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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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Thank you!

Posted By Caron Trumbo, Thursday, April 20, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Dear Members and Friends,


From all of us, thank you for making THRiVE 2017 a huge success.   Wow and Phew! 


It was a great team effort – and our team is way bigger than the four of us on staff.  We had five terrific co-hosts anchoring us firmly in Virginia Beach / Hampton Roads.  We had more than 20 sponsors and exhibitors, 37 different experts and leaders from across Virginia and beyond on the program, and 250 in attendance.  Heartfelt thanks to all.

Not storm, nor tornado warnings, nor hotel evacuation alarm, could deter this group! We even ended the day with a beautiful rainbow over the oceanfront.   


Presentations of the day and lots of photos are available on our website and through the event app


Throughout the day, there were several exciting announcements. During his welcoming remarks, Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms, announced the launch of the VABeachBIO Innovation Challenge, the first of it's kind in the country. The challenge will center around inventions to improve Veteran healthcare.


The Virginia Bioscience Health Research Corporation, aka The Catalyst also announced that applications are open for Round 7 of grants to fund the development, validation and application of new approaches to diagnosing, preventing and treating neurological conditions, including brain injuries, brain developmental disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, neuropsychiatric and behavioral disorders, as well as addiction and substance abuse.



We thought you’d enjoy a few comments we’ve received from attendees.


“Thrive 2017 was one of the more valuable and productive conferences I’ve attended in the past year. The quality and relevance of the panel speakers was very well matched to the needs of the VaBio community. The accessibility of the conference speakers was great – the format of the conference allowed for meaningful conversations with the speakers and it allowed me to uncover new opportunities and identify new collaborators and potential funding sources. Of course, the enthusiasm and camaraderie from the other VABio members was the best part – a really great forum for reconnecting and discussing collaborations with other members. Finally, the quality and comfort of the venue, the accommodations, the food, the receptions, etc. was exceptional. Overall, a very big return on investment of time and expense to attend.” 


“One high-powered conference….”


“Thank you, so much, for a fabulous event this last week!  Thrive was a huge success and I benefited on many levels.  This was my first Virginia Bio event.  I have a number of new contacts and my plate is full making sure that I follow up expeditiously.  I look forward to the next event and appreciate your efforts to ensure the healthy growth of Virginia as a bio-tech hub for the nation.  You all are a great team and I am glad to know you.”


“Great balance of science and business and fun….”


“Thrive 2017 achieved the vision Virginia Bio talked about: an event to celebrate, connect and educate our community of entrepreneurs, academic researchers, companies, investors and healthcare providers.  The evolution of Virginia-based funding sources and the inclusion of the VA/VHA and USAMRMC signify strategic options for companies to build partnerships and secure capital.  The chance to celebrate the ongoing success of our peers in this community was fantastic.  I am reminded of the power of the people in this community and our ability to help each other in many ways.  Wow.  Thank you!!”


If you were there with us, thanks!  If not, become involved and experience the power of the people in this community to help and to lift up one other. Building the time into your busy schedules to make one of our upcoming events, like Women Building Bio; the XX Factor conference on September 26 in Fairfax.



Best regards,


Sherri Halloran

Cassandra Isley

Stephone Jones

Caron Trumbo

Jeff Gallagher

Tags:  #biotech #thriveinva #thankyou 

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Never Give In

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017

Dear Members and Friends,

Two points.

One.  Attend our every-two-year statewide conference THRiVE 2017 on April 6 at Virginia Beach!  It’s going to be fantastic!

Meet and hear from new sources of private Virginia capital for R&D commercialization, and sources to get over the valley of death                 

Get a glimpse of the future of bioscience in Virginia from leaders of three outstanding and very different Virginia bioscience organizations

Learn how to help Heal our Heroes, and hear leaders from DC and across the state discuss   unmet needs and opportunities in biomedical R&D and clinical innovation for our veterans and military personnel.

Network to your heart’s content. 

