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A Word from Jeff Gallagher, CEO, Virginia Bio It’s my privilege to travel the state and meet hundreds of companies, research institutions, and individuals who are doing fascinating innovative work and making valuable contributions to our economy and to the health and well-being of people around the globe. Every month in this blog I’ll take a short look at an outstanding member of Virginia’s bioscience community, or update you on important information that impacts the community.

 

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THRIVE: Providing Unique Opportunities

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

Come join us next Thursday April 23 at our statewide conference THRiVE: Creating the future of bioscience in Virginia. This day-long event is a rare opportunity to gather with bioscience leaders from all aspects of our community from all across the state, and participate in unique, informative and game-changing programs.

Just this week VBHRC/”the Catalyst” announced it is opening another round of applications for grant funding for the development and commercialization of life science projects in the state, and Mike Grisham, CEO of the Catalyst, will be with us to explain the process and talk to would-be applicants. Be among the first to pursue this terrific opportunity!

You will rarely have another opportunity like this, to meet, in one convenient place, the grantmaking officers from several of the highest funding NIH Institutes, plus NSF, DARPA and DOD, to hear them discuss their programs and meet with interested people. Come take advantage of this convenient concentration of expertise and federal funding.

The afternoon’s plenary session, the Governor’s Forum on Bio and Big Data / Analytics, is the best chance you will ever have to become of aware of what is going on now in Virginia at the convergence of data science and bio, and meet many of the people who are doing it. We’ve assembled a superb lineup of national thought leaders and a large sampling of Virginia companies and researchers who are applying data science to bioscience and medicine in extraordinary ways. You’ll learn cutting edge work, get ideas, meet the actors, see the great opportunities ahead, and be there on Day One as we start working on how to take advantage of this strategic opportunity for Virginia to distinguish itself and take global leadership where data science and bio meet.

Join us! Enjoy your colleagues, and move ahead. By participating you’ll better equip yourself to help your organization reach its goals, and you’ll help the bioscience industry in Virginia thrive!

Click here for the full program agenda and to register now.

Best Regards,




Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  big data  DARPA  DOD  funding  Governor  Mike Grisham  NIH  NSF  the Catalyst  Thrive  VBHRC  Virginia bio  virginia bioscience 

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THRIVE: Creating the future of bioscience in Virginia

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 19, 2015
Updated: Thursday, March 19, 2015
Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

“A committee meeting is not necessarily the same as doing something,” a mentor once said to me.

Neither is a conference. But it can do something, something of enduring significance - if you start from Day One with that goal. That’s the goal that the Board and the Conference Steering Committee led by Dan Gonzalez set six months ago, and that’s what staff has been up to.

It’s a rare opportunity when the statewide leaders of industry, translational research, public policy and supporting firms and businesses come together in one place for our statewide conference. Two years ago in Charlottesville we looked back, told the story, honored outstanding contributions, and celebrated.

This year in Northern Virginia we will look ahead, and we will move ahead. That’s why we call the conference THRIVE: Creating the future of bioscience in Virginia.

Placing the conference in NoVa helps that community come together and show off, and gives us a chance to introduce the great bio activity there to the rest of Virginia. It also enables great programs throughout the day.

In the morning and in all one place for your convenience, we are bringing together the directors of SBIR programs at four of the highest funding NIH Institutes, plus NSF, DARPA and DOD. They’ll present in series on their programs, and hold one on one meetings. We’ll complement that extraordinary resource with a panel of a variety of different types of private funders to share insights about conditions, trends and opportunities.

We’ll bring to the conference key federal policy makers and experts to help us take an up close look at changing federal laws and regulations that make or break our companies and our industry. Congressman Morgan Griffith (VA–9) and staff, along with policy experts from BIO and ADVAMED will explain and take comments on the 380 page discussion draft legislation recently released from the Congressman’s Subcommittee on Health of the Energy and Commerce Committee, on the 21st Century Cures Initiative to reform FDA and NIH with today’s technology for tomorrow’s needs.

Economic development professionals from around the state will gather to roundtable best practices, strategies for success, learn about one another’s progress. We will unveil a new interactive web based map of the state with all biobusinesses and members pinned, sortable by type, with key word search, that will live on the Virginia Bio website and be open to all.

