Maryland DBED: Will this US State be the Next Silicon Valley?




Episode Loading...




PharmaTelevision requires Javascript enabled and Adobe Flash Player to watch our programmes. If you do not have Flash installed, you can download it for free from the Adobe Flash homepage.

Improve your Internet experience and start watching exciting new video content.

Video title: Maryland DBED: Will this US State be the Next Silicon Valley?
Released on: May 01, 2008. © PharmaVentures Ltd
Share/save this page:
Email
Bookmark
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Follow us:
RSS
Twitter
  • Summary
  • Transcript
  • Participants
  • Company
In this interview Fintan Walton speaks with Lawrence Mahan, Senior Strategy Advisor for Biosciences for the state of Maryland, and Richard Zakour, Executive Director of MdBio, at the recent BioEurope conference in Madrid, Spain. Dr. Mahan shares the commitment of Maryland to grow the already brimming biotechnology industry in the state through its development of a Life Sciences Advisory Board to provide a long term strategy for the state, and its funding of the Maryland Venture Fund, now in its 14th year, which provides seed and early stage funding for fledging companies. Dr. Zakour tells how, in his role with MdBio, he works to raise the awareness of Maryland as a rewarding environment for companies looking for a base for U.S. operations, such as Qiagen who recently located their U.S. headquarters there. With the rich R&D resources of Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland system and the National Institute of Health (NIH), both men feel that Maryland is developing into an important biotechnology centre that will rival the major U.S. centres in California and Massachusetts.
State of Maryland and Bio Maryland at BioEurope.
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaVentures Business Review here in Madrid. And on this show I have Lawrence C. Mahan, who is Senior Strategy Advisor for the State of Maryland and Richard A. Zakour, who is the Executive Director of Bio Maryland . Welcome to the show gentlemen.
Lawrence Mahan:
Welcome.Thank you.
Richard Zakour:
Thank you.
Fintan Walton:
Lawrence Mahan, you are here at BioEurope you're one of the major sponsors at BioEurope here in Madrid what is the State of Maryland and Bio Maryland itself doing here in Madrid?
Lawrence Mahan:
Well we formed Bio Maryland about a couple of years ago and we centered it around originally a large sponsorship of BIO International conference and now we've extended that into international conferences with our association with BIO and with the BioEurope people. And really the partnership includes the State and local governments, our industry association and the BIO and a lot of support from our industry members and the goal with Bio Maryland is really to promote the rich R&D assets in the state in the life sciences that exist in our companies in the academic institutions of Johns Hopkins and the University System of Maryland. And then of course the big federal institutions like the National Institutes of Health and (indiscernable) and many others that all have a heavy concentration of life sciences research.
Fintan Walton:
And the reason for coming here to Madrid is to get access to European pharmaceutical companies, European biotech companies or who you're specifically targeting?
Lawrence Mahan:
Well we are here with a number of companies and there is 14 members representing one organization or company or another and they are delegates and so we are here to support them through our sponsorships, we can provide them benefits to attend, so one of our missions is to promote their goals, their business development deals and partnership that they are seeking. And then of course we are here to raise the visibility of Maryland as a location for very rich rewarding business development case for companies that are looking for US operations.
About 400 biotechnology companies are represented at Bio Maryland.
Fintan Walton:
Okay. Rick, you are the Executive Director of Bio Maryland and we've talked a little bit about the membership to Bio Maryland, but give us there some examples of the types of companies you've got represented at Bio Maryland?
Richard Zakour:
Well the trade association, MdBio really is a represents the number of companies within the state, we have close to 400 biotechnology companies in the state that includes therapeutic, diagnostic, vaccine, tools and service companies, so the range is from our companies are large companies such as MedImmune which is now part of AstraZeneca [PharmaDeals ID = 27024] to start-up incubator companies that are small companies are developing new technologies many of our companies have been spun out of the universities and the federal labs, the proximity to the federal labs has provided the opportunity to for entrepreneurs to start many new companies. And one of the things that MdBio does is to work with members of all sizes to promote their interest both in terms of the benefits that we can provide the advocacy, the training, the education and a variety of techniques. And as Larry mentioned our presence here is just trying to help those companies to facilitate their connections on the global scale with other organizations that are present in Europe and rest of the world.
