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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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Recapping Women Building Bio

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Dear members and friends,


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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




Jeff Gallagher



Presenters at the 3rd Annual Women Building Bio conference:

Clinical and Translational Research Centers

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

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

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


Tech transfer and commercialization from research institutions

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

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

Ivelina Metcheva, Executive Director, VCU Innovation Gateway

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



Deborah Crawford, Vice President Research, George Mason University

Laurence Bray, Associate Professor, Bioengineering, George Mason University

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

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


Innovating in Disruption and Disruptive Innovation

Margaret Anderson, Managing Director, Deloitte Consulting

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

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

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



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

Jessica Foley, Chief Science Officer, Focused Ultrasound Foundation

Tracey Vetterick, Head of Oncology Early Portfolio Strategy, AstraZeneca

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



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

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Breakthroughs to cures is not rocket science

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

Dear Members and friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best Regards,

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Capital, Talent, & Technology

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

Dear Members and Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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


Best Regards,

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Recap of Virginia’s first Life Sciences Workforce Summit-Guest Writer

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Dear Virginia BIO members,

I hope your summer is off to a great start! Jeff Gallagher and I had the privilege of hosting Virginia’s first Life Sciences Workforce Summit in Richmond on June 21. The event was held at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and was attended by about 125 representatives from academia, business and economic development organizations. Nearly every university, four-year college and community college in the Commonwealth attended the meeting, as well as all of the major life science businesses and several smaller ones.

The Summit is part of a four-pronged initiative to ensure that our life science companies will have sufficient and appropriately trained talent to help our companies succeed and ultimately help Virginia become a leading State in life science business. The components of our overall Workforce initiative include:

• Live video interviews of young science professionals made available to students at all universities and community colleges across the Commonwealth

• A robust internship program that consolidates information about internships offered by all of our member companies and posted on the Virginia BIO website along with contact information

• A survey of science talent needs of our life science businesses

• An annual Summit that brings educators, businesses and economic development professionals together to discuss alignment of educational programs and business needs for life science talent.

The Virginia Life Science Workforce initiative is conceived and led by Virginia BIO and the Virginia BIO Foundation. We can’t wait for our politicians to recognize our needs, nor can we simply hope that academic institutions will know what training to provide their students to fulfill the talent needs of our companies.

The Summit was structured with a number of moderated panels that addressed business needs for talent and the gaps we see; young professionals talked about their experiences entering the work force and how well they feel they were prepared; educators discussed their programs and how they are aware of business needs; and a mix of the above talked about various efforts to provide work-related experiences to students to better prepare them for the workplace. The audience was quite active with questions and suggestions. We also heard from some fantastic young people talk about how their educational and internship experiences helped prepare them for full-time employment.

Across the board, feedback was very positive, and the Summit helped us engage several member companies in new ways to bring them closer to the Virginia BIO family. The main takeaways from the Summit included:

• The huge need for meaningful internships and work-study programs for student to obtain first-hand experience in the workplace

• A significant need for soft skills training to help students understand what is expected and how to act in the workplace

• An inventory of higher ed programs and contacts so that employers will know where to look for talent

• An inventory of skills that life science businesses would like to see in new graduates

In the near future, we will issue a white paper detailing the results of the Summit. In addition, we are launching several working groups to address some of the needs described above. We will report on our progress as we go. The attendees were unanimous in their desire to hold a similar summit next year.

I truly hope you realize the important role that Virginia BIO plays in serving the needs of our member companies. As a member of the Virginia BIO board and its Executive Committee, I am struck by the wide range of services that Virginia BIO provides, including legislative lobbying, capital formation, discounted supplies and services, informal and formal networking among our members, Women in BIO, workforce, bioSTEM programs, business/university engagement, promotion of our State as an outstanding location for businesses and talent, and so on. These activities are all led by a small, dedicated team at Virginia BIO, including Caron Trumbo, Sherri Halloran, Cassandra Isley and Jeff, along with active engagement of the Virginia BIO board.

Jeff and I look forward to keeping you informed about progress of the Life Science Workforce Initiative. If you’d like to become involved, please let us know!


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

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Enhancing the Ecosystem

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Dear Members and Friends,

The last few weeks brought some good news and striking illustrations of progress for individual researchers and companies, and our statewide ecosystem. I wanted to make sure you saw them.

CIT announced
a host of CRCF awards for Commercialization, Matching and SBIR/STTR Matching programs, including many in the biomedical space. The awards reflected good activity from all corners of the state and across our universities and illustrate the key role CIT plays in nurturing the ecosystem. 

