sickles (D, Northern Virginia), Chair of the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee. Del. Sickles will be instrumental as Virginia Bio and the industry deals with pending discussions regarding the creation of prescription drug price review boards, imposition of drug price limits, and other ideas. Our plan is to arrange similar town halls with other members of HWI throughout the summer. Our next State and Federal Legislator Town Hall will feature Congressman Rob Wittman (R, VA-01), a biologist and member of the House Committee on Natural Resources and House Armed Services Committee, on July 10 at 2p.


Upcoming Events: Women Building Bio 2020. Our region-leading annual Women Building Bio event will have an exciting new VIRTUAL format this year! WBB 2020 will be held on September 16 and will feature the new CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier and others. The half-day event will focus upon networking, leadership and life challenges and opportunities in the current environment, how to “pivot” to capture those opportunities and much more. More details to come; we look forward to your participation and support!

Please click here to see the most current date changes for all of Virginia Bio’s and our industry’s events. Here is a brief summary of upcoming events, as of this writing:


July 10, 2020, 2pm: Virtual Town Hall with Congressman Rob Wittman
September 16, 2020: Women Building Bio (Virtual/GMU)
October 5, 2020: Insights, with Former Governor Terry McAuliffe, and Biotech & Beer (Ampel BioSolutions, Charlottesville)
October 20-21, 2020: BioHealth Capital Region Investor Conference (Gaithersburg, MD)
October 22, 2020: BioHealth Capital Region Forum (Gaithersburg, MD)
November 11-13, 2020: Southeast Life Sciences AdvanSE Conference (Charleston, SC)

Your Ideas. Virginia Bio wants to hear from you! Contact us at questions@vabio.org your ideas, comments, suggestions and advice regarding how Virginia Bio can best support you and our biotechnology ecosystem.

Please stay safe, and let us know how we can help you during this difficult time. Thank you for all that you do to make Virginia’s life science ecosystem stronger!

John


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May CEO Newsletter

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 28, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Members and Friends,

Welcome to summer! We hope that you were able to enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, and we are hopeful that your work and life pace has adjusted to this very unique time. Always remember that Virginia Bio is here to serve you, and we appreciate all of the emails and phone call inquiries and news pieces. Here is this month’s update.

Phlow. Congrats to our friends Eric Edwards (formerly of kaleo) and Frank Gupton (VCU School of Engineering; Medicines 4 All) regarding the May 18 announcement of their receipt of a $354 million HHS/BARDA grant for the manufacture of medicines at risk of shortage. As summarized in last week’s New York Times article, Phlow has begun producing pharmaceutical ingredients and finished dosage forms for several medicines to COVID-19-related illnesses, including medicines for pain management, sedation for ventilators, blood pressure support for critical patients and antibiotics. Phlow’s mission is timely in view of the well-recognized need, for national security and healthcare reasons, for domestic production of medicines. One more example of the great work happening in Virginia!


Federal and State Legislator Town Halls.
With sponsorship from G2G Consulting, Virginia Bio has hosted two Virginia federal legislator Town Halls, on April 27 with Congressman Morgan Griffith (Roanoke Valley), and on May 8 with Congressman Don Beyer (Northern Virginia). We intend to do the same with the remaining members of the congressional delegation over the next several months. We will also have town halls with members of the Virginia General Assembly in the near future; stay tuned to our events page for updates.

2020 State Science and Engineering Fair and BioGENEius Winners
. In April, VaBio participated as organizing judges for the State Science and Engineering Fair, sponsored by Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Helpful volunteers from Association member, kaleo judged and selected winners for the Mark Licata Award for Biotechnology. The first place project was titled "Using Drosophila as an Integrated Model to Elucidate the Neuropathology and Cellular and Genetic Mechanisms Underlying TBI" and the second place winner was titled "A Novel Multi-omic Approach to Identifying Cancer Recurrence-Associated Gene Signatures".


Also this month a team of judges selected our Virginia Bio-sponsored BioGENEius winner whose project was titled “Opidroid: A Fully Autonomous, Dynamic Opioid Administration Platform for Targeted Postoperative Pain Remediation.” The BioGENEius Challenge is the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research and innovation in the biotechnology field. The Virginia Bioscience Foundation has been participating in the competition as a local partner producing and promoting the state level competition since 2011. The program has been highly successful producing four international challenge finalists in its nine years of participation. Congratulations to all of the participants and winners of this year’s competitions!