Two - shifting gears.   “Never give in.  Never give in.  Never, never, never, never ….”, Winston Churchill famously said reflecting on the survival of Britain and triumph of the Allies in WWII. 

In more mundane ways, I’ve noticed recently.

-        Last March, my beloved Tar Heels lost the NCAA basketball championship on a last second shot by Villanova.

-        In June, my beloved Cavaliers became the first NBA team ever to come back from down 3 games to 1 to win the NBA championship.

-        In October, my beloved RedSox came back from down 3 games to 1 against my even more beloved Indians to return the championship to Boston after 70 years.   

-        In January the Patriots came back from the largest deficit ever in a Super Bowl to beat the Falcons (no beloving either way).

-        And just a few weeks ago, my wife’s beloved VCU Rams basketball team won two games back to back in which they were losing with 0.4 (zero point four) seconds left on the clock and action stopped (no kidding!).  

Bioscience R&D and commercialization is not war and it’s not sports.  It’s also no place for instant gratification.  Our issues tend to be complex, our journeys take us into regulation and reimbursement and intellectual property, not to mention that our projects address and arise from the beautiful complexity and subtlety of human life.

From the vantage point of my 7th decade, I’ve seen a lot of shots on goal, a lot of misses and a good deal of scoring.  I’ve seen a lot of “overnight success”, then peeked behind the curtain at decades of sustained, intelligent, inspired effort.

It’s hard to know which of our ideas will take root, which of our products or services will meet needs well and succeed.  I hope all of yours do.  But one thing I do know is that a necessary trait of the successful, of the ones who brought healing and health and new value to the world, is they never gave up. 

I encourage all of you in your important work, as I was encouraged by my former colleagues at Lyotropic Therapeutics and more recently as I am encouraged by the Board, Executive Committee and staff of Virginia Bio.

Keep on.  Ask for help.  Be flexible.  Welcome good faith critique.  Listen.  Be flexible.  Be resourceful.  Be generous along the way. 


And never give in. 


Tags:  #biotech #thriveinva #nevergivein #startuplife 

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Can you help?

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dear members and friends,


Two calls to action -  one ASAP and the other for the long term. 


State public policy


The General Assembly is reaching the close of the Session.  The Session has been defined by budget battles in light of the projected shortfall in state revenue, and by a power struggle between legislative and executive branches over control of the state’s economic development apparatus, VEDP. 


Until last week, the priority issues of Virginia Bio have escaped threat of harm, but the recently released House budget cut funding for VBHRC by $2.5M, or 50% for the coming year.   Fortunately, the Senate budget maintained VBHRC funding at $5M, as did the Governor’s Introduced Budget.  The differences between the House and Senate budgets are being resolved by a dozen Budget Conferees from Senate and House by negotiations now, and continuing into this weekend.


A cut of that size will mean many of the outstanding applications for grants under the current program cannot be funded, and VBHRC will have little capacity to create some of the focused statewide R&D infrastructure that last year’s General Assembly authorized them to do. 


Please take a moment to contact one or more of the conferees and indicate your support for VBHRC, and the importance for full funding of $5M.   This is Budget Item 106 I.1.    The list of conferees and their contact information here.



Healing our Heroes


One of the pillars of our statewide conference THRIVE 2017, on April 6 at Virginia Beach, will be a program focused on biomedical research, development and commercialization in support of veteran and military health and medicine. 


The long-term vision here is that Virginia is uniquely resourced and uniquely positioned to take a lead role in biomedical R&D and commercialization in this area.   We have an extensive active military and veteran population, and broad and deep support socially and politically for these communities.   We have researchers and companies working in these areas already, and others which could do so.   We have major military installations, and major veteran and military health care institutions.  We are proximate to greater Washington DC where many of the decision makers, convening events, and research facilities are located. The Conference program seeks to encourage and enable the extension of this commitment of support to an area of research, clinical and economic development opportunity of increasing attention to state policy makers.


