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Bioscience summit to be held in Morgantown

Brett Hall to be keynote speaker

CHARLESTON — A keynote speaker has been announced for the ninth annual West Virginia Bioscience Summit on April 25 at the Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place.

Brett Hall, who received his doctorate in cancer biology from West Virginia University, resides in San Diego and is president of Trans Medical Sciences, chief scientific officer for Immuneering and is chairman of the board for BioArkive.

“It starts with one,” said Bryan Brown, executive director of the West Virginia Bioscience Association. “One idea, one researcher, one discovery, one entrepreneur — like Dr. Brett Hall — is all it takes to make significant change that helps patients, spurs innovation and facilitates economic progress in West Virginia’s life science sector.”

The Bioscience Summit will highlight progress being made in the biotech industry in West Virginia and feature experts discussing strategies to develop life science businesses here, Brown said.

Topics include the implementation of the federal Opportunity Zone Program and the recent passage of legislation to create a state matching program for Small Business Innovation Research grants. Both programs will help facilitate investment in the life science, technology and research and development industries.

Other discussion will include legislative leaders on initiatives to help entrepreneurs and vaccine development at WVU. Among other speakers are:

* Richard Giersch, CEO of Valtari Bio and Director of WVU Innovations.

* F. Heath Damron, director of the Vaccine Development Center at WVU.

* Matt Powell, co-founder and chief operating officer of New River Labs.

* Zach Wright, founder and chief executive officer of SwifTAG Systems.

* Mark McLaughlin, executive vice president of Modulation Therapeutics Inc.

* Frank Binder, president of Microbiological Consultants.

* Matt Harbaugh, managing director of Mountain State Capital.

* Ryan Thorn, director of economic development for Sen. Joe Manchin.

* Olen York, co-founding director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, Marshall University Lewis College of Business.

* Aaron Sporck, director of economic development for Sen. Shelley Moore Capito.

* Jeanne Bonds, Community Development Office, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

* Wesley White, deputy secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce.

* Josh Cook, WV Forward Research Fellow, WVU.

“Entrepreneurs and researchers in any technology or life science field will benefit from the programming offered at this year’s conference,” said Brown. “Economic developers, investors, policy makers and technical assistance providers will benefit as well.”

The conference will begin at 8:45 a.m. with the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute Networking Breakfast and end with the Life Science Research Showcase and Reception. The reception features faculty-led research teams, academicians, clinicians and companies from around the state showcasing their work.

The conference is sponsored by West Virginia University, Mylan, VWR, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, TechConnect West Virginia, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Novartis, Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

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