Virginia Bio Welcomes Our New Vice President for Membership & Development, and our 2020 COVES Fellow. We are pleased to announce that, after an exhaustive search, Mr. Frank Wilton will join our team on June 1 as our new VP for Membership & Development. Frank joins us from a recent stint as the CEO of the American Association of Tissue Banks and, prior to that, Director of Membership for AdvaMed, among other experiences. We look forward to making Frank available to you to get to know your organizations and meet your member needs.

We are also excited to welcome our Commonwealth of Virginia Engineering and Science Fellow Sarah Hall, who will be with us May 20-August 14. Sarah is a Master of Science candidate at Virginia Tech, with undergraduate degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics. COVES Fellows are sponsored by the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering and Math, a nonpartisan network of experts who provide rigorous analytical and scientific support to inform policy. The COVES Policy Fellowship program aims to strengthen ties between the scientific community and state government in the Commonwealth of Virginia, while encouraging and equipping more scientists and engineers to be effective advisors for public policy in the state of Virginia.

Upcoming Events. Please click here to keep apprised of the most current date changes for Virginia Bio’s and our industry’s events. Here is a brief summary of upcoming events, as of this writing:


June 8-11, 2020: BIO International Convention (Virtual)
September 16, 2020: Women Building Bio (George Mason University)
October 5, 2020: Biotech & Beer (Ampel BioSolutions, Charlottesville)
October 20-21, 2020: BioHealth Capital Region Investor Conference (Virtual)
October 22, 2020: BioHealth Capital Region Forum (Virtual)
November 11-13, 2020: Southeast Life Sciences AdvanSE Conference (Charleston, SC)

Your Ideas. Virginia Bio wants to hear from you! Contact us at questions@vabio.org with your ideas, comments, suggestions and advice regarding how Virginia Bio can best support you and our biotechnology ecosystem.

Please stay safe, and let us know how we can help you during this difficult time. Thank you for all that you do to make Virginia’s life science ecosystem stronger!

John


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FInding & saving money When you need it the most!

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 30, 2020

Members and Friends,

We hope that you, your families and colleagues are doing as well as possible. This is a busy time, filled with both opportunities and challenges for our members and the industry as a whole. Virginia Bio is here to serve you, and we appreciate all of the emails and phone call inquiries, news updates and requests for assistance. Please continue to contact us. In the meantime, here are a few helpful updates to help you save money, find capital and be informed.

Virginia BIO Members Saved $4.9 Million on Office Supplies, Laboratory Equipment and More with BIO Business Solutions® in 2019
! In this most economically challenging time, Virginia Bio would like to remind you of the ways your association membership can yield significant savings! Virginia Bio is a BIO Business Solutions® (BBS) Affiliate, the country’s largest cost savings purchasing program for the biotech industry, operated by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). BBS aggregates the purchasing power of over 3,000 North American biotechs, and offers our members the opportunity to save on items they need to run a successful biotechnology enterprise - from lab products, business insurance, office supplies, shipping needs, credit cards and much more. Participating Virginia Bio members save from $5000 up to $300,000 per year with BBS, and collectively saved more than $4.9 Million in 2019 utilizing this savings program! Click here for more details about the vendors available under this program and how you can maximize your own savings.

Southeast Life Sciences Virtual PitchRounds (Applications Due May 22).
Despite the rescheduling of the 2020 Southeast Life Sciences (formerly SEBIO) AdvanSE conference to November 11-13, in the week of June 16 SLS is proceeding with a virtual PitchRounds pitch competition for early stage (startup/seed) companies that are working on novel coronavirus/COVID-19, or any other life science concept. They are accepting applications until May 22. They encourage all southeast-based early stage medtech and life science companies in any aspect of healthcare - diagnostics, treatments, vaccines, telehealth technologies, devices and even hygienics and PPE to apply. This inaugural virtual event will follow the same format as past in-person PitchRounds events. Selected companies will make 10-minute presentations followed by Q&A from our investor panel. To apply, go here. For more information about PitchRounds, go here.

