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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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Special Note from Virginia Bio Chairman, Jeff Conroy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you and my very best regards,

Jeff Conroy

Tags:  chairmansnote  jpmorgan  thrive  vabio  vabioboard  vabiofoundation  xxfactor 

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THRIVE 2015: Where We Go From Here

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 21, 2015
Updated: Thursday, May 21, 2015
Members and friends of Virginia Bio,

Thanks to each and every one of you who supported or attended THRiVE 2015, making our statewide conference a tremendous success by every measure.

Over 350 people attended throughout the day, both members and future members. You can enjoy scores of photos, plus press coverage plus most of the power point presentations of the day on our THRiVE conference webpage.

We networked morning, noon and night.

We made valuable contacts and heard from experts in a wide variety of fields.

We spoke in one voice to the Governor, Secretaries and legislators about transformationally improving how the state supports bioscience commercialization in Virginia. Thanks to the many industry and university members of the Governor’s Working Groups and public servants who made that unique event possible.

Together, we assembled and celebrated the largest gathering ever of Virginians, harnessing the power of data science for the biomedical enterprise.

And we provided a forum for the leaders of the Northern Virginia bioscience community to come together, at this time of so much growth by individual organizations and companies.

Most importantly, by doing this well, we further developed opportunities to work together to create the future of bioscience in Virginia.

So we will be busy.

In state public policy, over the next nine months we will be informing, counselling and advocating to the Administration and General Assembly a coherent package of policies and programs that will make a dramatic impact on biosciences in Virginia. We will need your help.

Starting immediately, we will be working with companies, universities, the state and other organizations to weave our strengths together and accelerate the momentum in the big data space. This is uncharted territory, with great upside. We will need your help.

And going forward, we will continue to increase our programming in Northern Virginia, to help our members and partners their reach their enormous potential and weave them together with the rich opportunities across the Commonwealth. We will need your help.

The explosion of scientific knowledge, the transformation of the delivery of health care on account of reimbursement, big data and mobile technology, the globalization of knowledge …. We live in interesting times. And we will be measured, individually and collectively, by how we respond to these extraordinary challenges and opportunities.

Virginia Bio looks forward to this wonderful challenge, because we are part of wonderful community of members and friends, and the work we are about is of such critical value to the Common wealth.

Best Regards,




Jeff Gallagher
CEO

Tags:  commercialization  Economic Development  government  Governor  policy  Thrive  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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