Governor McAuliffe will spend the day with us, and a number of key state legislators will participate as well. Starting late morning working groups that were formed at the Governor’s December 4 Summit will report findings and recommendations for state policies to move the needle for our companies, universities and industry. We hope this will provide the information and insights that will enable members of the different branches and parties to begin to work together over the coming months to formulate policies for the Governor’s first Budget and the next General Assembly to make real advances in how the state supports and enables the biosciences, which is a widely shared goal.

All afternoon the Governor will preside over The Governor’s Summit on Bio and Big Data / Analytics. Given our Northern Virginia location, the strengths around the state and the accelerating role of data science in bioscience, biomedicine and health care, this Forum has caught great momentum. The Forum will run from 1:30 – 5:00 pm. Thought leaders from around the country will start us off, describing current exciting work, and painting a picture of the fantastic opportunities ahead for those who reach for them. Then we’ll have a lighting round of Virginia companies, institutions and translational researchers doing extraordinary work in the space already, from startups to health care systems to global data companies. If you’re a bioscience company or researcher not quite sure how big data /analytics will directly impact or lead your work, if you’re into bio and big data / analytics already but you are continuously searching for new technology and techniques to push you ahead, or for collaborators, suppliers and clients, or if you’re big data but not big bio then come check out what all the excitement is about and spot your niche.

Every exhilarating day ends better with a two hour reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres, so we’ll have that for you immediately following the Forum. Hunt down the new contacts you spotted during the day, and renew your old ties from around the state. We’ll pause for a while during the reception to honor our two most recent winners of Virginians who have made Outstanding Contribution to Biosciences, joining the 20 we honored at our 20th Celebration in Charlottesville two years ago.

Looking forward. Moving forward. Together creating the future of biosciences in Virginia.

We need you to be there, to create it together.

See you at the Westfields Marriott Washington-Dulles Conference Center in Chantilly, VA on Thursday, April 23. Visit the THRiVE 2015 webpage to register.  And thanks to our Conference Committee and our sponsors who make it all possible.


Best Regards,




Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  21st century cure  big data  convention  Economic Development  funding  government  Governor  policy  Thrive  Virginia bio  virginia bioscience 

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Discussion Draft Released For 21st Century Cures initiative

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

Recently the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee released a discussion draft related to its 21st Century Cures initiative.

The 21st Century Cures initiative is a bi-partisan effort to take a coherent look at the whole system, from drug and device discovery, to development to delivery, and the impact of the Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies. The driving idea is that as a nation we created and for the last 75 years have enjoyed the world’s greatest system for turning biomedical innovation into practice. To remain the global leader, to retain and grow research, companies and jobs, and to bring health and therapies to more people more quickly and efficiently, we must improve.

This discussion draft document reflects the work and industry input from 27 public hearings and roundtables and 5 white papers over 10 months dating back to April of 2014.

One of those public roundtables occurred in Blacksburg last October. Virginia Bio was pleased to be able to help organize the event with Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA-7), a member of the Committee’s Subcommittee on Health. The Roanoke Times published their coverage of the roundtable here and later published an Op-Ed with our comments found here.

The Committee has characterized this draft as "far from perfect" but as you will see, this legislative draft includes provisions authored by both Republicans and Democrats that would: (1) incorporate patient perspectives into the regulatory process and help address their unmet medical needs; (2) build the foundation for 21st Century Medicine; (3) streamline clinical trials; (4) accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery cycle and support continued innovation at our Federal public health agencies; and (5) modernize medical product regulation.

Here, you can find an initial analysis of sections of the 393 page legislative draft that would have an impact on the life sciences in Virginia. I tip my hat here to our friends at Pennsylvania Bio who compiled much of this summary.

The full legislative draft document for the 21st Century Cures initiative can be found here.

I encourage you to read through the legislative draft and reach out to us with comments or additional areas of concern. If you prefer to send your comments straight to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, you can do so via email at cures@mail.house.gov. Or to Rep. Griffith, via his staff member on this initiative, Adam Harbison at Adam.Harbison@mail.house.gov.

