Don Fry among panelists at Maryland Regional Biotech Forum

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Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, was among the panelists who participated in the Maryland Regional Biotech Forum, a two-day event that highlighted the economic importance of the biotech industry in the region March 30-31.

Other panelists included Norman Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, Martin Briley, president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and Brian Darmody, associate vice president of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the University of Maryland. Christy Wyskiel, special adviser to the president of Johns Hopkins University, served as the moderator.

The panel, entitled “How Policy Can be Used to Support Growing Biotech Ecosystems,” examined current and future legislative initiatives that support the industry in the region. Panelists discussed the policies they would like to see implemented in the future and all agreed that regional marketing strategy would be highly valuable.

In addition, Fry proposed the consistent use of commercialization as a factor in determining tenure at area universities and suggested that a small fraction of the state pension fund be set aside to invest in biotech companies.

Regional cooperation was a recurring theme, from putting forth new legislative initiatives to creating an optimal business climate in which biotech companies could flourish. High quality transit, consistently good school systems and affordable housing were all mentioned in addition to business training for entrepreneurs and researchers.

The panel concluded that the best use of regional cooperation would be to have Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia to work together to market the region as a first-rate biotechnology hub.

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