• NCBIO News

  • NCBIO announces new board chairman and new members 

    11/12/2020 — Neal Fowler, CEO of Liquidia Technologies, has been named the new chairman of the NCBIO Board of Directors, and five new members have joined the board.  New officers were elected Thursday.  

    “We are very pleased that Neal has agreed to serve as our board chair,” said Sam Taylor, president of NCBIO, the North Carolina Biosciences Organization. “He has deep roots in the state, an outstanding track record and a vision for the industry, health and economy of North Carolina that will serve our members well.” 

    Fowler has had a 30-year career in the pharmaceutical industry. After graduating from pharmacy school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where he also earned an MBA), he became director of sales and marketing at Eli Lilly, a position he held for 13 years. Fowler has held executive positions at Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Johnson & Johnson and Centocor and has served as Liquidia’s CEO since 2008. 


    BIO Business Solutions Spotlight Forum

    Single-use supply chain strategy, moving to an electronic quality management system and applying AI and machine learning to microscopy were the topics discussed during the Virtual BIO Business Solutions Spotlight webinar presented by the NC Biosciences Organization for its members Wednesday, Oct. 28.

    Topics and presenters were:

    • Managing a Single-Use Supply Chain in Support of mAbs, Vaccine, or C&GT Clinical To Commercial Manufacturing by Tim Korwan, Director, New Product Introduction, Biopharma Production Solutions, VWR, part of Avantor
    • Transitioning from a Paper-Based System to an Electronic System by Candice Snine, Business Development Manager, PSC Biotech Corporation
    • Deep Learning and AI--Taking Microscope Imaging and Analysis to the Next Level by Ric Villani, Senior Biosystems Applications Manager, Nikon Instruments

    BIO Business Solutions is the largest cost savings purchasing program for the life sciences industry. It is operated by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization and is available to members of NCBIO. Members can contact Laura Gunter at NCBIO or Bob Dearth at BIO Business Solutions for more information.


    NCBIO Annual Meeting Covers Range of Topics

    Four days of sessions on elections, policies, COVID-19 and more during NCBIO Annual Meeting. BIO CEO  Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath said, “We are living through extraordinary challenges,” during the closing session of NCBIO Annual Meeting. “I  hope it is a turning point in the public’s understanding of why science matters. Biotech and science are the catalysts that will ensure we come out of this pandemic stronger, healthier and more resilient.”

    Gov. Roy Cooper was named BIO’s 2020 Governor of Year by BIO CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath during the NCBIO Annual Meeting. Cooper said NC has become a home for cell and gene therapy manufacturing, and last year the state worked with the industry creating 3600 new jobs. 

    BIO Vice President Dave Thomas reviewed industry response to #COVID-19, noting that over half of the 764 unique drug programs have originated in the US and 72% are by small companies.  

    Great presentations from leaders of Pairwise, Precision Biosciences and Collaborations Pharmaceuticals on new life science technologies during the third session of the NCBIO Annual Meeting followed by a  lively panel discussion on innovation in North Carolina.  

    NCBIO Membership and Government Affairs Director Laura Gunter moderated a lively discussion with Morgan Jackson of Nexus Strategies and Paul Shumaker of Capitol Communications during the opening session of the NCBIO Annual Meeting.

    The second day of the Annual Meeting focused on federal policies impacting the life science industry with leaders of national organizations. COVID-19 and drug pricing were key topics for the discussion.

    Thanks to all the sponsors of the 2020 Annual Meeting.

    Legislative Life Science Caucus Gets Update on Vaccines  

    Members of the NC Legislative Life Science Caucus got international, national, and state updates on COVID-19 vaccines and plans for fall campaigns for the flu vaccinations during the September virtual meeting.


    NCBIO Releases Statement on Trump Administration Order

    NCBIO President Sam Taylor said that President Donald Trump’s Executive Order to adopt international reference pricing for certain prescription pharmaceuticals will threaten pharmaceutical, clinical research and related jobs in North Carolina. Click for release.  Read more in WRAL Techwire.

    Legislative Wrap-Up Forum

    The four Co-ChairsThe four Co-Chairs of the General Assembly’s Life Science Caucus had a lively discussion with  NCBIO President Sam Taylor during the NCBIO Legislative Wrap-Up Forum August 24.  The legislators emphasized the importance of the economic impact of the industry in North Carolina and its importance in finding treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 during the pandemic.  They also discussed budget issues that the State may be facing.

    Panel on Federal  Rare Disease Priority Review Voucher Program

    Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC-1st) is the primary sponsor of the legislation to permanently extend the Rare Disease Priority Review Voucher Program, which expires September 30th.  Rep. Butterfield told participants in the virtual event that the program has provided “incentives for treatment and cures,” that are critical  for young children, noting that the development of a new drug is costly  and this voucher program does not cost taxpayers any money.

    NCBIO President Sam Taylor moderated the panel.  Other panelists were: Mark Davis, the parent of a young son with the rare disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), Tara Britt, Founder and President of the Rare Disease Innovations Institute and Jamie Gregorian of BIO.


    Lab Space Forum 

    COVID-19 has impacted the demand for lab space in the North Carolina, but the state is continuing to see growth because its quality of life and lower costs, especially as compared to Boston and the West Coast. The positive assessment was one conclusion offered by panelists participating in NCBIO’s member forum on lab space, held digitally on July 16. Thanks to CSC LeasingEvans General Contractors, Humboldt and Lee & Associates for sponsoring this Forum.  And thanks to the panel.