You have a chance to meet with Congressman Griffith, to hear his comments on the 21st Century Cures Initiative and to discuss the Discussion Draft at our statewide conference April 23 at the Westfields Marriot Dulles Conference Center, THRIVE: Creating the future of bioscience in Virginia. Congressional staff members and other federal policy experts will be present on a panel with Rep. Griffith to provide additional resources and viewpoints for the discussion. I invite you to attend, learn and provide your comments. Register to attend THRIVE here.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Best Regards,




Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  21st century cure  government  virginia bioscience 

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Virginia Bio Foundation Takes Fresh Look At Mission

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 22, 2015
Updated: Thursday, January 22, 2015
Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

Virginia Bio Foundation is the charitable sister organization to Virginia Bio. Through the Foundation our members and our industry helps the next generation to become the researchers, clinicians, healers, developers and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Over the last year the Foundation has taken a fresh look at its mission under the leadership of Chair Jim Powers, CEO of Hemoshear, and fellow board members Mark Herzog, VP Corporate Affairs, kaléo, Nikki Hastings, VP of Hemoshear, and myself. The Board undertook a review of the unmet needs in bioSTEM education in Virginia, and assessed what role Virginia Bio is uniquely suited to play, how to leverage our resources for the greatest impact and how to complement - not duplicate or interfere with - ongoing efforts of others. We developed close relationships with key state leaders, including Virginia’s STEM Director Megan Healey, and Eric Rhoades, Director, Office of Science and Health Education, Division of Instruction, Virginia Department of Education. We interviewed folks around the state already doing great work in this area, such as our friends at the Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech, with its successful Biotech in a Box program. The conclusion: focus programs on informing, exciting and equipping the teachers.

Last October we took a first step. Member companies mounted a statewide “BioTeach” event. Local teachers were welcomed into companies/institutions for a tour, to meet scientists putting bioscience to work every day, and to network with their regional colleagues. Hosts were: Techlab in Blacksburg, Hemoshear in Charlottesville, Division of Consolidated Labs in Richmond, LifeNetHealth in Virginia Beach, Engineered Biopharmaceuticals in Danville and Novozymes in Roanoke. Statewide more than a 100 teachers participated. They were amazed at what they saw and who they met, and eager to take it back to the students. Reviews were so uniformly positive that plans are underway to repeat and expand BioTeach night to even more sites statewide in the coming months.

A second new initiative is underway. We learned from the teachers that there are many fine web based resources for bioscience students and teachers. (To sneak a peak at one, look at Virginia Bio member Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s BioInteractive site). But we also learned that these resources are widely dispersed, it takes a teacher a lot of time and energy to find them, align them with state teaching guidelines and to integrate them into class work plans. So the Foundation, in cooperation with the Department of Education, has engaged experienced science teachers to scout, evaluate, collect and streamline a practical guide to the best online resources, and make that available as an online tool to all Virginia teachers. The tool, which links resources with Standards of Learning, will be housed on the Foundation’s website.

In other efforts, the Foundation is leading the planning for bioSTEM programming at THRIVE, our April 23 statewide conference in Northern Virginia at the Westfields Dulles Marriot. One component will bring in area high school students to meet a panel of young adults working in a variety of bioSTEM careers, and another will be putting resources in the hands of teachers. Stay tuned for details, and to learn how you can help.

All this new work is on top of the programs the Foundation built over the years. We offer a special award, now named the Mark Licata Biotechnology Award, at the State Science and Engineering Fair. Volunteers spend a half day at the finals interviewing and coaching students on their projects and making the hard choice of selecting winners. This year the finals will be at VMI in Lexington on Saturday, March 28. If you would like to spend a day you will not forget, with amped-up enthusiastic students, then volunteer to judge by emailing Susan Moore.

We also manage the Virginia BioGENEius Challenge for high school students, which feeds into the International BioGENEius Challenge put on by the Biotechnology Institute of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). Volunteers from our member universities and companies review online posters submitted by accomplished high school students from across the state, and select winners to attend the final competition at the BIO International Convention, which this year will be in Philadelphia, on June 15-18, 2015. Two young Virginians who travelled to big BIO in recent years have had remarkable success on the national stage, and all of them have had terrific career-inspiring experiences. This year there are three different categories: health, environmental and agricultural biotechnology. ATCC has been a wonderful, long time sponsor of Virginia’s BioGENEius Challenge for many years. If your company or organization would like to help sustain this inspiring competition, please contact Susan Moore.

Finally, for many years the Foundation has organized and funded our popular summer internship support program. We are currently accepting company applications for matching grants up to $1000. The application period will be open through April 30, 2015 and can be submitted at our website.

This great program, like all of the Foundation’s work, relies upon support from individual and corporate donors, as well as from Virginia Bio. Please consider helping financially to support this important work. You can donate now here.

