Maryland, a long-established hub for medical technology, is helping to grow the next generation of life sciences companies. Five companies and a research team were awarded $865,000 by the BioMaryland Center within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), the BioMaryland Center announced Wednesday.
Archives For Health & Life Sciences
As the Ebola virus continues to spread throughout West Africa, a number of Maryland companies are contributing aid to those impacted by the deadly disease. The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) and its BioMaryland Center, along with sister State agencies, the life sciences community and several non-profit organizations, are urging increased participation through the Stop Ebola website.
The announcement was made today in a release by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED). The expansion is slated to potentially double the company’s 58,000 square-foot space and is expected to add 158 new jobs over the next four years.
Whether the patient is a combat soldier or a football player, doctors sometimes struggle to identify victims of traumatic brain injury.
BrainScope, based in Bethesda, Maryland, is one step closer to easing that process through its Ahead 100 device. The company announced on Wednesday that it earned United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for the device.
The device is designed for patients between 18 and 80 years old who have suffered closed head injuries within 24 hours. The device uses a patient’s electroencephalograph to interpret the structural condition of his or her brain. The device helps doctors decide if a patient should receive a Computerized Tomography (CT) scan or other treatment.
The future of health technology is in the palm of your hand. Mobile communication, wearable devices, data sharing, analytics and even gaming concepts will soon seamlessly meld with medical treatment.
DreamIt Health Baltimore explored these possibilities in a four-month accelerator program that fostered nine early-stage companies. Company representatives demonstrated their products, presented plans for growth and pitched to investors during the program’s culminating Demo Day on Wednesday.
Mike Batista, CEO of Baltimore-based Quantified Care, which streamlines medical professionals’ use of mobile medical devices, called the DreamIt experience “phenomenal.”
“DreamIt is the reason we’ve been able to move so far in such a small amount of time. Our company would not be where it is now without their support—financial support, mentorship and helping us get through those low points companies inevitably fall into,” Batista said.
Participating companies received $50,000 in seed funding, extensive entrepreneurial training, coaching from industry experts, free Fells Point work space and donated legal counsel.
In past generations, it wasn’t unusual for a family doctor to make a house call, perform a broad range of medical services and offer emotional as well as clinical support. While the traditional house call may be a thing of the past, patients today are taking advantage of a return to cooperative hands-on care in the form of patient-centered medical homes, including many in Maryland. Data shows that this care model is not only lowering costs but also improving care.
In a growing number of medical homes, doctors, nurses, care managers and medical assistants work together to help patients manage their care among different facilities, coordinate referrals to specialists and help track health outcomes. Rather than wait until he or she needs emergency care, the patient receives consistent preventative care from a familiar team of practitioners and builds a “long-term healing relationship,” according to the Maryland Health Care Commission.
Medical homes are one of the fastest growing trends in the healthcare industry. In the last six years, the number of certified medical homes nationwide has exploded, from 20 in 2008 to 6,800 today. As of January 2014, Maryland has 58 home health centers, most of which are located in areas with a large number of Medicaid patients, according to Heather DeCarlo, a health IT expert at RxNT in Annapolis.
Thanks in part to funding from the Affordable Care Act, medical home practitioners are now assisted by new forms of information technology, including electronic medical records. The ACA has also fundamentally changed how the country pays for healthcare, DeCarlo said.
Medical facilities are moving away from fee-for-service payments, which encourage more and oftentimes unnecessary medical procedures, to models that encourage cost efficiencies and improved medical outcomes, according to DeCarlo. The ACA incentivizes providers who can prove that they are bringing more services under the healthcare umbrella, like patient education and care coordination, and medical homes support this new team-based model, she said.
State officials have already found promising results among Maryland medical homes.
In 2011, through the MHCC, the Maryland Multi-Payer Patient Centered Medical Home Program began a three-year pilot study to test the medical homes care model. The study included 53 primary and multi-specialty practices throughout the State.
By the second year of the study, nearly half of the practices generated savings and overall care quality increased by approximately 10 percent, according to the MHCC.
CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, Maryland is one of the State’s success stories. Through the use of medical homes, patients’ overall health care costs have been reduced by 4 percent, leading to an estimated cost savings of $40 million in 2011, according to the MHCC.
The MHCC concluded, “Physicians who practice in medical homes anecdotally report much greater satisfaction with their work than in a traditional practice; and investing in comprehensive medical home care has improved quality and reduced total cost to the system because of better care and coordination.”
The next great idea was easier to find than a necktie at TechBuzz2014, a semi-annual event put on by the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA) where entrepreneurs, given more to flannel shirts than business suits, pitched their fledgling companies to an auditorium full of venture capital and angel investors.
The event aimed to link investment firms with 20 promising startups seeking about $1 million to $3 million to expand their businesses, hire talent and begin building their products.
Dozens of startups have presented at six similar TechBuzz gatherings since 2010 and 40 percent received venture funding within a year as a result, said MAVA Executive Director Julia Spicer. The growth of TechBuzz over the past four years reflects growth of early and venture-stage investing in the mid-Atlantic. The Baltimore-Washington region is among the most active areas for venture investing in the country, along with California, Massachusetts, New York and Texas.
Venture capital funding in Maryland increased to $663 million in 2013 from $408 million in 2012, according to the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. The state’s 63 percent growth far outpaced the national average of 7 percent. Maryland is also establishing itself as a major market for early investment, according to a report by the State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) last month.
That was evident Tuesday at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Club, a newly renovated Art Deco-era moviehouse, where startups, some of whom who just sold their first product weeks ago, came in search of early “angel” or “Series A” investment. The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) was a co-sponsor of the event. James Keeratisakdawong, Principal with DBED’s Maryland Venture Fund (MVF), co-chaired the committee that reviewed the applicants and selected 20 companies to present.
The startups spanned a wide array of ideas and products, some targeting consumers, others geared to the enterprise market. Companies ranged from Basepair, developer of software to analyze DNA sequencing data, to Brain Sentry, a Bethesda company whose wearable helmet sensors can signal when a youngster in a contact sport needs to be checked for a possible concussion, to LoveThatFit, a “virtual fitting” technology that enables users to try on clothes “virtually” and that aims to improve online apparel shopping. Armed only with slide presentations and “elevator speeches,” the entrepreneurs had four minutes to make a pitch. A countdown clock ensured not a second more. A panel of judges then evaluated them in the venture capital equivalent of “American Idol.”
One judge, MVF Managing Director Thomas S. Dann, observed that many local startups are focused on the hot markets of cybersecurity and cloud computing. But whatever the venture, he said, “we want to see entrepreneurs focused on the problem that the customer is trying to solve and how the ROI [return on investment] they offer can attract that next customer.”
Passion was also important. The judges said they made special note of whether the entrepreneur was motivated by a “pain point” they had experienced while seeking a product or service. One example of that was Mark Olcott, who described his College Park-based company Vitus Vet as a cloud-based network of medical records for pets. He described an example of a dog named Bogey that was brought to an emergency clinic for treatment after being injured. The pet died later that night because it couldn’t tolerate the type of anesthesia administered.
Olcott revealed he was the vet.
“I felt like I got kicked in the stomach,” he said.
Startups also must not overlook the potential competition for what they’re trying to create, said Dayna Grayson, a Partner at New Enterprise Associates, which ranked sixth last year for investments in Maryland, according to a recent Baltimore Business Journal survey. “A lot of presenters today didn’t talk about competitors,” she said. “Many large public companies have few direct competitors. It’s not enough to say you’re going to be among the best of five or six.”
Ultimately, as one investor judge told the entrepreneurs, the proof is in the product: “You get enough customers,” he remarked, “then you don’t need our money.”
A growing number of firms in the medical device industry call Maryland home. But this week, a select group has ventured across the globe to participate in MEDICA, the world’s leading trade fair for medicine and medical technology.
Between Nov. 20 and Nov. 23, international medical market leaders, including 4,641 exhibitors from 66 countries, are descending on Dusseldorf, Germany for a range of MEDICA events. The BioMaryland Center, through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, is a state exhibitor, promoting Maryland’s medical-friendly business environment and also sponsoring attendance from participating companies.