COVID-19 Funding: G2G Listing of New Non-dilutive COVID-19 and Other Opportunities. As a reminder, our friends at G2G Consulting continue to provide the GBG Report and monthly non-dilutive funding highlight calls, as well as webinars on government funding and legislation as part of the Federal coronavirus response. Please subscribe to G2G’s Twitter account (@G2Gconsulting) and LinkedIn account for real-time updates and information about future webinars.

Virginia Bio Advocacy for the Industry: Virginia Bio Endorses U.S. Chamber of Commerce Letter to the White House Regarding “Buy America.” Virginia Bio and 91 other national, state and local organizations signed a letter expressing concern about the reportedly pending White House “Buy American” executive order for health-related goods now under consideration. It was addressed to Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Ross, Ambassador Lighthizer, and Director Kudlow as well as members of their staff. The White House has said that it plans to expand existing “Buy America” mandates to the medical equipment and pharmaceutical sectors. Such a move could worsen shortages of urgently needed medicines and delay discovery of a vaccine for the new coronavirus. Stay tuned for more….

Upcoming Events. Due to the current emergency, many events have been either cancelled or rescheduled. Please click here to keep apprised of the most current date changes for Virginia Bio’s and our industry’s events. Here is a brief summary of upcoming events, as of this writing:

• May 8, 2020: Roundtable with Congressman Beyer (Virtual)
• June 8-11, 2020: BIO International Convention (Virtual)
• September 16, 2020: Women Building Bio (George Mason University)
• October 5, 2020: Biotech & Beer with special guest Former Governor Terry McAuliffe (Ampel BioSolutions, Charlottesville)
• October 20-21, 2020: BioHealth Capital Region Investor Conference (Gaithersburg, MD)
• October 22, 2020: BioHealth Capital Region Forum (Gaithersburg, MD)
• November 11-13, 2020: Southeast Life Sciences AdvanSE Conference (Charleston, SC)

Your Ideas.
Virginia Bio wants to hear from you! Contact us at Virginia Bio Inquiryyou’re your ideas, comments, suggestions and advice regarding how Virginia Bio can best support you and our biotechnology ecosystem.

Please stay safe, and let us know how we can help you during this difficult time. Thank you for all that you do to make Virginia’s life science ecosystem stronger!



John


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We are all in this together

Posted By Caron Trumbo, Thursday, March 26, 2020
Updated: Thursday, March 26, 2020

Members and Friends,

 

As we all continue to be engaged in guarding against and fighting the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 disease, we bring the following news and information that we hope you will find helpful.

 

Virginia Bio Advocacy for the Industry: Letter to Governor Northam Requesting Exemption for Biotech Industry From Any “Shelter in Place” Order.  In view of several other states’ and localities’ implementation of “shelter in place” orders and other business restrictions, Virginia Bio contacted Governor Northam’s Administration to ensure that our members are not unnecessarily impacted.   In our Friday, March 20 letter to the Governor we asked for appropriate exemptions for employees engaged in healthcare operations, including biopharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics companies, and their suppliers and distributors.  Our letter in large part mirrors language recently suggested jointly by PhRMA, BIO and AdvaMed, and is currently also being used by our sister life sciences associations across the country in communications with their Governors.  We all feel this is necessary so that our members can help ensure that prescription drugs and medical supplies remain accessible to those who need them.

 

On March 24, the Governor issued Executive Order 53.  While this Order does not quite reach the extreme of directing citizens to shelter in place, it does impose severe restrictions upon restaurants, recreational entertainment, gatherings, and non-essential retail businesses.  Our reading of the Order is that it does not limit the operations of our member biopharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics companies, nor their suppliers or distributors.  We will remain in contact with the Administration regarding any future further restrictions upon commercial activity that may affect our industry.

 

COVID-19 Funding: G2G Listing of New Non-dilutive Opportunities. Augmenting the monthly GBG Report and monthly non-dilutive funding highlight calls available to members, our friends at G2G Consulting are currently providing webinars on Government Funding and Legislation as part of the coronavirus response. If you were unable to join the past webinars, here are the slides that were presented, which outline these special opportunities. Also, please subscribe to G2G’s Twitter account (@G2Gconsulting) and LinkedIn account for real-time updates and information about future webinars.

