CEO Letters

January 2022

Members and Friends,

Welcome to 2022! We are so very thankful for all our members’ outstanding work in 2021 in our continued fight against the pandemic and also for all innovations brought to bear against broader threats to public health and wellbeing. 

We are proud of the foundational ecosystem-building work done by our Virginia Bio-Connect partnership during its inaugural year. 2022 will be pivotal as we launch a new life science resource portal, provide enhanced mentorship services to our startups, bring another investor conference to Virginia (more to come on Accelerate 2023), and support the hiring of 100 summer interns. And although this month’s 40th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference was changed to a virtual event, we are excited to be at next year’s conference and will be happy to see you there and at all of our 2022 events. Thank you for supporting our efforts as we continue to strengthen our ecosystem, stimulate entrepreneurship and foster productive partnerships to bring ground-breaking research and products to the Commonwealth.

Virginia Bio Welcomes New Directors to Our Board. In December, the Membership elected six new Directors to the Virginia Bio Board. Joining the Board are: Gerry Brunk, Managing Director of Lumina Ventures; Jessica Foley, CSO of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation; Craig Gill, Director of U.S. Government Relations at Pfizer; Nikki Hastings, co-founder and managing partner of QDS Capital; Conaway Haskins, VP of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems at the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation; and Garry Warren, President and CEO of ivWatch. The new Directors’ 3-year terms will begin in April 2022. The new Directors bring years of experience, leadership, and relationship in the life sciences industry to help Virginia Bio further its mission and vision.

Members also re-elected the following Directors to new three-year terms: Rob Day, Chief Operation Officer, TechLab; Kolaleh Eskandanian, VP & Chief Innovation Officer, Children’s National Medical Center, Mark Gignac, Executive Director, Institute of Advanced Learning and Research; Michael Perham, Director, Innovations & External Relations, HHMI Janelia Research Campus; Denise Toney, Director, Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory; Elaine Horn-Ranney, CEO & Co-Founder, Tympanogen; and Warren Martin, Partner, Hibiscus BioVentures.

In April, Virginia Bio will be extending a very hearty “Thank You” to four of our Board members, each of whom has served three 3-year terms: Jim Powers, CEO of HemoShear; Alex Euler, Director of Life Sciences Investment at the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation; Andrew Krouse, CEO of Slate Bio; and our Chairman, Alan Connor, CEO of Cadence. We will be providing a more complete word of “thanks” when the time of their departure comes (there is still work to be done until then!).

The Members also voted to expand the Board from 24 to 30 Directors. With recent and continuing growth in our sector, we have fortunately seen more ecosystem interest in serving on our Board. The expansion of our Board will bring more representative voices into the Commonwealth’s life science leadership in the future.

THRiVE 2022 Is Here! Help us celebrate our 30th anniversary at our bi-annual THRiVE conference in Roanoke, VA, on April 28. This statewide event brings together the leading researchers from biomedical research universities and health systems, entrepreneurs, startups and emerging bioscience companies from the state. Learn more here and reach out to Frank Wilton if interested in sponsoring.

We are also requesting nominations for individuals, companies, organizations, events, discoveries or collaborations in the biosciences exemplifying the excellence, variety and dynamism of the Virginia biosciences community for our Innovator of the Year award. Nominate now, and we will announce the awardees at the conference. 

Virginia General Assembly 2022. Virginia Bio Advocacy for the Industry: 2021 Virginia General Assembly. The 60-day GA 2022 Session began on January 12, and it has been fast and furious. Along with several other key stakeholders, Virginia Bio is monitoring several pieces of legislation, prime among them being Senate Bill 376, Prescription Drug Affordability Board (Sen. Petersen). Among other things, the bill would create an independent Board established under the laws of the Commonwealth. The Board would include Gubernatorially-appointed members and would have the authority to set limits on what buyers can pay for goods and services. The Board would also have the ability to conduct an affordability review that would be open for public input. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor. Virginia Bio, our government relations team from Hancock Daniel, and representatives from PhRMA and BIO and others are working with the sponsors of this and other bills to ensure the concerns and needs of our industry are addressed (read BIO’s statement here).

Join Us for February 10’s Virtual Luncheon with CSC Leasing. Rawleigh Taylor, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, CSC Leasing, will show how your business can preserve capital for mission-critical growth and other operating initiatives—not constantly depreciating assets. Register now.

New Newsletter Format Coming Next Month. To help you prioritize and quickly identify the most relevant content coming from us, we will be changing our email communications starting February 2022. You will keep getting monthly CEO letters, but they will be way more concise and digestible. The rest of the content will come in separate emails. We will share “Member News,” “Events,” and “Job Posting” monthly, while “Policy Updates” and “Breaking News” will be sent out as needed. 

Your Ideas. Virginia Bio wants to hear from you! Contact us at questions@vabio.org with your ideas, comments, suggestions and let us know how Virginia Bio can best support you and our biotechnology ecosystem.

Thank you for all you do to make Virginia’s life science ecosystem stronger!

John

 

More letters from our CEO

06/02/2022

May 2022

Message from Departing Chairman Dear Virginia Bio friends: It was great to see many of you in person last month at the THRiVE 2022 conference. As you know, my time as Virginia Bio Association Chairman has come to an end, and John offered me the opportunity to share a few thoughts about my time with

05/05/2022

April 2022

Members and Friends, Despite confinement and exclusively virtual communication with colleagues, investors, and customers for the better part of two years, our Virginia life sciences eco-system has had a productive run. We’ve assisted in the global fight against the pandemic, we’ve innovated and developed new technologies, drugs, and treatments, and we’ve continued to build our

03/31/2022

March 2022

Members and Friends, For the first time, Virginia’s life science organizations will have a central location for its resources, jobs, and events. With the launch of the web portal Virginia Bio-Connect (vabioconnect.org), individuals from across the country and the world will be able to obtain a broader picture of the life sciences assets that the