Posted by Jim H on May 27, 2011
I just got my copy of the book “Biopunk: DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life“ and it’s a page turner: pithy and fascinating. It also features a couple chapters on my LavaAmp co-conspirators Guido and Joseph. We’re getting some decent free press on this one, that’s for sure. There was a feature last week in The Guardian interviewing Joseph and Guido won us a $40,000 USD grant through Start Up Chile.
From a write up in BoingBoing in April comes this quote: “We reject the popular perception that science is only done in million-dollar university, government, or corporate labs; we assert that the right of freedom of inquiry, to do research and pursue understanding under one’s own direction, is as fundamental a right as that of free speech or freedom of religion,” Patterson writes in A Biopunk Manifesto, a biohacker call-to-arms she wrote last year.
“We have no quarrel with Big Science; we merely recall that Small Science has always been just as critical to the development of the body of human knowledge, and we refuse to see it extinguished.”
That’s a “Two Fer” Meredith. As in fer shure, fer shure……..
Posted in Awards and recognition, Government Funded research, LavaAmp, Molecular Biology, News, Public/Private Companies, Rants | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jim H on March 8, 2011
I have been a slack blogger since I’ve started tweeting & scouring my RSS feeds, that’s for sure. Fortunately, you can following my twitterverse in the left hand column of this blog or get up off yer ass and get on twitter yourself?!
So, most importantly, the next installation of BioBeers will be on Friday April 8th at Akonni Biosystems in Downtown Frederick! wOOt ! For those not familiar with Akonni, they’re been getting a lot of attention for their rapid DNA extraction system and their rapid, low-cost microarray systems. The street address is 400 Sagner Ave., Suite 300, Frederick, MD 21701. I hereby proclaim anyone from Frederick County that needs a GPS to find it, right next to McCutcheon’s, is automatically un-invited. You know who you are.
Please RSVP via email, LinkedIn or MeetUp
This far I have two confirmed sponsors: Biotech Primer and Chesapeake Insurance/SandySpring Bank. Still room for more. Call or email me if you’re interested in sponsoring.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t do a quick recap of interesting news I have failed to blog about the past 5-6 weeks. Do you see how MedImmune scored $93M in a patent infringement settlement over Synagis, the product produced in Frederick or how BioElectronics is growing too big for their britches? I just wish I could get one of their patches locally and without a prescription.
Also worth a mention is how NCI-Frederick was named one of the Best Places to work as a PostDoc in America.
And the BIG news, which I should have already blogged about, is long-time Biobeers sponsor and advocate, FiberCell Systems being awarded a MIPS Grant for $263K. I even get to be quoted in the article. Johnand I have been working on a seperate project we call the “FiberCell Stem Cell Initiative” for more than two years now. Although it’s not directly related to the MIPS grant, the grant is for a Large Scale system, I am glad to see FiberCell get a grant to help them keep moving in the right direction.
Posted in Awards and recognition, BioBeer, Business, Expansion, Funding Available, Government Funded research, News, Public/Private Companies, Rants | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jim H on February 14, 2011
As if I haven’t pestered you all anough already BioBeers is this Friday at ImQuest Biosciences Friday February 18th starting at 4:30 PM. I am getting Ribs from RibCity, so please do RSVP so I can get the right amount. RSVP’s trickling in thus far and I am giving you multiple choices. You can RSVP by emailing me, leaving a comment or go on the MeetUp or LinkedIn sites (both require FREE registration). Badger, badger as in “Her hungry fingers tore at my shirt buttons like wild badgers” (a hilarious episode of Prairie Home Companion I listened to on the way back from Fredericksburg VA last week http://is.gd/UWzJWF can’t help it that I am a radio junkie).
Speaking of Badgers, Akonni was in the news this week for signing a licensing agreement with USAMRIID which covers covers nucleic acid sequences, primers, and probes that will serve as the basis for multiplexed molecular tests for Bacillus anthracis, vaccinia/orthopox virus, Yersinia pestis, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus. How neat is that?
Speaking of neat stuff, you all may know that I have been working on an inexpensive, hand held thermocycler (LavaAmp). Well, so compatriots of ours, Tito Janokoswski and crew with pearl biotech, have released a DIY $500 thermocycler. It’s based on the standard tube format PCR in aluminum block, so I don’t consider this a threat at all to our low resource, low power, portable device, but cool news nonetheless out of the DIYBio guys. They also have the Open Gel Box, which I contributed to. Keep it up!
So back to FredCoBio and stuff happening here BioElectronics is poised for huge growth. I know I haven’t blogged about them in a while, but their patch works and it’s not expensive and it’s really the only thing out there. I think it’s awesome!!