The purposes of the program are:  

·       to gather from across the Commonwealth leading clinicians, researchers and industry R&D and executives who are currently working in - or who are committed to begin working in, areas of biomedical research and development which will support the work of the to assist the work, plus state public policy leaders, and to improve the lives;

·       to inform them of current and future needs of the programs for the veterans and military, to focus on priority areas of unmet needs and opportunities; 

·       to build a consensus to extend Virginia’s commitment to our veterans and military personnel to leading the national effort to heal our heroes, and

·       to inform national leaders of military and Veterans Health in this area of the resources and strengths Virginia researchers and institutions have to bring to bear.


Among the leading national and state speakers at the conference on April 6 will be:


Dr. Jennifer Lee, MD, the Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Policy and Services, Veterans Administration. In this position, Dr. Lee provides guidance to the Under Secretary for Health on matters related to health care policy, strategic objectives, and policy requirements for legislatively mandated health care delivery programs.  She also provides leadership for the various Health Policy and Services programs within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), including its research enterprise, to ensure VA’s overall strategic objectives and agency priority goals are met.


Rachel B. Ramoni, D.M.D., Sc.D.  Dr. Ramoni is Chief Research and Development Officer, Veterans Health Administration.  As CRADO, she oversees VA's nationwide research enterprise, encompassing some 2,000 active projects at more than 100 sites. The program's total budget in fiscal 2016 was $1.8 billion. The figure includes both direct VA support, and research funding from outside entities such as the National Institutes of Health, other federal agencies, and nonprofit and private organizations.


David Cifu, M.D.  is Chairman and the Herman J. Flax, MD Endowed Professor (tenured) of the Department of PM&R at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine in Richmond, Virginia. He is also Chief of PM&R Services of the VCU Health System and Founding Director of the VCU-Center for Rehabilitation Sciences and Engineering (CERSE). He is the Senior TBI Specialist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He is Principal Investigator of the VA/DoD $62.2 million Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (CENC).


Please join us on April 6 at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront for our every-two-year statewide gathering of the bio-community from industry, university and policy, and join us in taking steps toward further developing Virginia into the state which leads the nation’s efforts to support and Heal our Heroes through biomedical R&D and commercialization.

Register Now






Tags:  #biotech  #vbhrc #thriveinva 

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Show you the money

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Updated: Monday, January 23, 2017

Dear Members and Friends,


Buckle your seat belts.


A top priority of Virginia Bio is to help Virginia companies and translational researchers access the private investment and non-dilutive capital they require to fuel innovation, develop products and services, create jobs. And we are off to the races!


Private Investment

On April 6 at our statewide conference THRiVE 2017 in Virginia Beach (think oceanfront hotel!) we’ll bring together many private sources of capital in Virginia.  We’ll have the teams from the new funds devoted to bioscience investment at Inova, UVA and Sentara’s Third Core.  Leaders of those funding sources will introduce themselves and present their goals and process, and be available for private meetings which can be arranged in advance.


Also that day at the Beach (think dolphins!), we’ll have other investors, like 757 Angels, Cav Angels, and VBHRC (the Catalyst), and we will be adding to the list in the coming weeks.   Come and meet these people and create relationships that will enable your future growth and success.   Register Now to Attend


Our April 6 THRiVE 2017 will be a further development of the fantastic Virginia Reception we just put on in San Francisco on Sunday evening January 8, the eve of the JPMorgan Health Care Conference week (JPM).  Despite the East Coast blizzard and the West Coast “River of Rain” over 175 investors and strategics joined Virginia companies and investors, to be introduced to Inova, UVA and Sentara leadership, feel the enthusiasm for the industry in Virginia, and make new contacts among our companies and universities.  Governor McAuliffe attended.


If you are a company or translational research institution which now or in the future needs private investment, I urge you to go to San Francisco next January during JPM week.  Really, consider it closely.  Perhaps you saw two weeks ago that Cavion, a Charlottesville-based clinical stage pharmaceutical company, closed a $26M Series A round.  CEO Andy Krouse reports that he met his lead investor, Lilly Ventures, at JPM two years ago - and indeed at our Virginia Reception!


