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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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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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Healing our heroes – getting down to work

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dear Members and Friends,


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best regards,



Tags:  #veterans #vamedicalcenter #g2gconsulting #biotech 

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