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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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Beginning the Conversation

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 22, 2016

Dear Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,

A: Next Thursday, September 29.

Q: What’s the nearest opportunity you have to take part in an event that will inspire and equip you to be better than ever before at what you do, and that will put you at the center of an enthusiastic network of talented and like-minded people who you can call on for years to come?

That’s because that’s the day you can Join hundreds of leaders and drivers of bioscience in Virginia, and the region for first of its kind Women Building Bio: the XX Factor, at the Inova Center for Personalized Health in Falls Church, VA. Register right now!

At this day-long conference we’ll:

identify and spread awareness of women leaders and drivers of the bioscience research and commercialization field throughout Virginia and across the region;

gather these and other women and men in the field to create new relationships and plant the seed for productive collaborations;

provide thoughtful, inspiring, practical and world class leadership and professional development; and,

help one another build stronger and better research, products, companies, institutions, networks, teams and individuals, enabling us all to better help the people we serve.

• Participate in a small group meeting with a leader in the field, in our innovative TIES small group networking program. Once you’ve registered for the conference, sign up in advance to reserve your spot using this link.

• Meet and hear from women leading the bio field in Virginia and the region, including:

Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO, ALS Association (Ice Bucket Challenge)
Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, Chair, Subcommittee on Research and Technology, House Science Space and Technology Committee
Barbara Boyan, Dean, VCU Engineering School
Amy Caro, Sector VP & GM Health Division, Northrop Grumman Information Systems
Meeta Chatterjay, Head Business Strategy and Operations, Business Development and Licensing, Merck Research Laboratories
Rachel King, CEO, GlycoMimetics, past Chair, BIO
Theresa Mayer, VP Research and Innovation, Virginia Tech
Mindy Goldsborough, Chief Science and Technology Officer, ATCC

• Experience world class professional development sessions led by University of Virginia Darden School Foundation Executive Education professors, whose faculty is repeatedly ranked #1 in the world by the Financial Times.

• Network with hundreds of other women and men from around the state and region.

• Meet some young women in bioSTEM and learn about the programs that have helped them enter and excel in the field

• Get a good glimpse of the campus of the Inova Center for Personalized Health, and learn first hand from CEO Todd Stottlemyer about the vision.

See you there!

Register today!

Jeff

 

 

PS – very special thanks to sponsors: Inova Center for Personalized Health, George Mason University, University of Virginia Darden School Foundation Executive Education, Greenberg Traurig, Squire Patton Boggs, PhRMA, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Xenith Bank, Pfizer, Virginia Tech Fralin Life Science Institute, Cherry Bekaert, AstraZeneca / MedImmune, Prince William County Economic Development, Loudon County Economic Development, Sliverline Communications, VWR, Euclid Systems, HHMI Janelia Research Campus, Avison Young, Northrop Grumman, Virginia Biotechnology Research Park, James Madison University, Polymer Solutions, and Embody

Tags:  #biotech  #inova  #womenbuildingbio  #womenleaders  #xxfactor2016 

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Special Note from Newly Elected Virginia Bio Chairman, Crystal Icenhour

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 25, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dear Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,

As I begin my term as Chairman, I would like to introduce myself. While I was formally trained as a medical research scientist, I have found that I am best suited for the business side of science. I have co-founded and lead two startup biotech companies in Virginia and have lived on the front lines of the entrepreneurial world for almost a decade now. I am committed to building the biotech ecosystem in Virginia.

My first interaction with Virginia Bio was with the VWR and Office Depot discount programs. As you know, every penny counts in a startup! I soon became involved on the Board of Directors under Mark Herzog’s leadership. I quickly realized how valuable Virginia Bio would be to my company, my career development, and to the Commonwealth of Virginia. I could see the potential of the organization and wanted to throw my hat in to be a part of the most exciting time in biotech!

In my time volunteering with Virginia Bio, I have pushed us to communicate and market our programs and potential in the best way possible. I have supported hire and retention of our brilliant CEO and dedicated staff. I have also been active in many discussions within the Commonwealth, educating and supporting the growth of biotech. I have enjoyed working with all of our wonderful board members, sponsors, and advisors. We have seen notable improvements in the biotech ecosystem over the past few years as a result of all of the efforts by us all!

