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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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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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JP Morgan Healthcare Conference....and more!

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 24, 2019
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2019

Members and Friends,

JPM 2020 is Here! Just five years ago, Virginia Bio held its first Virginia Reception at the San Francisco Clift Hotel’s Velvet Room during the 33rd Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. Given its incredible success and impact upon our members, we have every year since continued the tradition, and we are proud to bring the Virginia Reception back to the Velvet Room on Sunday, January 12 for JPM 2020. The 38th J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference will be held January 13-20, 2020 at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco and 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. Attendees come from the entire global healthcare landscape, including pharmaceutical companies, healthcare service providers, profit and not-for-profits, and medical device companies. The Virginia Reception will be the kick-off to a great week, and has historically seen over 200 friends gather to share the story of Virginia’s biotechnology ecosystem and connect our members to the investor community. Connections made that evening and elsewhere roll into the following three days in reserved meeting spaces in the Clift Hotel provided by Virginia Bio, on a pre-reserved basis and at no cost to our members. 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 the Virginia Reception!

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.

Permanent Repeal of the Medical Device Tax. Continuing an effort led by the Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA) 2009, 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. The 2.3% tax, imposed upon medical devices in 2013 and suspended in 2015, will be reimposed January 1, 2020 if not repealed. The adverse impact on R&D investment and job creation would jeopardize the U.S.’s position as a global leader in medical device innovation, and it is estimated that a reinstatement of the tax could result in the loss of 21,000 jobs. You can see the letter here.

Drug Pricing: Comments Submitted to the Virginia Joint Commission on Healthcare; Letter to Congress from 44 Trade Associations Opposing International Price Referencing. 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. Our comments opposing these ideas align with those submitted by BIO and PhRMA. You can see our letter here. Relatedly, Virginia Bio joined an October 16 letter, addressed to Congress and joined by 44 state and regional life sciences and biotechnology associations, opposing international price referencing or other price controls. You can see that letter here.

Upcoming Events. We look forward to seeing you at our next Virginia Bioscience Commercialization Luncheon in Richmond, November 14, featuring Donna Edmonds, CEO of BRAINBox Solutions, Inc. Donna will be discussing BRAINBox’s innovative biomarker panels, as well as neurocognitive testing, which provide objective evidence of traumatic brain injury and prediction of patient recovery. Join us to hear about her journey as a serial entrepreneur and CEO, her experience raising capital, and how she and her team are innovating a new generation of concussion testing.

As you are also viewing other events on our calendar, we call special attention to the Southeast BIO Investor & Partnering Forum (SEBIO), November 6-7 at the Biltmore Hotel in Miami/Coral Gables, Florida. SEBIO is the region’s leading life sciences and medical technology conference, connecting emerging companies with potential investors and corporate partners. Celebrating its 21st anniversary, the SEBIO Investor & Partnering Forum will feature new networking opportunities and expanded investment prospects.
 
Your Ideas. Virginia Bio wants to hear from you! My visits with our members and partners during these first few weeks have been enlightening and motivating! 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.

Kindest regards,

John

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What A Conference!

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 27, 2019
Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2019

Members and Friends,

The 4th Annual Women Building Bio conference was a fantastic gathering of leaders, innovators and motivators who exceeded all expectations for this fantastic event! It truly was a celebration, spotlighting the women building our industry and offering an incredible forum for collaboration, networking and community building.

The day started with a challenge by Sunita Dodani of Eastern Virginia Medical School, challenging us to think bigger, broader and unconventionally when seeking new collaborations. Julie Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., the Chief Patient Officer of Merck & Co. continued the conversation by encouraging us to strengthen our industry and improving patient care by promoting diversity. The day continued with outstanding speakers and panels on health diagnosis; collaborations in the fight against metastatic breast cancer; innovations in neonatal healthcare; the STEM workforce; an engaging networking roundtable and personal views of the challenges and opportunities in building bioscience companies. The day concluded with a charge from Carilion Clinic CEO Nancy Howell Agee to positively affect the lives of patients, and an address on cultivating innovation by Michelle McMurry-Heath, Worldwide Vice President, Regulatory and Clinical Affairs at Johnson & Johnson, and Vice President, External Innovation, Regulatory Science, and Executive Director of Scientific Partnerships for JLABS@Washington, DC.

As you can see, the conference was action-packed! Check out a few pictures and highlights from our conference here. A hearty “Thank You” to all of our sponsors, and a special thanks to our partners at the Inova Center for Personalized Health in Fairfax for providing a wonderful venue for this most important event. We look forward to your continued support for this event in the future and for everything our industry is doing to support and elevate women in R&D, commercialization and leadership in our life sciences community.


