By all accounts, last year’s inaugural Regional Biotech Forum was a resounding success—with more than 400 industry, government and academic leaders from Maryland, DC and Virginia organizations in attendance.
Not to leave well-enough alone, this year we’re stepping on the gas pedal, beginning with formalizing the name of this growing region—BioHealth Capital Region: Advancing Science, Accelerating Innovation. The name and tagline represent the output of a 5-month “regional identity” initiative that involved roughly 120 leaders throughout the area, and we encourage all within our region to refer to us in this way.
More than 700 people registered to attend this year, including world-renowned speakers and local leaders all convening to showcase the region’s accomplishments and to continue our momentum toward our strategic goal of becoming a top three US biotech hub by 2023. Among our presenters includes Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and NIH Director, Francis Collins, MD, PhD—each offering his perspective on the future of the biohealth industry.
Spotlight on talent
Last year’s event shone a spotlight on what that future looks like and what we need to do to achieve our strategic goal. We took that feedback to develop this year’s forum, including designing dedicated sessions to address specific challenges—one of them to develop regional talent.
This one is important to all of us, and one of initiatives that we’ve implemented based on this need is the Johns Hopkins-MedImmune Scholars Program. This is a first-of-its-kind PhD training program to prepare graduate students for careers in the biomedical industry.
It’s precisely this type of outcome that this annual forum is intended to produce. And, it materializes through amassing and connecting with other leaders to identify our needs—as well as to talk about all of the outstanding work that is happening within our peer organizations.
We’re continuing to build that leadership within our region, and once again we’re offering the Leaders of Tomorrow summit as part of this event. We invited this next-gen group of 50 bioleaders from top universities and institutions in the region. They include graduate and professional students, and postdoctoral fellows in life sciences, medicine, law, policy, healthcare and business—all visionaries who are committed to shaping our bioeconomy with disruptive and innovative thinking and action.
Finally, this year we’re introducing the Crab Trap—a twist on the Shark Tank phenomenon. Five companies will compete and present their ideas during the forum, and the winner will receive $10,000 and business mentoring.
Much excitement has built around this year’s event—one that is unique to the region—and we’re looking forward to coming away with even more ideas than last year and moving faster toward our top three by 2023 goal.
You can read more details about the event here.
Call to Collaborate
We encourage collaboration and working together whenever it makes sense. Sometimes, the groups that support the science we do gather to talk about their specific roles, and how they can impact the future of the BioHealth Capital Region. Last year, MedImmune and Emergent partnered to host Business Development Day—an offsite meeting that brought together business development professionals from around the region to network, share and discuss our roles and the future of biotech.