I look forward to seeing Virginia Bio and the biotech ecosystem continuing to grow and mature over the next few years. Two areas that I seek to devote my time include capital formation and educating stakeholders about the benefits of a strong biotech ecosystem. Our work to help legislators understand these benefits is far from over. And I implore you all to invite your local and regional representatives and legislators to your facilities so that they can develop a stronger appreciation for our industry. With regard to capital formation, mark your calendars to join us during JP Morgan Healthcare conference. Exciting new opportunities are opening up – take advantage!

A special thank you goes out to Jeff Conroy, past Chairman of Virginia Bio. He has served as a strong leader and mentor for many of our members. We have amazing staff and volunteers that make our organization thrive – be sure to let them know how much you appreciate all they do for our industry! And don’t be shy about helping with initiatives that impact your business.

Here's to a fruitful year ahead.

Best,

   

 

Tags:  biotech ecosystem  jpmorgan  vabioboard  vwr  xxfactor2016 

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The Power of Summer Camps

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dear Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,

Earlier this month I was surprised when I returned from lunch to discover my office had been "redecorated” with cardboard - over 50 large boxes stacked high and deep. (click here for picture).

Hmmm. A little trip round the corner to see Sherri and Caron and ask what’s going on revealed this. Lab supplies, thousands of dollars of lab supplies. Not for us, but a donation by VWR, facilitated by the Virginia Bio Foundation, for a summer STEM camp at George Mason University called FOCUS. They were selected by camp leaders from a master list from overstock at VWR, a close partner of Virginia Bio.

F.O.C.U.S. (Females of Color and those Underrepresented in STEM) is a week-long camp which exposes middle school girls to a variety of disciplines within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  The camp specifically targets girls in middle school because research shows that’s the age where early interest in STEM often declines, but it can be reversed by thoughtful intervention. The camp is fun, hands-on and intellectually stimulating to sustain and elevate the girls’ interests in STEM. 

There’s individual learning and collaborative projects. On day five, the participants present one of the topics from the week in a poster session with invited faculty, students, and family.   There’s a "Leadership and Entrepreneurship” component to F.O.C.U.S. which gives the students an opportunity to meet successful women who currently work for leading organizations and/or own their own businesses. 

Thanks to donations, this program grew from 19 girls and 4 counselors in 2014 to 100 girls and 22 counselors this summer. The Virginia Bio Foundation, thanks to contributions from member companies and individuals, was able to provide scholarships to 5 girls who otherwise would not have been able to enjoy this experience this summer.

Camps are part of the fabric of enrichment programs and regular school curriculum and activity that are vital in encouraging young students to follow a path in STEM. Thanks to companies like VWR, programs like this are more accessible. If you would like to make donations to help these programs and others like them, please donate to the Virginia Bio Foundation.

The Virginia Bio Foundation works in STEM in many other ways. Have you heard of Biotech in a Box? Virginia Tech’s Fralin Life Science Institute makes available complete kits for bringing eight different and exciting biotechnology experiments to Virginia high school and community college classrooms. These kits contain all the equipment needed for the experiments, and the Institute pays round-trip shipping between Virginia Tech and the school. Thousands of classrooms in every district in the state over the years have enjoyed the use of these kits. In the last two years, many supplies in the kits have been provided by targeted donations from VWR.

Our thanks to VWR for its generous support of programs making STEM enrichment programs more accessible to young people. And for being a terrific business partner for our members. VWR is a cornerstone of our BioBusiness Solutions national group discount program, which enables every Virginia Bio member to receive significant savings on lab supplies, equipment, shipping, furniture and more.

Also our thanks to the dedicated volunteer leadership of the Foundation: Jim Powers, CEO of Hemoshear; Denise Toney, Director, Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, Virginia; Mark Herzog, VP Corporate Affairs, kaleo; and Eric Rhoades, Director, Office of Science and Health Education, Division of Instruction, Virginia Department of Education.

