2017 Outstanding Contributions to Bioscience in Virginia
John C. Herr Ph.D. (d 2016) was professor of cell biology, urology and biomedical engineering at University of Virginia, and served as Director of UVA’s Center for Research in Contraceptive and Reproductive Health. John was a champion of translational, as well as basic, science, and ultimately moving scientific discovery to the clinic and marketplace. He is recognized internationally for the discovery of differentiation antigens (biomarkers) of gametogenesis (sperm and egg development), the patented uses of these proteins as analytes and drug targets, the development of qualitative and quantitative immunoassays using monoclonal antibodies directed to these antigens, and the creation of multiple UVA technology-transfer companies formed around his patent disclosures.
Dr. Herr’s research team characterized and named over 35 genes and proteins in the human genome associated with spermatogenesis and oogenesis. Molecular characterization of biological properties of these proteins led to the issuance of over 25 US patents, publication of over 200 scientific papers, and to useful applications in fields of male infertility, contraceptive vaccines and drug targets, targeted cancer therapeutics, diagnostic tests for personalized cancer medicine, and forensic reagents for sexual assault detection. A prolific patented inventor, John was a member of the National Academy of Inventors.
Dr. Herr was an entrepreneur himself, founding multiple Charlottesville biotech companies. Humagen (1984) is centered on male reproduction and in vitro fertilization and employs over 70 people producing pipettes specialized for IVF. ContraVac (1997) markets SpermCheck, the first FDA-approved home-diagnostic tests for male fertility, including SpermCheck, sold in pharmacies and stores around the world. Ovastasis (2014) develops non-steroidal female contraceptives that selectively target a protein specific to the egg. Most recently, Contraline (2015) is developing the first long-lasting, non-hormonal, and reversible contraceptive for men, a polymer gel implanted non-surgically into the vas deferens.
Dr. Herr generously shared his enthusiasm, dedication and experience with colleagues, industry partners and students alike.
Mark A. Herzog served as the first full-time Executive Director of Virginia Bio and led the organization’s development over twelve years into a unifying force, a significant support and a respected advocate for the biosciences in Virginia.
Mark initiated a grassroots-based legislative agenda for the industry and led successful state legislative efforts, as well as supporting national bioscience policy and legislation. Under his leadership, Virginia Bio became the "go-to" resource for media, legislators, and the public on the Virginia biosciences industry, and a trusted collaborator for technology-based economic development and health of the citizens of the Commonwealth.
With allies in DC and Maryland, Mark conceived the highly successful Mid-Atlantic BIO regional conference to foster a regional identity, brand and network of relationships which would help Virginians succeed. He led Virginia Bio in organizing countless events and programs across Virginia that knit together the state's industry, research, and education communities. Mark’s outstanding leadership was recognized by his peers nationwide in his selection as Chairman of the Council of State Bioscience Associations.
It was Mark’s passion for developing young people, shared with key board volunteers, that sparked the creation of the Virginia Bio Foundation to promote industry support of STEM education and facilitate student internships. He has used his expertise in workforce issues broadly, and now serves as Chair of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development, the business-led board that is the principal advisor to the Governor and provides strategic leadership to the state to create a strong workforce aligned with employer needs, and previously as a member of workforce investment boards for Richmond and the Greater Richmond region, and with Economic Development Strategy Commissions of two Governors.
Mr. Herzog currently serves as Vice President of Corporate Affairs at kaléo, a Richmond-based pharmaceutical company dedicated to building innovative solutions for serious and life-threatening medical conditions.
John Schofield served as a career economic development executive in Prince William County, Virginia. He retired in 2009 as Research and Marketing Director for the Prince William County Department of Economic Development, having served the county for 27 years, the last 15 in economic development. John Scofield was a quiet and tireless leader who transformed the landscape of bioscience research and commercialization in Northern Virginia, and by example across the state.
He helped develop and build out the vision for the bioscience character of Innovation Park in Prince William County. Over his career, he was instrumental in helping projects/facilities like ATCC, Mediatech, Virginia Department of Forensic Science and the GMU/NIH National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Disease land in Prince William County. He was the ever hopeful, steady, encouraging force behind the drive spanning two decades to establish wet lab space in Northern Virginia, a dream finally realized recently with the opening of the Prince William Science Accelerator.
