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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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Strategic Partnerships for our Members!

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 15, 2018
Virginia Bio’s mission is to fuel the network of leaders that drive bioscience. With thoughtful consideration, we sought two strategic affiliate partnerships to bring value and ignite new opportunities for our members. FFAR, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and Veterans Health Administration Innovators Network at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center. Our partners are your partners.

I would like to introduce our first affiliate partner FFAR, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, headquartered in Washington D.C. Their mission is to build partnerships supporting innovative science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges. Last year, FFAR awarded $45.8 million in grants for ground-breaking research. In addition to supporting science, FFAR fosters the next generation of researchers with New Innovator awards and the FFAR Fellows Program where graduate students receive training from industry mentors.

Agriculture generates one of the largest economic impacts for the state of Virginia producing over $70 billion of revenue annually and providing over 334,000 jobs. With being the Commonwealth’s largest private industry, our food and agriculture bio companies spearhead the cutting-edge science and research to excel such growth. We hope you leverage the FFAR partnership and add to your list of beneficial collaborators.

You will have the opportunity to meet the FFAR team along with their Executive Director Sally Rockey, at our Ag Bio 2019 Conference on March 27, 2019 at The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, Virginia. Virginia Bio is merging strengths with North Carolina. We will have Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture Betinna Ring delivering the keynote with the invited Commissioner Steve Troxler of North Carolina. Within this impressive 90,000 square feet facility we will bring forth the new generation of thought leaders in Ag Bio, new discoveries and innovations creating an impact, the drivers of solutions tackling the biggest challenges in Ag Bio, and beneficial industry partners and investors to further advancement. We hope to see you there.

Our second affiliate partner is the Veterans Health Administration Innovators Network at Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia. In 2016, the McGuire VA Medical Center became one of 22 sites to join the national VA Center for Innovation as part of its Innovators Network. With the VACI’s investment program, new innovations in Veteran health care transform from concept to reality. What innovations can you bring to the table?

The Veterans Health Administration Innovators Network establishes partnerships with healthcare, academic, and tech organizations throughout the Richmond area and regions beyond. VA innovation has resulted in significant medical technology breakthroughs. It has been involved in the creation of the artificial pancreas, nicotine patch, first electronic health record, and cardiac pacemaker.

In its first year, McGuire received funding for 10 projects to develop innovative ideas in areas of software applications, process automation, 3-D printed products, and more. A combination of national funding and local training opportunities aim to foster innovation and improve the veteran experience.

Virginia Bio’s long-standing commitment to our member companies and to honor those who serve for our country – we bring together for collaboration and to display the talents under one roof at our largest state-wide biannual conference THRiVE: creating the future of bioscience held May 2, 2019 in Richmond. Mark your calendars now.

The valor, courage and sacrifice from our veterans and military personnel have touched all of us one way or another. 2018 actually marks the Centennial Commemoration of the end of World War I on November 11, 1918. “To care for him who shall have born the battle”, a quote from Lincoln’s second inaugural address. Considered one of President Lincoln’s best speeches he affirmed the government’s obligation to care for those injured during the war. Together we bring science and innovation to heal their wounds and improve their lives.

November is a month of notable celebration to praise our veterans and for giving thanks during the Thanksgiving holiday. Virginia Bio is thankful and grateful to serve our members, our partners, our veterans and military personnel, and our Commonwealth.

Well wishes during this celebratory month.

Best Regards,

Cassandra Isley
Virginia Bio
Vice President, Strategy and Development

Tags:  #veterans #vamedicalcenter #g2gconsulting #biotech  affiliations  agriculture  partners 

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Ag/Bio - Rapidly Growing High Value Sector

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 27, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

On Wednesday, September 9, we are helping to mount the Governor’s Conference on Agricultural and Industrial Bio, in Danville at the impressive Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.

For the first time ever in Virginia, we’ll gather the companies, researchers and members of the agricultural community working in this rapidly growing high value sector where hi-tech meets Virginia’s largest private industry.

Agricultural and Industrial biotechnology is enabling the world to feed its growing populations and supply fuel and materials to its growing economies in an affordable, sustainable and environmentally sound manner. At the end of this letter, I provide a snapshot of field for those who are unaware.

