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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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Family Funds Investing in Bioscience Innovation

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 19, 2015
Updated: Monday, November 16, 2015

Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

It was a family fund that fifteen years ago provided my startup specialty pharma company with its first capital. The scion of a wealthy East Coast family some years prior had received an experimental drug in a clinical trial that halted the progression of a deadly disease after approved therapeutics had not. From then on a percent of the fund’s investments were directed to bioscience startups with a compelling business plan to provide new treatments and cures. The investment had a financial objective, to be sure. But the investor was focused on the clinical outcome as well, and his board designee was patient and helpful in many ways as we ran the crooked road of drug discovery, development and commercialization.

 

Today, family funds – sometimes called “family offices”, or “home offices”, or “high net worth (HNW) individuals” worldwide are increasingly a significant direct source of funding for startups, emerging and mature bioscience companies, bypassing traditional private equity funds and snapping up opportunities left by the great VC migration. The number of funds and the dollars at their disposal are staggering.


Last Thursday we brought together experts deeply engaged in the family fund sector at our monthly Virginia Bioscience Commercialization Panel Series. If you missed this eye-opening discussion, remember we livestream these events and archive the video for Virginia Bio members to watch at their convenience at the News and Events, Video Library section of our website.


Our three panelists occupy very different vantage points. Peter Harris is a Vice President & Managing Director at Axel Johnson, the investment fund of a prominent European family. He is involved with cultivating and evaluating new investment opportunities and providing strategic and operational support to existing portfolio companies. While the family is European, the Fund has a significant investment in a Virginia medical device company and Peter and colleagues operate the funds’ investments in the US out of NYC and Charlottesville. Tom McKenzie is Senior Vice President, Membership, of Cavendish Global, as well as a principal with Capital Partners LLC, a private equity advisory firm. Cavendish Global is an innovative and relatively new organization - a community of global family funds intent on making impact investments in new and emerging biomedical companies. Tom scouts the country for companies to bring to the attention of the community. Paul Romness is Senior Advisor to McKenna & Associates in the Life Sciences and issue advocacy campaigns. McKenna is a versatile DC strategic consulting firm specializing in management and fundraising, and assists family funds with investment opportunities.


Some key points from the panel. Family funds have more flexibility than institutional private equity and VCs because they answer to themselves, not to recruited investors. This allows them greater freedom from strict investment criteria like asset grade, deal structure, sector or geography. They tend to have a longer time horizon, looking to build capital not harvest a rapid return. They may accept greater risk, in terms of sector, stage of investment and even deal structure, to accomplish other goals. And other goals they do have: perhaps a sweet spot based on family history and values, such as interest in funding solutions to a particular disease. The result – family funds operate in many different ways. Still, it’s an investment, not a philanthropic gift. The bioscience company has to evidence a strong business case to reach returns, as well as impact. And while the role of family funds making direct investments is relatively new, it’s unlikely to be a mere fad. No matter how many years pass, wealth will be accumulated, the wealthy will seek investments, families’ happiness will be bound to sickness and health of their members, the urge to impact the spread of medicine and human health will continue to call good souls, and the potential returns of innovation in the biomedical sector will draw good looks from savvy investors.


No discussion of capital formation can end without reminding you of JP Morgan Health Care Conference Week in San Francisco on January 10 - 15, 2016. There’s an exciting new development this year, and one could say it has to do with “Families”. This year we are greatly expanding our Sunday evening reception. The Virginia Reception, co-hosted with University of Virginia Darden School of Business, will be held at 5:00pm on January 10 in the Velvet Room of the Clift Hotel.


Just two weeks ago Darden was rated by The Economist as the #2 MBA school in the world. Darden is inviting its extensive family of alumni in the biotech and health care industry, and Virginia Bio is inviting the leaders of our member companies who are seeking capital and strategic deals. In San Francisco in January, these Type A Virginians act more like family, sharing connections and talking one another up to help one another succeed on the tough but important journey they walk along together.


We’re also expanding the number of slots we will make available free to Virginia Bio members in our hotel room overlooking Union Square for private and semi-private meetings. See you there!

If your organization is not a member of Virginia Bio yet, give us a call.

Best Regards,



Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  Axel Johnson  Cavendish Global  Darden  Family Funding  funding  JP Morgan Healthcare Conference  McKenna & Associates  Virginia bio  virginia bioscience 

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Help Drive Virginia’s Economy

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 19, 2015
Updated: Monday, October 19, 2015
Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

Virginia faces an urgent need to diversify and grow its economy. This need has made economic development a rare potential area of cooperation between the General Assembly and the Governor, Republicans and Democrats.

Bioscience commercialization presents a unique opportunity to Virginia to meet this need and solve this crisis. The state has all the pieces to base significant long term growth and to grow into a leading state economy. We need to focus and align, make some investments and incentivize private sector activity.