 

Best Regards,

 

 

 

Jeff Gallagher
CEO

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Where does the Virginia Bioscience Industry Stand?

Posted By Caron Trumbo, Thursday, June 30, 2016
Updated: Thursday, June 30, 2016

Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the BIO International Convention in San Francisco and watch Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe receive the BIO Governor of the Year award. He received this award in recognition of his commitment to improve the bioscience industry in the state. He has shown a long term commitment, demonstrated accomplishments, including new programs and encouraged the state to invest more dollars in building the Virginia bioscience economy than ever before in history.

Virginia is on a promising trajectory to increase the number of bioscience companies and initiatives. Currently, where does the bioscience industry in Virginia stand? This is not an easy question to answer but Virginia Bio is making a new effort to work with others to find the best way to measure the state’s progress.

Luckily for us, the Bio Innovation Organization (BIO) and TEConomy, recently released their bi-annual report on this exact thing. This state by state industry assessment reports data on national, state, and bioscience industry employment and recent trends. The most recent report, two-year old back growth from 2012 to 2014 by the number of employees and companies, average wages, academic expenditures, venture capital investments, and patents.

In Virginia, there are just over 26,000 bioscience industry jobs that span 1,624 businesses. During this two-year study, Virginia saw a 2% decline in the bioscience industry overall but the medical device and bioscience distribution saw an addition of jobs. In fact, Virginia employment in medical devices increased 9% while national hiring remained unchanged during this period. The NIH granted $322 million in funding awards to our research institutions and venture capitalist invested $713 million.

This data gives us a metric to be proud of and improve upon. Without knowing our strengths and weakness, we wouldn’t know where to focus our attention.

Another good source of data is the Coalition of State Biosciences (CSBI) Workforce Trend Report, that Virginia is participating in this year. This report provides a national glimpse of the current and expected talent needs in the life science industry. The 2016 Workforce Trends report shows that Virginia experienced a dramatic increase in workforce demand in 2015. This is appropriate since the overall need found in this report was for critical talent with specific skills and training. The Executive Summary of the report is available to view or download now, and the full report will be available online approximately July 20.

Now we are looking for collaborators in state and private industry to determine the measures to best describe what we have, what we need, and future things we can do with real data. We all know we have a concentration of data, science, and people; lets get the hard data. Lets pull the data together and tell a story that cannot be denied. Help us on this journey. Please contact us if you have available resources that will assist us in this effort.

 

Best Regards,

 

 

 

Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  bioscience performance  csbi  Economic Development  governor of the year  medical device  statewide  virginia bioscience  workforce trends 

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Special Note from Virginia Bio Chairman, Jeff Conroy

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Dear Friends,

As I end my term as Chairman, I would like to thank our members, board members, executive committee members, our sponsors and, most importantly our excellent professional staff (Sherri, Liz, Caron and Stephone) and, of course, our CEO Jeff Gallagher. Virginia Bio is a thriving organization constantly seeking to expand the value we bring to the community.

Many of us can remember 2012 and the process of hiring Jeff Gallagher as CEO. I always like to highlight that in Jeff, we have a leader who as an entrepreneur was involved in funding, developing and licensing a product that won FDA approval. This brings a tremendous perspective to Jeff’s role as he works on our behalf. Over the past four years, Virginia Bio has become Jeff Gallagher’s organization. He is the respected face of life sciences in the Governor’s office, the General Assembly, the commercial community, the academic network and nationally. Jeff’s thoughtful and caring style complement a competitive spirit and drive to build Virginia Bio into a significant and respected organization. We are in good hands!

Briefly I want to celebrate our achievements over the last two years. Jeff’s leadership educating the Commonwealth’s leaders resulted in the largest budget expansion of Virginia investment in the life sciences. Our capital formation initiative has elevated the profile of Virginia companies during the JP Morgan Healthcare conference and we are expanding our capital formation efforts. We have created significant events for our community with the THRIVE conference and built a focus on more regional outreach. One of the special aspects of this community is the opportunity to build valuable relationships among peers.