To get a good look, take in our February 8 luncheon in Richmond reflecting on JP Morgan Health Care week.  Register to attend, or watch over the web by livestream.  Get in touch with me and I can put you in touch with others who did attend and can describe it to you.  Do it soon, because rooms and flights are already being taken for next year!


Non-dilutive federal funding for the biosciences

But we are not stopping there!  We are stepping up our efforts to help you become familiar with, understand and get strategic about accessing non-dilutive federal funding for the biosciences.  Big news here!


We have engaged Liz Powell, of G2G Consulting in NoVa, to provide special reports, calendars, updates, webinars and coaching to our members regarding federal funding for the biosciences.   Over the next three months she’ll lead a series of webinars, from basics to specific opportunities to how you create a strategic approach.   Register now for the first on Wednesday, January 25.


This too will build to something bigger and better at our April 6 THRiVE conference at the Beach (soft sand, lapping waves!).  Liz will lead a team offering a special bolt on workshop on “Going strategic in pursuit of federal funding” on Friday morning April 7, the day after the full day conference.


Also at the Conference, Thursday April 6 (your favorite beach beverage!), we’ll have an extraordinary group of leaders from the US Veterans Health Administration, US Military, DARPA and BARDA discuss current activities, unmet needs and upcoming opportunities in biomedical R&D.   So, companies, researchers, clinicians …. please join us, make new contacts, uncover new opportunities, and let’s make a public commitment to doing the best we can to help Healing our Heroes.


A terrific opportunity is at hand right now for bioscience companies trying to access relationships, funding and collaborations with the military.  A call for abstracts to participate in the 2017 Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS) has just issued.  This extraordinary joint symposium provides a collaborative environment for military medical care providers with deployment experience, DoD scientists, academia and industry to exchange information on research advancements and health care developments in the areas of Combat Casualty Care, Military Operational Medicine, Clinical and Rehabilitative Medicine and military Infectious Disease Research Programs.  Applications to place abstracts in focus area sessions will be accepted from January 17 to March 8, with acceptances notified by May 8.  The location and date of the 2017 MHSRS is still to be determined; the 2016 Symposium was held in Florida in August 2016.


This is such a significant opportunity we will be focusing Virginia Bio’s February Webinar, Thursday Feb. 23, 2017 on the MHSRS – what it is, what it can be for you, what they’re looking for in abstracts, how to make the most of your time at the Symposium, and how to weave it into your business development strategy.


Of course, we will continue to bring enhanced attention to more well-known sources of non-dilutive federal funding for the biosciences, such as the SBIR program at the National Institutes of Health.  Our friend, Rob Brooke at CIT, puts on a solid series of webinars and workshops across the state training companies and university researchers how better to access NIH funding.  As you will see on our Calendar of events, some are coming up soon:  on January 26 a webinar on SBIR, and on February 21 an NIH Proposal Prep Workshop in Charlottesville.  By the way, Rob just was recognized for his years of outstanding and tireless work by being named a 2016 Tibbets Award Winner for unique contributions to the SBIR program. Congratulations to Rob, and thanks our colleagues at CIT for their efforts on behalf of the Commonwealth.


Best regards,




Jeff Gallagher

Tags:  #jpmorganhealthcare # thriveinrva #biotech #g2gcon 

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Year in Review

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dear Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,

Hold on for a quick flashback over 2016, and a flash-forward to the new year!


2016 - Big steps and sound improvements, thanks to so many of you.

Historic levels of support of state public policy, building on the Virginia Bioscience Economy Blueprint. A new large expenditures R&D tax credit, increased funding and increased caps for the separate; refundable R&D Tax Credit; protecting the Angel Investor Tax Credit from attack; increased funding and expansion of authority for Virginia Bioscience Health Research Corporation (the “Catalyst”), a new fund and authority, Virginia Research Investment Fund, to spur economic development in research intensive fields with our universities; a new GoVirginia Fund and Authority, encouraging regions to focus on strength and collaborate in economic development; and a billion dollar bond package for capital improvements, including bioscience and bioengineering research facilities.

