Archives For Innovation & Tech

High school students participate in the 2013 Maryland Cyber Challenge.

Students participate in the 2013 Maryland Cyber Challenge.

Maryland’s reputation for excellence in cybersecurity will be showcased to the world this fall in Baltimore.

Scheduled October 29-30 at the Baltimore Convention Center, the fourth annual CyberMaryland Conference promises to bring together the innovators, educators, companies and resources developing cyber defense in Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley announced on Thursday. The conference’s main sponsor is the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

“Here in Maryland, our investments in our 21st century digital infrastructure have helped strengthen the security of our nation, address emergent cybersecurity challenges, and pave the way to create more jobs,” Governor O’Malley said. “CyberMaryland 2014 brings together entrepreneurs and established leaders in cybersecurity and information assurance, colleges and universities, and our partners in federal, state and local government to showcase Maryland as the nation’s epicenter of cybersecurity.”

Why should you consider registering? Here are ten reasons.

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Out of the roughly 2 million Americans suffering from degenerative heart disease, only about 50,000 of them receive life-saving mitral valve surgery. This is primarily because the most common treatment, an open-heart procedure, can last between three and six hours and is extremely complex and high-risk.

Maryland-based Harpoon Medical plans to revolutionize that process with a new device that could reduce the procedure to just 60 minutes. Using their device, a patient’s chest would remain closed and the heart would continue beating during the procedure. It would cut recovery time from weeks to days and reduce risk factors significantly.

CEO Bill Niland chose Maryland as the company’s launching pad and base for continued research, development and marketing.

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The Easton Aphena Pharma Solutions location specializes in liquid and topical manufacturing and packaging.

The Aphena Pharma Solutions location in Easton specializes in liquid and topical manufacturing and packaging.

Maryland’s manufacturing industry has found allies on the State’s Eastern Shore. A unique partnership between State, county and local government in the region will assist a pharmaceutical manufacturer and others, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) announced Tuesday.

Aphena Pharma Solutions is slated to receive a $134,000 State grant on the condition that it retains a minimum of 100 jobs in its location in the Town of Easton for at least five years. The Town is also providing a $13,400 matching grant for the company, and both the Town and Talbot County Council have agreed to abolish the Town’s personal property tax for all qualifying manufacturers. Salisbury PewterJasco USA and Chesapeake Publishing, among other Easton manufacturers, are also expected to take advantage of personal property tax savings.

“By working with our partners in Talbot County and the Town of Easton, as well the leadership of Aphena Pharma Solutions, we are preserving highly-skilled jobs and ensuring that this company will continue to grow and invest in Maryland,” said DBED Secretary Dominick Murray. “I applaud the County and Town for working with Aphena to develop a creative solution that not only spurs economic development, but helps grow manufacturing in Maryland.” Continue Reading…

Ted Olsen is president of PathSensors in Baltimore, Maryland.

Ted Olsen is president of PathSensors in Baltimore, Maryland.

Ted Olsen can be very passionate when describing the mission of his Baltimore-based life sciences company, which is developing systems to rapidly detect biological threats in the air, plants and food. But the president of PathSensors is also fervent about the importance of having a strong biotech community to help nurture a small company like his, as he has discovered in Maryland, and in particular at the University of Maryland BioPark in West Baltimore.

“I never would have dreamed there would have been this kind of collaboration, the number of speakers that have come through the BioPark … government delegations from China and Korea that have led to conversations with us,” he said.

Maryland has one of the stronger biotech clusters in the country. On a per capita basis, it is second in academic bioscience research spending, fifth in bio venture capital investment and eighth in bioscience patents, according to Battelle, a private, nonprofit applied science and technology development company. It also ranks seventh for pharmaceutical job growth since 2007. Life sciences were responsible for one-third of Maryland’s job growth between 2002 and 2010.

Olsen’s company is developing systems to speed, simplify and improve the process of detecting biological threats such as the anthrax attacks that followed Sept. 11, 2001 and food-borne illnesses such as salmonella and E. coli. PathSensors licenses technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Lincoln Laboratory. Its system employs genetically engineered biosensors that replicate the glow from a jellyfish to signal a dangerous substance more rapidly than traditional means. Analysis that might have required four days can be cut to less than a day.

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Hours after online registration opened for Maryland’s Biotechnology Investment Incentive Tax Credit on Tuesday, more than 100 investors had applied.

Applicants are seeking a portion of the $12 million available in FY 2015 through the program. Funding is distributed as a refundable tax credit equal to 50 percent of an investment in Qualified Maryland Biotechnology Companies, certified by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED).

“The Biotechnology Tax Credit is one of our most effective tools for helping Maryland biotech companies attract new investors and bring their innovative medical devices and diagnostics to the commercial marketplace,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Increasing funding for the credit is critical as we continue to nurture a healthy Innovation Economy in Maryland.”

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The BioMaryland Center and the Medicen Paris Region have agreed to co-fund a new biotechnology project.

Two potentially life-saving technologies, developed 4,000 miles apart, will soon join together thanks to a partnership of the BioMaryland Center and the Medicen Paris Region. The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) announced the international project on Wednesday, from the BIO International Conference 2014 in San Diego.

The new collaborative effort is expected to result in the further development and commercialization of a bacterial detection device.

Opticul Diagnostics, based in Rockville, Maryland, is developing bacterial detection without the use of reagents to produce chemical reactions. Diafir, based in Rennes, France, produces a complementary product that eliminates the need for culture of the organism prior to detection. Its diagnostic solutions are based on infrared sensors to produce a more rapid, minimally invasive approach to detect infections, track metabolic diseases and identify tumors.

“We are excited as this funding will help Opticul move to the point of care space and facilitate our connection with Diafir,” Gallya Gannot, president and founder of Opticul, said in a statement.