Posted in Academia, Awards and recognition, BioBeer, bizzare, Business, Events, Funny, General, Government Funded research, LavaAmp, Molecular Biology, Public/Private Companies, Rants | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jim H on February 7, 2011
Well, OK, it’s really about BioBeers more so than mosquitoes. A friendly reminder, BioBeers at ImQuest Biosciences a week from Friday, Friday February 18th starting at 4:30 PM. I am getting Ribs from RibCity, so if you want some, you should RSVP so I can get the right amount. RSVP’s trickling in thus far and I am giving you multiple choices. You can RSVP by emailing me, leaving a comment or go on the MeetUp or LinkedIn sites (both require FREE registration). And speaking of Spring, we’re in the earl phases of planning a “Ignite Frederick Biotech” session coincident with the Ft Detrick Spring Festival in May, so stay tuned for more details. In the the mean time, not time like the present to read up on those pesky mosquitoes. A good story about scientists working at Ft Detrick who were recently recognized for their contribution to trapping the little buggers, specifically to attenuate infestations in Malaysia causing Dengue fever. Not sure if they are working with the guys who created genetically modified, sterile males for the same purpose, but makes for interesting scientific fodder. Almost as interesting as the tests done at Ft Detrick to prove that some nutter in Ohio made Ricin in his garage from instructions and materials he bought on the internet. Makes you think. Scientific literacy is a good thing, most of the time. Which reminds me, I owe our informed readers a post on the ludicrous accusations about “Cancer Clusters” around the Fort. I’ll save that rant for later…
Posted in Awards and recognition, BioBeer, bizzare, Government Funded research, News, Public/Private Companies | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jim H on November 30, 2010
Some of you may know that I have been busy doing contract work at MedImmune for the past 14 months or so at the Frederick facility. Well that contract came to a close, but I was picked up by another contractor, Raland Technologies, to work on a different project for MedImmune at their Philadelphia facilities. So, sadly, I won’t be in Frederick as much as I’d like to, but you’ll still hear from me. I am the first official Biotech Ambassador for the Frederick Chamber of Commerce, after all. And even though Raland runs their Maryland operations out of Montgomery County, they also have a major presence in my home town Rochester, NY. Raland made a major announcement just a couple of weeks ago when Raland announced they were awarded grant through the Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Program (QTDP) for their extraordinary development efforts with RxFusion™ , a medical device offering an easier and safer home infusion treatment. I am glad to be a part of their team.
Speaking of major news from Frederick County Biotech, I noted an article in Nature titled “Complex synthesis yields breast-cancer therapy” on my RSS feed yesterday. This is cool in a number of respects. First, coincident with the synthesis of this compound, researchers in Frederick at NCI discovered the compound inhibits a protein component of
The drug eribulin was inspired by a compound from the sea sponge Halichondria okadai. Nature: Yasunori Saito
the cytoskeleton, called tubulin, that is needed to support the rapid growth of cancer cells and is the target of several other cancer chemotherapies, including Taxol (paclitaxel). Second, I spent two weeks in Seattle at the University of Washington round about 1991 working in the lab of future Nobel Laureate Eddy Krebs isolating Okadaic acid (a prolific and potent protein phosphorylator) from this very same species of sea sponge. And what a stinking *effen* mess it was. Let me tell you, if you drag a few kilos of fresh halichondria from deep off the floor of the Pacific, mix it with 20 L or so of Chloroform in a jumbo Warning blender, then extract with 20 L Methanol (all of this in 1991 was done in buckets, on the floor, without any special lab gear like safety glasses or lab coats or Kevlar) while trying not to contaminate my lab partner Joel’s working on this new product he called “Lipofectamine” (which was indeed a multi million dollar product and I think continues to be to this day) because this was going to be the first million dollar product for the newly formed Cell Biology group of Life Technologies. Those were the days.
But I digress in my fond recollections of past glory. What I really, really want to do is to let you know the next Biobeers is almost certainly happening Friday December 17th at Lab Recyclers warehouse on Metropolitan Court (right next to FITCI). And I really, really need everyone to switch over to the new MeetUp site and register. Go here now: http://www.meetup.com/FredCoBio-BioBeers/
MeetUp costs me about $10 per month, but it’s much better as compared to LinkedIn (which I will continue to maintain, just not set up events and calendar items through that site) for posting news and information and events. I’m trying this as a platform to try to connect us more better than we are today. I’ve started populating the site with the various and sundry seminars happening at Ft Detrick which are freaking free and open to the public!! I’m still working on getting the MeetUp site to link to Ft Detrick web site, but it’s all good.