John was also a master translator, explaining to policy makers and administrators at the state and local level the pieces that needed to be put in place, the patience required and the role of innovation and entrepreneurship to create a biotech cluster. He was regarded as a quiet voice of reason and a bridge of cooperation, with the state and neighboring counties and economic development professionals across Northern Virginia. John was not only an economic development executive, he poured passion and energy into networking to develop the community, and into support for life science entrepreneurs for a long time. He was an early and passionate supporter of industry, of Virginia Bio and entrepreneurs in general.
While not a scientist, entrepreneur or investor, John transformed the industry in Northern Virginia, and indirectly across the state. In this way, John exemplifies the many economic development professionals in localities, regions and at the state level who work day in and day out over the years after to perpetuate a vision, build the infrastructure, and facilitate in every possible way the growth of the life sciences industry. Frequently they labor long and without apparent success, but over time their work bears fruit, in discoveries, companies, jobs, cures and treatments. In Northern Virginia and across Virginia the industry is growing, thriving and poised to do greater things, in part because it stands on a foundation built over many years by John Schofield and his colleagues.
|Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) is a world-class research institute dedicated to the study of information biology.
Housed in state-of-the-art facilities on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus and National Capital Region Research Center in Arlington, the institute uses bioinformatics and analytics approaches to uncover the complex relationships involved in human health, well-being, and sustainability.
VBI develops genomic, proteomic and bioinformatics tools and databases to study genomes and diseases for the discovery of new vaccine, drug and diagnostic targets, as well as understanding how humans can better respond to crises via massive network modeling. Work at VBI involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as: mathematics, computer science, biology, medicine, pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, statistics, economics, simulation science, and synthetic biology. Transdisciplinary research at the institute encompasses four scientific research divisions: Advanced Computing and Informatics Laboratories, the Cyberinfrastructure Division, the Biosystems Division, and the Medical Informatics and Systems Division which address our national priorities via support from government (NIH, DTRA, DOE, DOD, NSF, USDA and many others), non-profit foundations and corporations.
The institute was founded as the result of a state economic development white paper which asserted that biotechnology would be the next step for Virginia’s economy. Since bioinformatics seemed a natural progression for the life sciences at Virginia Tech, the university rose to the challenge and sought funding in 1999. With the help of $12.3 million from the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Committee, VBI opened its doors in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research center with only five employees in 2000. Now VBI employs over 250 experts in information biology with a research portfolio totaling $118 million in grants and contracts. Work has continued to be focused on bioinformatics, but has also embraced network dynamics and simulation science as the connections between biology and massive interacting systems have become increasingly clear.
winner Dr. Alfred (Al) Gilman is a distinguished Virginian scientist recognized
tonight for his role in the discovery that G-proteins are a vital intermediary
between the extracellular activation of receptors on the cell membrane and
actions within the cell. This discovery,
built on the early research of Martin Rodbell, demonstrated the proteins interacted
with GTP to initiate signaling cascades within the cell. G-protein-coupled
receptors (GPCRs) are the site of action of many drugs used to treat a wide
variety of human diseases.
began his research career at University of Virginia School of Medicine, and
made many of his most important discoveries there, while a professor of
pharmacology from 1971 – 1981. During this tenure he served as the primary
editor of the widely known textbook of pharmacology, Goodman and Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics.
Gilman later served as the Department of Pharmacology chair and dean at the
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and then Chief Scientific
Officer of the $3 billion Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas
(CPRIT). He is a member of the National
Academy of Sciences and recipient of the Lasker Award for Basic Medical
Research, among many others.
