When PharmaJet, Inc. of Golden, Colo., wanted to open an East Coast office, Phil Vorwald quickly focused on the University of Maryland BioPark.
"I insisted on being here because of the cross- fertilization of technology within the BioPark and the right mindset," says Vorwald, vice president of commercial operations for the 37-employee startup enterprise.
This week the company will announce the opening of its office at the BioPark, located at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). The BioPark, slated by the University to eventually hold 10 to 12 research buildings of 1.8 million square feet of laboratory space on 10 acres, currently consists of two completed bioscience facilities housing more than 20 companies, which employ more than 400 people.
PharmaJet makes a device cleared by the Food and Drug Administration that delivers vaccines and drugs through the skin using jet injection and a novel, needle-free syringe, driven by a powerful spring. "We do not use needles - big or small, or patches of any kind," the company says on its Web site.
The company is fresh off a successful rollout of its patented injection system in New Jersey. It was used by public health departments last fall during the H1N1 influenza outbreak. The lightweight PharmaJet device can deliver 120 injections an hour.
The company was founded by health care professional Kathleen Callender and her daughter in 2005 after they tested the device in the developing world.
Vorwald says the needle-free device is "low-tech/high precision" and suitable for remote and underserved parts of the world.
Jane Shaab, UMB's assistant vice president for economic development, says that Vorwald, who will head the company's Baltimore office, "brings great experience with 27 years in biotech and entrepreneurship."
Vorvald says the BioPark-based office will handle all commercial operations for the East Coast. PharmaJet expects to benefit by being near the Center for Vaccine Development, which is part of the School of Medicine, and other medical facilities at UMB, plus "being in close proximity to many great companies," he says.
The company is located in the BioPark's BioInnovation Center, which offers affordable, pre-built wet lab and office suites with flexible lease terms for emerging bioscience companies. PharmaJet joins Fyodor Biotechnologies, Inc., Gliknik Inc., Westat, and laboratories of the University of Maryland Dermatology Associates, PA, in the center.