As we look to the future, our work is just beginning. The coming year will see a significant Women in Bio conference, another bi-annual Thrive event and the development of the Insights Thought Leadership series. We depend on the participation of our board members in the annual planning activities and in stepping forward to shape the future of Virginia Bio and I applaud their level of commitment. I would like to ask for the community’s commitment to expand the resources available to the Virginia Bio Foundation.

I am proud to be a member of this community. Jeff and the team are working diligently to support our needs and position Virginia for the future. Please join me in welcoming Crystal Icenhour, PhD into her new role as Chairman effective July 1st. Crystal brings tremendous energy and commitment to Virginia Bio and supporting Jeff Gallagher’s leadership.

Remember, this is your organization and we need your help to make it stronger.

Thank you and my very best regards,

Jeff Conroy

Tags:  chairmansnote  jpmorgan  thrive  vabio  vabioboard  vabiofoundation  xxfactor 

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BioHealth Capital Region

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 28, 2016

Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending and helping to moderate the second annual BioHealth Capital Region Forum at MedImmune’s beautiful and booming headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD. Over 900 registered to attend, and for two days we heard leaders in science, business and policy from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC.

The purpose was to showcase the region’s biotechnology accomplishments, create new collaborations, and explore ways to accelerate the region’s progress towards the goal of becoming "top 3 by 2023” among the biotech clusters in the US. Speakers and panels examined local and regional efforts to boost the life science industry, explored effective models for driving innovation and collaborating successfully, and spotlighted fields of special accomplishment and advantage in the region. Speakers included Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the NIH, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

The conference frankly results from the leadership of MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca in Gaithersburg, gathering a growing number of companies and industry organizations to develop a stronger, deeper, more interconnected region. By doing so we will help all our firms and research universities succeed and accelerate our contribution to discovery and development of treatments and cures for the world.

Virginia Bio was honored to be invited to participate on the planning committee along with BioHealth Innovation, Tech Council of Maryland, GlycoMimetics and of course MedImmune. Many more organizations and companies in the region supported the event financially - enabling us to offer it free of charge to attendees, and others by providing speakers and panelists. Together they comprised a program that was national in scope, experience and expertise.

I had the privilege of moderating a panel featuring a variety of foundations located in the region and examining their impact on research and commercialization. Panelists were leaders of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Foundation for the NIH, The Henry M Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, with a biotech company CEO and a foundation national strategy consultant. (A complete agenda can be found here).

A highlight of the conference was a big step taken toward creating a shared definition, profile, identity and brand for the region. Over six months, a group of more than 50 company and public sector leaders have met with branding specialists to explore this issue. At the conference they unveiled the name and tag line of choice “BioHealth Capital Region. Advancing Science / Accelerating Innovation.” You’ll see Virginia Bio incorporating it at the bottom of our emails and on our website. You and organizations and companies throughout the region are invited to do the same as appropriate. You can use this link to get the preferred style file. Soon we’ll be announcing an open competition to create an icon/logo, so be prepared to get creative!

At Virginia Bio we share this regional vision. Our colleagues in DC and Maryland are strategic assets to success in the global competition that every one of our companies, and every one of our research universities faces, and in the race for faster cures to people in need worldwide. As they succeed, we are strengthened, and vica versa. We can build collaborations within and across state lines to drive forward research and commercial success. We can share opportunities and insights with colleagues. We can encourage sound state and federal public policy. We can improve the ways in which we nurture and train talent by sharing a coherent and complementary strategy.

We can do all this and remain spot on with our mission to grow the bioscience industry in the Commonwealth. We’ll just be doing it a little smarter, and with teammates.


Best Regards,

 

 

 

Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  biohealth  biotechforum16  medimmune  top3by2023  vabio 

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Virginia Women Building Bio: The XX Factor

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 24, 2016
Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,

Over the past several months a steering committee of women from across the state and across many sectors of the bio industry have been planning a first-ever statewide conference highlighting and building on the contributions of women to the biosciences in Virginia.

Virginia Women Building Bio - The XX Factor will be a day-long experience, filled with expert presentations, interactive discussions and networking aimed at building a stronger bioscience industry, stronger companies and institutions, stronger collaborations and stronger individuals.