I hope you all are as proud as I am of the commitment we’ve made over the years. We stand on the shoulders of Foundation leaders in years gone by, such as Martin Chapman, Pat Williams, David Lay and Henry Wixon, among others. I hope you’re inspired, too, by the current Board’s energy and focus in this important work on behalf of us all. Please let us know if you have questions or would like to lend a hand.

Best Regards,



Jeff Gallagher

CEO

Tags:  funding  intern  STEM  students  Thrive  Virginia bio  Virginia bio foundation  virginia bioscience 

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Opportunities For The New Year

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

Participating in the process of public policy formation is a year round non-stop endeavor.

You may have noticed in the press that on December 4 the Governor hosted a roundtable on the commercialization of university bioscience research, the first event in a biotech initiative he announced to support the industry and determine public policy changes that will help. Virginia Bio was pleased to be an important resource to the Administration in planning this important event. MIT’s Robert Langer provided insights and inspiration. Highlights and insights from seven successful and varied university commercialization programs and experiences across the state were presented - what’s worked, what barriers remain, and what are the opportunities ahead. There was wide-ranging Q&A and discussion with the Governor and four Secretaries in his Administration. Working groups are forming to continue the discussion and evaluation, and make specific recommendations for changes which would make Virginia the best state in the nation for commercializing university bioscience research. The Governor has asked for the recommendations to be delivered to him in April, at Virginia Bio’s April 23 statewide conference; more conference information below.

Of course some seasons of the year are a little busier than others. State public policy is about to get really busy as the 2015 Session of the General Assembly kicks off on January 14. This being an odd calendar year and therefore the second year in a biennial budget, this year’s GA Session will be a short session, scheduled for 30 days but typically extended to 45 days.

At companies and research labs we work day after day and step by step to make progress on our important goals, and Virginia Bio works hard to help our members do this successfully. But each of us is swimming in a larger current, too. The conditions of this current can be with us or against, be it the economy, global current events and federal and state public policy. That’s why Virginia Bio makes significant efforts to assure the conditions of state public policy support the industry, to help our members achieve their important work for the benefit of all.

We are already busy reviewing bills which are being pre-filed in both the House and Senate prior to the star of the legislative session, and we will bring important legislation being offered to your attention. If you’re curious, follow bills as they are filed and the progress of all bills during the Session at http://legiscan.com/VA/legislation.

It is no secret that the state’s revenues are down significantly and across the board budget cuts are being put in place. Even with all adjustments to date, the budget shortfall currently stands at approximately $320 million. It is unrealistic to think that the agenda promoting policies like tax credits and grants to spur entrepreneurship and innovation will be immune to such pressure. So our efforts have been ongoing throughout the year, and will continue, to explain to policy makers the importance and impact of these programs on economic activity, company and job growth, and defend the gains we have made over the past decade.

This pressure makes all the more important that we receive fresh input from our members about the relative importance of various public policies. Will you help us by taking 5 minutes to complete a survey on your personal experience and opinions on the impact of the public policies and programs in place in the Commonwealth? Take the VA Bio survey here.

In addition, over the course of the next several months we will have periodic conference calls for those interested in learning what issues have arisen, how our policy agenda is progressing, and how they can help us succeed, by strategizing and contacting elected officials. The first call for the 2015 Session is scheduled for Monday, January 5 at 3:00 pm. Call in details to learn the policy agenda progress are here and all members are invited to listen in and participate.

On December 17 the Governor will deliver his proposed budget amendments for the coming year. The weeks following will feature comparisons and attempts at persuasion, and work with the General Assembly. If no amendments are agreed to by the General Assembly and Governor, the current two year budget passed into law in a special session some months ago will remain in effect unchanged.

Recall that the current budget calls for significant cuts in funding CRCF and GAP funds, and zeros out VBHRC (the “Catalyst”) for the coming fiscal year.

The second week in February is “Crossover” at the General Assembly; legislation which has passed one Chamber moves to the other Chamber for consideration. As in the past, Virginia Bio will host a reception for legislators and networking event for members that week. Thursday, February 12, we will hold an open reception for all members of Virginia Bio from across the state and for members of the General Assembly and Administration at the headquarters of kaléo inc in downtown Richmond (Shockoe Bottom), just blocks away from the Capitol, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. Kaléo is one of Virginia’s most well-known and dynamic young pharma companies and recently gained national recognition when it received FDA approval of EVZIO for the emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose.

