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innovation DAILY

Here we highlight selected innovation related articles from around the world on a daily basis.  These articles related to innovation and funding for innovative companies, and best practices for innovation based economic development.


When Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan visited Novavax recently, President and CEO Stanley C. Erck shared some welcome news for the governor publicly: Novavax had more than doubled its workforce so far this year, adding 116 people to the 100 that it employed at the start of 2020.

Image: Kelly M. Schulz, Maryland Secretary of Commerce

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Woman in White T shirt Sitting on Chair Free Stock Photo

Jessica Su got her first taste of how challenging it can be to teach online when Covid-19 hit in the spring. The sociologist videotaped lectures for her first-year seminar on welfare, and hoped a discussion board could replicate the lively conversations she and her students had held in the classroom.

Instead, what she saw felt more transactional. Students responded to her writing prompts. But she couldn’t figure out how to get a conversation going in the discussion forum. Even the comments that students wrote about each other’s posts felt dutiful more than engaging, says Su, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “They were interacting, but not in a meaningful way.”


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bill gates

Antibody drugs that are in testing and were administered to President Trump could significantly reduce the death rate from Covid-19 once they are approved by regulators and more widely available, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said Tuesday.

The drugs, in a class of medicines known as monoclonal antibodies, have shown promise in early-stage patients with Covid-19. “That’s actually pretty exciting,” Mr. Gates told The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit. “The reduction in death rate there could be pretty high, and those will be out in volume by the end of the year, at least in the rich countries.”


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BIO Alabama State s bioscience ecosystem built on collaboration Alabama NewsCenter

The second day of the BIO Alabama Conference covered a range of topics from biotech investors to grant opportunities and scientific research positioning Alabama as a bioscience leader.

BIO Alabama Board Chairman Blair King, HudsonAlpha‘s Amy Sturdivant and BIO Alabama Executive Director Sonia Robinson provided a recap of key takeaways from Day Two panels and speakers:

Image: BIO Alabama Executive Director Sonia Robinson is among those participating in the virtual annual conference. (contributed) -

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Winter will make the pandemic worse Here s what you need to know MIT Technology Review

As we head into the Northern Hemisphere fall with covid-19 still raging in the US and a number of other parts of the world, two data points provide cause for extra concern.

One is that the seasonal flu—a respiratory viral infection like covid-19—is much more active in the winter. Last year in the US, there were 40 times as many flu cases in the fall and winter months as in the previous spring and summer. Historically, those cooler months see tens of times as many seasonal flu infections in temperate regions. (In tropical regions, the flu tends to peak during the rainy season, though not as strongly.)

Image: Clerks in New York City wore masks during the 1918 flu pandemic. NATIONAL ARCHIVES

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Duncan Riley

Venture capital funding in the U.S. surged to its second-highest quarter on record in the third quarter, driven once again by megarounds.

The data released today comes from PwC/CB Insights’ “headline report” of key findings ahead of its full quarterly MoneyTree venture capital report due to be released later this month.

For the third quarter, venture capital funding in the U.S. hit $36.5 billion, up 30% from the second quarter and up 22% year-over-year. The historical record is $40.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018, making the third quarter also the highest quarter for funding in seven quarters.


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As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its 10th month, the pressure to develop an effective vaccine, or vaccines, continues to mount. Speaking at the Johns Hopkins University and University of Washington Vaccine Symposium online, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, scientific head of Operation Warp Speed—the government organization funding and supporting development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines—provided the latest updates on when a vaccine (and how many doses) might be available in coming months.


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Girl Getting Vaccinated Free Stock Photo

New U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance means a COVID-19 vaccine likely will not be approved by Election Day—which could actually be a good thing for public health.

On Oct. 6, the agency posted an industry guidance document on its website asking pharmaceutical companies applying for emergency-use authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine to monitor study subjects for at least two months after vaccination, so they can look for side effects that may arise over time and get a better sense of the shot’s efficacy. That means it’s unlikely any manufacturer will receive authorization before Election Day on Nov. 3, as President Donald Trump has repeatedly pushed for.


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Alon Braun (Author)

The average venture capital firm screens 350 companies and makes only four investments in any given year. A recent study from the Journal of Financial Economics surveyed 885 institutional venture capitalists and 681 firms on how they make their investment decisions. The results showed that when selecting investments, VCs focus more on the management team than business-related characteristics like products or technology. 

More specifically, the management team was mentioned most frequently both as an important factor (by 95 percent of VC firms) and as the most important factor (by 47 percent of VC firms). Business-related factors were also frequently mentioned as important, with business models at 83 percent, product at 74 percent, market at 68 percent and industry at 31 percent. 


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CLSA California Life Sciences Association

California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), the trade association representing California’s life sciences industry, is proud to release the 2020 California Life Sciences Sector Report, which shows that California’s life sciences sector directly employed 323,723 people, generated $191.6 billion in revenue, is projected to attract $6.5 billion in venture capital (VC) and received $4.5 billion in funding from the NIH.


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