Federal public policy breakthroughs – surely, we are small fish in a big national pond, but as we all saw in Finding Nemo if all the small fish swim in the same direction hard enough, together we can cause big change. So, after years that we “kept on swimming” with partners across the US, this year we saw the enactment of a two-year freeze on the innovation-destroying Medical Device Revenue Tax, and just in the last week, passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, providing significant new funding for several major programs and staff support at NIH and implementing regulatory processes improvements at the FDA.

New networking events taking us to new heights. Adding to our regular cycle of networking dinners and “biotech and beer” around the state. The new Insights quarterly series bringing national leaders in bioscience commercialization to the i.Lab in Charlottesville to meet CEOs from Central Virginia companies, UVA leaders, and then network with the entire Charlottesville community. A first ever Women Building Bio: the XX Factor conference at Inova Center for Personalized Health, with the support of Darden and George Mason, bringing together 250 leaders in a unique and terrific program focused on building up people, firms and the community. Thanks to our sponsors of these innovative events for taking a chance with us. We are delighted with their success.

More money saved in more ways for more members through the national BioPurchasing program. New vendor additions, uniforms and cleanroom garments through UniFirst/UniClean, bulk gases from Airgas, microscopes from Nikon and coming in January gene sequencing equipment from Illumina. The number one supplier VWR now offers great discounts and rebates saving members even more than before. And office supplies savings went up with better pricing on thousands of items from Office Depot. Learn more about member savings programs, click here.

New, nimble ways of providing timely practical information for bioscience company success. We debuted a new series of webinars, grouped to focus on specific topics yet cover a field broadly, and delivered to your desk over the lunch hour at no cost. Our six-part series on Intellectual Property was put on splendidly by many of our attorney members, and inspired and coordinated by Aaron Parker at Finnegan, followed by a series on state and federal tax credits. We also beefed up equipment to provide livestreaming and archiving of our monthly Virginia Bioscience Commercialization Luncheon Programs from Richmond.

Our efforts to help spur capital formation took a big step forward with our free-standing Virginia Reception at the Velvet Room of the Clift Hotel in San Francisco on the eve of JPMorgan Healthcare Conference week. That great event compliments our program of making available near Union Square a semi-private meeting room to Virginia Bio members to reserve for special meetings that week.

A bigger and better BioHealth Capital Region forum at Medimmune, with partners from DC and Maryland, drawing over 600 to familiarize and move ahead on strengthening the region. Virginia companies, universities and public officials were fully integrated into this year’s event.

Great new additions to Virginia Bio’s statewide Board of Directors to replace the spots of members who termed off or moved with a change in employment. Thanks to these women and men, past and present, who volunteer their time to grow the industry for the good of all our members, the Commonwealth and the patients and people we all labor to serve.

2017 – New opportunities to serve

Successful implementation and coordination of state public policies in support of R&D and commercialization is the focus this year. Easier said than done, but we won’t give up. We have been provided a historic opportunity, now let’s make the most of it for the industry and for the Commonwealth! We’ll be working with program administrators and members and staff of the General Assembly and Cabinet to make the most of these programs.

Mark your calendars! Every two years we have our statewide conference: THRiVE 2017 is schedule for April 6 at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront. We are putting together a terrific program so save the date! Then in the fall (mark it, too!) a repeat and expansion of Women Building BIO: the XX Factor at Inova Center for Personalized Health on September 20.

Continued networking at a second season of the Insights series in Charlottesville, another great year of the monthly Virginia Bioscience Commercialization Luncheons at the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park in Richmond livestreamed, and a significantly expanded professionals Webinar series throughout the year.