 

Governor’s Call for COVID-19 Supply Donations.  The Governor’s Administration has asked VirginiaBio to issue a call to its members for critically-needed items.  Here is the Administration’s message to companies:

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in dramatic increases in demand for critical medical supplies.  Due to this big increase in demand plus supply constraints of producers of those products, our hospitals in Virginia are facing the prospect of shortages that could impact healthcare delivery. We are reaching out to Virginia employers who may be able to donate and/or retool to produce these critically needed items. 

 

Top priorities at the present time are surgical masks, N95 respirators, disposable medical gowns, latex gloves, Ventilators, face shields, and COVID-19 test strips /test kits.

 

If your company or organization can contribute to Virginia’s COVID-19 response by donating or retooling to produce one or more of these items please contact:

 

Laura Rodriguez

Director, Technology and Services

Virginia Economic Development Partnership

lrodriguez@vedp.com

804.461.1075

 

Upcoming Events.  Due to the current emergency, many events have been either cancelled or postponed.  Please click here to keep apprised of the most current date changes for Virginia Bio’s and our industry’s events. Here is a summary of notable dates, as of this writing:

·      External Event Cancelations.  

o   CANCELLED: BIO Fly-In, March 31, 2020 (Capitol Hill visits to the Virginia Congressional delegation).

o   POSTPONED: BioHealth Capital Region Forum, Gaithersburg MD. Originally scheduled for April 14-15, 2020; tentatively rescheduled for October 22, 2020, in conjunction with the October 20-21 BHCR Investor Conference.

o   CANCELLED: Southeast Life Sciences Conference, May 25-28, 2020, Charleston. 

o   STILL ON: BIO Annual Convention, June 8-11, 2020, San Diego.

·      VaBio-Sponsored Event Cancellations. 

o   POSTPONED: Biotech & Beer w/Governor McAuliffe, Charlottesville, originally scheduled April 6, 2020, tentatively rescheduled for October 5,2020.

o   CANCELLED: Virginia Drug Discovery Consortium Annual Conference, May 19, 2020, Richmond.

o   POSTPONED: Commercialization Luncheon with Mike Grisham & the Catalyst, originally scheduled April 9, 2020; will be rescheduled to May.

Your Ideas.  Virginia Bio wants to hear from you!  Contact us at questions@vabio.org  your ideas, comments, suggestions and advice regarding how Virginia Bio can best support you and our biotechnology ecosystem.

Please stay safe, and let us know how we can help you during this difficult time.  Thank you for all that you do to make Virginia’s life science ecosystem stronger!

 

John

 

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Advocacy for the Industry

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 28, 2020
Updated: Friday, February 28, 2020

Members and Friends,

 

This month, we are providing a State advocacy update, given the important new regulatory headwinds we are seeing that could effect our industry in Virginia in the future.

 

Virginia Bio Advocacy for the Industry: 2020 Virginia General Assembly.  Last month, we informed you that the 2020 Virginia General Assembly was under way.  GA 2020 has advanced beyond the “cross over” (mid) point, and the disposition of several bills potentially harmful to the industry is now known.  As a reminder, these bills incorporated what is a current national wave of anti-innovation policy proposals that have been considered and in some cases passed elsewhere.  Thankfully, each of these bills was tabled until GA 2021 or otherwise disposed of.  This outcome is the result of a collective effort from several voices, including VirginiaBio as represented by our government relations team at Hancock, Daniel & Johnson, P.C., BIO, and a coalition of member companies spearheaded by the Virginia PhRMA Task Force.

      Several of these bills were tabled in order to allow for further study of the respective bills’ impact.  The good news: Virginia Bio, along with several other key stakeholders, are members of the work group responsible for the study, as established in the recently passed House Joint Resolution No. 52 (HJ52). While we are hopeful that the ultimate result of the work group will be solutions that are beneficial to the industry, there remains the real possibility that the tabled bills will be back in GA 2021.  As a reminder, the recently-tabled and problematic bills had aimed to:

·      Create a government board to impose artificial price caps on prescription drugs (HB691, Prescription Drug Affordability Board (Del. Simonds));

·      Impose new reporting requirements upon the industry regarding prescription drug prices (HB 876, Prescription Drug Price Transparency (Del. Subramanyam); HB1559, Prescription Drug Price Transparency (Del. Hurst)); and 

·      Allow a parallel foreign drug supply chain from Canada that will threaten consumer safety, with negligible cost savings (HB1404, Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program (Del. Leftwich)).