“This funding is a great opportunity for Diafir to expand technologically and to penetrate to the medical point of care with a powerful bacterial identification device. Teaming with Opticul Diagnostics will result in a faster development and a superior technology,” Hugues Tariel, president and chief executive officer of Diafir, said in a statement.

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One third of the job growth in Maryland during the last decade has been in the life sciences industry.

One third of the job growth in Maryland during the last decade has been in the life sciences industry.

Did you know that the life sciences industry accounts for one-third of Maryland’s job growth over the last decade?

Currently in the State, over 500 life sciences companies employ over 34,000 people at an average compensation of $91,000 per year. Additional Marylanders are employed by the State’s 59 federal labs and numerous academic and research institutions, according to the BioMaryland Center within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

What’s spurring this rapid growth? It’s about much more than market forces.

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BIO International Convention 2014 is in full swing this week. From the conference floor in San Diego, among international delegations, research groups and the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, you’ll find the BioMaryland Center.

Within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, the BioMaryland Center helps connect the State’s life sciences companies and academic and federal researchers with capital sources, partners and clients.

The convention has long been one of its premier events, and an opportunity to showcase the State’s innovative companies and groundbreaking programs to a worldwide audience, according to Judy Britz, Executive Director of the BioMaryland Center.

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BioMaryland Innovators

Meet the BioMaryland innovators behind the State’s growing life sciences industry.

Potential medical breakthroughs now being developed in Maryland, the fourth largest biopharma cluster in the U.S., will be the focus of the BioMaryland booth at BIO International 2014 at the San Diego Convention Center this week. The innovations range from a surgical tool that can speed and enable heart operations for patients who currently are not candidates for traditional open heart surgery to a simple diagnostic test to reduce the spread of malaria.

The following companies will be presenting their work and research at BIO International on Tuesday:

University of Maryland Baltimore / Dr. Eduardo Davila, MD, PhD

  • Dr. Davila is working on a T-cell based universal immunotherapy platform to fight cancer.  He is conducting preclinical research to confirm the flexibility of the Anti-Tag Chimeric Antigen Receptor (AT-CAR) system, which he and his colleagues invented. This laboratory-made construction of white blood cells (known as T cells) can be targeted to attack virtually any cancer cell it finds, providing the immune system with the flexibility to destroy cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

NexImmune, Gaithersburg / Kenneth C. Carter, PhD, President and CEO

  • This early-stage biopharmaceutical company is built around Artificial Immune technology developed at Johns Hopkins. The technology is based on creating synthetic antigen-presenting cells (APCs), a type of white blood cell that helps the body’s immune system recognize tumors and other harmful substances.

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The fourth annual CyberMaryland Conference will return to the Baltimore Convention Center Oct. 29-30.

The conference, presented by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, has become one of the State’s premier cybersecurity gatherings, spotlighting the resources that have made Maryland the epicenter of this growing industry.

Conference highlights include nationally known speakers and entrepreneurs, panel discussions on commercialization and product ventures, flash talks and pitch forums, a career expo, a showcase of innovators and a Cyber Hall of Fame Banquet, among other events.

Details and registration information will be available at For exhibit and sponsorship opportunities, contact Gabriel Wollner at

Watch how the 2013 CyberMaryland Conference promoted collaboration among industry leaders in the above video.

John Doran, president of Centreville Manufacturing in Centreville, Maryland, was named Small Business Exporter of the Year.

John Doran, president of Centreville Manufacturing in Centreville, Maryland, was named Small Business Exporter of the Year.

The recent recession left Centreville Manufacturing president John Doran at a crossroad. As construction spending in the United States declined, how would he maintain sales for the company’s specialized trailers and construction equipment? If he did not act quickly, he imagined he would be forced to close.

The answer came through exporting.

“If we hadn’t been willing to think outside the box we wouldn’t be here to day. Selling outside the country is a necessity,” Doran said.

Exporting by the Centreville, Maryland-based company now accounts for roughly 20 percent of total sales. He works with customers in Germany, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Russia, Ecuador and Madagascar. He invented an automatic traffic cone placement trailer for Japanese customers and has created housing for air compressors for the Pakistan Air Force.

His 25-person company is thriving and he is working closely with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Doran hopes to soon translate his website into multiple languages and boost his exporting sales to 50 percent.

Nominated by Maryland DBED, Doran was recently named Small Business Exporter of the Year in the 30th Annual Maryland Small Business Week Awards.

But becoming a successful exporter required time and effort, he said.

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Demand for new cybersecurity products and technology is hotter than ever. Still, launching a cybersecurity company can be a challenge for even experienced entrepreneurs.

That’s where Catonsville-based bwtech@UMBC comes in. Of the 115 companies and research groups taking advantage of the business and technology park’s resources, nearly 50 of them are focused on some aspect of Internet safety or defense; an additional 32 companies are housed at the bwtech@UMBC’s Cyber Incubator.

According to Ellen Hemmerly, executive director of bwtech@UMBC at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, cybersecurity is the park’s fastest growing industry focus. To assist participating entrepreneurs, the park and incubator provide educational resources, expert mentoring and an eager workforce of talented UMBC students. The park also facilitates industry partnerships and scholarships, including the Northrop Grumman Cync Program.

“The incubator is a great place to get to know the community in Maryland and have easy and quick access to resources,” Hemmerly said.

“In the community we have grown here—that has incubator companies, early-stage companies, as well as later-stage companies and government agencies involved in cybersecurity—there are a lot of partnership opportunities and opportunities for mentoring. It’s become a very engaged community where all the companies are working together,” she added.

Hemmerly also credits State resources, including tax credits, promotion and events, with contributing to Maryland’s cybersecurity growth.

Learn more about bwtech@UMBC  resources in the above video or online here.