Expanded activity in support of capital formation statewide. We’re repeating and making even better the Virginia Reception in San Francisco on January 8 in San Francisco. Join leaders from the new private funds at Inova, Sentara and UVA, and Governor McAuliffe, with leaders of Virginia bioscience companies and investors at this elegant spot on the eve of JP Morgan Health Care Conference week. We’ve also improved the complimentary meeting space available to members for private investor meetings during the conference. Then, join us again at home in Virginia Beach at THRiVE 2017 where we plan to bring these new funding sources and others across and outside Virginia together to introduce their teams and meet Virginia companies and translational researchers. Later, in May, we’re helping to host the first appearance in the region of the Cavendish Global Forum on bioscience Impact Investing for family funds and offices in Washington DC.

We’ll continue or work through our Foundation to support and encourage STEM activities in our schools, and facilitating student internships in industry.

There are lots of ways to help, and there’s lots of help needed. If what’s ahead excites you and you want to be a part of working together for it, let us know.

Best wishes for a wonder-filled and blessed holiday season for you and your families, and a productive and happy New Year.





Tags:  #biotech #vabio #policychanges #webinars #biopurch 

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The Election is over, now what?

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 17, 2016


Dear members and friends of Virginia Bio,

Phew! The federal election cycle is over. We congratulate all those who won elections, including President-elect Trump and Vice President- elect Pence. We also thank the candidates who were not successful in their bids for office for the enormous time and energy they put into elucidating the issues and providing a choice for the electorate, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and native son Senator Tim Kaine.

I recall words from the now-famous note left in the Oval Office on January 20, 1993 by George H W Bush for newly-inaugurated Bill Clinton: “You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well. Your success is now our country’s success. I am rooting for you.” Over the years candidates from both parties and for all offices who have come up short have echoed this sentiment in their own time and place, and with each such act of grace and political grit have strengthened our democratic republican system.

Virginia Bio is eager to work with all our elected officials and members of the Administration to develop our industry, to support the people, firms and organizations who are its face and hands, and thus to speed our work for the benefit of the people we seek to serve with treatments and cures, food and fuel.

But … curious about the impact of the Trump presidency and majority control of the US Senate and House by the Republicans? So am I. So, on Thursday, December 8, over the lunch hour, Jean Haggerty, Senior Vice President, Federal Government Affairs, BIO will share the latest news and her insights on what might happen in federal policy at our monthly Bioscience Commercialization luncheon series. The event is held in Richmond at the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park, but it is live streamed and archived on our website for those who can’t make it. Register now to join us in person, or join us by livestream at the time using this link.

Moving down ticket, our Congressional delegation post-election has a different look, due in part to redrawing district maps, retirements and the will of the people. Democrats increased their portion of the Commonwealth’s 11-member delegation to 4 from 3, with the Republicans dropping to 7. One first-time member won from each party. Our Representatives for the next two years will be: 1st Rob Wittman (R); 2nd Scott Taylor (R, first term); 3rd Bobby Scott (D); 4th Donald McEachin (D, first term); 5th Tom Garrett (R); 6th Bob Goodlatte (R); 7th Dave Brat (R); 8th Donald Beyer (D); 9th Morgan Griffith (R); 10th Barbara Comstock (R); and, 11th Gerald Connolly (D).

Let me pause here and ask your help. Representative Barbara Comstock has been a strong supporter of the tech and bio industry in Virginia since her days in the General Assembly and now as Chairwoman of Research and Technology Subcommittee for the House Committee on Science, Space, And Technology. She’s asked us to formulate ideas for subcommittee hearings to expose and explore important issues. I am talking with several you working to shape a hearing proposal on of the impact of reimbursement systems on innovation in bioscience and biomedicine. I would love to hear from any of you on this, or other important ideas. Call or email me at

Switching to the Commonwealth, with the Presidential election year behind us, the next 12 months will feature the campaigns for Virginia elected officials, including our three state wide officeholders, Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. We pledge to work with all the candidates to inform them of issues, to be a resource to them as they prepare their platforms, and to provide them contact with the women and men who comprise our industry.

