The Maryland-District of Columbia-Virginia region (MD-DC-VA) – home to federal agencies that underwrite publicly funded research and regulate the biomedical and biotechnology industries—is beset with biotech envy. Leaders from local universities and companies want it to become an entrepreneurial powerhouse within the industry, more on a par with Cambridge, Mass., San Francisco or San Diego, and they are taking steps to implement those hopes.

Working together for biodiversity:Regional and international initiatives contributing to achieving and measuring progress towards the target.In adopting the Strategic Plan for the Convention, the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) made the commitment to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level, as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth. In paragraph 3 of decision VII/31, the COP decided that at each of its meetings until 2010, as part of its multi-year programme of work, it should assess developments, including obstacles, in achieving the goals of the Strategic Plan and making progress towards the achievement of the Convention’s 2010 target and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

To capitalize on the region’s significant human capital and resources driving health innovation, BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI) and ProductSavvy, in partnership with Montgomery County Department of Economic Development (DED), are launching a health technology accelerator program named, “Relevant Health.” The accelerator will consist of a five-month intensive program focused on preparing eight early-stage health-related businesses for pilot product testing and financing. The program is scheduled to launch in September 2015 and will be located in the Rockville Innovation Center, part of the Montgomery County incubator network.

Montgomery County was more of a biotech center not so many years ago, says Ivor Royston, founding managing partner of Forward Ventures in San Diego and co-founder of Hybritech, also of San Diego and the first biotech company (gobbled up many years ago by Eli Lilly) to take shape in that city. “Why did the companies leave?” he asks broadly, while referring specifically to the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI)—not exactly a biotech company, but never mind. JCVI formed in 2006 in Rockville, MD, but subsequently moved many operations to San Diego.

BioHealth Innovation, Inc., is a regional innovation intermediary focused on commercializing market-relevant bio-health innovations and increasing access to early-stage funding in Maryland. BHI is known for providing commercial assistance to scientists and founders, educating and infusing Maryland’s life science community with new and young entrepreneurs and fueling startups within Central Maryland’s bio-ecosystem by connecting young companies to funding and business resources.

These two groups have planned to join activities for the next year,Cabrera says that the US-based leaders group already hatched a start-up of its own, a cohort of young researchers, MBA types and lawyers who plan to develop a microfluidics device for testing the side effects of antibiotics. She also said, “It’s not just a one-time thing.”