Bioscience Committee

Join A Committee

Chair: David Block, CEO, Gliknik Inc.

Staff: Donald C. Fry, 410-727-2820

Description: The Bioscience Committee studies and advocates for public policies that will make the Greater Baltimore region attractive to biopharma, medical device and medical technology entrepreneurs as well as established bioscience companies. The committee seeks to ensure that the bioscience industry maximizes its potential as a regional economic engine.

Membership: Membership in the Bioscience Committee is open to all GBC members.


2019 Bioscience Committee news:

In 2019, the Bioscience Committee worked on a number of important issues related to the bioscience industry in the Greater Baltimore region. The Senior Director of the Office of BioHealth at the Maryland Department of Commerce presented a briefing about recent successes attracting life sciences companies to Maryland. Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures/FastFoward and the University of Maryland BioPark presented on work related to bioscience innovation and entrepreneurship. The Bioscience Committee also participated in a joint committee briefing with the Baltimore Development Corporation, which included discussions on its efforts to attract and grow bioscience companies in Baltimore City.

The GBC Bioscience Committee met on November 19, 2019, and heard presentations on the activities of two Baltimore City higher education institutions and their work related to bioscience, innovation and entrepreneurship. First was Mark VanderZyl, Senior Operations Manager for Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures/FastFoward, who briefed the Bioscience Committee on efforts of Johns Hopkins University to build an innovation infrastructure in Maryland by, among many offerings, providing incubator space, raising investment funding and seeking collaboration to advance translational capabilities. Jane Shaab, Senior Vice President/Associate Vice President for Economic Development for the University of Maryland BioPark, presented on the advancement of the BioPark’s campus. Currently, the University of Maryland, Baltimore is growing the BioPark’s footprint and creating a campus environment that serves as its own innovation district. They also work to incorporate the surrounding community in their efforts to create new opportunities for economic growth and entrepreneurship in West Baltimore.

In a joint meeting of the GBC’s Economic Development Committee, Bioscience Committee, and Innovation and Technology Committee on October 1, 2019, Colin Tarbert, President and CEO of the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC), provided a briefing on the BDC and his vision for economic development in Baltimore City. The BDC serves as the economic development agency for Baltimore City and is responsible for retaining and attracting businesses, expanding job opportunities, and increasing investment in neighborhoods. He was named the BDC’s President and CEO on April 15, 2019. Tarbert, who was joined by BDC staff Kristen Dawson, Andy Cook and Shawn Gunaratne, said they are currently undergoing an internal process to determine the vision for organization. He also wants to strengthen the BDC, which is often seen as a transactional organization. To do this, Tarbert wants to bolster a number of areas including policy, research and analytics and better push programs and initiatives. He is also in the early stages of creating the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), which is required by the federal government to be completed every five years. For this CEDS plan, Tarbert envisions the creation of a broad and inclusive economic development outlook for economic development in Baltimore City.

The GBC Bioscience Committee’s February 27, 2019 meeting featured a presentation by Bret Schreiber, Senior Director of the Office of BioHealth at the Maryland Department of Commerce. Schreiber explained that life sciences and cybersecurity are economic development priority industries for the Department of Commerce. He described recent successes in attracting or retaining life sciences companies and collaborations with local and regional organizations and federal agencies to grow the industry in Maryland. The industry is important to Maryland and employs 98,000 people in Maryland, Schreiber said. Brian Levine, Senior Vice President of Government Relations for the Greater Baltimore Committee, also provided a presentation on pending bioscience-related legislation pending in the Maryland General Assembly session.

2018 Bioscience Committee news:

Nadège Lane, Tenant Representative at JLL, a global commercial real estate services company, discussed Baltimore City’s bioscience real estate market and trends at the GBC Bioscience Committee’s September 20, 2018.

The Baltimore City bioscience real estate market has a vacancy rate below 5 percent and suffers from a lack of available space to grow the industry. Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland system comprise the majority of lab space in Baltimore City and the remaining space primarily has limited functionality.

Recent bioscience industry real estate activity has not gone to the university-affiliated bioparks or built-out lab space, but rather to existing office space or locations outside of the city. Additionally, the pace of development in leased lab supply has slowed, resulting in limited vacancy and shallow depth of inventory.

The committee discussed a number of ideas to boost real estate options for bioscience companies, including incentives to spur the construction of new speculative wet lab space and agreed to conduct further research and recommend solutions to these issues.

The GBC Bioscience Committee met April 19, 2018 to discuss a variety of issues. First, the Committee heard a presentation on the University System of Maryland (USM) Momentum Fund. The fund was established to support promising early-stage companies in the USM ecosystem. A company is eligible is they have one of the following three: USM intellectual property; key team member a USM graduate, student or faculty member; and is located in a USM research park or RISE Zone (Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise Zone).  With $10 million over four years, the fund seeks to provide a return on investment, but also support the USM ecosystem and boost its reputation as a home for premier research institutions.

The Bioscience then received an update on an ongoing project that is conducting market interviews to learn more about why local CEO and founders stay or leave the region, including the underlying causes of such actions. The Committee will additional more information and data at a future meeting.

Finally, the Committee received a brief update on the 2018 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly. The discussion focused on the Biotechnology Investment Incentive Tax Credit legislation and possible strategies for improving the program in 2019.

During the Bioscience Committee’s February 15, 2018 meeting, members received a presentation from Greater Baltimore Committee staff regarding the 2018 legislation session of the Maryland General Assembly.

The Committee discussed the $12 million funding request for the Biotechnology Investment Incentive Tax Credit (BIITC) in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget. Last year, the GBC was able to amend the BIITC to provide some nascent bioscience companies an opportunity to apply for the incentive.

The Committee also engaged in a discussion about pending drug pricing control legislation, which could potentially harm Maryland’s climate as a state for innovation. Following that, members continued discussions about priority issues the Committee could undertake in the future.