We are soon to finalize the date and location in Northern Virginia for this terrific event.

The event promises to bring together leaders from life science companies, entrepreneurs, researchers, funders, professional firms and public policy makers, research institutions, health care systems and will provide information, advice and open discussion on important topics. Topics will include finding sources of investment, collaborations in research and commercialization, developing employees and leaders in the ever changing workforce, and networking.

Breakouts, panel discussions, structured breaks and a capstone networking reception will provide generous opportunity to make new acquaintances, explore collaborations and renew existing ties.

This will be the first time women in all sectors of bioscience have come together from across Virginia, to identify needs and opportunities, identify leaders across the state in all fields, make connections and learn from one another. We expect this to be the start of an annual event bringing women together.

Prominent leaders of the industry who have confirmed their intent to participate include US Representative Barbara Comstock, Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and Amy Caro Vice President and General Manager Health Division at Northrop Grumman Information Systems.

Watch for the announcement of date and place coming soon. Thanks to our Conference Committee and our sponsors who make it all possible. If you would like to help plan and prepare this terrific conference, let us know.

Best Regards,

 

 

 Jeff Gallagher
  CEO

Tags:  conferernce  thexxfactor  vabio  virginia bioscience  vwbb 

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Collaboration is the Key to Success

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,

"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results” -Andrew Carnegie

For two years we have had the pleasure and responsibility of Ieading a team effort of leaders across the state to develop a common vision for a more robust and dynamic bioscience industry in Virginia, proposing concrete steps policy makers could implement to help. And here, near the end, Carnegie’s quote rings more true than ever before to me as I survey the many groups of people we represent.

I would like to spotlight several examples now in the news, and add a corollary to Carnegie: a mindset to seek to create value in everything we do. Act to grow the pie, not simply take a slice.

Bioscience businesses, of course, have to collaborate to thrive. We are masters at it, "virtual biotechs” being the extreme case. Whether it’s working with the members within the organization, closing an important deal with a customer or partner that is good and incentivizing to all sides, or developing a new product with contractors and consultants, effective collaboration is the key to successes.

I have been amazed over the last months at the time and energy the great majority of General Assembly members bring to their responsibilities during the warp speed months of a Session. I have seen the impact that working together can have on getting things done, and getting good things done. Last weekend the House and Senate announced their versions of the state budget, and the bioscience R&D and the industry did not do as well as we hoped, or even as well as in the Governor’s budget. So we will be working over the remaining few weeks to try to improve that outcome, and continue to paint the vision for the months and years and Sessions ahead (to see current status of state policy initiatives, click here).

Virginia is home to extraordinary research universities with strengths in varied fields, and they serve as the engine for much of the Commonwealth’s innovation in the biosciences. One continuing opportunity is to help them effectively collaborate on significant matters. Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (VBHRC), "the Catalyst”, provides grants to accelerate translational research and commercialization of breakthrough technologies in the life sciences. VBHRC creates stronger working partnerships between Virginia academic research universities, the biotechnology industry and health delivery systems. This leads to more collaborative research and the ability for stronger, larger, research centers. The results of the first several years speak for themselves, with terrific projects, collaborations where there were none before, large private matching and almost a 30:1 ROI measuring grants awarded: follow on funding. VBHRC is a critical part of the long range structure and strategy, working its way through the General Assembly, to support long term research/industry building with support for hiring outstanding researchers and seeding Centers of Excellence (click here to view VBHRC weave map).

Medimmune, just over the Potomac River in Gaithersburg, MD, is the region’s premier biopharma company. Yet it recognizes the benefit of collaboration. In fact for two years MedImmune has been working to bring the Maryland/DC/Virginia bioscience businesses and research centers together, with regional conferences, regional work groups to uncover and articulate strengths, and informal dinners for CEOs across the region. This type of collective effort will help grow the region’s biotech ecosystem and chart a course toward becoming one of the "top three biotech hubs by 2023”. Medimmune has initiated discussions with Virginia state officials offering to partner with the Commonwealth to grow the biotech industry in the state.

