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.

GrayBug, Baltimore / Michael O’Rourke, President and CEO

  • GrayBug, launched as a spin-out of the Wilmer Eye Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is working to reduce the number of painful eye injections for potentially millions of people suffering from age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in adults 65 and over. Compared to the typical treatment of injections in the eye 6-12 times a year, GrayBug’s sustained-release drugs may reduce the number of injections to just twice a year.

PathSensors, Baltimore / CEO Ted Olsen

  • PathSensors is a biodefense company that has developed a pair of products used to detect biological threats in food and the air. BioFlash-E is an aerosol collection system that rapidly detects and identifies bacterial, viral and toxic  threat agents in near real-time and BioFlash-AF detects and identifies foodborne pathogens and toxins.

Otomagnetics, College Park / CEO Ben Shapiro, PhD

  • This University of Maryland College Park spin-out is developing a non-invasive method to effectively deliver drugs and other therapeutic payloads to the inner and middle ear. Otomagnetics has licensed a technology to treat inner ear disease by magnetically injecting therapeutic nanoparticles from the middle ear into the inner ear. Magnetic injection promises to reduce the side effects of current treatments of inner ear maladies such as infections and tinnitus.

Cordex Systems

  • Cordex Systems, Inc. (CSI) is developing a non-invasive, non-imaging, non-operator dependent cardiovascular diagnostic medical device that can directly measure endothelial dysfunction, which is the earliest precursor to the development of atherosclerosis.  This simple, user-friendly, five-minute test can be done in any physician’s office in conjunction with performing a standard blood pressure measurement, and the results can be used to gauge heart disease risk, guide therapy, and monitor the efficacy of treatment.

Harpoon Medical, Stevensville / Bill Niland, President & CEO

  • Harpoon Medical is a development stage medical device company commercializing a minimally invasive, image guided surgical tool for beating heart mitral valve repair.  The technology was developed in the Division of Cardiac Surgery at The University of Maryland School of Medicine.  With the Harpoon device, surgeons can access and repair the mitral valve in a beating heart via a small incision between the ribs without the need for cardiac arrest or cardiopulmonary bypass.  When introduced to the market, the device should transform the traditional open-heart mitral valve surgical procedure from a complex 3 to 6 hour operation to a 60-minute minimally invasive procedure and reduce the recovery period from weeks to days.

Fyodor Biotechnologies, Baltimore / Chairman and CEO Eddy C. Agbo, DVM, PhD

  • The flagship product of Fyodor Biotechnologies, Inc., founded in 2008, is a urine malaria test – a simple one-step, no blood, no equipment, paper strip test — now in late-stage clinical development. About half the world’s 3.3 billion people live in areas that have some risk of malaria transmission and about 18 million U.S. travelers visit malaria-endemic countries annually.

The BioMaryland Center is an office within Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development, connects life sciences companies, academic and federal researchers with each other and with potential capital sources, partners, clients, and other resources. Center staff provide information regarding funding and other resources, business plan feedback, access to market research, advocacy, and other industry support. The BioMaryland Center also promotes the state’s life sciences industry domestically and abroad. 

BioMaryland 2013

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Andrew Ratner

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