    BMF Members Hear about Steps to Help Workers Return after Staying at Home During COVID-19 Pandemic

    Jeff Gagnon and Kay Barrett of Cushman & Wakefield talked with NCBIO Biotech Manufacturers Forum members about steps to take in helping employees return to work along with information about challenges they face in working from home.  

    Life Science Caucus Hears about COVID Research and Company Expansion

    The Legislative Life Science Caucus got another virtual update in June concerning new developments in the State’s life science sector. Dr. Timothy Sheahan, of the UNC-CH Gillings School of Public Health, briefed legislators on the School’s ongoing program of coronavirus research. Alex Graham, Vice President, Global Sales & Marketing Operations, with ThermoFisher Scientific, said the contract manufacturing company is working on 200 projects related to COVID-19.  He reviewed the company’s various operations across the State, including operations in Weaverville, High Point, Research Triangle Park, and Greenville.  

    NCBIO Holds Virtual Medical Device Forum

    Medical Devices: Product Strategy and Implications was the focus of NCBIO's first virtual forum. Members heard about  the technologies and commercialization activities at local biomedical engineering programs and from companies commercializing new technologies. Thanks to ShareVault and Smith Anderson for sponsoring the event.

    Leadership Development Focus of BMF Meeting

    Three NCBIO Biotech Manufacturers Forum (BMF) members shared leadership development strategies their sites use in growing and developing leaders.  

    Vinay Khanna (Merck), Darren Alfono (Novozymes), and Jonathan Kegerise (Seqirus)

    IP Lifeblood of Bioscience Industry

    Intellectual Property protection, drug pricing and artificial intelligence are key topics for people working in the life science intellectual property space according to the panel discussion for the NCBIO Life Science Luncheon and Forum on February 19. 

    Moderated by Julie Meigs, J.D., Ph.D., Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson, and panelists

    • Shawn Glidden, J.D., Vice President Legal Affairs & Secretary, Liquidia Technologies
    • Gary Pace, J.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Cell Microsystems
    • Mike Penn, J.D., Principal Counsel, Intellectual Property & Litigation, Amgen
    • Tim Wilson, J.D., Director, Patents, SAS

    Thank you to our sponsors: Aon; Hughes Pittman & Gupton; Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt; and Womble Bond Dickinson. 

    Trends in Biomanufacturing

    Single use systems, continuous manufacturing, use of data, and modular construction units were among the topics discussed at the Biomanufacturers Forum meeting.  Thanks to Rich Motruk (Kymanox), Stephen Perry (Kymanox), Keith Fritsky (Gore PharmBio Products, and Raj Vora (DPR Construction) for making the presentations to the group.

    Changing Landscapes for Clinical Trials

    Analytics, virtual clinical trials, more diversity in participants, adaptive designs and other topics were discussed during the NCBIO Luncheon and Forum on “Clinical Trials: Changing Landscapes and Potential Pitfalls. Panelist Matt Becker of SAS talked about the use of “real world data” and simulations to optimize patient selection and recruitment.  

    Christina Cocciardo of PPD defined some of the challenges with adaptive designs and novel approaches to clinical trials, noting there is a reluctance to depart from traditional designs. “Optimizing Diversity in Clinical Trials” was the focus of the presentation by Allison Kalloo of Clinical Ambassador Health.  Karen Makhuli of G1Therapeutics served as moderator for the panel discussion.  For more information about the event, contact Amber Niebauer.

    Thanks to ChubbPwC and Wyrick Robbins for sponsoring the event.  If your organization would like to sponsor and NCBIO event in 2020, contact Laura Gunter.

    NCBIO Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary as Part of the Annual Meeting

    Tributes from partnering organizations, staff cutting a cake, and a slide show highlighting NCBIO work were all part of the 25th anniversary celebration.

    Workplace Safety and Human Performance Focus of Safety Summit

    Todd Conklin challenged participants at the NCBIO Biotech Manufacturers Safety Summit to change some of their traditional views about safety in the workplace.  Conklin, author of Simple Revolutionary Acts: Ideas to Revitalize Yourself and Your Workplace, said that the traditional viewpoint is that “Workers are the problem to be fixed.”  He countered that “Workers are not the problem. They are the problem solvers.” He talked about the importance of encouraging workers understand their environments noting that “Safety is not the absence of accidents rather safety is the presence of defenses.”  Conklin reinforced the importance of “shifting thinking from who failed to what failed.”

    Peter Self, Associate Director, Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability, at Biogen opened the day’s activities noting the importance of integrating human performance principles into Biogen’s operations, which helps drive continuous improvement.  Biogen was a sponsor of the event and also served as the host site for the Summit. 

    Tom Wilson, the sole survivor of a plane crash in Canada that killed seven other people, talked about the importance of courage. Wilson is author of a book about his experience, Moments of Impact.  He talked about the importance of individuals taking a risk and having the courage to speak up when they recognize a safety issue. He noted that if he or others had spoken up about the weather problems the day of the plane flight, the crash could have been avoided.  He outlined 10 areas for hazard and safety identification.

    Jennifer Bailey with Alabama Power Company & Southern Company outlined steps her organization has taken to help change behavior, encouraging reporting of incidents and using positive reinforcement to break down barriers to safety, which in-turn have significantly reduced significant injury and fatality rates.

    Roger Paules and Ray Best of Duke Energy discussed steps the organization takes to help companies with emergency and disaster situations.

    Thanks to BiogenDuke Energy and the NCBIO Biotech Manufacturers Forum (BMF) members for sponsoring this event. 


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