In Frederick, biotech companies play a major role in the local economy and are on the forefront of incredible discovery & innovation. Unless you have an advanced degree in a science related field, however, it can be intimidating keeping up with the advanced research and applications these companies are working on.
To help make their work a little more accessible to the rest of us, we asked a handful of local biotech executives to give us the layman’s breakdown of their company.
Here we present our ‘cheat sheet’ to some of Frederick’s Bio companies:
AstraZeneca’s biologics manufacturing center in Frederick produces life-changing medicines for the treatment of cancer, and respiratory and autoimmune conditions. The center is the largest biologics manufacturing facility in the company’s global network of assets.
The medicines we make in Frederick help people around the world.
RURO provides software to laboratories to help their scientific work happen more automatically. What that means is that, with RURO software, the information a scientists needs is accurate and comes to them without them having to stop what they are doing. Where is the sample tube I need? What is the result of the test that my machine just performed? What do I need to do next? The answers to all those questions are given to RURO customers automatically.
RURO has more than 1000 deployments in more than 40 countries. Every drug company you see an ad for on TV uses RURO software.
Precision for Medicine
We are an integrated team of experts in fields from advanced lab sciences to translational informatics, clinical trial delivery, and regulatory affairs, payer insights to marketing communications. Together, we help our pharmaceutical and life-sciences clients conquer product development and commercialization challenges in a rapidly evolving environment.
In short, we work with pharmaceutical companies to bring their drugs to market through clinical trials, regulators, and affordable delivery, which at the end of the day is to improve patient outcomes.
VaLogic LLC provides consulting, engineering and other technical services to biotech companies of all sizes and stages of product development. Since 2001, we have positioned ourselves to be a biotech’s single point-of-contact whether they are building new facilities, selecting or validating scientific equipment, or just looking for ways to more efficiently maintain their routine laboratory or production operations.
VaLogic is continuing to grow to meet client demand with a year-over-year staffing increase of 40% and recent expansion of its laboratories from under 300 sq. ft. to over 2,000 sq. ft.
Biological Mimetics, Inc. (BMI)
Biological Mimetics, Inc. (BMI) is a vaccine design company focusing primarily on respiratory pathogens such as human rhinovirus (the common cold), respiratory syncytial virus (an important pathogen of newborns), and influenza.
The company has developed two vaccine platform technologies that can be used to make improved vaccines. The immune refocusing technology is used to increase immune responses to key parts of pathogens that stimulate broadly protective immunity. A novel inactivation method uses a newly-designed antioxidant to reduce damage to antigens while inactivating them using ionizing radiation or ultraviolet light.
In addition to our in-house vaccine projects, BMI has co-founded Lantern Pharma, Inc. to develop cancer therapeutics using precision medicine approaches and Keystone Bio, Inc. to develop therapeutic and preventative antibodies.
Imagilin Technology, LLC is a biotechnology company that researches and manufactures probiotics. Our plant based probiotics help with the digestive system and the immune system for both humans and animals.
We are soon launching probiotic gummies, probiotic freeze dried fruits and vegetables for both humans and animals, and probiotic soft chews treats for dogs and cats!
Akonni Biosystems develops, manufactures, and markets integrated molecular diagnostic systems.
Akonni was one of FITCI’s first graduates.
Charles River Laboratory
Charles River provides essential products and services to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies and leading academic institutions around the globe accelerate their research and drug development efforts. Our dedicated employees are focused on providing clients with exactly what they need to improve and expedite the discovery, early-stage development and safe manufacture of new therapies for the patients who need them. In 2018, Charles River worked on 85% of the new drugs approved by the FDA.
Charles Rivers partners with the rare disease community to further research into critically important areas, like Huntington’s disease. For over 14 years, Charles River has worked with CHDI Foundation to further research for patients like Jenne, a mother of two who carries the Huntington’s gene.
Most people believe that drugs come from different combinations of chemicals that affect your body in specific ways to cure diseases and/or promote good health. But what most people don’t realize is that the pharmaceutical industry has developed different classes of drugs that can help our patients.
The first is small molecule or chemically derived compounds (like Amoxicillin and Lipitor for example). The second is large molecule or Biologics. These are much more complex drugs that are usually made from living cells, like cells from hamsters, humans, chimpanzees, or mice. We can genetically modify the DNA code in these cells to become the “manufacturing plant” of new drugs to cure disease. The newest addition is “cellular therapy” where we take out cells from your blood, alter their genetic code, and replace them into a patient’s body to fight disease. This proving to be a highly effective method of treating cancer patients that have failed other types of treatments.
At BioFactura, we have developed a system using cells from a mouse to produce a wide variety of novel and biosimilar drugs. Biosimilars are generic versions of biologic drugs, so when the branded drug comes off patent we will be able to produce near-exact replicas using our tiny “manufacturing plants” which will significantly reduce the cost of these very expensive therapeutics and allow more patients in need to have access to them!
FiberCell Systems produces hollow fiber bioreactors for the growing of mammalian cells in the laboratory and collecting what they secrete, like proteins and antibodies. The hollow fibers are like little filters, and they act just like blood vessel but in the laboratory, so it is a way of growing cells that is like how they grow in the body. We also have a laboratory here in Frederick where we can do our own research, and grow cells for scientists who don’t want to do it for themselves.
FiberCell Systems is also a primary supplier to NASA and our cell culture systems have been used on the space shuttle and the International Space Station.
Inspirion Biosciences manages critical risks to product quality, regulatory compliance, profitability, reputation and worker safety for life science companies. We do this through a proprietary process executed by our experienced scientists. Once risks are identified, we develop the processes necessary to eliminate or mitigate these risks and then train Client staff to integrate those processes into their work. Our engagement with research laboratories and biological production companies yields greater confidence in product quality, data integrity and regulatory compliance. This leads to greater profitability, worker safety and a sterling corporate reputation.
In January, Inspirion was #5 on the Bulldog 100 list and recognized as being the fifth fastest growing company owned or operated by a University of Georgia alumnus.
Medigen, Inc. is a biotechnology company that develops vaccines for infectious diseases to protect people traveling to countries in Africa, Asia and South America. These vaccines can also protect doctors and hospital workers in the U.S. from being infected while treating sick people.
Our scientists recently patented new vaccine against flu and published a scientific article in the international Vaccine journal.
In addition, Medigen is growing and recently doubled research facilities in Frederick. We are proud to be a part of scientific community developing new technologies to improve people's health.
Sri Sai BioPharmaceutical
SriSai Biopharmaceutical Solutions (SBS) provides storage and shipping services to biotech companies across the world. Our clients are researching cures and treatments for many different diseases and disorders, and we are proud to be part of this research by providing logistical services.
SBS has been in business since 2002 in Frederick. In 2019 we are excited to announce that we will have increased our staffing from 25 to 35 people, are currently working on doubling the space of the warehouse, and are adding a brand new in-house built Inventory Management System.
DCM BioServices is a key partner for scientists and researchers who rely on us to help them keep their laboratory equipment in great condition with as little downtime as possible. Our dedicated Field Service Engineers perform repairs and preventive maintenance on a wide variety of lab instruments. Many of these instruments use robots and automation to dispense and analyze samples.
Our current focus is developing relationships with the biotech community in our own back yard. As the life science industry in Frederick grows, we hope to assist more researchers and scientists accomplish the vital, and sometimes life-changing, work they do.