GA 2020 is scheduled to end on March 7, but that is when the next phase of advocacy work will kick into gear.  VirginiaBio and our partners will be visiting legislators throughout the summer.  We will also host educational roundtables for you, so that you may also directly engage policymakers in the lead-up to GA 2021.  We will continue to develop our nascent grass roots activation program, which we started during GA 2020: using Facebook advocacy tools, over 1,400 letters were written to the members of the House Rules Committee and Senate Rules Committee as they deliberated legislation associated with the possibly of a drug affordability board.  We are also beginning to use earned media, such as my recent February 16 Op Ed in the Richmond Times Dispatch, to educate the broader public of what is at stake. These and other efforts will be necessary in order to be prepared for GA2021, and beyond. 

GA 2020, however, has not been all storm clouds on the horizon.  On the positive side, the $1.25 million increase to thebudget of the Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (the Virginia Catalyst) has thus far survived the budget process.  Also surviving thus far and currently in conference are the proposed extensions of the Research and Development Tax Credits’ sunset dates (from January 1, 2022 to January 1, 2027) and increases in the aggregate caps (from $7 million to $10 million for the R&D expenses tax credit; and from $20 million to $40 million for the major R&D expenses tax credit).  These improvements will help bolster investment in Virginia biotechnology R&D and innovation, and we urge you to continue to support them.

(Note that, in parallel, Virginia Bio will in April travel to Washington, D.C. for BIO’s 2020 Capitol Hill Fly-In to meet with the Virginia Congressional delegation on many of the same issues, currently being debated on the federal level.)

We look forward to working with you this year in our efforts to educate and inform our policy makers and our citizens regarding the importance of our industry and the need to support, not inhibit, innovation.  More to come!

 

Upcoming Events.  We look forward to seeing you at our next Virginia Bioscience Commercialization Luncheon in Richmond, March 12, 2020, where we will welcome Dr. John Lazo, Chief Scientific Officer at KeViRx, Inc., Associate Director for Basic Research, UVA Cancer Center; Harrison Distinguished Professor, Departments of Pharmacology, Chemistry, and Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics.  Join us as John examines the challenges and opportunities for Virginia universities to construct an environment in the Commonwealth that supports the discovery and development of new therapies.  Please click here to register and here to keep apprised of all of Virginia Bio’s and our industry’s upcoming events of interest.

Your Ideas.  Virginia Bio wants to hear from you!  Contact us at questions@vabio.org you’re your ideas, comments, suggestions and advice regarding how Virginia Bio can best support you and our biotechnology ecosystem.

 

Thank you for all that you do to make Virginia’s life science ecosystem stronger!

 

John

 

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General Assembly Update

Posted By Caron Trumbo, Thursday, January 23, 2020
Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

Members and Friends,

 

Happy New Year!  Virginia Bio is excited for all that 2020 will bring for our industry, and what better way to kick things off than….

 

JP Morgan 2020!  The Virginia Bio team and several of our members have recently returned from San Francisco from what was a very successful 38th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.  We are all very happy that so many of you were able to come!  We kicked off the week on Sunday January 12 at the Virginia Reception, held at the Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel.  Almost 200 industry leaders, investors and emerging fast-growth companies attended for an evening of networking.  We are particularly happy that several Board members were able to attend, including Ross Dunlap (President & CEO, Ceres Nanosciences), Amrie Grammar (CSO, COO & Co-Founder, AMPEL BioSolutions), former Board Chairman Andrew Krouse, Jim Powers (Chairman & CEO, HemoShear Therapeutics) and William Stilley (CEO, ADial Pharmaceuticals).  The Virginia Reception gave us the opportunity to answer for those present the question, “Why Virginia?”  Beyond the accommodating business climate as proved by Virginia’s 2019 CNBC #1 ranking as the best state to do business, our Virginia businesses, economic developers, research entities and investors were on hand to tangibly show Virginia’s life sciences strengths.  We were fortunate to hear from several of our major event sponsors and supporters of our life sciences ecosystem:

·      Rawleigh Taylor, VP Sales and Marketing, CSC Leasing

·      Sally Allain, Head of JLABS-Washington DC

·      Melinda Hancock, CFO, VCU Health System

·      Praduman Jain, CEO, Vibrent Health

·      Andrew Krouse, UVA Licensing & Ventures Group; former CEO, Cavion Pharmaceuticals 

Virginia Bio once again hosted free meeting spaces for members during the week which were used for discussions with potential investors and collaborators.  Please see photos of the event, here, and visit our twitter page to view comments and activity.  Thank you all for making this year’s Virginia Reception at JPM a success, and we look forward to seeing you at JPM 2021!