Finally, personalized medicine requires collaboration among doctors from many different specialties, technologists to create and develop new tools and patients. The recently announced plans to create the Inova Center for Personalized Health embody this type of collaboration. The collaborative promise of the new campus will stimulate the growth and success of high technology life science companies, world class researchers, eminent clinicians, leading to the expansion of the life science related economic sector and state of the art clinical medicine in Virginia and the greater Washington region.

The list of Virginia universities and companies building the value in healing, feeding and fueling the world can go on and on – Virginia Tech Carilion, UVA’s many efforts, VCU Engineering School’s Medicines for All Initiative, and on and on. In later letters we will examine more of them, to inspire and connect us even further.



Best Regards,


Jeff Gallagher
CEO

 Attached Files:

Tags:  bhrc  cu  eamwork  eneral assembly  io  irginia bioscience  medimmune  nova  ollaboration  tate policy  tcri  va 

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Virginia Legislation Needs You

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,

The 2016 legislative session has kicked off here in Richmond and its time for everyone to make a difference. This General Assembly faces an urgent need to develop smart policies to jumpstart diversified, high-tech, high-wage job and economic growth across the state. Investing in the bioscience/biomedical fields can produce the growing economic returns Virginia needs to provide great jobs and support the state budget. Over the last year, Virginia Bio has led industry and research university leaders on crafting a comprehensive plan to dramatically grow the bioscience economy for decades to come (details can be found here).

Most of these important programs support the growth of all technology industries. Others focus on biosciences to jumpstart the tremendous potential untapped in the state. Taken together, they complement and complete one another to form a strong framework on which private industry will build an industry of national prominence. The plan is already reflected in the Introduced Budget. We urge the General Assembly to maintain and support the Virginia Bio plan as it develops its budget amendments.

Some key points of the initiative:

•Increase funding for Virginia Bioscience Health Research Corporation. The “Catalyst’s” grants match private dollars to fund high commercial impact research collaborations of two or more Virginia universities with industry.

•Create a Fund to support game changing in-bound biopharma investment of global stature to accelerate development of a complete, nationally ranked, bio industry in Virginia.

•Increase funding for tax credits that support all technology industries. These credits include Angel Investor tax credit and R&D tax credit (If you have benefited from either of these tax credits, please contact me so you can share your story of their significance and impact).

•Create a Virginia Research Alliance to systematically grow economic activity in all technologies, bending universities' behavior towards commercialization and into alignment around strengths with industry.

Throughout the Session, industry leaders from around the state will be visiting to describe the opportunity and answer your questions. Would you like to find out what you can do? Please click here to find your legislator and let them know you support the Virginia Bioscience Economic Initiative. Feel free to contact me directly at any time, and join the policy group if you are interested.


Best Regards,



Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  legistlation  session  tax credit  the catalyst  virginia bioscience 

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What’s up with “Nano”?

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

I loved the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” But in bioscience innovation and commercialization, don’t diss the really small stuff. It’s called “Nano” - Nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanosurfaces. And it’s big.

What’s up with “Nano”? First of all, materials can have very different properties and function in unique ways when structured at the nanoscale. When particles are created with dimensions of about 1–100 nanometers (where the particles can be “seen” only with scanning electron and atomic force microscopes and the like) the materials’ properties change significantly from those at larger scales.

Quantum effects rule the behavior and properties of particles, and in this size range properties such as melting point, fluorescence, electrical conductivity, magnetic permeability, and chemical reactivity change as a function of the size of the particle. Nanoscale gold particles, for example, change significantly from those at larger scale, and that can be put to practical use: nanoscale gold particles selectively accumulate in tumors, where they can enable both precise imaging and targeted laser destruction of the tumor by means that avoid harming healthy cells.

Nanoscale materials have enormously larger surface areas than similar masses of larger-scale materials. A cubic centimeter solid has a surface area of 6 square centimeters. Fill that same volume with 1-nanometer-sized cubes—1021 of them, each with an area of 6 square nanometers, and their total surface area comes to 6,000 square meters - bigger than a football field.

Now add in the observation that nature has perfected nanotechnology - most biological processes occur at the nanoscale. The diameter of hemoglobin is 5.5 nanometers, and a strand of DNA about 2 nanometers.