Fintan Walton:
So how does this Bio Maryland then ensure that it can represent such a broad church of companies, 400 companies in your membership?
Richard Zakour:
Well what we try to do is to work with companies on individual basis as well as on a broad basis, so we have committees and groups of companies that will work to help guide us in the directions of which they hope to go with their various activities.
Setting up scientific advisory board and developing a strategic plan for life sciences.
Fintan Walton:
Sure. Larry, the other thing I understand is that Bio Maryland is putting together or has put together a Scientific Advisory Board?
Lawrence Mahan:
Yes this past fall the Governor and the General Assembly of the State created, Governor Martin O'Malley created the Life Sciences Advisory Board so it's a by statue. And the first order of the board is to develop a new strategic plan for life sciences for the state going forward and that's chaired by Tom Watkins, who is President and CEO of Human Genome Sciences and it's a 15 member board representing federal organizations, the academic organizations and then of course the private sector and the board is right now knee deep in sorting through all the various topics and developing cases for recommendations going forward for a long-term strategic plan for the industry, the academic sector and also to assist in the missions with the federal laboratory.
Fintan Walton:
I suppose it's you know state based organizations like Bio Maryland it's difficult to try and differentiate yourself from the other you know state focused Bio industry organizations, so setting a strategic plan is really important for Bio Maryland and how long will that process take before you come out with your strategic plan?
Lawrence Mahan:
Well the plan before the board is to deliver a complete and final strategic plan by the end of this year so by December.
Mid Atlantic Bio conference and the opportunities.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, right. Now Rick, one of the things that State of Maryland is doing is participating in the fall of this year in a conference which is the Mid-Atlantic Bio Conference, could you tell us little bit about that conference?
Richard Zakour:
Yeah that is correct, the Mid-Atlantic Bio Conference is a joint effort it's a regional effort with the Virginia Biotechnology Association, the Maryland Biotechnology Association and Mid-Atlantic Venture Association. This is their fourth year as a joint effort, the conference is growing every year, we've had over 850 participants last year representing from 16 different states and part of my mission here is to help promote the this years theme which is going global and what we like to do will be to we recognize that many companies have interest in establishing relationships both in Europe as well as in Asia so we look to attract a global audience as well. And this year conference is in Northern Virginia near Dulles Airport and we hope to have a (indiscernable) group of key note speakers as well as outstanding panels to have people to participate in.
Fintan Walton:
And will it have a partnering theme to it as well as an opportunity for companies to network and get together?
Richard Zakour:
We will have our partnering theme in which individuals will be able to come together and discuss, have individual meetings and discuss strategies for getting together going forward. This is one of the advantages we feel by bringing our local companies from the region, the entire region the Mid-Atlantic region as well as companies that we can attract from here and I've been meeting with different companies as well as different organizations during my time here in Madrid to try to help promote this and get their participation and their thoughts as well.
Success story of Maryland Venture fund.
Fintan Walton:
Just going back to state involvement in helping specialized sectors like the biotechnology sector develop one of the things that State of Maryland has done it has a public venture fund that I understand it which invests in start-up and early stage companies, tell us a little bit about that and whether that is a success story or not?
Lawrence Mahan:
Yes it's called the Maryland Venture Fund and it's organized and orchestrated through our department and it's now approaching it's 14th year it began in another format but now it's been developed over the years into the Maryland Venture Fund and it does two stage funding a seed stage funding and a early stage funding. The early stage funding is like a Series A equity funding we leverage our long list of VC partners that have been involved with us over the years and the metrics are quite great, we have about 85 companies in our portfolio about half of which are biotechnology companies and those companies have leveraged what is about $50 million state position into over a billion dollars of capital raised with that and let's say we've got better than 75% of our companies have passed a five-year survivor rate, so by any early stage fund metric it's doing very well and I think really is a national model.
