News ItemIN THE KNOW: November 2020

November 24, 2020 – 

November 24, 2020

NEW MEXICO BIOTECHNOLOGY
& BIOMEDICAL ASSOCIATION
I’ll begin this newsletter with B-I-G thank you to everyone that attended and contributed their time and energy to make this year’s virtual Knowledge Fair a success. We enjoyed six presentations from a score of speakers over the three days. Board Chair Rick VanNess joins me in recognizing and thanking our sponsors, including BIO, VWR, Part of Avantor, Johnson & Johnson, US BANK, Colliers International, PhRMA, The BioScience Center, Peacock Law, UNM Rainforest Innovations, Fab Lab Hub, AMGEN, Novo Nordisk, Global IQ, Aerotek, Southwest Labs, Creative Communications, and Econsult Solutions, Inc.

Due to several requests, we have decided to repeat the final program of the conference that featured three speakers of firms on the road to success. And we added a fourth speaker, David Joseph, who recently took his firm, Avisa Pharma, public on the Toronto stock exchange. Avisa is a venture-backed healthcare company commercializing a rapid, point-of- care breath test for the diagnosis of pulmonary infections. He is co-founder and CEO of five companies in medical technology, biomaterials and biopharmaceuticals. David served as Chairman and CEO of Othera Pharmaceuticals and co-founder of Orthovita Inc, where he also served as President and CEO. Stryker Corporation acquired Orthovita in 2012. Prior to Orthovita, David co-founded two medical device companies: Surgical Laser Technologies, Inc., which became public in 1989 and SITE Microsurgical Systems, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson Corporation in 1983. He also has over 15 years of executive healthcare management experience. 
 

Save the date: Noon, Thursday, November 19. The other speakers include:

 
Richard Sayre, PhD., is Chief Science Officer for Spartina Biotechnologies Inc. of Santa Fe. He will present the insights behind Spartina’s innovative technology called SIRENTM that utilizes a two-pronged approach to control COVID-19 without the use of a vaccine. Spartina’s SIREN technology offers a novel treatment for the control of COVID-19 and other viral infections by both stopping the replication of the virus and preventing the virus from suppressing immune system components.
 
Sergey A. Dryga, Ph.D., MBA, Chief Scientific Officer, NanoDx, Inc. He joined BioDirection (now NanoDx) in 2014 and has extensive experience in building cross-functional R&D teams and leading development of In Vitro Diagnostics, reagents and vaccines. Dr. Dryga is an experienced product-development leader with expertise in nano-biotechnology, molecular biology, protein engineering, system integration, and electrical and software engineering. He is leading development of the nanowire biosensing technology at NanoDx and development of new assays. Dr. Dryga is an inventor on 23 patents and over 30 patent applications.

Dr. Charles “Chuck” Call is CEO of BioFlyte, a venture-backed biodefense and microbial identification company that is commercializing a revolutionary new class of fieldable biological mass spectrometers. Dr. Call is an experienced technology business leader and a technical expert on the transmission, sampling and identification of infectious organisms. His specialties include general management, leadership coaching, start-ups, intellectual property management, technology commercialization, sensors, fluid flow, and aerobiology. 

 
 

Reminder: Virtual Lunch & Learn Meeting
Hope For The Future: CAR-T
Noon, November 12
No Fee: Click HERE to Register.

 
 
Before closing I want to bring to your attention to the exceptional volunteer work that NMBio member Sarah Boisvert has been doing for the past six months to help NM residents stay safe from COVID-19. Sarah has delivered 30,000 face shields to hospitals, pueblos and the Navajo Nation in collaboration with Harvard University, GE and Chevron.  Sarah, who oversees Potomic Photonics, Inc. and Fab Lab Hub and is a national leader in digital fabrication technology, has been working with Stanford on a local production node for N95 masks and has the first prototypes ready for testing. “We are still working with Mitsubishi on anti-microbial materials but that is a longer term project” she says.  “We also developed digital badge micro-certifications to award to people on tribal lands who learn to build PPE’s.”

Previous generous support for her  project designing and building a prototype mobile hand-washing station for people who live on tribal lands with no hot or cold running water has been put to good use.  “We worked with the Santa Fe Indian School to develop a prototype that would be able to be easily moved among homes and also be easy to set up on uneven terrain.  I love the tripod design that they came up with!”