We arrange for our periodic statewide board meetings of our Board of Directors, Board of Advisors and Academic Council to immediately precede the reception, to assure that leaders of the industry statewide are at the event in Richmond to speak with our elected representatives. This makes it a wonderful and convenient opportunity for you to renew ties with scores of statewide leaders and share your experiences and ideas with our policy makers. Please join us if you can. Members can register here for the Board Meeting. If you would like to help sponsor this important event, please contact either Sherri Halloran or me.

Finally, state and federal public policy matters will be on the program at our statewide daylong conference, THRIVE, scheduled for April 23, 2015 at the Westfields Marriot in Chantilly. Both federal and state policy makers have been invited, and we are now putting together programs on pressing issues. You will recall at our last statewide conference in Charlottesville in Spring 2013 both a US Senator and Congressman spent the day with us participating in various sessions, as did a number of state legislators. The Governor, several Secretaries and multiple state legislators have already committed to participating at our event in April. Find details about our THRIVE conference here.

Feel free to contact me directly at any time, and join policy group if you are interested.

Best Regards,



Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  Economic Development  funding  government  Governor  policy  Thrive  virginia bioscience 

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VA BIO At JP Morgan Healthcare Conference

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

A sage once noted that “ ’luck’ is where preparation meets opportunity.”

Start preparing now for the tremendous opportunity in San Francisco during JP Morgan Healthcare Conference week, January 12-16, 2015.

Virginia Bio will be there to help you.

One frequently voiced concern about developing and commercializing bioscience innovation in Virginia is distance from a critical mass of investors and business development VPs. Think Boston. Well, for one week we know where they will be, and you can be there too.

Many thousands of bioscience industry movers and shakers from around the world will encamp around Union Square to do deals, make new contacts, and keep old contacts alive. They’ll be anchored by the invitation-only 33rd annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference at the Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, and attend other high powered industry conferences that have sprung up around the fringe.

The annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference brings together global industry leaders, emerging fast-growth companies, innovative technology creators and members of the investment community. Each year hundreds of organizations, both public and private companies as well as academic institutions, deliver presentations to over 4,000 investors. While originally the exclusive domain of large pharma and large money, small startups helping fill their pipelines were welcomed. The participants are evolving as the industry evolves, and increasingly reflects the new community of health-insurance companies, software developers, big-data analytics, digital health, and a range of other information technologies.

For many dealmakers, investors and life science companies looking for funds and partners, the “luck” they have that week in San Francisco will set the tone, etch the to-do list, and determine whether this year they will move ahead or tread water.

In addition, thousands in biotech descend upon San Francisco to network, attend meetings and gain an inside view even if they are unable to secure an official conference invite. Industry veterans say that much of the activity takes place in the hotel rooms, coffee shops and street corners. Some of these one on one encounters are scheduled months in advance, while others are the product of on-site introductions or simply the high pressure and temperature Brownian motion.

If you have never before made the big show, consider doing so this year. If you are going, start preparing now. In either case, let Virginia Bio help you make the most of the conference. Virginia Bio for the second year in a row will stake out a presence in San Francisco for that week to help its members take maximum advantage of this unique opportunity.

We’ve reserved a classy small suite in the boutique Handlery Union Square hotel overlooking Union Square, continually furnished with Wi-Fi, meeting amenities and light refreshments. Virginia Bio members can reserve this semi-private meeting space in advance in half hour blocks at no charge. Our members who used this opportunity last year were delighted, and found it extremely convenient, comfortable and impressive to their guests.

To start the week off on the right foot, join us on Sunday, January 11 for a reception from 4:00 - 7:00 pm across the street from the hotel at the Uno Wine Bar. The reception is open to Virginians and their guests, whether or not members of VirginiaBio. Last year those who attended the jammed reception found it a great way to compare notes, get tips, leads and encouragement from their Virginia colleagues.

This year, our ten person event Steering Committee is extending personal invitations to out-of-staters they know in the industry who have a personal connection to the Commonwealth (school, hometown, previous job) to attend the reception, meet folks and get a look at the great opportunities being developed in Virginia. All of us know industry colleagues who remember their time and ties in Virginia fondly and are looking for a way to get back in some way. We plan to work long term to convert this untapped resource into a leveraging resource for our companies and researchers. At the reception we will have simple but impactful material on the breadth and depth of bioscience commercialization in Virginia.

We are still looking for financial sponsors for the room and the reception. It’s a great opportunity to get yourself and your message in the middle of a small critical concentrated group within the Virginia bioscience industry, to learn what they need and let them know how you can serve their needs.

