Category: News


Good News: April 2018

Good News: April 2018


Startup News

    • Healthify and Tissue Analytics, two startups founded by Johns Hopkins University students, gathered in Philadelphia with 18 other emerging and established businesses to highlight how to improve health care. The focus centered on initiatives and technologies that have the potential to keep patients healthy, improve outcomes and lower costs. Philadelphia Business Journal


    • According to a Johns Hopkins study, the Corrie mobile app helps reduce hospital readmissions of heart attack patients. Researchers studied 60 heart attack patients who agreed to use Corrie, the first cardiology app built using the Apple CareKit platform, in the hospital and for 30 days after discharge. Only 3 percent of users were readmitted within 30 days, compared to 19 percent of nonusers. UPI


    • The FastForward startup Personal Genome Diagnostics added to its IP portfolio with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Based in Baltimore’s Canton neighborhood, PGDx expects the license will enable it to develop new kinds of cancer tests.


    • Sisu Global Health, a FastForward startup, has made significant progress moving through clinical trials and gaining regulatory approvals for its technology that allows doctors to recycle a patient’s own blood lost through traumatic internal bleeding. Sisu plans to launch its first device for sale online, as well as in Ghana and Kenya. Baltimore Business Journal


    • Circulomics, a biotechnology company part of the FastForward ecosystem, has launched a new kit designed to enable scientists more rapidly perform high-molecular-weight DNA extraction for long-read sequencing and genome mapping. The Daily Record (Subscription required)


    • Osmosis, a startup developing a digital learning tool, has amassed 175,000 registered users in five years. A member of the Social Innovation Lab, Osmosis was founded by two Johns Hopkins School of Medicine students who aimed to help students pass tests and retain the information. Osmosis produces video content that is available for free. Subscribers get access to digital study assets, the ability to collaborate with study groups, and a machine learning-enabled system that shows learners content relevant to their studies. Insight


    • Proscia, a startup founded by Johns Hopkins alumni while studying at the university, announced that it signed a first-of-its-kind agreement with one of the largest dermatopathology labs in the country. This move marks an entrance into the dermatopathology market for the company’s AI-powered digital pathology software. Additionally, the company announced it will open an office in Philadelphia to accompany its Baltimore presence. Proscia


    • Not only has b.well Connected Health’s profile risen locally with its participation in M-1 Ventures and relocation to The Grid at the University of Maryland BioPark, the startup has received national recognition. Designing a single place to store and share health records originating from myriad sources, b.well has participated in the Silicon Valley-based Plug and Play program and recently was named to the current cohort of MasterCard’s Start Path program.


    • Two FastForward ventures were among the five startups to receive funding through TEDCO’s seed fund. LifeSprout, a tenant in FastForward 1812, received $500,000 from TEDCO as part of its $6 million raise. Theraly Fibrosis, also a tenant at FastForward 1812, received $200,000 from TEDCO as part of a $700,000 raise. Baltimore Business Journal,, The Daily Record


    • The investment firm Deerfield Management is committing $36 million of a $40 million Series A funding round for Dracen Pharmaceuticals. The FastForward startup founded last year is developing a platform of anti-cancer therapies that work as inhibitors of cancer metabolism. Endpoints News, Baltimore Business Journal,


    • RoundTrip, a Richmond-based startup that participated in M-1 Ventures, has raised $1.9 million in an initial seed round financing. The investment was led by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania. The startup is developing software that enables patients to book trips to and from medical care appointments.Richmond Times-Dispatch


    • Milemarker, a FastForward startup developing a real-time assessment tool for surgical training, pitched against nine other ventures at the FounderTrac accelerator’s closing event and won the grand prize of $25,000.

