Delaware Bioscience Igniting Innovation Week

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From testing the safety and efficacy of promising COVID-19 vaccines to fashionable mobility devices to help kids feel like kids, Delaware’s bioscience community is innovating. Life-changing research, therapies and products are being developed right here in the First State by many of the world’s top scientists.

“Our bioscience industry is driven by innovation that benefits patients and society and by research that saves and improves lives,” said Michael Fleming, president and CEO of the Delaware Bioscience Association. “Clearly, there has never been a time when the immense value of Delaware’s bioscience industry is more apparent.” 

Local companies making a difference despite the challenges imposed by the novel coronavirus pandemic were the focus of Delaware Bio’s annual Igniting Innovation Week. Like most activities this year, the event occurred virtually. All of the event videos, along with a digital program booklet, are available for viewing here. https://delawarebio.org/delaware-bio-events/igniting-innovation-week/

Fireside Chat on Therapeutic Progress

The week kicked off with a fireside chat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqXmbrl21lQ&feature=emb_logo between AstraZeneca Executive Vice President Ruud Dobber and Philip Amoa, corporate secretary for Delaware Bio. Dobber shared progress on AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine — now a Phase 3 clinical trial — and spoke of the massive, but inspiring all-hands-on-deck work ahead to distribute 3 billion doses worldwide.

“Let’s not forget what we are seeing during COVID-19, but equally the devastating collateral damage if people are not getting their medication for cancer, asthma or COPD, as well,” said Dobber. “Science translates to real medicine, and we are bullish about the progress we are making in all therapeutic areas,” he said. 

Treating Children in Delaware — and Around the World

Every day in Delaware, Delaware Bio member organizations focus on cutting-edge research and technology applications that bring hope and joy to the youngest among us. Meanwhile, as discussed in the Day 2 video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG6SyJQ6gdM&feature=emb_rel_pause, they are cementing Delaware’s status as a global leader in children’s medical care.

Wilmington-based Nemours/AI du Pont Hospital for Children is training the next generation of researchers through 620 ongoing research projects in high-impact areas. These include airway disease and cystic fibrosis; cancer outcomes, markers and therapeutics; neurodevelopmental and musculoskeletal disease; and diabetes and obesity.

Just a short drive away, biomedical researchers and engineers at the University of Delaware are hard at work improving connections, independence and life outcomes for children. UD studies are examining how children form trusting attachments to foster parents, building modified cars to enhance mobility and intersecting fashion and biomechanics to create kid-friendly devices that improve mobility, independence and functionality.

A Vibrant Bioscience Economy Advances New Products, Services

As explored in the Day 3 video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgxWvF7XlQY&feature=emb_logo, whether in cell analysis, nanotherapy for veterinary applications or entrepreneurial growth and exciting new deals, big changes are happening every day across Delaware’s bioscience industry. Trailblazing work by Delaware Bio members expands biopharmaceuticals, devices, new technology and contract research. In the last 12 months alone, dozens of new products have come out of Delaware, positioning the state at the “center of the world for innovation.”

Contract research programs are invaluable partners to Delaware Bio member companies. These programs help the companies operate with flexibility, efficiency and expertise to solve today’s challenges and bring pharmaceutical products to market faster. 

Delaware’s Unique Infrastructure Strengthens Bioscience Economy

New deals, growth expansion and innovation to improve the lives and outcomes of patients are most productive when they stem from mutually valuable partnerships – such as ChristianaCare’s innovative teaming with Medtronics, featured in the Day 4 video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4PlTzFjsAY&feature=emb_logo. Together, the Delaware-based health system and the world’s largest medical technology company share accountability to use technology to improve health outcomes and reduce costs. Learnings will not only benefit patients here in Delaware, but will be shared with other health systems to impact care and highlight the importance of value throughout the country. 

Such commitment to partnership and Delaware’s unique infrastructure nurture and support the state’s vibrant bioscience economy through major global transactions, business development and growth opportunities – and increase global visibility for local organizations and companies. Helping to pave the way for early-stage startups to establish roots in Delaware are programs such as Edge Grants, which provide financing support for startups and entrepreneurs; the recently renovated Delaware Innovation Space, which offers private laboratory pods and Phase I research talent support to drive creativity in protected intellectual property; and FastPass and First Fund, which facilitate funding and private investment. Contributing as well is the new headquarters for NIIMBLE (National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing BioPharmaceuticals), which brings together academia, nonprofits and local businesses to research and develop financially self-sustaining manufacturing innovations on the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus.

Cooperation, Collaboration Make Delaware Healthier and More Economically Vital

The nearly 7,000 researchers, programmers, engineers and system analysts employed in the state’s 597 biosciences establishments agree that the spirit of cooperation and collaboration found in Delaware — a state where everybody knows everybody — is “far different here” than it is almost anywhere else.

As featured in the Day 5 video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqKGeilGEP4&feature=emb_logo, Delaware enjoys a long history of being able to financially support the growth of new companies and enable them to move fast with easy access to elected officials and decisionmakers. It also is known for its synergy and collaboration across sectors and geography that brings bioscientists together to focus on what can be done to make Delaware healthier and more economically vital.

“We can’t have a healthy economy without a healthy community,” said Delaware Governor John Carney, who co-chairs the Delaware Prosperity Partnership Board of Directors and opened each Igniting Innovation session. “Delaware’s BioScience community is helping us achieve both for a better future.”

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