Governor Martin O’Malley today named Dr. Judith A. Britz, a scientist, academician and entrepreneur with more than 25 years in Maryland’s bioscience industry, as executive director of the Maryland Biotechnology Center, a part of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.
In her new role, Dr. Britz will lead Maryland’s bioscience efforts, reaching out to the state’s more than 400 bio and life sciences companies to help them grow and create new jobs and working with the Governor’s Life Sciences Advisory Board (LSAB) to move forward the 10-year, $1.3 billion BioMaryland 2020 initiative. She will also oversee the state’s newly-launched Maryland Biotechnology Center, which coordinates and consolidates the vast number of state, university and private sector bio initiatives and resources and offers information and guidance on business strategy and development, access to capital, technology transfer and commercialization, grants, workforce development and training, and federal resources.
“Maryland is a global bioscience leader, and we are fortunate to have someone with the depth and breadth of knowledge of Dr. Judith Britz working to further strengthen this vital sector of our economy,” said Governor O’Malley. “Having worked in academia and as an entrepreneur gives Dr. Britz a unique perspective on the resources and support Maryland’s bioscience companies need to grow and create jobs.”
“For more than 25 years, Dr. Britz has been on the frontlines of unlocking some of the most vexing medical mysteries of our time, and we welcome her tremendous wealth of experience to DBED,” said Secretary Christian S. Johansson. “As a longtime entrepreneur, Dr. Britz understands the challenges that many small, early stage bioscience companies encounter on their way to making life-saving discoveries, and I look forward to working with her to ensure we give these companies the opportunities and tools to succeed.”
“I look forward to working closely with Governor O’Malley, the Life Sciences Advisory Board and Maryland’s dedicated bioscience community to build on the great work that has been done to make Maryland a bioscience powerhouse,” said Dr. Britz. “My background complements my new role in government to facilitate the interactions of academia, industry and our advocacy groups to work more closely together and grow this important industry.”
A longtime entrepreneur in the bioscience industry, Dr. Britz has been involved throughout her career in developing and commercializing a wide variety of diagnostic technologies with applications in infectious diseases, endocrinology, and cancer. She was most recently the founder of Britz Life Science Consulting, advising companies in therapeutic and diagnostic applications, including stem cells, genomics and biomarkers for cancer.
Previously, she served as president and CEO of Cylex Inc., and as general manager of Sienna Biotech, Inc., both Maryland-based companies for which she successfully raised more than $50 million dollars and introduced a series of patented diagnostic products, navigating them through the FDA in record time and manufacturing and marketing kits to hospitals in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Dr. Britz previously held positions in business development and research and development at Becton Dickinson and Johnson and Johnson’s Ortho Diagnostic Division. As a research scientist at Electro-Nucleonics Inc., she was responsible for developing one of the first licensed blood screening tests for HIV.
Dr. Britz’ academic career includes a PhD from Stanford University in Immunology and Medical Microbiology and postdoctoral fellowships at Yale University and Johns Hopkins in cellular immunology. As an active participant in the technology community, she has held Board and advisory positions on the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Bioscience Group, The Technology Council of Maryland, Women in Bio, The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, The Howard County Economic Development Association, and The Horizon Foundation.
Home to more than 400 bioscience companies and 50 research-intense federal institutes and outstanding academic centers including NIH, the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins, Maryland is well positioned in the global bioscience industry and has been recognized by the Milken Institute as one of the top tier states highly specialized in overall bioscience development. Since the early 1990s, Maryland has focused on bioscience development and was one of the first states to develop a strategic plan for the industry.
Over the years, strategic investments have helped Maryland’s bioscience industry grow into one of the world’s largest bioscience research complexes, known for its wealth of federal facilities, institutions of higher learning and concentration of highly trained bioscience researchers. From 2001 to 2006, the State’s bioscience industry grew by nearly 15 percent, adding 3,200 jobs to top more than 25,000 bioscience jobs in Maryland. In addition, from 2002 to 2007, Maryland’s university bioscience research soared, growing 44 percent from $877 million to $1.3 billion. Today, Maryland ranks second in federal obligations for research and development ($12.2 billion).
The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing workforce training and financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the Arts, film production, sports and other special events.