Up Next - We look forward to seeing you at these events:

  • October 10: Virginia Bioscience Commercialization Luncheon in Richmond, feat. Former U.S. Navy Seal Dan Hathorn, Army Business Development Manager - Medical for Atlantic Diving Supply

  • January 12: Private Virginia Reception at the JP Morgan Healthcare Week in San Francisco

Our Virginia Reception on the eve of JP Morgan Healthcare week at the Velvet Room in the Clift Hotel is a rare opportunity to engage with Virginia industry leaders, emerging fast-growth companies and members of the investment community. This is a singularly unique opportunity for you to meet with scores of investors and potential collaborators, all in one place. Attendance is limited (and hotel rooms even more so!), so please be sure to mark your calendars, make your hotel reservations and start planning those private meetings!

Thank you for making Women Building Bio 2019 a success, and I look forward to seeing each of you at future events, and around our great community.

Kindest regards,


John

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Greeting from John Newby, new Viriginia Bio CEO

Posted By Administration, Friday, August 30, 2019
Updated: Monday, August 19, 2019

Members and Friends,

I bring you a hearty “Welcome!” from your Virginia Biotechnology Association! The welcome I have received from the Virginia Bio Board, our members and partners has been immensely enthusiastic, and the excitement around what we have accomplished and what we will do together is incredible. A special thanks to Alan Connor for his leadership of our Board, and also to immediate-past CEO Jeff Gallagher who remains engaged with our community and with me and the Association during this transition.


Perhaps the best way to look at life is through the eyes of a child. When I accepted the wonderful opportunity to lead Virginia Bio, my 10 year old daughter Jillian asked me “Dad, why Virginia Bio?” As is always the case with talking to the young (and young at heart) I had to answer in the most direct and simple way possible: “Because life science touches EVERYTHING!” From the care delivered by healthcare providers, to the medicines, pharmaceuticals and medical devices used to improve lives, to the food we eat, life science is of preeminent importance. Let’s continue to inform our neighbors of these truths, and attract youth and underrepresented groups into our life science community.

To this end, we look forward to you joining us at the 4th Annual Women Building Bio regional conference on Thursday, September 19th at the Inova Center for Personalized Health. The conference will spotlight women building our industry and create an enhanced opportunity for collaboration, networking and community building. The development of women 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 need to include, welcome and nurture all the talent we can to succeed as an industry and to best serve our patients and customers.

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

Nancy Agee, CEO Carilion Clinic, Roanoke, currently Chair of the American Hospital Association and co-founder of the highly successful Virginia Tech Carilion public private partnership; and

Julie Gerberding, EVP Communications, Global Policy, and Population Health & Chief Patient Officer at Merck, Washington, DC. who last year was honored as the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association 2018 Woman of the Year;

Michelle McMurry-Heath, Worldwide Vice President for Regulatory, Preclinical, and Clinical Affairs and Global Head of Evidence Generation - Johnson & Johnson, and Vice President, External Innovation, Regulatory Science, and Executive Director Scientific Partnerships, JLABS@Washington DC at Johnson & Johnson.

You may find the agenda here. Register now, and contact Cassandra Isley to become a sponsor or exhibitor.

I look forward to seeing each of you at this and all future events, and around our great community. If I’m in your area, don’t be surprised to get a meeting request from me! And, as always, I am available to you at john.newby@vabio.org, 804.643.6360.

Yours in service,

 

John

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Women Building Bio 2019

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 25, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Dear Members and Friends,

We are thrilled to share news of the emerging agenda for the 4th Annual Women Building Bio regional conference on Thursday September 19 at Inova Center for Personalized Health. 

National leaders who call our region home will join with women leading bioscience commercialization and R&D from across Virginia, DC and Maryland to create this extraordinary event. 

Our three keynote presenters will be: 

Julie Gerberding, EVP Communications, Global Policy, and Population Health & Chief Patient Officer at Merck, Washington, DC. who last year was honored as the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association 2018 Woman of the Year.  Dr. Gerberding also has led BIO’s efforts to create and establish founding principles and operationalized its national Workplace Development, Diversity, and Inclusion initiative.

Nancy Agee, CEO Carilion Clinic, Roanoke, currently Chair of the American Hospital Association and co-founder of the highly successful Virginia Tech Carilion public private partnership, including the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and an increasingly large number of spinouts. 

