Nano Bio Fund Aims to Put Maryland at the Forefront of the Next Biotech Revolution

Annapolis Reception to Highlight USM's Nano Bio Research, Jan. 15

ADELPHI, Md. (January 14, 2008) - Since 2005, a little known state fund has been nurturing Maryland's "small scale" revolution in health research and bioengineering. The Nano Bio Fund, administered through a partnership of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) and the University System of Maryland (USM), is sponsoring research across the university system that integrates the fields of nanotechnology and biotechnology to propel Maryland to the forefront of this next technological and economic wave.

DBED and USM look forward to a third year of State support in FY 2009 and are hosting a reception in Annapolis on Tuesday, January 15, 2008, to introduce legislators to the promise and the results of Nano Bio Fund-sponsored research. The reception will held from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Room 170 of the Lowe House Office Building, 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis. USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan and DBED Secretary David Edgerley will be joined by Governor Martin O'Malley, who will announce his biotech funding proposal for FY 2009.

"Maryland is undoubtedly poised to become a national leader in the rapidly emerging industry of nano-biotechnology," said Governor O'Malley. "With a workforce of professionals and technicians ranked number one in the nation, unprecedented state investment in bioscience infrastructure, and leading private, state, and federal research institutions, we can expect remarkable life-saving discoveries as we simultaneously strengthen our workforce and economy."

"The merger of nanotechnology and biotechnology has created what is perhaps the most exciting scientific and economic development opportunity since the information technology revolution," said Chancellor Kirwan, whose advocacy was critical to the creation of the fund. "Maryland has the enviable advantage of being an R&D powerhouse with federal labs and agencies in close proximity, world-recognized research institutions, and a private sector poised to commercialize scientific advances. The fund is vital to making Maryland a world leader in the emerging nano-biotechnology arena."

Established by the State of Maryland in FY 2007, the Nano Bio Fund has provided a total $4.9 million for 11 research projects at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP); University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC); University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute (UMBI); and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

The fund, which is overseen by the Maryland NanoCenter at UMCP's A. James Clark School of Engineering, is leveraging its state support and has stimulated additional outside research grants. In 2006, the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation gave more than $1 million to fund a cross-disciplinary group of researchers from the Clark School, UMBI, and the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy working to develop a nanoscale biochip that will serve as a tiny drug discovery laboratory.

Nano-biotechnology unites the field of nanotechnology-engineering devices and materials at the level of molecules and atoms-with fields such as medical diagnosis, pharmaceutical development and delivery, environmental science, and biodefense to create new "smart" materials and technologies that can work at the microscopic scale of a cell or smaller. Nano-biotechnology promises to make medical cures and therapies more "tailored" and targeted to patients' needs; early detection and prevention of disease more precise; and the monitoring and remediation of environmental toxins more effective.

"Venture analysts believe the first broad applications of nanotechnology technologies and products will likely come in the medical field," said Brian Darmody, USM's special assistant vice chancellor for technology development. "Maryland is well-suited to capitalize on this sector, given the large academic health centers in Baltimore and the strong engineering and nanotechnology programs and resources at College Park, UMBC, the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda."

For more information about nano-biotechnological research across USM, visit the following sites:

Center for Nanomedicine and Cellular Delivery at University of Maryland, Baltimore

Medical Biotechnology Center at University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute

Maryland NanoCenter at University of Maryland, College Park


Contact: John Buettner
Phone: 301.445.2719