Governor Visits UM BioPark to Showcase Investment in Life Sciences
Governor Martin O'Malley called attention to state investments in
technology during a visit on July 31 to the University of Maryland BioPark,
where he spent time in corporate laboratories with chief executive
officers and their employees.
Jay A. Perman, MD, president of
the University of Maryland,
Baltimore (UMB), joined O'Malley on the tour and at a news
conference, where the governor spoke about the importance of supporting
the life sciences. O'Malley noted that the state has a plan to invest
$1.3 billion in life sciences by 2020 and has increased tax incentives
to encourage biotechnology and research and development.
The visit has been documented in a photo gallery.
The governor's visit included a stop at one of the BioPark's newest
tenants, Noxilizer, Inc., which has been moving into its offices and
labs on the first floor of 800 W. Baltimore St. over the last few
months. The firm is pioneering the development of a unique
sterilization technology aimed at hospitals and life science
manufacturing. Lawrence Bruder, president and chief executive officer,
and numerous employees greeted the governor and explained Noxilizer's
O'Malley and Perman wore white lab coats as they visited the labs of
PathSensors, a BioPark tenant that focuses on environmental testing.
President Ted Olsen demonstrated PathSensors' systems for biological
identification of pathogens such as ricin. Olsen is a member of the
state's Life Sciences Advisory Board. In the photo above, Olsen and PathSensors lab consultant Lucie Jones demonstrate a technique to O'Malley, seated at left,
and Perman, right foreground.
James L. Hughes, MBA, chief
enterprise and economic development officer and vice president of the
University; Dominick Murray, secretary of the state Department of
Business & Economic Development; and Judy Britz, PhD, executive
director of the Maryland BioTechnology Center, were among those who
accompanied O'Malley and Perman on the visits to PathSensors and
The two companies chosen for the tour are among 30 tenants of the
BioPark, where 550 people work in a community of innovative bioscience
companies and translational research centers. It stretches along West
Baltimore Street on a portion of the UMB campus that lies west of
Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. BioPark tenants include the School of Medicine's Institute for Genome Sciences and
the Center for Vascular
and Inflammatory Diseases.
The intertwining of entrepreneurial and academic purposes is by design,
Perman said. "This is not by accident. These bioparks succeed and what
we do at the University of Maryland succeeds because we marry them up,"
Corporate and academic collaborators share a rich collaborative
environment. "People meet each other in the halls. The adjacency is
important, and that's the way science goes forward," he said.
Perman also spoke about workforce development and about educational
gains in conjunction with community colleges and high schools. The
BioPark is home to the Baltimore City Community College's Life Sciences
Institute (LSI). Students trained by the LSI work in internships for the
BioPark's tenant companies.
These kinds of partnerships provide "a very significant plus for people
in West Baltimore, for people in the city at large, and for Maryland in
general," Perman said.
O'Malley's remarks included a look back to a period over a decade ago
when he was mayor of Baltimore and the site of the BioPark was a bleak
area awaiting the University-led development. "These blocks were pretty
desolate, vacant places with tumbleweeds virtually going through them,
and now we see building after building," said O'Malley, a UMB alum who
graduated from the School
of Law in 1988.
O'Malley thanked Jane Shaab,
UMB assistant vice president for economic development and the executive
director of the BioPark, for playing an integral role in the
The first commercial building opened in 2005, and construction is
underway on the latest, the $200 million Maryland
Proton Treatment Center. Scheduled for completion in 2015, the
center will become one of among only a few in the United States to
offer this type of advanced radiation therapy. The governor spoke with
anticipation about the "targeted, precision cancer treatment" that is
expected to bring patients not only from the region but from abroad.
In a statement, the governor's office commended the scientific and
educational endeavors of the BioPark: "It is this innovative,
collaborative, job-creating, and life-saving work that continues to
allow Maryland to compete and win in a 21st-century economy."
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