For these reasons, I have been working for over a year with policymakers in the Administration and General Assembly to gather facts on bioscience commercialization policies and results within Virginia and in other states. We have collected data on demonstrated return on investment. We have helped to mount three statewide gatherings of Virginia bioscience leaders. We helped coordinate statewide working groups commissioned by the Governor and brought their reports back to an audience of state leaders, setting out principles for a plan that would take Virginia from where it is today to a greatly expanded and mature bioscience economy. At Virginia Bio's April strategic Board retreat, the organization set our top priority to prepare, propose and fight for a plan to enact in budget and legislation during the 2016 General Assembly, which begins in January.

This week, on Tuesday, October 20 at 12pm we will conduct a webinar for our members to present the plan that has been developed, answer questions, and enlist your active support in making the plan reality. Click here for the webinar link.


I will share the plan one on one with policymakers and present it to gatherings of stakeholders statewide from now until January.

We also will enlist your help starting immediately and continuing over the coming months to socialize the plan. We need members to meet with their legislators and with the members of the Administration and urge them to support the plan, support the industry and do something significant to make a significant difference in the future of Virginia's economy.

This is a topic in which virtually every elected legislator and public official agrees, and declares publicly its importance. It is our task to assure these people make it a priority against the many competing claims of legacy programs and louder voices. The Governor has famously and repeatedly announced bioscience is a top priority. We need to work to assure that in his proposed budget and legislative agenda that is indeed the case. Legislators have declared their support for economic development. We need to be in repeated contact with them to explain the importance of the bioscience initiative and monitor the response in the progress of legislation and the decisions of the money committees in each chamber whether that is in fact the case.

I would love to hear from those of you who would be willing to help us by visiting, making calls or writing emails to your legislators, sending letters to the editor, or hosting legislators for a tour of your facility to communicate the importance of bioscience commercialization and your support of Virginia Bio's plan firsthand.

Please join us for the webinar, and then help us convert this historic opportunity to a real and significant achievement for the state.

We can create many thousands of new high paying jobs, while helping to heal, feed and fuel the world.


Best Regards,



Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  Economic Development  funding  government  Governor  Virginia bio  virginia bioscience 

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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
CEO

 

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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Federal Lawmakers Focus on Bio

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

 

After several years of relative inactivity, federal lawmakers are in gear again. And so are we at Virginia Bio.

 

The 21st Century Cures Act (H.R.6) was passed in the House of Representatives on July 10 by an impressive vote of 344 to 77. This bill was bipartisan in its creation and authorizes several changes to the approval process for drugs and medical devices.

 

The bill also authorizes an increase of $8.7 billion for the NIH and a $550 million increase for the FDA over 5 years. The bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to revise the drug approval process by allowing patient experience data to be considered in the risk-benefit assessment of new drugs; requiring the FDA to qualify drug development tools; allowing the FDA to rely on data previously submitted for a different purpose to expedite the development of certain drugs; and establishing a streamlined data review program for approval of drugs for additional indications. The bill requires the FDA to establish a program for priority review of breakthrough medical devices, identify types of devices that do not require a report preceding introduction, and rely on a third party to determine the safety and effectiveness of changes to medical devices. The bill requires manufacturers and distributors of investigational drugs for serious conditions to publish their policies on compassionate requests; revises and extends the priority review voucher program for rare pediatric diseases; and requires a pharmaceutical and technology ombudsman within the CMS to respond to complaints from manufacturers of medical products. The bill allows Medicare prescription drug plan sponsors to limit certain beneficiaries’ access to frequently abused drugs and mandates interoperability and certification of electronic health records. The House overturned a last-minute amendment that threatened the bill’s passage by proposing to make the new NIH and FDA spending discretionary, rather than mandatory.

 

The Senate is working up and is expected to consider its own version of the bill in the Fall.


Intellectual property protection is at issue on a couple of fronts. Reform of the US Patent system is the work of H.R. 9, the Innovation Act, which has been captained by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA). The bill was poised to reach the floor any day, before being slowed down for additional consideration until after the August recess. The bill offers multiple procedural changes to the patent process, many of which are inspired by the scourge of patent trolls famously impacting the IT industry. Virginia Bio has joined voices with BIO, PhRMA, MDMA, the American Association of Universities, the National Small Business Administration and the National Venture Capital Association, among others, to push back against several proposals and urge other important changes. Inter partes review proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board at the PTO is effectively changing the legal standard and disrupting the certainty of patent validity. While true trolls in the IT space must be deterred, the bioscience innovation sector is so different than IT that these fixes are extremely harmful, and threaten the affordable access to dependable patents on which all investment in our sector depends. The Senate has its own version of the legislation under development. If you are interested and willing to speak with your federal lawmakers about these issues, please do so, or contact me for further information and assistance.


