Dr. Richard T. Marconi of VCU and Jeff Gallagher, former Virginia Bio CEO, are recognized for their outstanding contributions to the biosciences in the Commonwealth.
Richmond, VA, (April 22) – Every two years, the Virginia Biotechnology Association recognizes individual Virginians for their significant contributions to bioscience and the Virginia biotechnology ecosystem. This year, Dr. Richard T. Marconi of VCU and Jeff Gallagher were selected from among a list of Virginia biotech leaders for the award, which will be presented on April 28 at Virginia Bio’s THRiVE 2022 statewide conference in Roanoke.
Dr. Marconi, a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, is internationally known for his development of the tests and vaccines for Lyme disease. After developing a Lyme disease vaccine for canines that has been on the market since 2016, Dr. Marconi focused on developing a Lyme vaccine for humans and is on track to develop a test for early-stage diagnostics of the disease.
“We are taught to pursue life and science in a linear fashion, from point A to point B. But we will not find the solutions to the biggest challenges on that line,” said Dr. Marconi. “The desire to be bold and explore new ideas without fear of failure must be encouraged, nurtured and rewarded. I thank Virginia Bio for doing just that.”
A Lyme disease diagnosis is currently based on symptoms and tick-bite evidence, leading to many undetected cases and the development of more complicated symptoms such as disabling neurological disorders. Dr. Marconi’s work aims to help prevent the spread of the infection to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Dr. Marconi is a named inventor on 14 patents and numerous more patent applications since 2005.
Jeff Gallagher is the past CEO of Virginia Bio (2012 – 2019) and is referred to by many as having been instrumental in shaping Virginia Bio into what it is today – the voice of Virginia’s life science community, dedicated to sustained biotechnology industry growth and innovative partnerships. His outstanding contributions include caring about the people in the life sciences industry in the Commonwealth, building community through multiple major conferences and events, and showcasing Virginia to international audiences at the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference and BIO International, among other venues. In 2019, the Virginia Bio Board of Directors established in his honor the Jeff Gallagher Scholarship Fund for underrepresented children in the Commonwealth.
”They say one of the best feelings is receiving a compliment from someone you admire. Multiply that in this case many fold because I know and admire many of the people who make Virginia Bio what it is and who lead this award process. I am delighted the Virginia life sciences community considers my contributions significant,” said Mr. Gallagher, who currently serves as the Interim Executive Director of Alliance for Building Better Medicine. “Fundamentally I’ve been trying to say thanks and give back for everything I received from colleagues and friends, professionally and personally, over the years. In this field, in our different roles, each of us is part of a long, tough, exhilarating, deeply important journey, and what a difference it makes to be able to share the load and the laughs and the lessons along the way.”.
“We are fortunate in Virginia to have great life science leadership, such as that shown by Jeff Gallagher and Dr. Marconi” said John Newby, CEO of Virginia Bio. “It is because of their examples and continuing contributions to our ecosystem that we can stimulate a constant pipeline of innovative biotechnology companies and entities. They join a long line of outstanding contributors who have and are making similar impacts upon our ecosystem. Thank you, Jeff and Dr. Marconi, for your dedication and contributions!”
The Virginia Bio Outstanding Contributions to Bioscience Award was established in 2013 to recognize individuals, companies, organizations, events, discoveries or collaborations in the biosciences exemplifying the excellence, variety and dynamism of the Virginia biosciences community. This year two recipients were selected, both of whom have given an unprecedented contribution to establishing the Commonwealth as one of the top national bioscience regions. Past awardees include 1994 Nobel Prize winner Dr. Alfred Gilman, regenerative medicine company Revivicor, serial biotech entrepreneur Dr. Timothy Macdonald, and others.
About Virginia Bio
Virginia Bio is the statewide nonprofit trade association for life science innovation and commercialization comprising life science companies, research institutions, healthcare providers, and the professionals who enabled them to succeed. We promote the considerable scientific, economic, and social impact of the life sciences industry in Virginia, and advocate before state and policymakers for policies that support innovation and entrepreneurship, help the industry thrive, and bring improved health, medical care, agriculture, fuels and environment to the state, nation and world. Virginia Bio is an affiliate of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), AdvaMed, and Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA), and collaborates closely with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). To learn more, visit vabio.org.