This is not fancy but is very serviceable, meeting immediate need.  Commercial hand-washing stations cost $500 – $700. Sarah and her colleagues were able to use off-the-shelf parts combined with custom 3D Printed components which cost only $50!  A huge cost savings when you’re talking about over 100,000 homes without water. “How do you comply with CDC guidelines to fend off Coronavirus via hand-washing when you don’t have access to clean water?” she asks.  “This is a heart-wrenching.”
 
Sarah hopes you can help her initiative to build these life-saving devices in volume for distribution to our Native American neighbors who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.  Here is the link to her non-profit 501(c)3’s GoFundMe Charity Campaign: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/fabricating-ppes-for-hospitals-serving-native-american-populations Please consider opening your hearts to this project and make a year-end contribution to save lives as well as empower people to build pathways to their future.
 
Healthy regards,
 
Greg Byrnes
Executive Director
NMBio
610-731-3671 (M)
 

Bright Path Laboratories Reports It Has Found A Better Way To Produce ACI


Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients are those chemical components that make medicines work the way they’re supposed to. The 3-year-old startup contract manufacturer – with offices in both Charlotte, NC and Santa Fe – recently got a strong show of support from The U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its patented spinning-tube-in-tube (STT) continuous-flow reactor. The agency accepted the system, the only one of its kind that manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), into the FDA’s Emerging Technology Program. That program promotes innovative approaches to pharmaceutical product design and manufacturing.

“We are thrilled that our technology was so well received by the Emerging Technology team, as well as their willingness to support our efforts to bring this innovative and exciting technology online as quickly as possible,” said Charles Gray Jr., Ph.D., BPL’s head of regulatory affairs. The company plans to establish several micro-manufacturing sites in North Carolina soon to help commercialize the STT flow reactor process. It says it will also locate an API development lab in Santa Fe. 

An estimated 80% of APIs used domestically are now made outside the U.S., primarily in China and India. The current coronavirus pandemic has heightened supply, security, and health concerns over the U.S. dependence on foreign sourcing. “As a younger company, we are not burdened with older facilities or equipment,” said Santa Fe-based BPL CEO Tony Quinones. “This means we are better positioned than traditional batch technology to help put cutting-edge small-molecule therapies into the hands of patients more rapidly and cost effectively.”

 

Healthtech Partnering Week Registration is Now Open!


Life Science Nation (LSN) Healthtech Partnering Week 2021 launches January 11-15, 2021 with three back-to-back digital partnering events: Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI), 4D Meets AI, and Longevity, Health & Innovation (LHI), creating the ultimate partnering experience within healthcare and life science with our match-based partnering system, as well as live pitch sessions, educational workshops, and insightful panels.

Healthtech Partnering Week registration is now open. Sign up for Digital RESI January early and save up to $150, or bundle packages for the week for only $1,000 (standard rate: $1,400). 
 
Want to Start Partnering Now?

The Digital RESI November partnering system is live, with two weeks of meeting requesting to go! Sign up now and start scheduling meetings with 350+ early-stage life science investors from around the world. Learn more at resiconference.com.

Canaan Partners Raises $800M As It launches Its Next Fund With An Emphasis On Biotech

 Longtime VC player Canaan Partners has announced its newest fund and expects to funnel a good portion of that money into biotech over the next few years:

https://www.canaan.com/latest/canaan-s-12th-fund-fresh-capital-to-continue-supporting-bold-ideas-and-the-incredible-people-who-make-them-happen

G2G – ONE STOP SHOPPING FOR GOVERNMENT GRANTS/NON-DILUTIVE FUNDING

Government to Growth (G2G) is led by Liz Powell, Esq., MPH, and includes a team of government affairs professionals who help startups, businesses and non-profits effectively navigate non-dilutive federal funding opportunities. With a specialty focus on life sciences, G2G tracks grants on a daily basis and produces a monthly GBG Report listing all bioscience funding opportunities. G2G has also produced The Essential Guide to Coronavirus Government Funding – an extensive resource for government funding to address the pandemic.

G2G has obtained over $277 million in non-dilutive government funding since 2007 and developed relationships with the White House, Congress, and federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security. If you would like more information, please contact Liz Powell at lpowell@G2Gconsulting.com/(202) 445-4242 (cell).