Member Benefit Spotlight: BREX® Corporate Credit Card.  Virginia Bio has recently teamed up with BIO Business Solutions to bring our members Brex®, the Corporate Credit Card for the Life Sciences.  This card offers a streamlined reporting functions, rewards and unmatched controls including: no personal guarantee or collateral requirements; higher limits than traditional credit cards; automatic receipt capture; and tailored rewards, including a 60,000 point signup bonus (a $600 value); and 3x points on lab supplies, 7x points on conference registrations, and 4x points on travel.  Points can be redeemed as cash back to pay down statement balance, book travel, or transfer miles to select partner airlines.  For more information, please click here.

Virginia Bio Advocacy for the Industry: 2020 Virginia General Assembly.  Our General Assembly convened on January 8, 2020 for a Session that is turning out to be a potentially impactful one for our industry.  On the positive side, Governor Northam’s introduced budget included a $1.25 million increase to the $3.75 million budget of the Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (the Virginia Catalyst) for the granting of competitive grants for collaborations of universities and industry on commercialization projects.  CEO Mike Grisham’s Catalyst is a model of what is possible with public investment in innovation, having brought a 10-to-1 return on investment since 2014.

            Virginia Bio is also supporting a bill that will strengthen Virginia’s system of tax credits for R&D.  The companion bills, SB 110 (Sen. Howell) and HB 748 (Del. Jones), Research and Development Tax Credits, extends the sunset date for the tax credits from January 1, 2022 to January 1, 2027; increases the aggregate cap for the R&D expenses tax credit from $7 million to $10 million; and increases the aggregate cap of the major R&D expenses tax credit from $20 million to $40 million.  These improvements will help bolster investment in Virginia biotechnology R&D and innovation, and we urge you to support them. 

Potentially Harmful Legislation.  Several bills have been introduced which, if passed in current form, stand to drastically and negatively impact Virginia companies’ ability to obtain investment for innovation.  Of note are bills that would:

·      Create a government board to impose artificial price caps on prescription drugs (HB691, Prescription Drug Affordability Board (Del. Simonds));

·      Impose new reporting requirements upon the industry regarding prescription drug prices (HB 876, Prescription Drug Price Transparency (Del. Subramanyam); HB1559, Prescription Drug Price Transparency (Del. Hurst)); and 

·      Allow a parallel foreign drug supply chain from Canada that will threaten consumer safety, with negligible cost savings (HB1404, Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program (Del. Leftwich)).

These bills incorporate what is a current national wave of new policies and laws that have been considered and passed elsewhere.  We invite all of you to join Virginia Bio in our engagement with these legislators, and your legislators, as we educate policy makers regarding the potential negative impact upon the industry.

Upcoming Events.  We look forward to seeing you at our next Virginia Bioscience Commercialization Luncheon in Richmond, February 13, 2020, where we will welcome Mark Champan, CEO of Salveo Diagnostics.  Come here about Salveo’s innovative advanced lab testing services and health coaching services.  Please click here to keep apprised of all of Virginia Bio’s and our industry’s upcoming events of interest.

Your Ideas.  Virginia Bio wants to hear from you!  Contact us at questions@vabio.org with your ideas, comments, suggestions and advice regarding how Virginia Bio can best support you and our biotechnology ecosystem.

 

Thank you for all that you do to make Virginia’s life science ecosystem stronger!