“It really is a global event. We’re going to have probably over 150,000 visitors to our state booth,” said Carey Esslinger, regional manager over Europe, Russia, FSU, Latin America and the Balkans for Maryland DBED.
Maryland companies in attendance include Harmans-based AIV Inc.; Hanover-based BTE Technologies; Ijamsville-based BioAssay Works, LLC; Frederick-based BioElectronics Corporation; Annapolis-based Compass Languages; Westminster-based ImmunO4; Bethesda-based Dimetek Digital Medical Technologies Ltd.; Landover-based Man & Machine, Inc.; Germantown-based Medispec Ltd.; Rockville-based Tetracore, Inc.; and Pasadena-based Moss Inc.
Roughly half of the companies are showing in the Maryland booth, while others have “graduated” to become individual exhibitors, Esslinger said.
In recent years, Maryland’s participation in the show has planted the seeds for exporting agreements and foreign investment deals.
“It’s a perfect platform for Maryland companies looking to expand their sales internationally,” Esslinger said. “We have a number of Maryland companies attending the show this year, including manufacturers such as Man & Machine, who design water-proof keyboards used in hospitals, and Tetracore, which has developed a field testing kit for biological agents.”
The state, now considered a regular on the show floor, has developed a global reputation.
“Maryland’s strengths—such as proximity to federal facilities like the FDA, state of the art medical institutions like Johns Hopkins University and a highly educated workforce—are recognized and respected internationally,” he said.
The second annual InvestMaryland Challenge is in full swing. If your business is in need of a jump start, check out this site for more information about the national business competition. The Challenge offers applicants free admission to networking events, social media promotion, scoring and feedback from judges, exposure to venture capital firms and angel investors and the chance to compete for more than $600,000 in prizes. Winners of the Life Sciences, IT, Cybersecurity and General Industry categories will each win $100,000 awards. Others will take home smaller grants, incubator space, consulting services and other cash and in-kind prizes. Applications are due by Dec. 6.
Judges include a distinguished lineup of industry leaders and experts in a variety of fields. Meet a selection of judges below.
Meet The Judges:
Robb Doub joined New Markets Venture Partners in 2003. Robb is the lead administrative partner and serves as a board director for eCoast Sales Solutions and Appfluent Technology, and is lead partner or board observer for K2 Global, Kroll Bond Ratings, Navtrak, Three Stage Media, CSA Medical and TidalTV. He also serves on the board of Egeen International and the Conflicts Advisory Board of the off-shore hedge funds.
Daphne Dufresne joined RLJ Equity Partners from Parish Capital Advisors, where she was a Venture Partner managing the direct investment and co-investment program. Formerly, Ms. Dufresne was a Principal at Weston Presidio Capital with $3.4 billion of assets under management. She also served as Associate Director in the Bank of Scotland’s Structured Finance Group. Ms. Dufresne received her B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Christy Williams Wyskiel is an entrepreneur and investor with 20 years of experience focused on the life sciences and healthcare industries. Previously, Christy was Managing Director at Maverick Capital, an equity hedge fund with $12 billion under management. She co-founded GrayBug, an ophthalmic drug-delivery company. In 2012, Christy joined the Johns Hopkins Alliance, a board charged with evaluating the commercial viability of research projects at JHU.
Frederick J. Ferrer has over three decades of experience in the National Security, Intelligence Community (IC), Homeland Defense and Cyber. Mr. Ferrer holds a Master’s of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University and serves in a number of leadership capacities, including the Maryland Commission on Cybersecurity Innovation and Excellence; National STEM Consortium Advisory Committee; and Chesapeake Regional Tech Council.
As the Executive Director and President of the Emerging Technology Center in Baltimore, Ms. Tillett is responsible for management of budgetary, administrative, programmatic functions and strategic planning. Prior to joining ETC, Ms. Tillett served as president and co-founder of Immersive 3D, LLC, a technology start-up providing web-based 3D computer gaming solutions for K-20 education and offering contract-based technology services.
See the full list of judges and submit your application on InvestMarylandChallenge.org.
