Executive Breakfast Brings Campus Companies Together
by Aliyah DeVille
When it comes to the Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus, membership truly does have its privileges. And the 26 attendees of the recent Executive Breakfast can certainly tell you a thing or two about it. Representatives from 10 of the companies housed on the campus, as well as one potential new company, gathered to provide updates on company activities and to learn more about BioHealth Innovation, Inc., from the organization’s CEO, Rich Bendis.
After a period of networking amongst the attendees, which included Dr. Theodore Abraham, Associate Dean for Research in the Capital Region, Johns Hopkins Medicine, attendees provided information about their research on campus. And each presentation made it clear that members of the community are applying their expertise to solve some of the world’s toughest problems. They are reaching across the borders of not only Maryland but the United States and the world. International activities included Open Health Systems Laboratory’s ties in India and TruBios’ work in Latin and South America.
Many companies also are focusing on work right here at home, including the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health whose members are busy preparing for the 23rd National Annual Conference to take place in Washington, D.C. The smaller companies located in the campus’ incubator space praised the number of partnerships and collaborations that they have created amongst themselves, noting that it has been helpful to be able to bounce ideas off of different companies that are located are right across the hall.
All in attendance confirmed the sentiment that the Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus truly is an innovation center and the companies have the new ideas to prove it.
Bendis provided the morning’s “keynote,” during which he reinforced the attendees’ sentiments by reminding the crowd that Maryland, and particularly Montgomery County, is the research capital of the world for life sciences. But where we struggle, he said, is in the commercialization of all the innovative ideas.
“We’re not yet seriously addressing the need to put research and technology into the market place,” he added. “This region is just not known for serial entrepreneurs.”
BHI is working to change that reputation by connecting management, funding, and markets. One of the organization’s goals is to change Maryland’s ranking as 27th for the receipt of phase two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, which award up to $1 million to small companies. It seeks to do so by making connections between researchers and those with the funds and business expertise to commercialize that research.
Bendis spent time after the breakfast talking with many of the attendees and providing advice on commercialization.
The morning’s made one thing clear: With so much rapid development happening right here on the campus, there’s certainly no shortage of ideas to go around.