Medical device company raises $12.3 million, plans move to Atlanta
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 12:00 AM

Dune Medical Devices, a metro Philadelphia-based company dedicated to identifying microscopic residual cancer, is moving its U.S. headquarters to Atlanta.

The company also closed a $12.3 million funding round on July 6. Investors included Canepa Healthcare, ATON Partners and the Kraft Group.

Dune's MarginProbe System is used during breast cancer lumpectomy procedures to test whether the surgery has removed all the cancerous cells.

Typically, women must wait at least five to seven days after the procedure to see if physicians "got it all," and currently 20 to 30 percent of those who undergo lumpectomies will need a second surgery.

"That's really the challenge that's out there, and it's a huge cost to the health-care system as well as a pretty big stress to the patient," said Lori Chmura, CEO of Dune Medical Devices. "It's really important to get all the cancer out the first time."

MarginProbe has shown to reduce re-excision rates up to 79 percent. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the device in 2012, and it already has been used on 10,000 patients.

MarginProbe uses a proprietary radiofrequency spectroscopy platform that also has potential to be applied to a variety of other cancers.

"It essentially uses radio frequency fields to reflect what the differences are between cancer and non-cancer," Chmura said. "."[The device] looks like a pen. You put it up to the tissue once the specimen is removed and the system acquires and delivers a signal that says whether it's cancerous or not."

Dune's technology has attracted attention worldwide, and last year it received a grant of three million euros from EU Horizon 2020 to continue developing the technology.

"Our goal is to make this a standard of care in breast conservation surgery," Chmura said. "We're in the process right now of developing technology to be able to detect microscopic residual cancer for other types of cancer as well."

After breast cancer, Dune will focus on prostate cancer. The company's goal is to expand MarginProbe's capabilities to endoscopic, laparoscopic and robotic surgeries for cancers like pancreatic, lung, gastrointestinal and colon cancers.

Originally founded in Israel, Dune is in the process of moving its U.S. headquarters from metro Philadelphia to Alpharetta, where it has leased office space on Windward Parkway. The office will start with five to seven full-time employees and grow with time, Chmura said.

"Atlanta has shown to be very open to working with Israeli startup companies, which is important to us," Chmura said. "We are moving our headquarters to Alpharetta to really capitalize on the health IT market as well as the benefits of [the Southeastern Medical Device Association, located in Norcross, Ga.], the Global Center for Medical Innovation and some of the other great medical device organizations in Atlanta."



BIO Adopts Principles on Workplace Development, Diversity, and Inclusion; Launches Board WDDI Commit
Wednesday, July 05, 2017 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) released a set of principles on workforce development, diversity, and inclusion (WDDI) for the biotechnology industry. Concurrent with the adoption of these principles, BIO established a board-level WDDI Committee charged with working to foster workforce development, diversity, and inclusion at BIO and throughout the biotech industry. The Committee will be chaired by Helen Torley, President & CEO of Halozyme, who is succeeding Julie Gerberding, Executive Vice President & Chief Patient Officer at Merck, who led the Committee as it developed BIO’s WDDI principles over the last year.

“As a leader of the 21st century innovation economy, it is critical that the biotech industry also be at the forefront of efforts to develop an effective, diverse and talented global workforce,” said BIO President & CEO Jim Greenwood. “BIO is proud to announce the formation of the WDDI Committee, which will lead our efforts to attract the best and brightest talents from diverse backgrounds to biotech careers, foster an inclusive industry culture, and, most importantly, enable biotech companies and their employees to understand, interact with, and ultimately provide treatment to a diverse patient population with the cultural competency required for success.”

The principles on WDDI adopted today by BIO’s Board of Directors state that BIO considers diversity to be essential to the success of the biotechnology industry. BIO commits itself to, and encourages the industry to follow, these principles on workforce development, diversity, and inclusion:

    1.   BIO believes that our members’ products and services should be intended to address the needs of a diverse population.
    2.   BIO believes that diversity in all aspects of business operations will optimize the continued growth and success of the biotechnology industry.
    3.   BIO will champion workforce development, diversity and inclusion as a way to attract, develop and retain the employee talent pool within the globally competitive biotechnology industry.
    4.   BIO will lead by example and be outward-facing in our diversity efforts, and will incorporate diversity and inclusion into all aspects of BIO operations: in communications and membership engagement, at BIO events through programming and education, and in the composition of the Board of Directors and its committees.
    5.   BIO will engage with external partners to broaden the reach and incorporation of diversity throughout the biotechnology ecosystem.
    6.   Definitions. For purposes of these Principles, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth below:




  Diversity is defined as the wide-range of similarities and differences among persons and perspectives, and follows guidelines established by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.