It’s important work you are doing. I wish you the best of “luck”.

Best Regards,




Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  funding  JP Morgan Healthcare Conference  Virginia bio  virginia bioscience 

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State Institution With National Rankings

Posted By Jeff Gallagher, Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

It’s 7th in the nation among its peers for awards of federal research dollars, and 6th in the nation for private/industry support. It’s focus is an industry which is, according to some measures, Virginia’s largest private industry. That would be the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech (CALS).

I had the privilege of visiting CALS last week with Assistant Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Carrie Chenery. The Assistant Secretary was moving ahead on Secretary Todd Haymore’s intention to prioritize support for the opportunities presented by biotechnology in the Ag sector. Secretary Haymore’s interest was formed when he accompanied Governor McAuliffe, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones and VEDP CEO Martin Briley to the BIO Convention in San Diego last summer and is driven by a recent announcement of an export deal between China and a Virginia ag bio company.

Our long time friends at Virginia Tech and leaders of the College arranged an all-day lightning round of presentations on research, commercialization and industrial collaborations, with a tour of the fascinating new Human and Agricultural Biosciences Building 1. HABB1 is home to the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and the Department of Food Science and Technology. We heard bright and enthusiastic faculty researchers and entrepreneurs on such topics as: industrial scale production of plant extracts as inputs for advanced composite materials; biofuel feedstock optimization and process innovations; animal and human drug development from plant sourced molecules; the integration of traditional breeding with new genomics to produce better commercial cultivars; and in vitro enzyme systems based on plant metabolism to create bioenergy, leading to the battery that runs on sugar!

I was struck with the excellence and passion, and with a heightened sense of the commonality of research, tools, methods, obstacles, opportunities, contacts between the “Ag and Industrial” bio worlds and the classic biopharmaceutical/biomedical. There’s new significance to me now of big BIO’s tag line “Healing, fueling and feeding the world.”

The exciting promise of ag bio is headline news, as the therapeutic antibodies administered to two recovered ebola infected American health workers were produced by a tobacco plant. The world is indeed facing extraordinary challenges and opportunities in human health and biomedicine. So, too, we have enormous challenges and opportunities for feeding the human family, and for providing the means to affordable, practical, sustainable power across the globe and across the generations.

In the months and years ahead I hope to work in new ways with our universities and researchers in the Ag and Industrial areas, as well as with large company partners and small spinout startups, and our state policy makers to better interweave the fields in our community, providing additional resources and new opportunities to all.


Best Regards,



Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  CALS  Carrie Chenery  College of Agriculture and Life Sciences  Martin Briley  Maurice Jones  Todd Haymore  Virginia Tech 

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Virginia's Historic Strategic Opportunity

Posted By Jeff Gallagher, Thursday, September 25, 2014

Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

The convergence of bio with IT and big data is well described. Indeed most of you know it firsthand. This week I seemed to see it everywhere I went. To start with, a global pharma company’s 4 hour briefing on its future vision of new drug development – one planted on deep phenotyping and proven specific biomarkers requiring the skills and technologies of big data. Later, I met two different startup companies, one in diagnostics and the other in neuroimaging, and both based on a facility and intelligence in gathering, shaping and gaining insights from massive datasets. I’ve had or heard conversations with health care providers striving to harness those same technologies and capabilities to mine clinical records and real world data to discover how to deploy bio, pharma, device and diagnostic innovations to select the most effective care to patients and to provide it efficiently.

Like many others, I believe this convergence presents our members, the Virginia bioscience community, and the Commonwealth itself, with an historic strategic opportunity because of Virginia’s unrivaled IT/big data assets and expertise. I want Virginia Bio to do everything we can to accelerate and enable this convergence, to grow our bioscience industry and to help our talent here take a place at the leading edge across the nation and world.

Very soon we will be announcing details for our next statewide gathering on April 23, 2015 at the Westfields Marriott, in Chantilly. When 550 of us met last year in Charlottesville, we celebrated all you have achieved over the past twenty years. Next spring, we want to take that enthusiasm and focus it forward. One goal of the event, given the special opportunity provided by the northern Virginia setting, is to bring Virginia bio and big data/IT communities - researchers, companies, investors, consultants, together in a way never been done before. Let’s shine light on needs, opportunities and capabilities, make new contacts and build that community.

