Biohealth Forum Continues on Thurs.

It’s brings together life sciences world to help grow the industry.


Gaithersburg, Md (KM). A large number of people are attending a two-day biotech conference in Gaithersburg. Called the Biohealth Capital Region Forum, it brings together representatives from the 800 life sciences companies in the region, along with government officials, representatives of several universities and political leaders to discuss the future of the industry. It all takes place at Medimmune’s headquarters.

Jarrod Borkat, Senior Director of Partnering and Strategy with Medimmune, says this gathering began three years ago so that the life sciences industry could work as one. . “The very first year, we had about 600 attendees,” he says. “Fast forward three years, I think the people in the region understand the value of it., and we now have over 1,000 registered attendees. So really phenomenal growth in a very short time.”


Borkat also says part of the goal is to make the Washington DC Metropolitan area part of the top three life sciences hubs in the United States by 2023. Right now, it’s number four behind Boston, San Francisco and the New York City and New Jersey area.


He says that is a possibility. “We have some of the best talent in the entire the country. I think that’s one of the reasons  why this region is unique and special. And you got a lot of that talent coming out of federal institutions,  the great universities and some of the 800 companies where they get trained,” he said.


Plus, says Borkat, the biotech industry has an impact on the regional economy, creating some very high paying jobs.


He says a challenge facing the life sciences industry in the future is finding the venture capital needed to help new companies get started, and the capital to help those businesses already established to expand. “We absolutely could have more VC {venture capital} investment in the region. And I think as we all work together within the region to accelerate our growth, one important aspect of that is really helping to highlight the innovation, the R and D {research and development} and the partnerships that we have here to the rest of the country,” Borkat says.

The Biohealth Capital Region Forum is scheduled to continue on Thursday. Senator Chris Van Hollen is scheduled to speak to the forum at 8:40 AM.


By Kevin McManus