Bioscience Committee

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The Bioscience Committee advocates for public policies, funding programs and other initiatives that will make the Greater Baltimore region attractive to bioscience entrepreneurs as well as established bioscience companies. The committee seeks to ensure that the bioscience industry remains viable and maximizes its potential as a regional economic engine.

Committee Staff:

For information about this committee, contact Brian Levine |


Chair:

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.

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.


2017 Bioscience Committee news:

On February 9, 2017, the Bioscience Committee received a briefing from Brian Levine, GBC Vice President and Special Assistant to the President and CEO, about the 2017 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly. Levine provided an overview of the biggest issues so far in Annapolis, including budget deliberations and legislation concerning mandatory paid sick leave and wage and benefit preemption. Next, the committee participated in a discussion about bioscience-related legislation to increase drug pricing transparency, prevent price gouging by pharmaceutical companies, authorize the use of biosimilars, improve the Biotechnology Investment Incentive Tax Credit and raise the cap on the Maryland Research and Development Tax Credit.

2016 Bioscience Committee news:

The GBC Bioscience Committee met on November 10, 2016 to review ideas for legislative proposals for possible introduction in the 2017 Maryland General Assembly legislative session. Discussion focused on creating more opportunities for bioscience companies to start and grow in the Greater Baltimore region.

The Maryland Biotechnology Investment Tax Credit program is one program specifically focused on the capital needs of early-stage bioscience companies. Committee members believe there is opportunity to increase the utility of that program to startup companies or those developed within Maryland’s research universities. The Bioscience Committee plans to continue discussions about creating a proposal to continue to grow the bioscience industry.

At its September 14, 2016 meeting the Bioscience Committee heard from committee chair Dr. David Block who introduced Chuck Montague as the new vice chair. The committee then heard from Brian Levine, GBC Vice President and Special Assistant to the President and CEO, who presented information regarding the state’s legislative and budget process. His presentation was followed by committee discussion of upcoming priorities for the 2017 session of the Maryland General Assembly.

The Bioscience Committee heard from Brad Fackler, Senior Director, Office of BioHealth and Life Sciences at the Maryland Department of Commerce, at its June 23, 2016 meeting. Fackler presented the department’s plan to have Maryland recognized as a top three U.S. biohealth center by 2023 as measured by three of the top five independent assessment reports.

Strategies to reach this goal include: promote medical tech transfer from federal labs and universities; increase the biotech tax credit and the research and development tax credit; initiative investor showcases for the life sciences industry; and use the Life Sciences Advisory Board to develop coordinated strategies to support the life science industry. View Fackler’s presentation here.

At its April 20, 2016 meeting the Bioscience Committee reviewed legislation affecting the industry from the 2016 Maryland General Assembly legislative session and then met with John Wasilisin, President and CEO of TEDCO, to gain a better understanding of how TEDCO plans to handle the Maryland Venture Fund and its vision for the future.

The Bioscience Committee continued its discussion about how it can help to support the growth of the medical device community in Greater Baltimore and how the industry can attract and retain talented management at its February 11, 2016 meeting.

The committee heard from Neil Veloso, Executive Director, Technology Transfer for Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, the university’s intellectual property administration center.

Veloso and committee members discussed possible incentives to attract talented management to the Greater Baltimore region to help grow the industry.

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.


Industry news:

Report: Md. remains leader in bioscience investment

Maryland’s bioscience industry remains a top recipient of government funding, academic research dollars and venture capital investment, but the field has been growing at a slower pace than in the rest of the of the country, according to an industry report released Tuesday.

The Free State received the fifth-largest share of funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2015 with $1.3 billion; California was the top earner with $3.5 billion, followed by Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, according to the trade group Biotechnology Innovation Organization, or BIO.

Maryland ranked sixth for academic research and development funding in 2014 — with $1.7 billion — even though academic and NIH funding has slowed across the industry in recent years, according to the report.

The state has also benefited from a national increase in venture capital investments. Maryland companies received a total of $1.3 billion in venture capital investment over those four years, the seventh-highest draw in the country, though still well behind California’s take of $19.1 billion, according to the report, which drew on data from Thomson Reuters’s venture capital database.

While the life sciences industry has been growing, BIO’s report shows that the field is still vulnerable to market realities, President and CEO Jim Greenwood said in a statement.

Nationwide, bioscience companies paid an average salary of $94,543 in 2014 while Maryland companies paid an average of $100,661. But both wages and employment within the state grew at a slower pace than the national figures from 2012 to 2014, according to the report.

Within the industry, the state has seen substantial growth in the agricultural feedstock and medical device fields, with employment growing 60 percent and 28 percent, respectively, from 2012 to 2014. Employment in Maryland’s drug and pharmaceutical sector, however, decreased 1.3 percent despite a nationwide increase of 3.2 percent during those three years, according to the report.

The three-year period studied in the report occurred before several events that have given a boost to the life science industry in Maryland, said Richard Bendis, president and CEO of the Rockville-based nonprofit BioHealth Innovation, which helps commercialize science and technology research and connect entrepreneurs with early-stage capital.

“In Maryland, we had a lot of companies go public in 2014 and 2015,” said Bendis, who had not yet read the BIO report. Other companies have seen rapid growth since 2014, and British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline announced last year it was establishing a vaccine research and development center in Rockville expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the region, Bendis said.

“There were some positive events, [after] that study, that were very good for Maryland,” he said.

Source: The Daily Record, June 7, 2016