Michelle McMurry-Heath, Worldwide Vice President for Regulatory, Preclinical, and Clinical Affairs and Global Head of Evidence Generation - Johnson & Johnson, and Vice President, External Innovation, Regulatory Science, and Executive Director Scientific Partnerships, JLABS@Washington DC at Johnson & Johnson - a leader of JLABS@Washington DC at Children’s National Research and Innovation Campus at the former Walter Reed Army Hospital site.

 

We will have panels of women from across Virginia and the region who are leading bioscience commercialization and research.  They will highlight their breakthrough technologies, products and services, highlight collaborative opportunities, and offer insights from their professional and personal journeys. 

Finally, a favorite part of the program is TIES structured networking.  In the beautiful atrium area of the conference center we’ll reserve a dozen tables (rounds of 10), and each table will be anchored by a host -  a woman who is doing great things in the field in the region whom audience members would like to meet.  We’ll schedule two half-hour periods back to back in which 9 attendees can select and sit at one of the tables of their choice and meet and talk with the host in a small group setting.  Hosts come from a very wide range of roles and expertise, insights and potential contacts  - regulatory specialist, investor, Community College Dean, military science program officer, NIH and NSF program officers, university tech transfer, patient engagement specialist, etc.  Great connections are always made.

The goal of the day is to identify and showcase women building the industry across the region and nation and create a setting where they and the attendees can create new relationships and seed collaborations, and year over year build an ever-bigger community of connection and support to build better individuals, firms and industry, to better help patients and the people we serve.

If you’ve not seen it, look at the impressive community of women and men who have presented in our first three years of Women Building Bio conferences.  This year’s group will make it even stronger – come meet them in person on September 19!  

Register now, and contact Cassandra Isley to help support this unique and important event by exhibiting or sponsorships.

Best,

Jeff Gallagher

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Special Guest; Andrew Krouse

Posted By Andrew Krouse, Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Updated: Monday, June 24, 2019
Dear Friends,

As I complete my tenure, I want to thank each and every one of you for making Virginia Bio one of the leading life sciences associations in the country and for making my turn as Chairman so meaningful. I especially want to thank our executive committee, our board, our members, our sponsors and, most importantly the terrific team that consistently puts on fantastic programs for us. I am saddened to see Sherri Halloran leaving us after eleven years of dedicated and terrific work. She certainly has been a cornerstone of the organization, she will be missed, and we wish her the very best. You can see Sherri’s blog about her transition elsewhere in this newsletter. With the retirement of our beloved CEO Jeff Gallagher, it has been a busy time overseeing of the selection of a new CEO.

As I look back on my two years as Chairman and nearly a decade of volunteer service to the Board, I think fondly of the many professional and personal friendships I have made through the association. Virginia Bio is a very special organization that has allowed me to flourish both professionally and personally. I hope you share in my enthusiasm for Virginia Bio and the friendships that can be made through the organization. Generosity of spirit is a particular strength of our group – we all simultaneously mentor and learn from each other. I am proud of our work in helping Virginia companies gain more access to capital. Capital is the lifeblood of healthy biotech ecosystems. The annual JP Morgan reception has put Virginia Bio on the map and allowed entrepreneurs to mingle with some of the country’s top venture capitalists and corporate development professionals – many of whom have a tie back to Virginia. I am most proud of the creation of the Jeffrey Gallagher STEM Fellows Program. These scholarships will leave a lasting, generational impact on the individual students – perhaps changing their life’s trajectory – as well as hopefully the creation of new medicines, innovative research, novel devices and better agricultural products.

It is an exciting time at Virginia Bio. We were blessed to have had Jeff at the helm these last seven years as the organization took a great leap forward. Jeff leaves a very strong Virginia Bio – an organization that is thriving and healthy. I am pleased to announce that Jeff has agreed to work as a consultant to help in the transition of the new CEO as well as provide support on strategic activities. As we look to the future, knowing that Jeff and the team built a solid foundation, I am excited to think about the possibilities of where Virginia Bio is headed under the leadership of our new CEO. I ask each of you to think of ways we can improve Virginia Bio – to help shape it for the next decade. We are going to need your commitment to continue to help build Virginia Bio through your volunteer service and financial support. The new CEO is going to depend on our Board, our members, and our sponsors. Together we will shape the future of Virginia Bio!

I have loved my time with Virginia Bio and look forward to continuing to support its efforts. Please join me in welcoming Alan Connor into his new role as Chairman effective July 1st. I could not have asked for a better Vice Chairman than Alan. He is extremely thoughtful and disciplined in his approach to all matters and brings a fresh perspective to the organization. He will provide a steady hand as he and the new CEO help to advance the association within the Commonwealth.

Cheers,


Andrew Krouse

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