Student Innovation


    • Johns Hopkins University is renowned for having an innovative student body. This intellectual curiosity often manifests itself in entrepreneurship. Fortunately, the University has resources like The Hatchery and FastForward U to guide students in their pursuits. The Hub



    • Two of the six startups recognized at a young inventors competition sponsored by MIT came from Johns Hopkins University. Treyetech, a member of the 2017-2018 O’Connor Fund cohort, is developing a device that helps surgeons complete corneal transplant surgeries. AssistENT’s device is designed to help people breathe easier. AssistENT and Treyetech both received $10,000 awards. The Hub


    • A team of students from Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering have developed a “super gel” that could streamline one of a doctor’s most tedious tasks. The gel has the ability to pass through a catheter and is extremely absorbent, meaning that it can create a clot to block bleeding. Facilitating clotting enables doctors to starve a tumor or stop hemorrhage. The Hub


    • There’s one major difference between the Hippocrates Medical Review and other medical journals: jargon. Created by Johns Hopkins students, the Hippocrates Medical Review eliminates esoteric scientific terms so those without medical degrees can learn about the latest scientific advances.


    • EmboQuant, a Johns Hopkins student startup, won first place at the McGinnis Venture Competition at Carnegie Mellon University. The three-person team is designing a smarter catheter to make embolization, the primary treatment of liver cancer, safer and more effective. Carnegie Mellon

Social Ventures

    • B-360 uses dirt bikes to encourage Baltimore children to pursue STEM careers. Brittany Young recently discussed, among other things, the future of B-360 as well as how pop culture, including Black Panther and Hidden Figures, has led to more interest in STEM among the children with whom she works. Black Girl Nerds


    • Callisto, a member of one of the Social Innovation Lab’s first cohorts, was one of six ventures named to the 2018 Skoll Awardees for Social Entrepreneurship. Callisto has developed an online platform that aims to dismantle barriers to reporting sexual assault. It also provides institutions with data to guard against and respond to sexual assaults. Skoll


    • ClearMask, a startup in this year’s Social Innovation Lab cohort, was one of seven teams accepted into Accelerate Baltimore. Operated by ETC, Accelerate Baltimore is a 13-week program that features weekly business-building sessions, facilitates connections to mentors and provides space in an incubator in Baltimore’s Highlandtown neighborhood., Baltimore Business Journal


    • ClearMask is working toward gaining clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its transparent surgical mask that is designed to improve communication between medical staff and patients. Allysa Dittmar, who is deaf, co-founded the Social Innovation Lab venture after a sign language interpreter didn’t show up to an appointment she made for surgery. Initially, Dittmar could read lips and use other visual cues to understand what was happening, but that didn’t work once the doctors and nurses donned traditional surgical masks. Baltimore Business Journal (Subscription required)


    • Since the new year, Hosts for Humanity — a Social Innovation Lab venture developing a platform that matches volunteer hosts to caretakers in need of housing while a family member or friend seeks medical care — has hosted 10 people for a total of 44 days. This has saved those families close to $6,000 on housing.

Baltimore News

    • According to the Brookings Institution, Baltimore and other post-industrial American cities will soon experience economic growth with far-reaching effects. Among the drivers of this finding is the fact that more and more jobs and educated workers prefer to live in cities. Of post-industrial cities, Baltimore is in one of the strongest positions, according to Alan Berube, a Brookings Institution senior fellow. Baltimore Sun


    • Baltimore earned a spot on a Forbes list of the 10 coolest U.S. cities to visit. The write-up cited the city’s burgeoning arts scene as well as the revitalized Port Covington neighborhood. Forbes, Baltimore Sun


    • Her Corner, a new program designed to facilitate the advancement of women entrepreneurs, launched in Baltimore this winter. The six-month program focuses specifically on helping women entrepreneurs scale their business.


    • An op-ed by University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine Paul Rothman applauded Congress for infusing an extra $2 billion in the National Institutes of Health. This money, they argue, will facilitate medical research and discovery that saves lives and serves as a powerful economic engine. Baltimore Sun


    • At the March Anchor Ventures event, Harpoon Medical CEO Bill Niland discussed the startup’s two-years-long acquisition process. The University of Maryland venture set out in 2015 to find a strategic partner that would lead its next round of funding and would support a patient trial. Eventually, Harpoon found a match with Edwards Lifesciences Corp., which acquired them for $100 million. Baltimore Business Journal (Subscription required)


    • The Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation launched a website in March that is designed to help small business owners and entrepreneurs plan, start, manage and grow their businesses. The website provides help in a number of areas, including writing business plans, making legal changes and registering a business. Baltimore Sun


    • The Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) and Baltimore Under Ground Science Space (BUGSS) have partnered to help scientists building companies out of discoveries. The relationship is designed to facilitate connections between the scientists within the two programs and increase access to lab and entrepreneurship resources.