We’re using our Virginia Bio Commercialization luncheon series to push this goal too. Recall that this monthly event, though staged in Richmond, is available to members through live streaming statewide and archived in the video library on our website. The program on October 9 will be "The sky is the limit: the data-driven, data-smart bioscience organization.” Experts will challenge the audience with ideas and examples to use the latest in data tools, techniques and strategies to transform your biotech company to become all it can be – strategic, innovative, competitive, effective, efficient and insightful in a way never before possible. Panelists include Jay Goldman, Managing Director Sensei Labs, senior leader Klick Health, and co-author of the New York Times bestseller The Decoded Company, and Lewis Broome, CEO of Data Blueprint, a Richmond-based data management consulting firm. Go to our Community Calendar page for more details and to register.

I would love to hear from you with ideas about other ways Virginia Bio can help Virginia join the lead in this extraordinary new age of bioscience research and commercialization.


Best Regards,

 

Jeff Gallagher
CEO

 

Tags:  big data  commercialization  Data Blueprint  Klick Health  Sensei Labs  The Decoded Company  virginia bioscience 

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Eight Amazing Weeks of Knowledge

Posted By Jeff Gallagher, Thursday, August 28, 2014

Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

 

It is a key part of our mission and a true joy at Virginia Bio to gather, shape and tell the powerful story of the bioscience community in Virginia.  One aspect, frequently underappreciated, is the rich and diverse offerings our members mount to educate and connect Virginians with one another and the world. 

 

We are honored and excited to promote our members’ significant events among our membership and our followers, and we regularly do so on our website.  Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our Community Calendar.  Attend some of these great events as well as our Virginia Bio events, learn, benefit, contribute and help us further develop the bioscience community in the Commonwealth.  

 

Here’s a snapshot taken today of some of the significant events planned by members across the state over the next eight weeks with national and international profile and scope. Not to mention, our many Virginia Bio events. More details and appropriate member site links are on our Community Calendar.

 

September 16 –  The Virginia Tech Center for Drug Discovery launches its annual Seminar Series on campus in Blacksburg with the first of four Fall seminars.  Speakers are top researchers and entrepreneurs from across the country, and this Fall includes the Executive Director of the Yale Molecular Discovery Center, the President of the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, and the President of FirstString Research, commercializing technology developed in VTCRI labs. The details and schedule can be found here.

 

September 19 - The LifeNet Health Institute of Regenerative Medicine in Virginia Beach will present its 2014 Symposium Cartilage Regeneration: State-of-the-art and Future Direction. The one and a half-day symposium offers participants the opportunity to connect with highly respected providers and scientists from across the United States in the fields of cartilage repair, regeneration, and research and development. This annual event brings in national and international leaders to provide an overview on the evolution of contemporary allograft sciences in the biological wisdom that optimizes patient care. The main objective of these meetings is to inspire an interactive dialogue among clinicians, administrators, and allograft scientists to inspire and recognized the deep appreciation for the scientific method of allograft sciences.

 

September 22 - The Sanger Series at VCU will bring in the nation’s point person on the critical issue of reproducibility of biomedical research to Richmond.  Lawrence Tabak is the principal deputy director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and currently coordinating a trans-NIH effort to strengthen the rigor and reproducibility of scientific findings.  Concerns voiced by scientists, industry and the public and in publications ranging from Science and Nature Reviews to the Economist and Wall Street Journal, suggest the systems for ensuring the reproducibility of biomedical research are in need of repair, and the impact on translation and commercialization could be enormous. NIH is leading the charge to face a situation many would rather ignore, and Dr. Tabak will share details and directions of that effort.

 

October 12-16 - The Focused Ultrasound Foundation, Charlottesville, has organized its Fourth International Symposium on Current and Future Applications of Focused Ultrasound in Bethesda, MD.  The Symposium will spotlight leading edge preclinical, translational and clinical research related to one of today’s most promising and innovative therapeutic technologies.  Global leaders in business, research science, engineering and clinical medicine will present, and be in attendance.

 

October 24 - Sheikh Ziad Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC, a Virginia Bio member, is mounting its 2nd Annual Pediatric Surgical Innovation Symposium at the Newseum in Washington DC.  The Conference "Lessons from Drugs to Devices - A Pediatric Perspective” will bring together over 250 key leaders from industry, government, top-tier research universities, healthcare institutions and venture capitalists to improve the state of pediatric surgical and device innovation and the regulatory clearance and approval process leading to commercialization.