Earlier this week dozens of posters on issues and opportunities in drug discovery were presented by companies and university researchers as part of the two-day Virginia Drug DiscoveryRx Symposium at GMU’s Founders Hall, Arlington. This is the third year in a row VaDDC has produced a statewide conference bringing together academic and industry R&D around drug discovery (2016 focusing on the Brain and 2017 focusing on Cancer). Plans are already underway for next year. One topic was the rise of collaborative mechanisms and funders within academia and public science funding agencies, and across universities and industries nationally and in Virginia.

A great piece of news for the state was the NCATS (National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences) renewal of the five-year Clinical and Translation Science Award to VCU. For VCU and the other 50 NCATS-funded CTSAs, innovation and collaboration outside the host institution, as well as within host institution, are keys to success. This and other CTSAs provide important opportunities academic researchers and companies to advance their innovations.

Finally, the Virginia Catalyst (VBHRC) continues executing as well as strategizing. This month it announced a new and exciting collaborative award under its original grant program and made steady progress toward its goal of building shared infrastructure of collaborative resources and research infrastructure tools statewide for university and industry. Plus, through a lot of grass roots effort the Virginia Catalyst has organized dozens of voluntary interest groups of researchers around special topic areas within neuroscience. These groups are having initial conference calls and meetings to share their work and interests with one another, with an eye to identifying new opportunities for collaboration, leading to enhanced capabilities and greater funding.

Best regards,


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build a bigger, better, more impactful life science industry in Virginia

Posted By Caron Trumbo, Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Dear Members and Friends,

Here are updates on action steps we are taking on our long-term strategies to create a stronger foundation on which to build a bigger, better, more impactful life science industry in Virginia.

Talent - the Virginia Life Science Workforce Initiative

We are on track for our statewide June 21, Virginia Life Science Workforce Summit, Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The program brings together leaders from life science employers and higher ed across the state to focus with attendees on issues that will move us forward. Please attend, or make sure someone from your company or school does. You’ll make copious contacts, accelerate your own talent acquisition efforts, and help us build a better system for the future. We’ll issue a “white paper” with proceedings, findings and recommendations after the conference. Register now!

The pilot program for the Live Video Interview series to help higher ed students concluded successfully this Spring, and we’ve tweaked it with collaborators at ODU, W&M and JMU and are planning it out fully for the next academic year– 16 episodes, one every other week. The series will be interviews of individuals across the state and across varied sectors of the “life science industry” made available to every higher ed student anywhere in Virginia. The purpose is to help them become familiar with the range of careers life science education prepares them for and become aware of opportunities across Virginia. Take a look at one of the 3 minute trailers on one of the 30-minute interviews in the pilot program.

The Capstone MPA team from VCU’s Wilder School of Public Policy delivered its final report on a snapshot and trends in Virginia Life Science workforce. We’ll share findings and recommendations at the Summit.

We’ll also use the Summit to dig into best practices on experiential learning and hone our internship strategy, learn models around the state and innovative models we may adopt. Currently 50 employers are listed on our website internship page as accepting internship applications, with name and contact for each, but we’d love to add more. Please let us know if yours or another organization should be added to the list and who the contact is.

Research / technology

One of the insights driving all that we do is the realization of the great work being done in Virginia in our field but in scattered locales and organizations, and the benefit of better awareness, communications and networks of relationships. On June 25-26 we are cohosting with the Virginia Drug Discovery Consortium the Virginia Drug DiscoveryRx: A symposium on Academic-Industrial Partnerships in Drug Discovery at GMU’s Founders Hall in Arlington, VA. For the agenda and to register see: I admire the vision and hard work of the university researchers who run VaDDC to accelerate research in the Commonwealth. The agenda includes successful entrepreneurs who have translated basic research into biotech companies, university researchers who have promising drug candidates in development, new technologies to assist drug development, and industry and government leaders.

I am spending time serving on the Implementation Advisory Team for VRIC (Virginia Research Investment Fund) to explore how to implement changes to VRIC’s activities and programs recommended in the Report “Assessment of Virginia’s Research Assets: Strategic Directions to Advance Innovation-Led Growth and High-Quality Job Creation across the Commonwealth” by TEConomy Partners. The Report lays out four Strategic Growth Opportunities for Virginia (Cyber and Cyber-Physical Security; Integrated Networking, Communications, and Data Analytics; System of Systems (SoSE) Engineering Solutions; and Life Sciences) and recommends the state’s efforts focus on these areas. Our subcommittee is considering Strategy One, namely:

“Strategy One: Pursue the strategic growth opportunities through public-private collaborations in advancing translational research capacities.
Baseline Action for VRIC to Consider

Baseline Action 1: Establish a competitive translational research project fund involving industry and university partners in strategic growth opportunities
Enhanced Action 1 for the Commonwealth to Consider: Support the formation and sustainment of industry-led statewide translational research centers in each of the strategic growth opportunity areas

Baseline Action 2: Raise Virginia’s competitiveness to pursue major federal research center awards to multi-university, multi-industry collaborations through planning, program coordination, and outreach grants and offering matching state funds for facility and equipment costs”

I welcome you to contact me and share your thoughts in the coming weeks on this topic, and we will be reaching out to some of you to share your experiences and ideas.