 

John

 

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Thank you

Posted By Administration, Thursday, December 19, 2019
Updated: Thursday, December 19, 2019

Members and Friends,

 

The New Year is nearly here!  In this brief Newsletter, your Virginia Bio team simply wants to THANK YOU for allowing us to partner with you and support all the wonderful things you are doing for our life sciences ecosystem in the Commonwealth! It has been an action-packed first 5 months for me and our team, highlighted by an extremely successful 4th Annual Women Building Bio Conference, and several exciting Commercialization Luncheon keynotes from Donna Edmonds (CEO, Brainbox), Reinhardt Eberl (CEO, Anton Paar),  David Alwood (CEO, FUJIFILM Wako Chemicals), and Dan Hathorn (Business Development Manager, ADS, Inc.).  We look forward to continuing our work into the New Year to bring even more useful programing, and to help bring life saving innovations to our Commonwealth and the world.

 

Keep your Equity! Member Benefit of Note-New Monthly Call Reporting on Non-Dilutive Funding Opportunities!  Augmenting the monthly GBG Report available to members listing these opportunities, our friends at G2G Consulting are going to provide monthly GBG Report Highlights Calls on the third Friday of the month at 10-10:30 am on their conference line: (202) 827-6334, no passcode needed.  On this call members will hear: (1) overview of new funding opportunities; (2) key categories for funding; (3) new items of interest; (4) tips for the application process; and (5) answers to questions on non-dilutive funding.  Please mark your calendars!

 

Virginia Bio Advocacy for the Industry: Two brief updates:

 

U.S. House of Representatives: Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R.3).  Many of you have been following this piece of legislation, which would make sweeping changes to our larger private health care system by granting the government authority to set medicine prices in public and private markets that will have a detrimental impact on future medical innovation.  This bill has passed the House and is awaiting a vote in the Senate, where it is expected to face major opposition and not pass.  Virginia Bio joined the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Richmond Urban Collective and the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce on an October 17 PhRMA We Work for Health letter to each member of the Virginia Congressional Delegation advocating against HR3.  

 

Permanent Repeal of the Medical Device Tax.  The pending compromise Federal spending bill passed December 17 in the House contains provisions for a complete repeal of the Medical Device Tax.  It is now headed to the Senate where the spending bill is expected to pass, then to the President for signature, which will thus end the specter of this tax.  Virginia Bio joined MDMA and 615 other life science organizations and companies, including the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) and the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), on a September 24 letter to Congressional leaders urging a permanent repeal of the medical device tax. 

 

Upcoming Events.  We look forward to seeing you at our next Virginia Bioscience Commercialization Luncheon in Richmond, January 9, 2020, where I will be providing a Virginia General Assembly 2020 preview.  Come learn about issues being debated in the General Assembly that are critical to our industries.   We will open the forum to welcome your policy concerns and ideas for how Commonwealth and local governments can stimulate research and commercialization.  Virginia Bio will be stomping the General Assembly building all Session to represent you!

JPM 2020 is Here!  The Virginia Reception returns to the San Francisco Clift Hotel on January 12, 2020 to kick off the 38th J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.  The JPM Healthcare Conference is the largest healthcare investment symposium in the industry, bringing together industry leaders, emerging fast-growth companies, innovative technology creators, and members of the investment community.  Attendance at JPM 2020 is limited, so please be sure to mark your calendars and sign up here to reserve a free (for members) meeting room blocked time, available January 13-15.

Other events of note in 2020: We are also looking forward to attending the BIO Annual conference in San Diego, June 8-11; the BioHealth Captial Region Forum at AstraZenneca (Gaithersburg) April 15-16; and the 5th Annual Women Building Bio Conference in September. Please click here to keep apprised of all of Virginia Bio’s upcoming events.

Your Ideas.  Virginia Bio wants to hear from you!  Contact us at questions@vabio.org, your ideas, comments, suggestions and advice regarding how Virginia Bio can best support you and our biotechnology ecosystem.

 

Happy Holidays, and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year!

 

John, Cassandra and Caron

 

 

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Easing Budgets and Advocating for Members

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 21, 2019
Updated: Thursday, November 21, 2019

Members and Friends,

Happy Holidays!