I’ll have the BioBeers posted on both LinkedIn and MeetUp for the next couple of events, but will force y’all over to MeetUp eventually. Besides, my text file mailing list is getting way too long.
Posted in Awards and recognition, BioBeer, Biochemistry, Business, Funding Available, Government Funded research, Jobs, News, Public/Private Companies, Rants | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jim H on November 9, 2010
It has been a pretty good year in Fredcobio, I am glad to say, and the end of the year is ramping up to be amazing. Many of you know that I have been working a contract with MedImmune assisting in the validation of the new Frederick Manufacturing Center. That contract ended suddenly 9although it was expected) last week, so now I am back wheeling and dealing and looking at what I am going to do next.
I’ve been neglecting my two start-ups and building on my recent, newly elected status as the
Grand Poobah of Biotech in Frederick first official Biotech Ambassador of the Frederick Chamber of Commerce (which I announced at the last Biobeers). As such, we’ve had a couple of very preliminary meetings with interested parties from the Chamber, OED, FITCI, the City of Frederick and a few other interested partners and I think there are a lot of good things we can do together. Most of these ideas, these delusions of grandeur are just that: ideas. We need to transform our ideas into action and start getting some stuff done.
What do I mean by that? First of all, everyone wants more information about things like funding and where to get it and how much is available, but we also need to start talking more with each other. There are over 50 biotech companies or quasi-government (even “real government”) agencies in Frederick County and we don’t even know what we all do for a living. I’m talking about better networking and business and commerce between just the local companies. Well, that’s a start. What we really need to do is communicate with all of the people at NCI and the various and sun-dried agencies behind the barbed wire fence that is Ft Detrick and find out what they’re doing. Speaking of which, a couple of very newsworth things have popped up on my radar screen over the past couple of days.
One of them is an excellent resource I’ll bet no one is even paying attention to off base, and we should be: Free Lectures at Ft Detrick by various agencies. You can find the whole calendar here: http://is.gd/gS3wv
I used to try to post them, but got tired of doing that and I don’t even think anyone was watching. But as a “for example”, there are at least three different lecture series going on now, the one called CCR Grand Rounds is hosting a lecture Tuesday 11/23 by Frederick R. Appelbaum, M.D. who is the Director, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center entitled “The Grand Challenges of Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.” How cool does that sound? And did I mention it’s free? Well, not exactly free. I bet some of our tax money is being used somehow. All of the details are here: http://is.gd/gS483
Ansd another thing I thought was interesting, passed along by Frank at SAIC-Frederick is this list of qualifying ”Therapeutic Discovery Project Grants” for the State of Maryland from IRS.gov. The list is pretty long, but I think you’ll recognize for names familiar to Fredcobio such as ImQuest, Akonni, BioElectronics and BioAssay Works. Over $48MM in grants awarded to Maryland over the past 2 years, just on this “qualifying” delineation. My memory tells me more than $1.5BB is being spent at Ft Detrick alone this year (a lot of bricks and mortar as well as research).
I almost forgot to mention the next BioBeers date is set: Friday December 10th. I’m going to be improving the blog and likely moving our LinkedIn and Google groups over to a MeetUp platform in the coming weeks. So stay tuned, Fredcobio campers.
Posted in Academia, Awards and recognition, BioBeer, Business, Funding Available, General, Government Funded research, Jobs, News, Public/Private Companies, Rants, Rumors, Stem Cells | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jim H on July 23, 2010
Just got this email from the Chamber of Commerce. Looks like a good event
Join us for TechConnect:
a special event for the Frederick County BioTech Community!
THURSDAY, AUGUST 12
8:15 to 9:45 a.m.
Presented by the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce
8420-B Gas House Pike, Frederick
Our office is located at the intersection of Gas House Pike & Monocacy Blvd.,
across from Clustered Spires Golf Course.
Enjoy coffee, pastries, and networking with other area BioTech professionals.
An update and Q&A with panelists from Fort Detrick, SAIC-Frederick, Life Technologies, and BNBI.
Featuring presentations by the following Chamber Board Members & Trustees:
COL Judith Robinson
Commander; U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Detrick
Chief Administrative Officer, Treasurer,
and Corporate Vice President of Administration; SAIC-Frederick, Inc.
Dr. Uplaksh Kumar
Director of Operations and Site Leader; Life Technologies, Frederick
Dr. J. Patrick Fitch
Laboratory Director for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC)
and President of Battelle National Biodefense Institute, LLC (BNBI)
We’re extending an invitation to more than 50 companies, and space will be limited. To register, please call 301.662.4164 x1 or email email@example.com before August 5.