Best Wishes,


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Fresh Look

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Dear Member and Friends,

Recently, we went live with our new website!

Please take a moment to look.

Let us know ways to make it even better.

Sherri Halloran led the efforts internally for well over a year and we owe her great thanks for masterfully keeping us focused us on the big picture while marshaling 1,000 details. Caron Trumbo and Cassandra Isley spent countless hours on it, and we had great collaborator in our outside web design firm.

We were shooting for a fresh look - to reflect the vitality of the industry, the passion of our members, the richness of opportunities, the mission that binds us together and the vision that pulls us ahead.

We wanted to provide quicker access to the actions and information users most go to.

And we sought to create a better tool to help us do the job you’ve entrusted to us:

Provide opportunities to you to make significant connections, to learn and to participate in building a stronger industry together.

Advocate for the industry, for our members, for our patients and customers;
Gather, shape and tell the story of life sciences in Virginia;

Lead industry-wide or state-wide efforts that fill a critical gap or enable us to grab a significant opportunity.

All of this to help you succeed in serving the people who depend upon you for health, cures, fuel and food.

Let us know what you think, and how we can make this critical communication tool even better.

Best regards,

Jeff Gallagher

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Practically Anything

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 22, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Members and Friends,

Vision without action is merely a dream.
Action without vision merely passes the time.
Vision with action can change the world.
- Joel A. Barker, futurist.

At Virginia Bio, we don’t want to merely dream, or just pass time. Like you, we want to change the world.

And so, as you have probably noticed, we will do practically anything to help Virginia Bio members succeed and our industry thrive, to bring the benefits of life science to the people of Virginia and the world.

From blocking and tackling to sketching a vision of an extraordinary future and instigating a sense of urgency to move towards it - we do it. That’s the connection between the following two wildly different observations I want to share, drawn from items recently capturing our attention and demanding our time.

Observation 1 - Most of you are missing the opportunity to save a lot of money in the normal course of business because you’re not using our BioPurchasing program.
We are proud members of one of the nation’s best discount purchasing programs, continuously negotiated exclusively for members of the many state bio organizations like ours by big BIO. Big discounts - often north of 50%, are available on practically anything your company purchases. The amount of savings enjoyed by our members who participate in the program varies from hundreds or a few thousand dollars per year for a startup, to hundreds of thousands of dollars to scaleups and mature companies. The point is whatever your size or volume, savings will be significant to you. VWR, known widely as the world’s largest supplier of lab supplies and equipment, leads a list of 14 different vendors in the program, also including UPS, Office Depot, Air Gas and Chubb, and you get their top discounts. It’s easy to use: it takes 2 minutes to sign up, vendor reps reach out to you where you are, savings start on the first purchase. Call or email Cassandra Isley or Sherri Halloran here to get going and start saving money. Your savings can accelerate your R&D, reward your people, and extend your runway.

Observation 2 - We stand at the threshold of a historic opportunity for state public policy to help our companies and realize the enormous potential of the industry.
Listening to and watching policymakers, implementers and influencers since the Fall election and over the course of the General Assembly, I see a new bedrock shared belief that decisive and big-scaled action must be taken promptly to begin to reverse the declining economic performance of the state, that it must focus on innovation industries, and that practically anything will be considered. I think that there’s a consensus that the new tools enacted and considered bold just two years ago (GoVirginia, VRIC and the Major R&D Tax Credit), are good and will be improved, but even so they will be insufficient to fix the fundamental structural economic problem we face today. It seems the very scale by which Virginia traditionally has measured significance in economic development policies is being questioned and found to be insufficient to meet today’s challenge.

We believe that the life science industry has enormous upside potential in Virginia, in part because of the accelerating convergence of life science, biomedicine, health and health care with data, IT, telecom, informatics and AI – all competitive strengths of Virginia. Virginia’s support of this industry is a fraction of what states whose industries are growing (including our immediate neighbors north and south) are doing to nurture and accelerate the industry. In this fast-moving and globally competitive environment, Virginia will never realize the enormous potential without a very different approach. We are eager to work with the new Administration and the General Assembly and the implementing state agencies – to help envision and to block and tackle, in order to change the trajectory of the R&D, the companies and this great industry in Virginia.