Maryland government agencies have a history of funding worker training projects, but never before has training been made so widely available across an entire industry.
Under the direction of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) Maryland Workforce Training Initiative is now offering an unprecedented opportunity for business leaders to form partnerships and offer the type of training needed to significantly increase worker productivity.
The first step is filling out an EARN Maryland Planning Grant application, which first became available on Oct. 15 and must be submitted by Nov. 12, 2013. Lead applicants will apply for $25,000 to fund the creation of a Strategic Industry Partnership Workforce Training Plan. There is no limit to the number of these grants the state will issue.
Between November 2013 and April 2014, the funding will assist the lead applicant in forming a partnership with fellow key players in their industry. Many will take advantage of professional membership organizations that already join business leaders together according to their shared interests. Through conferences, meetings and training sessions, they will determine the type of training needed most among workers in their industry and submit their requests for training programs.
By May 2014, DLLR will award implementation grants for approved Strategic Industry Partnership Workforce Training Plans.
The lead applicant for the initial $25,000 planning grant can fall into any of the following categories:
• Nonprofit organization
• Two- and four-year institution of higher education
• Local Workforce Board
• Industry association
• Labor union
• Local government
• Local or regional economic development entity
While the initiative is the first of its kind in Maryland, similar programs have succeeded in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and have already assisted workers in industries including aerospace, healthcare and clean energy. More information on their best practices is available through DLLR.
Those seeking more information should consider watching webinars on the program through DLLR’s website or attending a statewide Pre-Proposal Conference at 1 p.m. on October 18 at the Anne Arundel Community College, Robert E. Kauffman Theater, 101 College Parkway, Arnold, MD 21012.
Keep up with the latest Maryland business news.
- Preston-based Choptank Transport, one of the fastest growing third-party logistics companies in the United States, is opening two new offices in Tampa, Florida, and Dallas, Texas.
- In the wake of their joint participation in CyberMaryland 2013, Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin and Baltimore-based LifeJourney have announced a partnership to raise cyber and STEM education awareness, the Baltimore Business Journal reports.
- Columbia-based W.R. Grace & Co. plans to buy the UNIPOL Polypropylene Licensing and Catalysts business of The Dow Chemical Company for $500 million, representing a major expansion.
- The Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore is urging members of the business community to attend its Fall Quarterly Webinar on Oct. 24, including a roundup of investment in regional companies. Registration is required.
- The Maryland Clean Energy Summit will convene Oct. 15-16 at the Marriot Inn and Conference Center in Hyattsville. Its theme is “Solving the Distributed Energy Puzzel: Microgrids & Other Smart Solutions,” with an emphasis on energy security. There’s still time to sign up.
- In a transaction worth up to $100 million, Columbia-based biotechnology company Osiris Therapeutics plans to sell its landmark stem cell drug, known as Grafix.
BALTIMORE, MD (August 26, 2013) – Governor Martin O’Malley today joined with Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and City of Frederick Mayor Randy McClement to announce the expansion of a Montgomery County life sciences company which plans to add new jobs in Montgomery and Frederick counties over the next several years. Precision for Medicine, a leading provider of specialized services, technology and infrastructure for life sciences companies, will consolidate and expand its headquarters in a new location in Bethesda and will also expand its operations in the City of Frederick to be used for biorepository and lab operations. In total, the company will retain 81 jobs, and will create 170 new jobs between the two locations.
“By working with our partners in Montgomery County and the City of Frederick as well the leadership of Precision for Medicine, we are preserving 81 jobs, creating 170 new jobs and ensuring that this company will continue to grow and invest in Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “Our most important priority continues to be creating and retaining the kinds of highly-skilled, innovative jobs that will help sustain Maryland’s economy for today and for decades to come.”
“Today’s announcement that Precision for Medicine will remain and expand in Montgomery County is exciting news, and reinforces why we are one of the top biotech clusters in the country,” said County Executive Leggett. “By strategically partnering with the State of Maryland and the City of Frederick, we show the regional and national business community that Montgomery County and Maryland are indeed business friendly and stand ready to assist companies who have demonstrated their ability and desire to grow here and add coveted, knowledge-based jobs to our local economy.”