As we begin to ease ourselves into the holiday season, and as we busy ourselves with our Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping plans all the while trying to stay on budget, Virginia Bio would like to remind you of the ways membership saves our companies major money! Virginia Bio is a BIO Business Solutions® (BBS) Affiliate, the largest cost savings purchasing program for the biotech industry operated by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). With more than $400 million in annual sales, BBS aggregates the purchasing power of over 3,000 North American biotech companies. BBS offers members the opportunity to save on items they need to run a successful biotechnology enterprise - from lab products, business insurance, office supplies, shipping needs, and much more. Participating Virginia Bio members save from $5000 up to $300,000 per year with BBS, and saved more than $4.3 Million in 2018 utilizing this savings program! Click here for more details about the vendors available under this program and how you can maximize your own savings.


Virginia Bio Advocacy for the Industry
:
We have recently lent the voice of Virginia Bio to two very important issues affecting many of our members.

Virginia General Assembly’s Joint Commission on Healthcare Takes No Action on Drug Pricing Recommendations. You will recall that on September 25, Virginia Bio submitted comments on several policy proposals being considered by the Virginia General Assembly to, among other things: implement Virginia state government drug affordability board and upper pay limits, ban pay-to-delay agreements, and develop a program to import drugs from Canada. (You can see our letter, here). On November 14, the Joint Commission announced that it will take no action on any of the policy proposals it was considering. While this is positive news, we will monitor this issue throughout the 2020 General Assembly session and beyond.

U.S. House of Representatives: Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3)
Many of you have been following this piece of legislation, which would make sweeping changes to our larger private health care system by granting the government authority to set medicine prices in public and private markets that will have a detrimental impact on future medical innovation. Virginia Bio joined the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Richmond Urban Collective and the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce on an October 17 PhRMA We Work for Health letter to each member of the Virginia Congressional Delegation advocating against HR3 and international reference pricing for drugs. By example, you can see the letter addressed to Senator Mark Warner, here. The bill has passed out of the three committees having jurisdiction, and it is expected that the full House will consider the bill by the end of this month.


Gubernatorial Recognition of Cavion and Andrew Krouse
. On November 12, Governor Northam hosted a Leadership of Virginia’s Technology Research and Commercialization Reception at the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond. In attendance were myself, Board members Jim Powers (CEO, HemoShear Therapeutics), Elaine Horn-Ranney (CEO, Tympanogen), Rony Thomas (CEO, LifeNet Health), and keynote speaker Andrew Krouse, immediate past Board Chairman and CEO of recently-acquired Cavion, Inc. Andrew represented all of the companies then present who were being recognized for having competed for and received investment from the Commonwealth, and he described the growth of his company from a startup in his garage to being acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals for a total potential consideration of $312.5 million.


Upcoming Events. We look forward to seeing you at our next Virginia Bioscience Commercialization Luncheon in Richmond, December 12, featuring FUJIFILM Wako Chemicals U.S.A. President David Alwood, LAL Sales Specialist Jonathan Vaughn and Technical Specialist LaToya Mayfield. FUJIFILM Wako has long been recognized as a world-renowned supplier and continues to maintain a culture of product quality through the establishment Limulus Amebocyte Lysate for detection of gram negative bacterial endotoxins. Come learn about the corporation and how this unusual extract from the horseshoe crab can become a vital part of quality control for pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and much more!

On December 10 Virginia Bio, the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council and the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group will jointly host a Holiday Party, open to our entire life science community. The party will be held in Charlottesville at UVA L&VG, 722 Preston Avenue #107, 5:00 - 8:00 pm and will be a festive celebration with colleagues, delicious food and spirits. Join us if you can!

JPM 2020 is Here! Yes, we are still excited to again bring the Virginia Reception back to the San Francisco Clift Hotel’s Velvet Room on January 12, 2020 to kick off the 38th J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. The JPM Healthcare Conference is the largest healthcare investment symposium in the industry, bringing together industry leaders, emerging fast-growth companies, innovative technology creators, and members of the investment community. Attendance at JPM 2020 is limited (and hotel rooms even more so!), so please be sure to mark your calendars, make your hotel reservations, and be on the lookout for more information from Virginia Bio regarding meeting room reservations!


Your Ideas. Virginia Bio wants to hear from you! Please do not wait for the occasion of my visit with you to provide feedback; send us your ideas, comments, suggestions and advice regarding how Virginia Bio can best support you and our biotechnology ecosystem. Contact us at questions@vabio.org.

Happy Thanksgiving, and Kindest regards,



John

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