  Inclusion is defined as the process of creating a business culture and environment that recognizes and effectively leverages the talents, skills, and perspectives of diverse employees.




  Workforce development is defined as the process of ensuring all employees have the opportunities to develop the capabilities and skills required to meet the challenging needs in the biotechnology industry.

“Adopting these principles is an important first step in BIO’s work to ensure that the biotechnology industry is an employer of choice for talented individuals from all backgrounds,” said Julie Gerberding, Executive Vice President and Chief Patient Officer at Merck. “This week, the BIO International Convention will showcase the breadth and depth of talent our industry has to offer, and the Convention programming reflects that diversity. Going forward under Helen’s leadership, the Committee will work with professionals within the biotech industry, BIO staff, and partner organizations to fulfill our mission to create a more globally competitive biotechnology industry by promoting and enhancing workforce development, diversity, and inclusion.”

The 2017 BIO International Convention features three panels on the importance of WDDI in the biotechnology industry:

  • Invest in Diversity to Drive Innovation – Wednesday, June 21 at 10:45 am
  • An Issue Not to be Ignored: Diversity in Clinical Trials – Wednesday, June 21 at 1:45 pm
  • Career and Personal Paths to the Corporate Boardroom, presented by Women in Bio – Thursday, June 22 at 11:00 am

To learn more about BIO’s WDDI efforts, visit

It’s a Wrap-BIO 2017 Delivers Again
Wednesday, July 05, 2017 12:00 AM

Breaking all previous records, BIO 2017 hosted over 41,400 partnering meetings during this year’s event. Facilitated by BIO’s unique One-on-One Partnering™ system, these invaluable connections form the foundation of innovative industry collaborations and scientific breakthroughs. That word—breakthrough—was heard and seen throughout the Convention Center in San Diego from June 19 – 22. “Breakthrough” reflects the innovation and exciting advancement in the biotech sector.

The annual event drew 16,123 biotech leaders from around the globe and provided attendees with unique perspectives on the immense opportunities and complex challenges ahead for the industry.

David Cameron, the former Prime Minister of the UK, and Ann Romney, the wife of Mitt Romney and a staunch patient advocate delivered keynote addresses that touched on challenges in both the political and health arenas.


BIO 2017 included over 1,800 exhibitors, more than 800 speakers at 400 educational sessions and company presentations, and seven fireside chats. The breadth and depth of offerings and the networking opportunities afforded by having thousands of industry stakeholders continue to make the Convention the premiere event for the biotechnology industry.

This year’s International Convention was co-hosted by BiocomCalifornia Life Sciences Association (CLSA) and Southern California Biomedical Council (SoCalBio).

The 2018 BIO International Convention will return to Boston, MA from June 4 – 7 to celebrate 25 years of innovation.

Philadelphia, PA will host the 2019 BIO International Convention from June 3 – 6.

In 2020, BIO returns for the fourth time to San Diego from June 8 – 11!

One Health Holds the Key to Preventing the Next Pandemic
Wednesday, July 05, 2017 12:00 AM

Can we combat disease threats before they even emerge?  In the fight against infectious diseases, understanding where outbreaks are most likely to happen and under which circumstances can help us develop tools to address risk to potentially prevent the next pandemic. 

This theme was explored at BIO’s International Convention on Monday, June 19, during its “One Health Day” programming, which brought together different parts of the BIO family with sessions focused on issues linking human, animal and environmental health. 

The One Health concept examines the connectivity between infectious diseases, the health of plants and animals, the health and safety of the environment and food security issues.  All of these play a role in contributing to or controlling and preventing the threat of disease outbreaks. To be effective, prevention mechanisms need to address all of these areas and be put in place cooperatively by government, industry and academia on a global scale.

