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Maryland pushes biotechnology with new centers of excellence

The Maryland Department of Commerce and the state's leading research universities will collaborate on new centers of excellence in biomanufacturing and transformative medicine.

The centers are an effort by the state to drive economic development in life sciences fields, including gene and regenerative therapies, medical devices and 3-D printing for medical uses. The initiative is also intended as a catalyst for university research commercialization in these areas.

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Johns Hopkins University; University of Maryland, Baltimore; and University of Maryland, College Park are partners in the centers.

The centers will serve as a resource for researchers, startups and established companies that need help navigating the complex process of bringing to market new drugs, medical treatments and devices. The centers also will help companies work through the federal regulatory hurdles they must clear.

Research commercialization has become an area of intense focus at University of Maryland and Hopkins, as the schools compete for the best students and faculty researchers.

The new centers of excellence will "help take innovation to scale in our state," said Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels in a statement. "Robust infrastructure to support cell therapy for research and treatment of patients will enable Johns Hopkins and the state of Maryland to become a destination for next-generation cell therapies."

One center will be based in the Baltimore area, the other will be based in Maryland's Washington, D.C., suburbs. Details on exact location, cost and timeline are still to be determined.

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