This rapidly growing sector provides an opportunity to add new hi-tech strength to a pillar of Virginia’s economy. In turn this will strengthen the state’s traditional biomedical biotech industry because of the commonality of skills, talents, resources, supplies, equipment and services required to succeed in R&D and commercialization.
Thanks to generous sponsors, the event is free of charge.

It’s a great agenda on September 9, which will enable attendees to learn in one day, in one place what’s going on in the industry in Virginia, to meet the key players, to better understand the opportunities, to assess public policy and start to think about moving forward.


- In a morning and afternoon lightning round, we’ll hear from ten companies, large to small from all across Virginia working across many different areas of ag/ind bio, and we’ll hear from ten researchers from universities and private institutions doing exciting and promising work across the field.

- We’ll hear from Paul Ulanch, Ph.D., MBA, Executive Director, Biotechnology Crop Commercialization Center, with our friends at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center some of the steps they’ve taken in the last five years to become one of the top ag bio centers in the US, and opportunities to collaborate.

- A panel of federal, state and private funders will explore opportunities to fund commercial efforts in this field.

- We’ll hear from Shawn Semones Ph.D., Director of Applied Discovery Research & Development, Salem Virginia Site Lead, Novozymes North America, Inc., one of the world’s leading ag bio companies, on the company’s work, outlook and trends.

- Top state policy makers, including Governor Terry McAuliffe, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, and Delegate Steve Landes will share ideas on the state’s role in supporting the development of the industry.

I look forward to seeing you there! Click here to register now for this important event.

Best Regards,

Jeff Gallagher


Agricultural biotechnology is a rapidly expanding, broad and dynamic industry that applies a range of advanced biotechnology tools, such as genetic engineering, to improve plants and animals, to develop microorganisms for specific agricultural uses, to make agriculture more efficient, sustainable and profitable, and to improve food quality and safety.

Biotechnology can engineer crops to tolerate specific herbicides, making weed control simpler and more efficient, and to be resistant to specific diseases and pests, improving control and decreasing the use of synthetic herbicides and pesticides. Crops with the ability to grow in salty soils or better withstand drought conditions are entering the marketplace. These require less fuel, labor, fertilizer, and water, decreasing pressures on land and wildlife habitats.

Biotechnology creates improved foods, by increasing certain components such as vitamins and other nutrients, and reducing levels of others, such as naturally occurring toxicants, allergens, or saturated fats.

US farmers have rapidly adopted many of these new varieties: 88% of the corn, 94% of the cotton and 93% of the soybeans planted in the U.S. were varieties produced through genetic engineering. Use is spreading globally as well, helping countries keep pace with demand for food while reducing costs.

Genetically engineered bacteria and yeasts produce vitamins and nutritional supplements for human food, and improve the production of fermented beverages and foods.

Biotechnology advances improve animal food, and enable animals to more effectively use nutrients present in feed, and produce new vaccines, diagnostics and treatments for animal disease, and additional markets for animal products.

Biotechnology provides a wealth of tools improving the safety of our food supply chain.

Industrial biotechnology applies biotechnology tools to traditional industrial processes (“bioprocessing”) and the manufacturing of products (such as fuels, chemicals and plastics) from bio-based renewable feedstocks.

New and more valuable sources of biomass, and new more efficient methods of bioprocessing, are being developed continually. Current commercial products include bio-based plastics with applications ranging from cosmetics, home cleaning products and antifreeze to food packaging and car parts, and chemicals used in the production of detergents, textiles, pulp and paper, leather, metals, fuels and minerals.

There is rapid innovation in renewable chemicals, frequently co-produced as side streams of biofuels and bioenergy, providing new intermediates, novel products, or direct replacements for petroleum products.

Genetically engineered crops can serve as factories for the production of a wide array of chemicals, including new medicines.

Tags:  agriculture  funding  government  Governor  IALR  industrial biotechnology  Institute for Advanced Learning and Research  mcauliffe  Novozymes  Paul Ulanch  Shawn Semones  steve landes  Todd Haymore  Virginia bio  virginia bioscience 

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