Four firms and research center garner GBC’s first Baltimore region Bioscience Awards

Four area biotech CEOs and a research center located at the University of Maryland School of Medicine today were honored by the Greater Baltimore Committee as winners of the region’s first bioscience award competition.

Winners of the Greater Baltimore Region Bioscience Awards are:

  • Entrepreneurial Spirit: Dr. Ginette Serrero, CEO, A&G Pharmaceutical, Inc., Columbia, Maryland. Serrero transformed her research on a new biomarker for breast cancer into a company that is developing a diagnostic kit that improves drug treatment decisions by oncologists and breast cancer patients. The company is also developing a kit to enable breast cancer patients to monitor their disease for recurrence.
  • Best New Product or Process: Dr. Richard Turner, CEO, EyeTel Imaging, Inc., Columbia, Maryland. Turner and EyeTel developed, and distributed widely to primary care physicians in 16 states, a new device for early detection of vision loss that can be easily operated by non-physicians and clerical staff.
  • Leadership in Bioscience: Dr. Paul Silber, CEO, In Vitro Technologies, Inc., Catonsville, Maryland. Silber and his company developed a test-tube process for determining the effects of drugs on humans, revolutionizing drug testing methods in the U.S. and prompting the FDA to streamline its requirements for testing drugs.
  • Best Academic-Industry Collaboration: Alba Therapeutics Corp., Baltimore, Maryland; and the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Alba Therapeutics CEO Dr. Blake M. Paterson and Dr. Alessio Fasano collaborated to develop potential commercial applications for the treatment of celiac disease and diabetes based on the use of Zonulin, a key protein discovered in Fasano’s lab at the celiac research center. The center is located at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, part of the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Celiac disease is a digestive disorder afflicting an estimated 1.5 million people whose bodies are unable to digest gluten, a protein found in many foods. The disorder causes chronic bloating and can lead to conditions including diabetes, anemia, infertility, and Down syndrome.

More than 100 leaders from the Baltimore region’s bioscience industry and research community attended the awards presentations at the Greater Baltimore Committee.

“The companies and researchers we honor today typify the high level of bioscience research and entrepreneurship prevalent in the Baltimore region,” said Donald C. Fry, president of the Greater Baltimore Committee, the region’s most prominent organization of business and civic leaders. The GBC has made development of the bioscience industry a top priority and coordinates business support for a variety of initiatives to nurture the industry’s growth.

“Driven by world-class academic research centers and other formidable resources in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, the bioscience industry in our region is percolating and others elsewhere are noticing,” said Fry. “We established this annual awards event in order to call attention locally to the kind of outstanding work that is driving this emerging economic force in our region.”

Winners of the 2006 Greater Baltimore Region Bioscience Awards were selected by a panel of judges from among 31 nominees submitted by businesses, bioscience advocates, higher education institutions and government agencies.

Judges for this year’s awards were: Michael Meehan, president, BD Diagnostic Systems; Roger Calvert, president and CEO, Ferris Baker Watts, Inc.; James Hughes, vice president for research and development, University of Maryland, Baltimore; Dr. Antonio Moreira, executive vice president, SPI USA, Inc.; Dr. Brandon J. Price, CEO, Cognate Therapeutics; Dr. Bruce Robertson, managing director, H.I.G. Ventures; and Tony Talalay, CEO, Brassica Protection Products.

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