Bioscience Committee

The Bioscience Committee advocates for the interests of the bioscience industry in the Greater Baltimore region by identifying specific barriers to industry growth and finding ways to overcome them. The goal of the committee is to provide an environment where technologies from our research universities can translate into products and company formation.

Committee Staff:

Liz Pettengill |


David Block, MD, MBA, CEO of Gliknik

David Block, MD, MBA, CEO of Gliknik. Dr. Block is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Ruxton Pharmaceuticals and Gliknik. He has been in the bioscience industry for 17 years, 12 of which were in a series of commercial positions at DuPont Merck and DuPont Pharmaceuticals including sales management, licensing, portfolio planning, market development and product launch. He was executive vice president of International Operations at the time of the sale of DuPont Pharmaceuticals to Bristol-Myers Squibb. From 2002 to 2004 Dr. Block was the chief operating officer of Celera Genomics.


Members: Membership in the Bioscience Committee is by invitation only. This is to keep a constant ratio of largely company CEOs and service providers. Members include: Dr. Blake Paterson, CEO, Cerecor; Trudy Burke, Senior Director, Baltimore and Gliadel Operations, Eisai; Marco Chacon, CEO, Paragon Bioservices; and Julie Garner, Government Affairs Manager, MedImmune.

What does the committee do:

  • Actively advocates for legislation at both the state and federal level that will support the industry and help it grow. This includes annual efforts to increase the amount of the Maryland Biotech Tax Credit and working with the federal delegation to increase the percentage of funding that goes to commercial companies when SBIRs are awarded.
  • Helped establish the Maryland Biotechnology Center.
  • Conducted a comprehensive survey of all 400 bioscience companies in Maryland to find out how they would like to see state resources utilized.
  • Created and ran the Maryland Bioscience Awards for seven years.
  • Created a long-term strategy for growing the bioscience industry in Baltimore and is now writing a report on that research.
  • Sponsored creation of a new business model for translational medicine.
  • Worked with DBED and other industry advocates to produce regulations favorable to the industry in the administration of the Biotech Tax Credit.

What is the value in joining: The Bioscience Committee is recognized as an effective advocacy and informational resource. Through this committee, the GBC partners with other bioscience industry groups to ensure that the industry is always well represented. The committee draws its strength from the input of its members and from the strength of its voice which is directly connected to the number and caliber of companies that join. This is also an excellent way to meet other members of the bioscience business community and to interface with our research universities.

2016 Bioscience Committee news:

At the Jan. 7, 2016 Bioscience Committee meeting the committee heard from Michael Tangrea, Ph.D. and Kaushika Prakash of LifeBridge Health. Tangrea and Prakash made a presentation about LifeBridge Health’s new BioIncubator at Sinai Hospital.

The committee also heard from Bioscience Committee member Martha Connolly of the University of Maryland. Her presentation was about “Building and Supporting the Emerging Medtech Industry in the Greater Baltimore Region.”

Following Connolly’s presentation the committee discussed ways in which it can support the growth of the medical device industry in the Greater Baltimore region. The committee is working to identify, specifically, how to support the industry’s growth.

2015 Bioscience Committee news:

The Bioscience Committee has identified keeping bio startups in Baltimore and giving them the support they need to succeed as its project for the year. The committee is considering numerous initiatives to support this project, both hands-on and legislative. Among these are: commercialization as part of a tenure track in Maryland universities; educating would-be entrepreneurs among local higher education faculty; enhancing existing funding sources for startups; finding ways to provide follow on investing; working with major companies such as Johnson and Johnson for funding; creating a program similar to Dreamit but for bios only; net operating loss legislation; and working with state pension fund to carve out more investment dollars for venture funding.

The Bioscience Committee heard from Jarrod Borkat of MedImmune at its June 9, 2015 meeting and facilitated a discussion about how to grow Baltimore’s biotech industry. The group also focused on how Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia can work together to bolster the region’s role in the industry. Committee members told Borkat, a senior director at MedImmune, that his company’s leadership can help the Baltimore region attract industry talent and become a biotech hub.

At its April 23, 2015 meeting, the Bioscience Committee further discussed how to keep bio startups in Baltimore and give them the support they need to succeed. Committee members are honing in which initiatives they want to pursue. The committee also heard from three entrepreneurs: Carolyn Yarina, CEO and co-founder of SISU Global Health, and Joshua Budman and Kevin Keenahan, the co-founders, CTO (Chief Technology Officer) and CEO, respectively, of Tissue Analytics. The entrepreneurs told committee members about their companies, why they chose Baltimore for their corporate headquarters and what their companies need in terms of mentorship and funding.

Industry news:

UCL has launched a £50 million venture fund to help academics commercialize their research 

University College London (UCL), a leading UK university, is going to invest £50 million in what it hopes will be the next generation of university spin out companies over the next five years.

The fund, which was launched today, is designed to help academics and student entrepreneurs commercialise their research.

UCL said it will enable scientists to develop a proof of concept, fund licensing projects and create new spinout startups.

Academics working in life sciences, engineering, and information communication technology will be able to apply for investment out of the fund.

Several other universities in the UK have launched their own venture funds in recent years as they look to piggyback on the success of their academics’ work and cash in at the same time.

Last May, the University of Oxford launched the £300 million Oxford Sciences Innovation fund. Imperial Innovations (a fund set up by Imperial College London) has raised £346 million since going public on the London Stock Exchange in 2006.

Imperial Innovations is contributing £24.75 million to UCL’s new fund. The European Investment Fund, which is part of the European Union’s European Investment Bank, is contributing the same amount. The remaining £500,000 is coming from Albion Ventures, a London-based venture capital firm that will manage the fund.

UCL also runs a technology transfer company called UCL Business (UCLB). The university said UCLB has launched over 60 spin-out companies to commercialise intellectual property developed by UCL researchers. Recent UCLB spinouts include Freeline, which is developing gene therapies for blood disorders and Autolus, which is developing cancer immunotherapy treatment.

Source: Business Insider, Jan. 18, 2016

Emergent Biosolutions lands $19M federal contract to produce Ebola drug

A U.S. government agency awarded a $19.7 million contract to Emergent Biosolutions to develop a treatment for the Ebola virus.

Through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) contract, Emergent will manufacture an Ebola drug similar to the experimental ZMapp treatment that was used to treat American patients during last year’s Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The drug will be manufactured at Emergent’s facility in East Baltimore.

In 2012, the company’s Bayview campus was designated as a Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM) by the federal government, giving it increased potential to land such jobs. This contract is the first Ebola-related contract BARDA awarded under that public-private partnership model.

ZMapp, which was developed by manufacturing antibodies from tobacco plants, got attention after it was used on three American patients infected with Ebola in West Africa in 2014. With no vaccine for Ebola available, medical pros were seeking solutions that could be used in a hurry. Two of the U.S. patients who were given the drug ultimately survived. However, a Maryland surgeon who was given the treatment later died.

In the fall, the U.S. government announced plans to further study ZMapp. Emergent’s contract represents a step in that effort. Specifically, Emergent will develop and manufacture three monoclonal antibodies. Instead of ZMapp’s tobacco cells, however, the company’s scientists will use Chinese hamster ovary cells.

The Ebola outbreak has slowed down in West Africa, but the deadly virus is lingering.

According to the World Health Organization, 30 new cases were reported last week. BARDA’s efforts reflect an outpouring of U.S. government funding that came amid the outbreak as officials sought to develop a vaccine that would curb the disease, and prevent a public health crisis of that magnitude from happening again., July 20, 2015