“Seventy-five percent of emerging diseases such as Ebola or Zika come from animals,” said Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) via video message. Franken is a sponsor of legislation aimed at breaking down silos between human and animal health programs. “The biotechnology industry has an important role to play here.  And your convention is a great example of One Health in action.”

In addition to Senator Franken, session speakers included:

  • Dr. William Karesh, Executive Vice President for Health and Policy at EcoHealth Alliance
  • Dr. Carsten Brunn, Bayer’s Head of Pharmaceuticals, Americas Region
  • Frank Terhorst, Bayer’s Global Head of Seeds
  • Dr. Eddie Sullivan, President, CEO and Co-Founder, SAB Biotherapeutics Inc., and Chairman, BIO Food & Ag Section Governing Board (moderator)
  • Dr. Laura Kahn, Research Scholar, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University and Co-Founder, One Health Initiative
  • Dr. Nikos Gurfield, Adjunct Professor of Pathology, UC San Diego and County Veterinarian, San Diego County Vector Disease and Diagnostic Laboratory
  • Adrianne Massey, Managing Director for Science and Regulatory Affairs, Food & Agriculture, BIO
  • Phyllis Arthur, Managing Director, Infectious Diseases and Diagnostics Policy, BIO
  • Joanne Duncan, President, Membership and Business Operations Division, BIO 

Dr. Carsten Brunn, Phyllis Arthur, Dr. Adrianne Massey, Dr. William Karesh and Frank Terhorst.

“One Heath action requires the efforts of more than just policymakers, academics and practitioners. It is dependent on engagement, and often leadership, from civil society and the private sector,” said Dr. Karesh, who pointed to international efforts such as The Global Virome Project, a global cooperative scientific initiative aimed at massively lowering the risk of harm from future viral outbreaks over 10 years. 

“One Health impacts economic health,” explained Karesh. “The costs associated with a disease outbreak aren’t just healthcare costs, but also the costs associated with loss of trade and social disruption.”

At BIO, we’re working to breakdown the silos between plant, animal and human health to leverage the potential of One Health. 

“Biotechnology is inherently interdisciplinary,” said BIO’s Adrianne Massey, “and BIO is a logical home for exploring the One Health concept and addressing the connectivity between animal health and human health.

BIO Applauds Bipartisan Introduction of Renewable Chemicals Tax Credit
Wednesday, July 05, 2017 12:00 AM

Washington, D.C. (June 30, 2017) – The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) today thanked Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Reps. Ryan Costello (R-PA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Linda Sánchez (D-CA) for introducing the Renewable Chemicals Act of 2017. The legislation, if enacted, would create a targeted, short-term tax credit for production of qualifying renewable chemicals from biomass or investment in production facilities. Applicants for the tax credit would be evaluated on job creation, innovation, environmental benefits, commercial viability and contribution to U.S. energy independence.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, stated, “The Biotechnology Innovation Organization and its members thank Representatives Pascrell, Costello, Fitzpatrick and Sanchez for supporting innovation and helping U.S. companies compete in a rapidly growing global renewable chemicals market. Industrial biotechnology is helping renewable chemical producers innovate, revitalize domestic manufacturing, and bring new energy efficient products to market. That in turn is creating millions of new jobs and opportunities for economic growth. This new legislation will help U.S. companies capture their fair share of worldwide growth in renewable chemical production.”

Mark Schweiker, Senior Vice President of Renmatix, located in King of Prussia, Pa., commented, “There is clear momentum for the biobased industry to commercialize cost-competitive pathways to bio-materials and renewable chemicals. This bill will help leverage a variety of under-utilized, non-food biomass in America for conversion into renewable materials. Stimulating the nascent U.S. renewable chemicals market will reinvigorate rural economies and create sustainable jobs.” 

Hugh Welsh, President of DSM NA, headquartered in Parsippany, N.J., added, “We are grateful for Congressman Pascrell’s continued leadership and vision on innovation, renewable chemicals and a US manufacturing renaissance as reflected in his sponsorship of the Renewable Chemicals Act of 2017. This legislation will further support employment, economic growth and continue to encourage global companies like DSM to make additional investments in New Jersey and the entire United States.”

About BIO

BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.

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