With this, one can begin to imagine why there’s excitement that nanowires, Bucky balls, gold nanoparticles, even nanobots can make unprecedented contributions not only to medicine, in the design of tools, the discovery and development of treatments and therapies, but also to environmental and agricultural challenges the facing the world in the coming decades.

The federal agencies of public sciences are on to it. NIH has a Nanomedicine Program and an NIH/NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, and its website provides a good overview of the science and biomedical applications. NIST has a separate Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST), and NSF, too, has a Nanoscience Project.

In our state, the Virginia Nanotechnology Initiative (VNI) is a statewide consortium of Virginia's universities, federal labs, state agencies, and industrial partners, dedicated to promoting collaborative nanotechnology research, workforce development, technology transfer and commercialization. Established through seed funding from Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), VNI goals include building a "nanotechnology community" in Virginia and placing the state in the forefront of nanotechnology research and innovation. 

A quick (and incomplete) tour around the programs and centers at our universities and colleges includes the following:

• College of William and Mary – The Department of Applied Science works in Nanostructures & Thinfilms, and has the Nanomaterials and Imaging Lab.

• George Mason University - The Mason Nanotechnology Forum has developed a Graduate Certificate in Nanotechnology and Nanoscience, and the Mason Nanotechnology Initiative opens a space for discussion and planning to nanoscience and nanotechnology across the university.

• Old Dominion University – The Xu Group performs cutting-edge research on bio- and nano- technologies and ultrasensitive analytical methodologies to address fundamental and practical questions in chemical, biochemical and biomedical research.

• University of Virginia - multiple resources and centers dot the grounds. The Institute for Nanoscale and Quantum Scientific and Technological Advanced Research (nanoSTAR) is a dedicated, multi-disciplinary team striving to advance research & development at the nanoscale, working in nanomedicine, nano and quantum electronics, and energy/environment through partnerships with academia, industry, and national laboratories. NanoSTAR programs, including Seed Grants and the Spring Symposium. Researchers are spinning out companies, including CIT grant recipients. The Center for Nanoscopic Materials Design (MRSEC) and the Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility provide important and cutting edge resources for the university and collaborators. UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science’s departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering have formed a program in nanomedicine.

• Virginia Commonwealth University – offers a Ph.D. in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Departments of Chemistry and Physics, and at the School of Engineering the Biomedical Engineering Program includes the NanoMedicine Lab and the Nanomaterials Core Characterization Facility.

• Virginia Tech - Core resources on campus include the Micro and Nano Fabrication Laboratory and the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Lab (NCFL). Other foci are the Advanced Materials Group, Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, the Nano2Earth Project and NanoBioEarth Research Group. Virginia Tech recently won a spot in the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) a five year National Science Foundation award to focus on the interactions of nanomaterials the soil, water, air, and biological systems. Translational Nanomedicine is explored by the Fralin Life Sciences Institute, ICTAS and Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI). At the Wake Forest Virginia Tech School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Nanomedicine & Nanobioengineering provides a center of bioresearch at the nano level. Virginia Tech also offers a B.S. in nanoscience.

• Virginia’s Community Colleges offer a half dozen courses in nanotechnology and nanomaterials. And Virginia public schools have nanotechnology in their sights as well. October is “Techtober” in Virginia, and this year the National Nano Initiative, MathScience Innovation Center, and Virginia Department of Education partnered to offer a Web meeting for teachers to explore “Nanotechnology: Applications, Educational Pathways & Resources. Click here to see a nice video from the meeting.


Statewide an increasing number of companies, big and small, are putting nanoscale discoveries to use in areas from therapeutics to diagnostics, biosensors, synthetic biology, regenerative medicine, medical devices, environmental resource remediation and treatment, and agricultural use.

It’s hard to say “think big” with Nano; perhaps it’s think differently, use your imagination and be open to big improvements in bioscience innovation and commercialization.

Best Regards,



Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  nanoparticles  nanotechnology  ODU  University of virginia  UVA  VCU  Virginia bio  virginia bioscience  Virginia Tech  William and Mary 

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