Before election season, January will mark the beginning of our 45-day General Assembly Session. On December 6 or 7 (tbd soon) we’ll have a webinar over the lunch hour looking at the year ahead in the Virginia General Assembly. Please join us.

And mark your calendar to attend our annual legislative reception during the General Assembly, February 9, 2017.

Last year the Governor, Senate and House together strengthened and increased support for the bioscience economy. Since then, many hands from across the state have been busy building out two major new programs, the Virginia Research Investment Fund and GoVirginia. VBHRC was provided additional funding and an expanded mandate, and it has been moving ahead. Yet tax revenues beneath budget projections are causing the state to pull back from financial commitments it made in last year’s budget. We are working to spread the word about these policies, and help the build out of the new policies.

Among state policies which support the industry, tax credits are a significant tool. I hope you caught our recent webinar on state and federal R&D Tax Credits. In Virginia, the rules were changed this year expanding the scope and amounts of the exiting R&D tax credit, and a second and separate tax credit was established for companies who make large expenditures in the state on R&D. At the federal level, the credit was made permanent and modified in very significant and helpful ways. If you conduct R&D and are not up to date on these changes I urge you to get informed. Watch our webinar in our archives on the website here, or go to another of your favorite sources. But check it out.

On December 14, 23, we’ll finish our tax credit webinar series with a segment on state tax credits applicable to investors of bioscience companies in Virginia.

Finally, with all the statewide policy changes afoot, I want to highlight the role that economic development professionals play in support of our industry. These are the people who day by day help companies understand and make use of the various policies and tools at the local, regional and state level. Yesterday Virginia Bio mounted a day-long Bio Boot Camp attended by 25 Economic Development Professionals from across the state, in close cooperation with VEDP, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. The goal was to help them go deeper into bioscience business across the state, with some key science and biobusiness concepts and terms, and to hear from the point of view of startups and growing bio companies. This is one more step toward our long-term goal to convince VEDP and our statewide economic development community to build domain expertise in commercial bioscience. This is necessary to successfully grow bioscience companies in and recruit companies to Virginia. Virginia Bio Members Rob Harris, CSO and COO, NEXT Bio-Research Services, Mike Grisham, CEO Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (the Catalyst) and Sharon Krueger, Director of Innovation Grants and Relationships, Dean's Office in the School of Medicine, UVA generously gave their time to describe the world from the startup and company point of view.

Many thanks to them, and all of you help us work for the industry and for our members day in and day out.



Best Regards,



Tags:  #biotech #vabio #policychanges #vedp #webinars #lu 

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Experiencing Extraordinary Science

Posted By Administrator, Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dear Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,,

Sorry, you can’t have my job. I had another couple dream weeks mixing office work, visiting members and experiencing extraordinary depth and breadth of science and business activities over the state (and I’m not even including the smash hit Women Building Bio: the XX factor (just take a look at the photos).

Earlier this month I traveled to Virginia Tech Carillion Research Institute (bold indicates Virginia Bio Member) for the long planned three day Scandinavian / Virginia Conference on Precision Neuroscience. The gathering brought over a hundred researchers from overseas and across the state together to articulate the path to application of precision medicine principles in neurological and brain, and to explore new collaborations with one another and industry. This was the splendid handiwork of VTCRI Director, Michael Friedlander, and the culmination of many years of building relationships and focused work. I was able to check off a bucket list item Thursday evening - chatting with a Nobel Prize winner in plainly English over a glass of wine, then experiencing a dazzling Nobel worthy presentation. Eric Betzig gave a breathless (for the audience) eye-popping, brilliant/humble non-stop 45-minute account of his work at Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Va., with still and video images of objects smaller than a wavelength of light, which as the elders will recall was conclusively proven under the laws of physics to be impossible until Eric and his colleagues and collaborators did so. And to be expected, the images of where they’ve taken the technology recently. Sometimes you have to lean back and marvel at the beauty of creation.