 

October 30 – Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) will mount its annual International Trade Conference in Richmond, with a breakout track on BioTechnology, featuring Virginia bioscience companies selling abroad sharing experiences and solutions. Follow this link for additional information.

 

Quite an eight weeks!  Virginia Bio member companies and research institutions will be busy not only with the daily blocking and tackling to make discoveries and move them to the clinic and marketplace, but also busy spreading knowledge, sparking innovation, creating opportunity and building the community. 

 

Stay up to date with events like these produced by our members, as well as Virginia Bio’s own events, at our website on the Community Calendar.

 

Best Regards,

 

 

Jeff Gallagher

CEO

Tags:  Childrens National  Focused Ultrasound Foundation  LifeNet Health  VCU  VEDP  VT 

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BIO Convention Helps Governor Focus on Industry

Posted By Jeff Gallagher, Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,

 

Governor McAuliffe and his Administration are making it widely known they are focusing on growing the economy, and they understand that the bioscience industry is a critical part.  


Several weeks ago the Governor attended the BIO International Convention in San Diego, accompanied by Secretary of Commerce Maurice Jones, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, and Virginia Economic Development Partnership CEO Martin Briley and VEDP staff.   Because Governor McAuliffe was the first governor in the nation to commit to attend, VEDP staff, the convention organizers at BIO and Virginia Bio were able to build the delegation an outstanding itinerary.

Governor McAuliffe started off his full two day visit by hosting a breakfast for C level leaders of Virginia companies and research institutions to learn more about the industry, gather ideas for improved public policies, and hear tips on selling the advantages of Virginia for bioscience the world-wide BIO audience.   

The remainder of his day included making remarks at two other large gatherings – the Council of State Biotechnology Associations and the Chairman’s BIO’s Leaders Reception. He also appeared with the governors of Massachusetts and South Dakota on a panel at the unveiling of the biannual Battelle Report on bioscience commercialization in the states.   

The Battelle Report found continued steady growth of the bioscience industry in Virginia over the last five years, outperforming the national average in the rate of growth of establishments and employment.  Nevertheless in most measures Virginia has yet to crack the top 20 states.  That day Governor McAuliffe took those facts as a challenge to find and implement the right policies to make that happen.  

The Governor walked the exhibition floor, focusing time at the Virginia Pavilion to meet the companies and organizations in attendance under the leadership of Virginia Economic Development Partnership, including:
  • Greater Richmond Partnership
  • Prince William County
  • Loudoun County
  • I-81 Corridor (3 Regions:  Shenandoah Valley Partnership, Roanoke Regional Partnership, New River Valley Economic Development Alliance)
  • GoSova 
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute – Janelia Farm Research Campus
  • George Mason University
  • U.Va. Innovation (Includes Central Virginia Partnership region)

U.Va. Innovation once again co-sponsored the Translational Research Forum, exploring how academia and the private and public sectors can best pursue the partnerships necessary to bring innovative products from the university research lab to the market.  

The message that Virginia is a great place for bio was sent out loud and clear.

Tuesday evening concluded with a Virginia reception for attendees and out-of-state companies who are partners or prospects.  It was a terrific event on a rooftop patio at the PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres and capped off by the Forbes announcement that once again Virginia captured the number one state for business ranking.   Check out the photos on our Facebook page.

The Governor completed his second day with an appearance at the plenary luncheon before an audience of 5,000 to introduce the speaker, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

For Secretary Haymore this was a first time attending the BIO convention and a fresh perspective on the growing role and impact of biotechnology on the agricultural bio and industrial bio sectors.  The Secretary made valuable contacts with the BIO organization, and Virginia Bio will work with him to move this important industry ahead.

Governor McAuliffe has asked his cabinet, under the leadership of Secretary Jones, to prepare a strategy and steps for sparking the growth of the bioscience industry in the Commonwealth.  Virginia Bio has been asked to help in this effort, providing information and contacts to industry leaders for ideas.  

The Governor appears to be "all in” in support of bioscience industry.  The Governor’s commitment to the BIO convention followed his successful keynote remarks to the PhRMA annual meeting in Washington in May.  Those remarks can be seen in their entirety on our website

Virginia Bio will do whatever we can, directly and through our membership, to help the Governor succeed, and to build on the steady progress the state has made over the last several administrations and General Assemblies.   

 

Best Regards,

 

Jeff Gallagher

CEO

Tags:  Battelle  convention  Economic Development  Governor 

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