A very different legislative venue for IP issues, is consideration of the merits of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, now in final stages of negotiation among the Administration and counterparts from foreign nations around the Pacific Rim. Congress will have the opportunity to vote the agreement up or down when reported by the President under fast track authority. At issue is the protection of biological drugs. US law recognizes the special character of biological drugs and protects them with a 12 year period of data (or “regulatory”) exclusivity: that is, data prepared and submitted to FDA by the innovator as a condition of approval may not be used by competitors to support applications of other (usually biosimilar) drugs. The 12 year period is set by statute in the US, and balances the goal of enabling innovators to benefit from their research investment and risk taking without competitors taking a free ride, while creating a time certain after which reference is allowed to ease the entry of biosimilars into the marketplace.


Medical Device Tax Repeal. After several tries over as many years, the House on June 15 passed H.R. 160, the “Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2015.” The bill would repeal the 2.3 percent medical device excise tax on manufacturing and importing medical devices, which was implemented through the Affordable Care Act and has proven to be highly unpopular. The tax is expected to bring in less than $3.2 billion in tax revenue each year over the next 10 years to help fund Obamacare. According to the Advanced Medical Technology Association, the tax is expected to cost medical device manufacturers approximately $194 million per month and the loss of up to 43,000 jobs in the medical device industry. The Senate is now in the final stages of finishing its consideration of an equivalent bill. President Obama has promised to veto the bill if it passes the Senate as well, though some observers believe there may be enough bipartisan support in Congress to secure the two-thirds majority needed to override the president and pass it into law without his signature.

 

User Fee Acts. Recently we have seen the various FDA regulated bioscience industries gearing up for the every five year process between industry and FDA to reauthorize PDUFA, GDUFA and MDUFA. Over the course of more than a year, in hearings and by written comment, the will review whether past improvements have achieved intended results, set the amounts and distribution for the voluntary industry user fee payments, and consider improvements to FDA standards and procedures going forth.

 

Recent visits. I recently visited various Congressional offices with a delegation of members of the coalition We Work for Health to point out the above issues and thank them for their support. This is a coalition of small and large companies in the biopharmaceutical industry, patient groups, large employers and chambers of commerce, united to highlight the importance of the industry, not only for individual health but for our nation’s economic health as well. Virginia Bio was a founder of the coalition, and I serve as co-chair. Members of the coalition held a series of meetings on Capitol Hill last week: Senator Tim Kaine’s Chief of Staff, Mike Henry; Senator Mark Warner’s Legislative Director Elizabeth Falcone and Health Legislative Assistant Marvin Figueroa; Congressman Dave Brat and his Legislative Director Kurt Couchman; Congresswoman Barbara Comstock and her Chief of Staff Susan Falconer; Congressman Morgan Griffith and his legislative aid Adam Harbison; and finally Congressman Don Beyer’s Chief of Staff Ann O’Hanlon.

 

If you’re interested in getting involved, to discuss or want more information, please let us know. We work closely with BIO, PhRMA, MDMA and AdvaMed to watch out for and act on the federal issues which impact our industries and our companies.

 

Best Regards,




Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  21st century cure  federal  funding  government  Todd Haymore  Virginia bio  virginia bioscience 

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Better Access to Capital

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 25, 2015
Updated: Thursday, June 25, 2015
Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

Access to capital is one of the most important and pressing needs of bioscience innovation companies. The need for capital starts even before the moment of creation of the company, and continues and evolves throughout all stages of a company’s life cycle.

Virginia Bio is continually seeking ways to help our member companies access capital, and in the year ahead we will provide increased emphasis, and new programs and projects.

To jump start this effort, Virginia Bio recently entered into a one year agreement with CB Insights to provide access for select members to CB Insight’s proprietary comprehensive database of private investment data on current and historic deals and investors.

CB Insights is a national Science Foundation-backed data and technology company that exclusively focuses on private company financing and exit information. The database tracks any private company that has received financing including government grants angel investment, VC, growth equity, or had an exit via M&A, an IPO or other, and captures extensive information on the financings and the investors.

Please watch in the coming days for our announcements describing this exciting new program, the content of the database, the capabilities of the search, analytic and visualization tools, a date for a live webinar training how to use the database for your needs, and terms of use.

A handful of Virginia Bio member companies and investment advisors who helped us evaluate the database service were impressed that this will be a valuable tool. It will help our startup, early stage and growing companies analyze industry trends, identify target investors and acquirers, conduct reverse due diligence on investors prior to meeting them, understand comparable transactions and competitors, and track and research relevant life science and health care deals.

In addition to this new service, in January we’ll continue to build on our support of companies during JP Morgan week, with a second private meeting room and a much expanded networking reception Sunday night.

Please let me and members of our Board know additional ideas for supporting our companies’ efforts to gain access to the capital they need to thrive.

Best Regards,




Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  capital  cb insights  Economic Development  funding  government  Virginia bio  virginia bioscience 

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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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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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