    • As part of its TEDCO 2.0 initiative, the Maryland Technology Development Corp. is restructuring and adding new services. TEDCO CEO George Davis said he wants the state-backed organization to bring the Maryland startup ecosystem together. As such, TEDCO will add more services and expand on existing initiatives. Baltimore Business Journal


    • Maryland startups raised more than $400 million from venture capitalists in the first three months of 2018. Of this total, Baltimore-based startups accounted for $101 million. The state’s total marks the second consecutive quarter of $400 million in VC funding and the fifth straight with more than $100 million. Baltimore Business Journal


    • The recent increase in funding for Maryland startups can be attributed, in part, to the maturation of the state’s promising startups, especially those in the cybersecurity and biotechnology sectors. In the first quarter of 2018, Internet and health care companies each completed a total of six deals, the most of any industry. Baltimore Business Journal

Johns Hopkins News

    • In March, future members of the Johns Hopkins University Class of 2022 received their acceptance letters. In total, the university invited 2,284 applicants for the fall semester. This group joins the 610 early decision students who are already part of the class. The Hub


    • For the 38th consecutive year, Johns Hopkins University led the country in research and development expenditures. In 2016, the university spent $2.4 billion on R&D projects, up 5.4 percent from fiscal 2015. To date, Johns Hopkins is the only academic institution to have crossed the $2 billion spending threshold. Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal


    • The Hatchery, a student-run incubator at Johns Hopkins University, is adding even more startup resources to campus. The program has provided its initial cohort of eight startups through weekly meetings with a professional mentor, workshops, legal lessons and pitching tips.


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Good News: February 2018

Good News: February 2018

Startup News

    • Shortly after raising $11 million in series B funding, Protenus CEO Nick Culbertson announced that the Baltimore startup plans to nearly double the size of its team. Culbertson said the 30 hires will likely be sourced locally. The FastForward startup analyzes and protects health care data for health systems across the country and saw its revenue grow twentyfold in 2017.


    • The Maryland Tech Council named two FastForward companies among the finalists for its annual Industry Awards Celebration. Personal Genome Diagnostics (PGDx) is vying to be named Life Science Company of the Year, and its CEO Doug Ward is up for Chief Executive Officer of the Year. Protenus is a finalist for the Emerging Company of the Year award. The Maryland Tech Council will announce the winners on May 17. Maryland Tech Council


    • According to a synopsis from Protenus, health care organizations reported 477 data breaches to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the media. These breaches affected 5.6 million patient records. Healthcare Informatics


    • Inspired by his mother’s experience managing multiple chronic conditions, Sathya Elumalai is developing a portable, handheld device that records key vital signs in just 30 seconds. Elumalai is commercializing the technology through his FastForward startup Multisensor Diagnostics. TMC News


    • BurnAlong, a fitness startup that participated in the M-1 Ventures accelerator, announced that it raised $1 million in an oversubscribed round. Based in Owings Mills, MD, BurnAlong offers streaming fitness classes through partnerships with fitness instructors and gyms.


    • Emocha Mobile Health, a tenant in FastForward 1812, hired Thomas A. Carroll as its chief operating officer. Carroll, who co-founded RuxtonPark Healthcare Capital, will help the company expand into new markets among other duties. MobiHealthNews,


    • Fast Company named emocha Mobile Health one of its 10 most innovative businesses in the health sector, citing its technology that makes “medication management mobile-friendly.” Other brands ranked alongside emocha include CVS Health and 23andMe. Fast Company


    • Sunrise Health and b.well are two of 24 digital health startups participating in the Texas Medical Center Accelerator. Founded by Johns Hopkins students and a member of the Social Innovation Lab’s 2016-2017 cohort, Sunrise provides text-based group support for behavioral health patients that utilizes artificial intelligence tools. One of two winners of $25,000 at the M-1 Ventures accelerator, b.well aggregates patient health care data by providing incentivized care coordination, along with concierge and matching services. MedCity News


    • The St. Louis-based accelerator program Capital Innovators selected FastForward startup Vision Interchange as one of six startups in its spring investment round. The 12-week program will provide the e-commerce company that lets consumers trade eyewear with a $100,000 investment. KMOX

Social Ventures

    • Alex Riehm has taken over as the director of SIL. Formerly a deputy director with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Riehm assumed the SIL leadership role in November and aims to build a “continuum of service for anyone with a good idea in Baltimore.”


