NewsWatch: Aeras names Connolly new CEO and president
The Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation, a Rockville nonprofit developing low-cost tuberculosis vaccines, has named James E. Connolly president and CEO, succeeding Jerald Sadoff, who resigned in March.
Connolly, who most recently was executive vice president and general manager of Wyeth Vaccines, is to join Aeras on Aug. 9.
"Leading Aeras provides an exciting opportunity to apply all that I have learned during more than 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry to one of the world's most pressing challenges: Freeing the world of tuberculosis, which continues to kill almost 2 million people each year," Connolly said in a statement.
Aeras, with 140 employees, relies on foundation grants $62.9 million in 2008 for the bulk of its funding. Its major backer has been the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Last year, Aeras added a $12 million vaccine-manufacturing unit at its headquarters.
Biotech tax credit draws investors online
More than 100 prospective investors in small Maryland biotechs applied online Thursday for a slice of state's $8 million investment tax credit program, state officials reported.
In previous years, biotech executives camped out on line for up to five days to apply for the credit. For fiscal 2011, which started Thursday, investors were allowed to apply online for the first time.
"The Biotechnology Tax Credit Program has provided tremendous support and financial stability to many emerging biotechnology companies with lifesaving missions, and it was critical that we develop a more efficient way for investors to submit applications," said Christian S. Johansson, secretary of the state Department of Business and Economic Development, in a statement.
The $8 million in tax credits translates into at least $16 million in investments for qualifying companies, said Judith Britz, executive director of the Maryland Biotechnology Center. The program has provided $30 million in tax credits since its launch in fiscal 2007, helping more than 40 Maryland biotechs and leveraging more than $60 million in private investment.
Hello Ravens fans, goodbye Redskins
Annapolis radio station WNAV, 1430 AM, has signed an agreement to broadcast Baltimore Ravens games next season, after almost two decades as an affiliate of the Washington Redskins network, the station said.
The decision was made based on the results of a survey of both listeners and advertisers this year in addition to other market data with the outcome "overwhelmingly" favoring a switch to Ravens games.
"We've thought about this for a number of years" said Steve Hopp, vice president and general manager of WNAV.
The station is operated by Sajak Broadcasting of Annapolis, owned by "Wheel of Fortune" TV host Pat Sajak. The station is the hometown station for Navy football, basketball and lacrosse, and an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Wizards networks. It also broadcasts Bowie Baysox games.
Espy-Wilson wins StartRight! grand prize
Carol Espy-Wilson, founder of OmniSpeech of College Park, won the $10,000 EagleBank grand prize this year in Rockville Economic Development's StartRight! Women's Business Plan Competition.
OmniSpeech has developed a novel speech extraction technology to reduce background noise picked up by devices such as wireless phones, making a caller's voice clearer and more easily understood, according to company information. The technology also can be applied to a wide range of other audio and voice-oriented commercial devices, including hearing aids.
The award also includes one year of virtual incubator membership from the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, and nine months of a customized virtual office solution from Intelligent Office. The Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy and Ecker $5,000 second-place prize went to Barbara Haupt, president, and Elissa Leif, CEO, of MiniMatters, a Silver Spring web video marketing company.
Other awards, worth $2,500, went to Richelle Burnett, founder and CEO, Madison Assessment of Washington, D.C., and Laura Levengard and Beth Novick, co-founders of Gold Star Bakers of Silver Spring.
McCormick invests $35M for stake in India firm
Spice-maker McCormick & Co. of Sparks has signed an agreement to purchase a minority share of 26 percent in Eastern Condiments Private Ltd., a spice and seasoning business in Kerala, India, for about $35 million.
As a supplier of branded packaged spices and seasonings, Eastern has grown rapidly since its inception in 1989. The business has operated profitably in each of the last 10 years and achieved annual sales of $67 million in the year ended March with the average annual growth rate exceeding 25 percent for the past three years, according to McCormick information.
M.E. Meeran, chairman of Eastern, said of McCormick, in a statement: "Their global presence will accelerate our efforts to bring authentic products to Indian consumers in international locations as well as introduce other consumers to Indian cuisine."
AAI wins up to $47.5M with Air Force contract
AAI Corp. of Huntsville, a provider of aerospace system technology, has received a five-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity award with a total potential value of $47.5 million from the Air Force's 84th Combat Sustainment Wing at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah.
The first delivery order is valued at more than $5.2 million, according to AAI information, with the company providing logistics support for a meteorological observing system.
The system is used in areas near Air Force landing strips globally to provide weather data for planners and field commanders. AAI will provide round-the-clock assistance and management of remote supplies, including 24-hour turnaround for U.S.-based spares and repairs and 72-hour turnaround for international requests.
Hughes lands contract with South Carolina
Hughes Network Systems of Germantown has won a seven-year contract worth up to $750,000 from the South Carolina Division of State Information Technology to provide satellite broadband Internet service to state agencies and local governments.
The award is the latest of several Hughes' state contracts, following agreements in Virginia, Colorado, Texas and Oregon, and late last year in New York.
"In many cases the states have very rural parts not well served by terrestrial infrastructure, so our services fit in very nicely in those areas where nothing else is available," "said Hughes Vice President Tony Bardo. "And they serve the need for agencies to have a path diverse capability, so if they have a landline that becomes disrupted, they have the ability with our services to get to the network and keep communications lines working."
TRI and ICON awarded $171M contract
Technical Resources International of Bethesda and its subcontractor Icon Clinical Research of Ellicott City received a seven-year contract worth up to $171 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, according to a statement.
As part of the contract, the companies will provide support in several areas for the institute's division of microbiology and infectious diseases, including protocol development, clinical site monitoring, training and quality management, company officials said.
Columbia engineering firm receives NASA contract
LJT & Associates, a Columbia engineering firm, received a five-year, $117 million contract from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, LJT officials said in a statement.
The NASA Wallops Flight Facility Range Operations contract will allow LJT to support services to manage multiple Wallops Research Range operations, including maintenance, training, command, communications and computer services systems.
Lockheed among companies awarded Army contracts
Lockheed Martin of Bethesda was among a group of five companies nationwide that won contracts worth a combined $409 million from the Army Engineering and Support Center in Huntsville, Ala., according to a statement.
The companies will provide initial outfitting and transition services for Army medical facilities worldwide, Army officials said in the statement.
Lt. Gov. Brown launches redesigned jobs website
Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) announced this week the launch of a redesigned website for the Skills2Compete Maryland initiative, state officials said in a statement.
The website will serve as a "one-stop" portal providing information and resources on "middle skills" jobs, training programs, financial services and rapidly growing jobs that require additional training beyond a high school education, according to state information.