A week ago, I had the opportunity to spend a Saturday in DC at the 4th Annual Pediatric Surgical Innovation Symposium presented by the Sheikh Zayed Institute of Pediatric Surgical Innovation, part of the Children’s National Health System. The conference, entitled “Helping Kids and the Economy Grow Stronger through Innovation” was in part a national competition for $250K in grants to medical devices that address a significant yet unmet pediatric need, and in part a gathering of local, regional and national experts to discuss critical issues in bringing medical device innovation to children, including funding and private investment, economic development assistance and barriers, regulatory paths and roadblocks, and the practical considerations in getting funded, approved and reimbursable devices into hospitals and to the patients. A dozen finalists, out of over 90 national applicants, contested in the pitch competition, and included two Virginia companies. CareTaker Medical, Charlottesville, was represented by David Gerdt and Jeff Pompeo, and proposed the development of a prototype for smaller children of its FDA cleared device for continuous noninvasive (wireless) blood pressure and ECG monitoring, and extending to other pediatric vital signs. The second, Averia Health Solutions, Alexandria, was represented by 17-year-old Rohan Suri, senior at Thomas Jefferson Governor’s School, and inventor and entrepreneur of a relatively inexpensive, highly deployable concussion screening device leveraging a smartphones’ camera and processor to accurately measure and quantify various eye tracking metrics widely accepted for screening and contributing to diagnoses. As to Rohan’s presentation and performance in the shark tank, I will simply say this: if you ever find yourself on the same program as this young man, under no circumstances appear after him on the program - you will be invisibilized. This conference was terrific, and is growing and developing every year, just as the researchers and clinicians at the Sheikh Zayed Institute are developing more innovations and spin-out candidates every year.

Speaking of spinouts from Children’s National, at the Innovation Awards gala in Crystal City sponsored by Washington Business Journal and Cherry Bekaert leading innovators from all industries across the Washington region were honored. One of ten awardees was eKare, a young company dedicated to the design and development of wound assessment solutions using the latest computer-vision and mobile technology, spun out of CNMC and located in Virginia, thanks in part to support from the Center for Innovative Technologies (CIT). Another awardee was K2M, the fast growing Leesburg based public company, which makes spinal implant devices with highly advanced design and manufacturing technologies, including 3-D printing.

Last Friday, I attended the 5th Annual Biomedical Informatics Symposium at Georgetown University. The event, organized by Subha Madhaven, Director of the innovation Center for Biomedical informatics at Georgetown and Chief Data Officer of Perthera, brought national academic, health care and industry leaders together to scan the horizon of precision medicine initiatives (John Deeken from Inova Health System was a panelist), health data analytics, and path breaking initiatives such as the Genomic Data Commons (attempting not only to amass but harmonize genome libraries) and the Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPUR) Study (an FDA approved study to harness real world data). Quantitative science research by Georgetown researchers was featured as well. Data and bio are colliding all over the world, but I’m reminded again there is no reason the Virginia/DC/Maryland regional should not gather and promote its unique resources and assets and become preeminent.

Finally, at the end of last month I traveled to Virginia Beach and attended the health and biotechnology around of the statewide million-dollar business plan competition Virginia Velocity Tour, overseen by the Office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade. The rains were well underway, and it’s nearly accurate to say for the first time ever I was wetter outside the water than in it at the beach. But hundreds showed up for a feisty competition at the Virginia Aquarium. Finalists included Attention Point,  Adartis Animal Health, Sanyal Biotechnology and GoGo Band, with Adartis getting the win. Gary Warren, President and CEO of ivWatch and last year’s first prize winner, was one of the judging panel.

Wow. Harnessing the explosion of knowledge and technology to bring healing and wellness to the world. Great work, all.


Best Regards,


Tags:  #biotech #vabio #vtcri #vavelocitytours #childrens 

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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!




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.




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

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