    • Baltimore Magazine’s list of 30 visionaries who are shaping the city’s future. The publication recognized FactoryFour CEO Param Shah for his work to bring manufacturing into the digital age. Shantell Roberts received recognition for her work through Touching Young Lives which provides safe sleeping spaces for babies. Baltimore Magazine


    • A member of the 2017-2018 SIL cohort, Mera Kitchen Collective has pop-up dinners, offers catering and hosts other food-focused events as a means of empowering Baltimore’s refugee and immigrant community. In a podcast, the Mera Kitchen Collective team explains Baltimore’s long-time role as a haven for refugees, the state of the city’s refugee community and how its efforts will help this population overcome barriers. Cureate


    • A member of this year’s SIL cohort, Hosts for Humanity matches volunteer hosts with patient families seeking a place to stay while loved ones receive care at local medical institutions. Since January 6, the venture has placed four people with hosts for a total of 40 days, saving the families over $5,600. Baltimore Business Journal (subscription required)

Innovation News

    • A single experimental blood test called CancerSEEK could one day enable clinicians to simultaneously screen for multiple early stage tumors. The test detected 98 percent of ovarian and liver tumors. Joshua Cohen, a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine student, says the test will need to be validated in a more real-world setting. BioWorld Today


    • A technology that focuses ultrasound waves could be tomorrow’s solution for treating brain tumors. A group of entrepreneurs from Johns Hopkins are looking to build on the Hopkins-born idea, which would serve as an alternative to invasive surgery. The group has received $250,000 in grant funding from TEDCO and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.
      Baltimore Business Journal

Johns Hopkins News

    • A $50 million gift from the United Arab Emirates has enabled Johns Hopkins to establish a new institute for stroke research and clinical care. The Sheikh Khalifa Stroke Institute in Baltimore will use engineering skills, artificial intelligence and precision medicine to improve diagnoses, treatments and restorative functions for stroke patients. Baltimore Business Journal


    • A private developer will receive $800,000 in state grants to help complete 15,000 square feet of retail space at the new Marriott Residence Inn on Johns Hopkins’ East Baltimore campus. This is the latest investment in the East Baltimore Development Inc.’s redevelopment of the Eager Park community. Baltimore Business Journal


    • To kick off the spring semester, four dozen Johns Hopkins underclassmen visited workplaces across Baltimore to gain a better understanding of what it’s like to work in city government, health care and other industries. The tour included a visit to a FastForward U innovation hub, which provides space and co-working opportunities for student innovators and entrepreneurs. The Hub

Baltimore News

    • Southwest: The Magazine hailed Baltimore as “the city you’re missing” and “the most underrated city in America” in its issue released on February 1. The magazine’s editorial director touted the city’s strong entrepreneurial spirit, hip workspaces, burgeoning arts scene, friendliness and foodie scene. Baltimore Sun


    • The Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill that would incentivize making early-stage investments into local startups by offering angel investors tax credits. Del. Brooke Lierman, the bill’s lead sponsor, says, “We want to make sure we can capitalize on (Maryland’s growing number of startups) and on the growing entrepreneurial spirit in Maryland.” Baltimore Business Journal,


    • Eight startups will compete for $100,000 in prizes at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Up/Start Venture Competition. The third annual event was open to class of 2018 MICA students and alumni from the class of 2017. SIL’s Alex Riehm was one of the judges who selected the finalists. The finale will occur on April 4. Baltimore Business Journal


    • A new innovation space in Baltimore’s Station North neighborhood has begun growing a number of businesses in Baltimore. The CO-OP at Maryland Ave. opened in 2017 and already has a number of tenants, including a steel and metal broker, a carpet installer and a nonprofit.


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