So, sign up for BioPurchasing: don’t leave money on the table! Then help us engage with policymakers and stakeholders in the months and years ahead. Let’s change the world.

Best regards,

Tags:  #biotech #biopurchasing #biobusinesssolutions #pub 

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Talent is seeking opportunity …. and opportunity is seeking talent

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 22, 2018
Members and Friends,


Virginia Bio and the Virginia Bio Foundation have launched a long term strategic workforce initiative.  


I can’t describe the need for this any better than the Virginia Chamber did in its Blueprint 2025:

“The availability of a well- trained and educated workforce remains the top concern for Virginia’s business community, and with good reason. Companies need people with the right skills to help them grow, thrive, and prosper.…  Virginia can build its supply of talent through a deliberate focus on creating closer connections to the business community and jobs throughout its education system.  These connection points include work-based learning experiences, the development of career exploration tools, and business involvement in the design of education and training programs.” 


In some fields, like IT, cyber and advanced manufacturing, the state has and continues to invest time and money to understand the workforce supply and demand and implement aggressive programs to create alignment and address gaps.    But no such effort has been made for the life sciences.  Little data.  No coordination.


But talent is seeking opportunity …. and opportunity is seeking talent every day.


So, let’s get to work.


Our goal is to help bridge the communications and relationships gap between industry and academia, to help align needs and strengths and to identify gaps.  This will strengthen the pipeline of talent for the growing and ever-changing life science industry in the Commonwealth and equip the next generation of Virginians with the vision, knowledge and skills they need to launch meaningful and productive careers so that they can play their part in the great challenge before us to heal, feed, fuel and care for the world.


The Virginia Life Science Workforce Initiative is launching with four (4) components: 


• “Live Connect” will be a comprehensive series of live video interviews with industry professional designed for bioSTEM students in Higher Ed across Virginia to “meet and interact” virtually in real time with people from a variety of life science employers in a variety of roles.  We are using technology to take a standard visit to campus and make it scalable, extending the reach to any employer and any student anywhere in the state.  The goal is to inform students about career paths, to learn about employment opportunities and employers, and training skills and to make connections. We are doing a pilot this spring with William & Mary, Christopher Newport and James Madison Universities, and shooting for a full statewide launch Sept 2018).


  Internships.   We facilitate students matching with employers with internship programs with real-world applications and work experience.  We help students will gain experiential learning while industry employers gain working knowledge of potential employees.    


  Virginia Life Science Workforce Trends Reports.  We have sent out an on-line survey and over the next month we will be conducting phone interviews with life science employers statewide to gain insights into current needs for talent and key trends.  We’re delighted that a Master’s in Public Administration Capstone Team at VCU’s Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs is helping us with this time-intensive task and collecting the incomplete data that does exist on the life science workforce and assessing the gaps.  We’re conducting the trends reporting in conjunction with similar efforts by sister BIO organizations nationwide, an analysis of job postings data in the state, and a review of labor statistics and SCHEV data to compile both national and Virginia information.  


  Life Science Workforce Summit.   On Thursday, June 21 in Richmond we will convene life science employers from across the state, academic and career administrators from all of Virginia’s higher education institutions that train and educate bioSTEM students, economic development professionals, HR and staffing experts and policymakers.  The goal is to inform, inspire, share best practices, create relationships and spark innovative partnerships, to improve how we develop and find talent to meet the dynamic needs of employers and provide our young people extraordinary careers making the most of their life sciences education.  To our knowledge, this will be the first time this has been done. Click here to sign up to learn more!


Our efforts have been led by the Chairman of the Board of our Foundation, Jim Powers, and by an esteemed volunteer board of advisors representing different sectors, communities and regions.

Cliff Fleet, President, BioMech,

Ia Gomez, Ph.D., Associate Dean, Science and Applied Technologies Division

Manassas Campus Manassas Campus, Northern Virginia Community College

Megan Healy, Ph.D., Chief Workforce Development Advisor, Office of Governor Ralph Northam

Mark Herzog, Vice President Corporate Affairs, kaleo, Inc.

Hal Irvin, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Health Sciences & Technology Outreach, Virginia Tech Carilion

Kathleen Powell, Associate Vice President for Career Development, William & Mary

Denise Toney, PH.D., Director, Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, Commonwealth of Virginia


If you are enthusiastic about lending a hand, please let us know. 


Best regards,

Jeff Gallagher, CEO

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Lawmaking is in bloom in Richmond

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 25, 2018
Updated: Thursday, January 25, 2018

Dear Members and Friends,

Let’s talk Public Policy.