Posted in Awards and recognition, Business, Events, News, presentations, Public/Private Companies | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jim H on July 8, 2010
Seems like I’ve started every recent post out with an apology for not being more diligent in maintaining this site. A slow day on my contract work at MedImmune gives me the chance to push some of my hidden agenda forward.
I missed out on an opportunity a couple weeks ago to tell all about Kempbio taking the Best New Incubator Company award. I share common lab space with Chris and Kempbio, so I am well aware of how good business has been for them. There was a good feature article in the Gazette and in
Tom Fedor/The Gazette
the Baltimore Citybizlist.
There’s even a mention in “la Tribune” about a recent licensing deal Kempbio made for a transfection reagent:
Polyplus Transfection cède un contrat de licence
La biotech spécialisée dans les vecteurs chimiques de transfert de gènes accorde l’utilisation de son savoir-faire à l’américain Kempbio, basé à Frederick (Maryland). Ce contrat participera à la hausse de 20 % du chiffre d’affaires (2,6 millions d’euros) prévue chez Polyplus en 2010. La start-up strasbourgeoise (27 salariés), qui a réalisé trois levées de fonds depuis 2002, continue d’investir l’essentiel de ses ressources en R&D.
On my home front, things are really starting to take off with the LavaAmp project. Rob Carlson, one of the shareholders with Biodesic LLC, is in DC this week for Meeting of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues he mentions on his blog Synthesis. He just published a book through Harvard Press called Biology is Technology that’s getting us quite a lot of attention. I just got my copy last week and haven’t read it, yet. The reviews are pretty impressive, overall.
Meanwhile, Joseph Jackson, the CEO of LavaAmp, is organizing the Open Science Summit in Berkeley July 29th-31st. He also had a nice feature article published in Xconomy (San Francisco) called “The Open Science Shift“.
While were on the topic, Guido (the other shareholder) is off in Colorado going through training at the Unreasonable Institute. I can’t embed the flash in WordPress, but you can watch his pitch HERE. In a couple weeks, he’ll be off the Oxford to give his TEDTalk, as he was made a TEDGlobal Fellow.
Through all of this, I just arrange the BioBeers events. Speaking of which, I hope to have the next one at the new Riverside Research Park in August (date to be determined). That video on their home screen is awe inspiring. I wish it was embedable. maybe I’ll try to grab a copy. I hope to get in there to get more information about the NCI’s Advanced Technology Partnerships Initiative (ATPI). Here’s a link to the PDF describing the program. It’s up to you, Biotech companies in Frederick, to win some of these contracts! Stay tuned….
Posted in Awards and recognition, BioBeer, Blogterviews, Business, Events, Expansion, LavaAmp, News, Public/Private Companies | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jim H on February 15, 2010
According to a post by Nancy on the BioBeers East LinkedIn group, Life Tech is going to be purchased by GE in an all cash transaction. The news was revealed this morning on Yahoo!Finance.
This is even bigger news than the announcement last week that LifeTech was closing a 73,000 sq ft Camarillo CA facility and relocating it, and as many as 250 positions, to Frederick.
So, some stuff is shaking out on Executive Way, for sure. Which reminds me, the next BioBeers will be on Executive Way, at ImQuest on Friday March 19th. Official announcement coming soon!
FOLLOW UP: The story of GE buying LifeTech could be a rumor, at least that’s the prevailing theory on the Rumor Mill. Stay posted!
Posted in BioBeer, Business, Events, Expansion, Jobs, News, Public/Private Companies, Rumors | 3 Comments »
Posted by Jim H on November 22, 2009
What a great turn-out last week for BioBeers! TalentWrx Professional Staffing, Tyler-Donegan and ImQuest (the Official Chicken wing sponsor of BioBeers). It was a record for attendance with 123 people (and probably more since everyone wasn’t drinking beer).
I only took a few pictures. Click on the picture below to open the Web Album on Picasa:
I am also glad to announce that I know the next sponsor is going to be the Battelle National Biodefense Institute (BNBI), the group running the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC). And don’t listen to the the trolls (instead subscribe to the BPSDB blog), there are jobs and plenty of them coming soon at NBACC and most don’t require wearing a bunny suit every day! They have a number up already on their Careers site and they want to use BioBeers as a recruiting tool. So stay tuned, as I am working with them now to set a date in mid-January.
Posted in BioBeer, BPSDB, Public/Private Companies, Rants | Leave a Comment »