When talk turns to Maryland’s biotech bonafides, the ideas and talent being produced by government institutions like NIH, and research-oriented universities with connected health systems such as Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland are often toward the top of the list of assets.
Not far behind are the big companies that call the area home. The region plays host to a group of companies creating vaccines and other therapies that made the progress required to launch an initial public offering, and the group has gained some new members over the last five years. While many are concentrated around Gaithersburg and Rockville, the anchor companies have impact on entrepreneurship and economic growth around the state.
Let’s take a look:
Altimmune (Nasdaq: ALT)
The clinical stage company has candidate vaccines treating anthrax and the flu. Founded as Vaxin, the company spun out of research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham before relocating to Gaithersburg in 2012. It later changed its name to Altimmune and merged with Annapolis-based PharmAthene in 2017.
Cannabics Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: CNBX)
The state’s recent foray into medical cannabis meets its long-standing expertise in health with this Bethesda-based company. The company is developing cannabinoid medicine treating cancer and its side effects. It also has a tech-driven drug discovery platform.
CASI Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CASI)
The Rockville-based company developing pharmaceuticals and cancer treatments was originally called EntreMed and became associated with the biotech bubble after touting a major cancer breakthrough in treating tumors on mice in the late 1990s that did not extend to humans and resulted in deep cuts. In 2014, the company changed its name as leaders looked toward a new focus on the Chinese market. Last week, the company announced a $48.5 million raise through a private placement of stock.
Cerecor (Nasdaq: CERC)
The Baltimore-based company is looking to focus drug development efforts on pediatric healthcare. Its clinical-stage treatment candidates are designed to treat patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders. In April, the company hired former MedImmune president and Sucampo Pharmaceuticals CEO Peter Greenleaf as CEO. Following a pair of acquisitions, the Baltimore Business Journal reported the Inner Harbor–headquartered firm was the fastest-growing public company in the Baltimore area from 2016-17.
Emergent Biosolutions (NYSE: EBS)
The Gaithersburg-based company is spreading its growth to both of the state’s metro areas through a pair of manufacturing facilities in Baltimore city. Among a host of vaccine and pharmaceutical products are biodefense-focused vaccine treating anthrax (which received FDA approval) and ricin. Along with biodefense, it’s also playing a role in developing and producing treatments for infectious diseases that threaten public health including Ebola, Zika virus and Lassa virus. The company made a recent move into opioid treatment with acquisition of NARCAN maker Adapt Pharma.
GlycoMimetics (Nasdaq: GLYC)
The clinical stage company is developing candidate treatments for sickle cell disease, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and multiple myeloma, among other diseases. The company raised $128.4 million in a public offering of stock earlier this year as it works toward key later-stag clinical trials.
Intrexon Corporation (Nasdaq: XON)
Run by biotech billionaire Randal J. Kirk, the Germantown-based company specializes in synthetic biology, designing living systems that keep apples and avocados from browning, “friendly” mosquitoes that limit population and could form the basis for cancer treatments. While it’s been public since 2013, the company recently switched tickers with a jump to the Nasdaq exchange. Bonus: it has the domain name dna.com.
— intrexon (@Intrexon) September 12, 2018
MacroGenics (Nasdaq: MGNX)
The clinical stage biopharmaceutical company has 10 therapeutic treatments in its pipeline that address cancer, autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases. Last year, the company announced plans to expand a manufacturing facility within its Rockville headquarters.
MaxCyte (LON: MXCT)
The Gaithersburg-based company made the move to enter the London stock exchange in 2016. Along with offering a cell engineering platform to pharma companies, it has a collaboration with Johns Hopkins’ Kimmel Cancer Center to develop CAR T-cell therapies and another with Washington University in St. Louis to develop immunotherapy treatments called CARMA.
The Gaithersburg company hasn’t had a ticker symbol of its own for a decade, as a result of a 2007 acquisition by Astra Zeneca. But it remains one of the region’s larger biotech players, with more than 130 biologics treatments in R&D. Last year, it showed continued network effect by spinning out a Gaithersburg-based company called Viela Bio, which will focus on developing biologics for inflammation and autoimmunity.
Neuralstem (Nasdaq: CUR)
The Germantown-based company, whose management team includes NIH scientists Karl Johe and Thomas Hazel, harnesses stem cell technology to develop treatments for neural disorders. A notable news item from 2013 involved working with the NFL alumni on a trial for a treatment for traumatic brain disorders. The company had change at the top over the summer, as Jim Scully stepped into the top job on an interim basis, succeeding Richard Daly.
Novavax (Nasdaq: NVAX)
The Gaithersburg-based vaccine company is among the most-watched on the list, with a flu vaccine for older adults and a vaccine for a respiratory virus called RSV that is a cause of pneumonia in infants. The latter was funded by an $89 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and given fast-track status by the FDA.
OpGen (Nasdaq: OPGN)
The Gaithersburg-based company looks to address the infections that resist antibiotics within hospitals and healthcare facilities. It makes a database that brings together molecular tests, informatics, genomic analysis and other patient data.
Orgenesis (Nasdaq: ORGS)
Specializing in cell therapy treatments which involves injecting cells into a patient, the Silver Spring company also has a manufacturing subsidiary called MasTherCell. The company went public in 2012, and also made the switch to Nasdaq this year.
Osiris Therapeutics (Nasdaq: OSIR)
The Columbia-based company focuses on regenerative medicine products in wound care, orthopedics, and sports medicine. It received the first approval of a manufactured stem cell product in 2012. The company spent a period out of public trading after being de-listed in 2017 following an SEC investigation into the company, then returned in August.
REGENXBIO (Nasdaq: RGNX)
The Rockville company is the newest among this group focuses on developing gene therapy. Having IPO’d in 2015, the company raised a fresh $175.5 million through a common stock offering that closed in August. It also picked up $100 million in June through a license payment due to an acquisition of a company licensing a candidate treatment for spinal muscular atrophy.
Rexahn Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: RNN)
The Rockville-based company specializes in therapeutics to treat types of cancer that may be drug-resistant or difficult to treat. The clinical stage company has a trio of products in its pipeline. It kicked off the year by appointing Douglas J. Swirsky as the new President and CFO.
Senseonics (NYSE: SENS)
The Gaithersburg company is making an implantable glucose monitoring system for people with diabetes, and recently received pre-market FDA approval.
Supernus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SUPN)
The Rockville company focuses on diseases of the central nervous system. Last week, it added to its portfolio with a deal to acquire Miami-based Biscayne Neurotherapeutics, which is developing a treatment for epilepsy. The deal could be valued at $183 million.
Synthetic Biologics (NYSE: SYN)
This Rockville-based company made a gut call. It seeks to develop treatments by preserving the gut microbiome, which is the environment of microbes in the intestine. One treatment is getting a new study, as the company announced a partnership with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to take a closer look at a treatment for an underlying cause of irritable bowel syndrome
United Therapeutics Corporation (Nasdaq: UTHR)
One of the longest tenured on the public market on this list, United went public in 1999. The company has also moved beyond clinical stage, with five treatments on the market that received FDA approval. Many of the company’s products address a form of high blood pressure called pulmonary arterial hypertension.