The Virginia General Assembly has convened, and lawmaking is in bloom in Richmond.  The GA has a different balance and feel, after the startling results of the November election.  At this early point things feel more fluid, and we’ve not been shelled by volleys of polarizing bills from either side.   In one of the areas Virginia Bio prioritizes - economic development and the innovation and entrepreneurship agenda, there’s a sense of steadiness.  VEDP reform has rebuilt the confidence of policymakers, and there are many bills to strengthen that organization.  There appears to be agreement that the Governor’s consolidation of functions and organizations under the Secretary of Commerce and Trade is a wise direction.  Perhaps the parties are appraising their opponents.  Perhaps we are trying to lead the nation to a less confrontational public politics and policy.

In our close watch and work at the GA we are helped greatly by Scott Johnson and the team at First Choice Consulting.  We also draw on the expertise of public policy pros among our members, and the public policy staffs at our ally organizations BIO, PhRMA, AdvaMed, MDMA and We Work for Health.

Now for some specifics.  Last Friday was the deadline for filing new bills.  We’ve combed the 3,000+ bills introduced in House and Senate, and sifted to the ones we may track.  On our website you’ll find a table of those and our position to date.  Last week was the deadline for budget amendments, and relevant ones also are included on the table.

This Friday, January 25 at 10:30 am, we’ll have a webinar/open call on these bills and issues, and you are all welcome to join and provide your feedback.  Scott Johnson and I will lead the discussion, and we’ll look to hear from our members your opinions and priorities.

So far, on the priorities we track year to year, this seems like a level-flight session. 

Tax credits have been continued in Governor’s introduced budget at as-is levels, and we’ve seen no budget amendments nor legislation, introduced to reduce or impair them.  This includes the refundable R&D Tax credit; the (new) major R&D tax credit; and the Angel investor tax credit.  Similarly, funding for the Catalyst (Virginia Bioscience Health Research Corporation) was included in the Governor’s introduced budget at $3.75M/yr. for both years, and no budget amendments nor bills have been introduced to reduce that unique and effective grant program.  Nor is there any change to the authority or funding for the GGBRI (Global Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Institute).    

The wild card in all funding decisions, however, is the final determination, to be made late in the Session, of the amount of revenue in the budget. Under state law  this strictly limits the expenditures.  The Governor’s introduced budget includes significant revenue from Medicaid expansion, though it is uncertain that will become law. Moreover, this year projections of revenue based on tax receipts are especially difficult to make because of the significant recent changes in the federal tax law.

The two major new economic development programs created together two years ago, VRIC and GoVirginia, have developed cautiously and retain solid support of the Administration and in the General Assembly.  VRIC (Virginia Research Investment Committee) funding is continued at same level, and without significant legislative change, with a mission of accelerating and commercializing research at our research universities.  VRIC engaged outside consultants who just delivered a strategic report which suggested sharp changes in the state’s strategy, so look for changes in program priorities and operations to be considered, decided and implemented this Spring.  GoVirginia funding remains steady and attention is being directed at how to refine and improve the program, which aims to incentivize local economic development systems to work collaboratively with one another and industry to recruit and grow companies and high paying jobs.  

There have been a number of bills introduced to regulate in miscellaneous ways our industry.  These are usually unpredictable and unique, and we meet them as they come.  Bills we are tracking and speaking to at the GA now include (among many others) proposals:  to create a state “right to repair” digital electronic equipment, including medical devices; to legislate state level drug pricing data disclosure; to extend the statute of limitations on personal injury claims arising from drugs, and imposing state level cold chain requirements for prescribed drugs.   On our website we keep an updated table of these and other bills we are tracking, sponsors, issues, our position and status in the General Assembly, so that you can stay as informed as you like.


In Washington, a two-year extension of the suspension of the medical device tax was included in the tax package that ended the government shutdown earlier this week.  This is great news for our medical device members, and we were happy to add our voice to many hundreds from across the country to remind our Congressional Representatives of the horrible impact of the tax on US innovation and jobs.

For those of you interested in helping up present the case of the industry to our Congressional delegation and their staffs, there will be two opportunities in the coming months, when like minded people from across the US fly in and a coordinated day of lobbying.  We and our national ally organizations set up the meetings and provide briefings.   Visit our website for how to join me and others from around Virginia and the US on these important days:

                  AdvaMed Fly-In, February 27-28, for the medical device portion of our industry

                  BIO Fly-In, April 17-18, centered on the biological and pharmaceutical part of the industry, but extending to innovation and entrepreneurship


Please give me a call with any questions, or if you would like to become more involved


Best Regards,

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