At the invitation of Legislative Biotech Caucus co-founder Delegate Dan Morhaim, three members of the GBC bioscience committee made presentations to the biotech caucus on February 11 in Annapolis.
Steve Dubin, CEO of Martek, the global leader in infant formula supplements, told the caucus about Martek’s meteoric growth and the concomitant rise in the numbers of people the company employs. Early on Martek received state funds and Mr. Dubin pointed out how valuable that was to the company’s early development. Martek now employs 200 in Maryland with a payroll of $25 million and pays $2 million in taxes to the state each year. Mr. Dubin emphasized the importance of helping young biotech companies and the need for the state to build strong transportation systems and to keep the schools functioning at high levels.
Dr. David Block, CEO of Gliknik, talked about his experience as a serial entrepreneur. Dr. Block also founded Ruxton Pharmaceuticals. Gliknik makes new biotechnology therapeutic drugs for patients with cancer and immune disorders. Dr. Block pointed out that Gliknik was the first company to move into Building Two at the UMB BioPark and was the recipient of two MIPS grants. He emphasized the long time horizon that characterizes all biotech products and demonstrated the high failure rate in this high risk industry.
The third presenter, Dr. Blake Paterson, former CEO of Alba Therapeutics and architect of a new funding model for early stage bioscience companies, spoke with the caucus about the need to bring technologies quickly out of our research universities and into the market. Dr. Paterson has worked with the GBC for the past year to develop a new business model to achieve this goal. As seed funding has drastically declined in the last ten years, opportunities for young biotech companies to grow have also disappeared. With Dr. Paterson’s model, seed funding will be available for very early stage technologies.
Approximately 20 members of the caucus were in attendance.