State of Maryland:An important biotechnology cluster.
Fintan Walton:
Yeah. I think most people when they think of United States often think of California and Massachusetts is one of the centres of biotechnology, but it's very clear looking at Maryland and the types of companies that are based there it has actually developed quite an important biotechnology cluster?
Lawrence Mahan:
It is, it is I mean I think we've always been known for institutions like National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins there may be to some degree their reputation is over shadowed much of the growth of the industry over the years, but I think now the industry itself is very vibrant and there has been a lot of I think we accounted for a most of the Mid-Atlantic IPO's in the last few years quite a bit of venture raised and now some very significant mergers and acquisitions like AstraZeneca and MedImmune. Qiagen who has established their North American headquarters in Maryland acquired a Maryland grown company Digene [PharmaDeals ID = 27393]. And then Teva just announced that they will be acquiring what began as a Human Genome Sciences spin out CoGenesys [PharmaDeals ID = 29494] and the aggregate amount of those dollars is north of 16, $17 billion of merger and acquisition activity.
How does Bio Maryland provide continued growth catalyst fueled?
Fintan Walton:
I suppose Richard Zakour being an Executive Director at Bio Maryland you are looking at all these companies together I suppose one of the key things that Bio Maryland has to do is to keep the catalyst of this growth fueled so that this continued growth, did you get the maximum amount of the cluster that you've created basically?
Richard Zakour:
Well that's absolutely true because what we like to do is to leverage all the resources we have whether is the federal labs or is that companies where some other companies are actually setting up venture funds to help smaller companies themselves and try to provide the opportunities for the next generation of companies the technologies that are being developed, there is a very strong empetus right now to improve and increase the technology transfer from both the federal labs as well as the universities into private industry, because that's where the growth is going to come from.
Fintan Walton:
Gentlemen, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show and then letting us learn more about Bio Maryland . Thank you very much indeed.
Richard Zakour:
Thank you. Thank you for your time.
Lawrence Mahan:
Thank you for the opportunity.
Richard A. Zakour
Executive Director
Lawrence C. Mahan is the Senior Strategy Advisor for Biosciences for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. After training at the University of California San Diego, he has spent most of his professional career as a chief scientific investigator with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, before joining DBED in 2001. As the head of the bioscience division of a state that enjoys a wealth of R&D resources from its federal and academic institutions, it is Dr. Lawrence C. Mahan 's job to foster, promote, and further develop emerging bioscience companies and to encourage collaborations for those companies with interests in other U.S. states and abroad. Richard A. Zakour is the Executive Director of Tech Council Maryland MdBio . Before taking on this role, Dr. Richard A. Zakour was the general manager for Fisher BioSciences, where he was responsible for a 300-employee unit that included both government and commercial business divisions providing pharmaceutical and biological support services. Prior to his time at Fisher, Richard A. Zakour held various senior management positions with McKesson Clinical Services, DynCorp and Cambridge Biotech Corporation.
State of Maryland
State of Maryland The Biosciences division of DBED works to foster an atmosphere of creative innovation in this state that boasts nearly 400 bioscience companies. Home to more than 50 life science research-intensive federal institutions, several world-class academic institutions, an ever-expanding number of private research facilities and recipient of US$12.2 billion in federal R&D obligations"Maryland's bioscience economy is driven by, and rooted in, an atmosphere that supports the entrepreneurial spirit. According to Entrepreneur magazine, the State of Maryland through the Maryland Venture Fund and the Technology Development Corporation"was the most active early-stage investor in the U.S in 2006. Bio Maryland The Tech Council of Maryland/MdBio (TCM/MdBio) is Maryland's largest technology trade association bringing its 500 plus members access to technology industry leaders in Maryland, DC and Virginia. TCM/MdBio helps the region's technology organizations grow through its membership and activities such as networking events, cost saving programs and advocacy initiatives. Its mission is to promote the technology industry and to create an environment where technology companies can collaborate, grow and succeed.