BIO COVID-19 Therapeutic Development Tracker

BIO’s Industry Analysis Team has reviewed and annotated pipeline data from BioCentury and Biomedtracker to create a granular, interactive view of the Covid-19 pipeline. The team has investigated each drug as to original inventor (company/country), mechanism of action and strategic approach, as well as de-duplicated multiple company and university programs for the same active ingredient (for example, hydroxychloroquine is counted only once).
The data shows two key things:
  • Biopharma companies – particularly small biotech companies – are undertaking a monumental campaign to combat, and hopefully eradicate, Covid-19. 
  • Innovation is being led by U.S.-based companies.

New Mexico Voters Strongly Favor Marijuana Legalization

A strong majority of New Mexico voters are in favor of legalizing marijuana with social equity provisions in place, and about half support decriminalizing drug possession more broadly, according to a new poll. The survey asked: “Do you support or oppose a proposal to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis, also known as marijuana, sales to adults 21 and over, with provisions in place to ensure the tax revenue is reinvested back into communities?” Seventy-two percent of respondents said they favor the proposal, including 94 percent of Democrats, 46 percent of Republicans and 93 percent of independents. Link: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/new-mexico-voters-strongly-favor-marijuana-legalization-and-half-back-drug-decriminalization-poll-shows/

Duke Rodriquez, the CEO and President of Ultra Health, the nation’s largest vertically integrated medical cannabis provider, predicts that initial marijuana sales in NM will surpass $600 million annually and will generate a minimum of $120 million in annual tax revenue –revenue that will help fund public education and reduce some of the state’s projected deficits in 2021-2022. This number will grow as tourists and day trippers, especially from the neighboring state of Texas, make purchases (Colorado’s cannabis sales have been growing by double digits thanks to purchases from visitors to the state). Duke, who spoke at the Knowledge Fair, estimates legalizing cannabis will add 15,000 new jobs in NM. He currently employees more than 250 individuals in NM with average wages between $30,000 and $35,000.

BIO Online Learning

Online education courses that are designed to help life science professionals make strategic business decisions, navigate important regulatory hurdles, and move healthcare products from the bench to the bedside are now available from BIO: https://www.bio.org/bio-online-learning?utm_medium=3pp

BIO Small Group Health, Dental, Vision and Life Insurance Plans  from Mercer 

This BIO Business Solutions offering is designed specifically for small companies; they are fully insured and compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Additionally, Mercer is pleased to offer Mercer Affinity 365+TM: a best-in-class web-based platform that streamlines enrollment for employees and simplifies ongoing management for your administrator. Plans require NMBio and/or BIO Membership and are available to Member Companies with 5 – 50 enrolled employees.
LEARN MORE 
 

Must Reads

Drew Tulchin named New Mexico Angels president
 
Tulchin hopes to make the New Mexico Angels a potential financial resource for startups during the Covid-19 pandemic.
https://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2020/10/29/nm-angels-names-new-president.html?ana=e_ae_prem
 
Spartina Technologies Is Developing Technology to Treat COVID-19:
https://www.krqe.com/health/coronavirus-new-mexico/santa-fe-company-developing-technology-for-covid-19-treatment/
 
 
SEC Changes Crowdfunding Regulation
Companies raising money through regulation crowdfunding can now raise up to $5 million, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Previously, entrepreneurs had a limit of $1.07 million for regulation crowdfunding. Regulation crowdfunding provides entrepreneurs with an exemption from the SEC’s registration requirements for securities-based crowdfunding, according to the SEC website.  
 
What Is Venture Debt?
Venture debt is heating up as more entrepreneurs look for alternative ways to access capital. CBINSIGHTS explains what it is, how it stacks up against venture capital, and why a private company might consider it.
 
Understanding the U.S. National Innovation System, 2020 | ITIF
 
In the conventional view, innovation is something that just takes place idiosyncratically in “Silicon Valley garages” and research and development (R&D) laboratories. But in fact, innovation in any nation is best understood as being embedded in a national innovation system (NIS). Just as innovation is more than science and technology, an innovation system is more than those elements directly related to the promotion of science and technology. It also includes all economic, political, and other social institutions affecting innovation (e.g., the financial system; organization of private firms; the pre-university educational system; labor markets; culture, regulatory, and tax policies and institutions).
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