Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending and helping to moderate the second annual BioHealth Capital Region Forum at MedImmune’s beautiful and booming headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD. Over 900 registered to attend, and for two days we heard leaders in science, business and policy from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC.
The purpose was to showcase the region’s biotechnology accomplishments, create new collaborations, and explore ways to accelerate the region’s progress towards the goal of becoming "top 3 by 2023” among the biotech clusters in the US. Speakers and panels examined local and regional efforts to boost the life science industry, explored effective models for driving innovation and collaborating successfully, and spotlighted fields of special accomplishment and advantage in the region. Speakers included Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the NIH, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.
The conference frankly results from the leadership of MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca in Gaithersburg, gathering a growing number of companies and industry organizations to develop a stronger, deeper, more interconnected region. By doing so we will help all our firms and research universities succeed and accelerate our contribution to discovery and development of treatments and cures for the world.
Virginia Bio was honored to be invited to participate on the planning committee along with BioHealth Innovation, Tech Council of Maryland, GlycoMimetics and of course MedImmune. Many more organizations and companies in the region supported the event financially - enabling us to offer it free of charge to attendees, and others by providing speakers and panelists. Together they comprised a program that was national in scope, experience and expertise.
I had the privilege of moderating a panel featuring a variety of foundations located in the region and examining their impact on research and commercialization. Panelists were leaders of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Foundation for the NIH, The Henry M Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, with a biotech company CEO and a foundation national strategy consultant. (A complete agenda can be found here).
A highlight of the conference was a big step taken toward creating a shared definition, profile, identity and brand for the region. Over six months, a group of more than 50 company and public sector leaders have met with branding specialists to explore this issue. At the conference they unveiled the name and tag line of choice “BioHealth Capital Region. Advancing Science / Accelerating Innovation.” You’ll see Virginia Bio incorporating it at the bottom of our emails and on our website. You and organizations and companies throughout the region are invited to do the same as appropriate. You can use this link to get the preferred style file. Soon we’ll be announcing an open competition to create an icon/logo, so be prepared to get creative!
At Virginia Bio we share this regional vision. Our colleagues in DC and Maryland are strategic assets to success in the global competition that every one of our companies, and every one of our research universities faces, and in the race for faster cures to people in need worldwide. As they succeed, we are strengthened, and vica versa. We can build collaborations within and across state lines to drive forward research and commercial success. We can share opportunities and insights with colleagues. We can encourage sound state and federal public policy. We can improve the ways in which we nurture and train talent by sharing a coherent and complementary strategy.
We can do all this and remain spot on with our mission to grow the bioscience industry in the Commonwealth. We’ll just be doing it a little smarter, and with teammates.