Culture Collection (ATCC) is a globally utilized private non-profit biological
resource center and research organization. The ATCC was established in 1925
when a committee of scientists recognized the need for a central collection of
microorganisms that would serve scientists all over the world. Today, the ATCC
houses a wide variety of collections of biological materials for research,
including cell lines, molecular genomics tools, microorganisms and bioproducts.
founded in Washington, D.C. current President and CEO Dr. Raymond Cypess
oversaw the move of ATCC to its current state-of-the-art building in Manassas
in 1998. ATCC products and services are used around the globe by researchers in
academia and government, as well as by the pharmaceutical, biotechnology,
agricultural and diagnostics industries, food, beverage and cosmetics makers
and reference and testing laboratories.
|| The Center for
Innovative Technology (CIT) brings together the state’s major research
universities in partnership with industry to support the research, development
and commercialization of innovative technology in the Commonwealth. The center
was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1984 as a private non-profit
organization. For nearly 30 years, entrepreneurs and inventors in the
biosciences have looked to CIT for support in the form of grants, investments,
training and information.
has been home to many champions for the life sciences. Dr. Robert Schwartz
(1943 – 2001), founding member of the Virginia Biotechnology Association, was
the former biotechnology director for CIT and a nationally renowned scientist
in the field of biometrics and DNA research. Virginia state bioscience champion
Terry Woodworth was another early CIT leader. More recently, former CIT
managing director Tom Wiethman founded the GAP BioLife Fund, which transitioned
seed stage funding for bioscience companies from single angel investors into a
structured and statewide investment fund. More than 12 new bioscience companies
have resulted from the fund, attracting $13.25 million of private sector
| Virginia was an
early pioneer in popularizing forensic DNA analysis, now a cornerstone of law
enforcement procedure around the globe. In 1989, the Virginia Bureau of
Forensic Science Department of Consolidated Laboratory Services was the first
to use DNA to help solve a crime and to offer those services to law enforcement
agencies. Virginia was also the first state to create a DNA databank of
convicted sex offenders and later, the state program became the pilot program
for the National DNA Databank, whose first "cold hit” in 1994 resulted in a
conviction. Today, the Department of Forensic Services, with more than 300
employees and a central laboratory in Richmond, provides comprehensive forensic
laboratory services to 400-plus law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth.
Department of Consolidated Laboratory Sciences (DCLS), instrumental in DNA
analysis since its formation in 1972, was the first consolidated state
laboratory in the nation and still performs more than 6 million tests annually
to help ensure the safety and health of Virginia’s citizens and environment.
|| In November 1992, a varied group of individuals
shared a common vision that the bioscience industry in Virginia required a
single voice. Beginning with a series of
Biotech and Breakfast meetings across the state, they gathered supporters and
formed the Virginia Biotechnology Association, and won approval as the official
state affiliate of the newly emerging Biotechnology Industry Organization
(BIO), in Washington, D.C. The original
Executive Committee was comprised of John Clarke, Brian Farmer, Anthony Hall, Robert
Olson, Robert Schwartz, Terry Woodworth and the first President Hollister
Lindley. Other founding directors
were: Deborah Ayers, Hon. Thomas J.
Bliley, Jr., Penny Caran, Stacy Gettier, Joseph Gregory, Bradley Hager, John
St. John, David Jones, Jarel Kelsey and Skip Schuelke.
vision, devotion and entrepreneurism have made its mark. Virginia Bio has become the premier
statewide non-profit trade association representing the life sciences industry
in the Commonwealth of Virginia. More than 200 member organizations have joined
forces to make Virginia Bio an effective advocate for the biopharmaceutical and
device industries before federal, state and local policymakers.
Valley native Francis Collins currently serves as the Director of the National
Institutes of Health and has become one of the dominant global figures in
bioscience and genetics in the last half century. Following undergraduate
education at University of Virginia, and a career of revolutionary research at
Yale University and the University of Michigan, Collins was appointed Director
of the National Human Genome Research Institute, where he led the Human Genome
Project, which first sequenced the 3 billion base pairs in the human genome. He
then initiated a wide range of research projects that have identified genetic
risk factors for a significant number of diseases, including heart disease,
cancer and mental illness. He is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of
Freedom and the National Medal of Science.
innovations have become powerful components of modern molecular genetics. He led
a team in the successful quest for the long-sought gene responsible for cystic
fibrosis. Other major discoveries soon followed, including isolation of the
genes for Huntington’s disease, neurofibromatosis, multiple endocrine neoplasia
type 1, and the M4 type of adult acute leukemia.
Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc. (HDL) is a Richmond-based leader in health
management that supplies a wide range of innovative analysis and care services
to patients and clinicians. Founded in 2008, HDL currently employs 700 people
and runs more than 150,000 sample analyses per day at its CAP-accredited laboratories
in Virginia Biotechnology Research Park. Under the visionary leadership of
founding President and CEO Tonya Mallory, Ernst & Young’s 2012 national
Emerging Company Entrepreneur of the Year, HDL aims to prevent disease and promote
health through advanced testing and lifestyle changes. The company offers the
most comprehensive laboratory test menu of risk factors and biomarkers for
cardiovascular, diabetic, and related diseases – including diabetes mellitus,
metabolic syndrome, fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease, heart failure
and stroke, providing a basis for early diagnosis, effective treatment and
organizations and employers HDL also provides complete health risk assessment
administration, and chronic disease management programs consistent with
nationally accepted protocols for diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, stress,
obesity and smoking cessation. HDL’s founding team remains its top managers. The
company has become a pillar of support to its community and the bioscience
industry, and a leader in scientific collaboration.
| Howard Hughes
Medical Institute Janelia Farm Research Campus is a premier research facility
based in Ashburn. The center opened in 2006 as the Institute’s sole research
campus and has quickly become a leading biomedical research hub, where skilled scientists
from diverse disciplines use emerging and innovative technologies to pursue some
of biology’s greatest challenges. Current research goals at the campus include
the identification of general principles guiding how information is processed
by neuronal circuits, and the development of new imaging technologies and
computational methods for image data analysis.
the Janelia Farm Research Campus, researchers work together in
multidisciplinary teams to solve challenging biological problems that are
difficult to address in existing research settings. This culture enhances
academic freedom by allowing scientists to pursue long-term projects of high
significance that could not necessarily fit within the confines of a standard
grant proposal. The programs, people, design of the buildings, and
infrastructure of the research campus are designed to stimulate
multidisciplinary, team-driven biomedical research. HHMI is also an avid
supporter of efforts to improve STEM education that inspire and aid in training
|| Dr. Howard
Jones Jr., along with his wife, Dr. Georgeanna Seegar Jones, led early
science-assisted fertility efforts in the United States and performed the
nation’s first in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure, in Norfolk. The Jones
Institute, opened in 1978, was America’s first IVF clinic that has subsequently
celebrated the births of 4,000 babies conceived through assisted reproductive
the Jones Institute, researchers have conducted groundbreaking research in the
clinical applications of pituitary gonadotropins to induce the development of
multiple follicles for use in intrauterine inseminations and in-vitro
fertilization, the results of which are still in general use throughout the
world. In addition to IVF, the Jones Institute pioneered many new techniques,
such as embryo cryopreservation and intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a major
advance in the treatment male infertility. The institute has also developed a
preimplantation genetic diagnosis program that allows couples who could
potentially transmit severe or lethal genetic diseases to their offspring to
achieve their goal of having a healthy child. Physicians, infertility specialists,
endocrinologists, and embryologists who trained at the Jones Institute have
gone on to manage or staff numerous successful infertility programs in the United
States and abroad.
Intelliject is a pharmaceutical company changing the lives of patients. Intelliject’s lead product, Auvi-Q™, is an
epinephrine auto-injector - the height and width of a credit card and the
thickness of a smart phone. It’s
portable, safe and easy to use, and provides real-time voice instructions to
talk the patient through each step of the injection process in what can be an
incredibly stressful time. Through commercial partnership with Sanofi, the
product was FDA approved in 2012. Soon after
its launch in January 2013 the first documented life saved was reported. Intelliject’s unique business model empowers
patients to play a significant role in creating a solution to their medical
condition through Human Factors Engineering.
The company begins with the
patient/caregiver and the moment of use and works backwards, developing
concepts followed by prototypes to develop a user inspired product.
founded by twins Eric and Evan Edwards, who grew up with life-threatening
allergies. They conceived of a credit card-sized epinephrine auto-injector in high
school and shaped their university educations to pursue their dream. CEO Spencer
Williamson has recruited an experienced management team from all over the
world. Today, the company has a pipeline
of products and over 130 patents across multiple therapeutic areas.