AURP CEO Blog Post - 08/11/2020

Two of the nation’s hottest COVID-19 topics is the need for the U.S. to ensure medical supply lines through domestic pharma and bio manufacturing plus maintaining our scientific expertise in bio innovations. Billions of dollars of funding for new vaccine production are being deployed across the country; medical device production is increasing; and new policies are being debated in Congress and The White House. Last week the Trump Administration issued a “Buy American” executive order with potential impact to drug manufacturers and patients. See below for details on the executive order from BIO.
On September 15, 2020 AURP will explore how your region, your park, innovation district or company can participate in the bio and pharma manufacturing renaissance. Connect with manufacturing executives, policy experts, developers and related industry leaders to examine how life science manufacturing is evolving to meet the challenges of COVID-19 to identify emerging tech clusters. Additionally, AURP will award the NIST-sponsored National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) its COVID-19 Excalibur Award for Response and Resiliency, located at the University of Delaware Research Park. Cost for the webinar is $75 for AURP members; $99 for non-members.
Register at https://www.aurp.net/bio-and-pharma-manufacturing-renaissance
This AURP forum on September 15th is a preview of the AURP International Conference taking place virtually November 2-6, 2020 – CHANGEMAKERS:
Leading Communities of Innovation in Uncertainty.

What you need to know about Trump’s “Buy American” order

Last week, President Trump issued another executive order with potential to impact drug manufacturers and patients. Here’s what you need to know.
Dubbed the “Buy American” order, the goal is to increase domestic manufacture of “essential medicines,” “medical countermeasures,” and “critical inputs,” and in turn, decrease America’s reliance on medicines manufactured in foreign countries.   
What it doesn’t do: The order does not require any manufacturer to physically move production of any particular medicines back to the United States. 
What it does do: It incentivizes production in the United States by directing federal agencies involved in contracting for these products to apply preferences aimed at increasing domestic procurement of them. However, agency heads can waive the preferences if sufficient supplies do not exist domestically, or if a number of other exceptions apply. 
The order specifically directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to accelerate review and approval of domestically manufactured essential medicines. We anticipate FDA would need to issue some guidance on this in the future.
It might affect trade, too. The order directs the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to modify trade agreements to allow preferential procurement of domestically produced products and allow tariffs on imported medicines. And yes, this could trigger reciprocal action or even tariffs from trading partners. 
What’s next? We expect affected agencies (FDA, HHS, DoD, USTR) to engage in some kind of public dialogue about the implementation, so stay tuned. In the meantime, BIO will continue to work with our allies to mitigate the impacts on our sector and the patients we serve—and articulate why a resilient, diverse, dynamic supply chain is critical to ensuring access to medicines, in normal times and in emergencies.
From Good Day BIO, August 11, 2020

CEO Blog - 07.10.2020 Summer Edition

Happy Summer!

Hope the AURP community is finding ways to enjoy summer, virtually or in person. Here are some updates on what is
happening in AURP-world


Peer to Peer:
AURP Peer to Peer continues for two more sessions this summer. Thanks to Steve Frayser of Texas Tech who moderated a robust session this week on a variety of topics including implications for research parks from restrictions on international students attending universities going virtual with classes.
On July 22 at 2 pm EDT Jeff Johnson from Virginia Tech will host and on August 5 at 2 pm EDT Carol Stewart from Tech Parks Arizona will moderate the session. Stay tuned for details.
Peer to Peer will take the rest of summer off for a well-deserved vacation, but if anyone from AURP community is interested in hosting on Sept 9 when peer to peer returns, please let me know at [email protected] You can decide a topic or simply help guide a discussion among your peers on how your park is responding to the ever changing set of issues caused by Cov-19.
Bio and Pharma Manufacturing:
If your park is hosting bio or pharma manufacturing tenants or you are just interested in learning more about the explosive growth in this sector, hold Sept 15 from 1 pm to 4 pm for a special pre-AURP 2020 International Conference session produced by the AURP Biohealth Caucus. You will hear from life science manufacturing companies in AURP parks, a discussion on the best federal polices to re-shore bio and pharma manufacturing to the US, issues in designing life science manufacturing facilities and a presentation of the AURP Covid 19 Excalibur Award to the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmacuticals (NIIMBL) at University of Delaware Science and Tech Park. Registration will open shortly.
Want to Learn More about the Future of Work, the Future of Technology?
The Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) will host a webinar on NSF's Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF) program, which was initiated in 2016 as one of the NSF 10 Big Ideas. FW-HTF supports convergent research integrating considerations of future technology, future workers, and future work. Here, "future technology" refers to advances in engineering, computer science, or other relevant fields, with the potential to create new human-technology work partnerships; "future workers" refers to advances in the fundamental understanding of individual workers, work teams, workplaces, and work organizations; and "future work" refers to advances in the fundamental understanding of educational, organizational, societal, or economic factors, considering both benefits and risks.There is no cost to this webinar, but registration is required. 
That’s it for now. Applying some sunscreen and mosquito repellent as I plan on a short vacation next week to Lake Placid but will be in touch. 
Stay safe and stay connected.
Brian

CEO Blog 06.22.2020: Real Estate Post-COVID-19- Healthier Indoor Air?

Real Estate In A Post-COVID-19 World: Healthier Indoor Air?As our members reopen, the issue of quality of air in commercial real estate will be at the forefront.  
In 1943 a bio containment cabinet was built at Ft. Detrick, Maryland to create a safer lab environment. This federal effort led to the development of the American Biological Safety Association and the creation of Bio Safety Lab (BSL) ratings and protocols for life science labs working on the most dangerous pathogens.In 1993 at the American Institute of Architects’ headquarters in Washington, DC, representatives from over 60 firms and nonprofits founded the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Green building standards have been incorporated into municipal building codes across the US and similar standards adopted internationally.Since 2014 the International WELL Building Institute has been leading an effort to create a global rating system that can improve comfort, drive better choices and generally enhance health and wellness in buildingsBut right now, landlords, health professionals, cities and states are laser-focused on COVID-19, looking for scientifically validated ways to rid air of virus to increase tenant confidence to return to work. Ninety percent of our time is spent indoors and it appears virus transmission rates are much higher indoors than outdoors. (The tragic spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes is one example.)How do you clean indoor air if the virus is so tiny it passes through HEPA filters? How can we come up with generally agreed upon healthy building standards and technologies that will limit the spread of viruses, like COVID-19, based on past building and lab practices?  What can we learn from outbreaks like Legionella?The previous emphasis on overall building energy-efficiency may need to be sacrificed, just as we may have to sacrifice some personal privacy in terms of building-wide personal thermal scanning. Introducing outdoor air into buildings more frequently increases energy loads. Social distancing of offices means less efficient use of interior spaces. [KB2] Early evidence shows increased humidity levels appear to reduce the spread of COVID-19, so will adjustments need to be made? Many local, state and national efforts are underway to improve indoor air, an effort that pre-dates COVID-19. For example, the University of Maryland Clark School of engineering , along with other labs across the country, is looking at ways to use different spectrum UV lights to clean indoor air and surfaces. HVAC systems are being re-engineered and public health schools are working with private industry. But not enough research is being funded and not enough standards are being coordinated.The bio industry working with PhRMA has shown unprecedented collaboration in developing new therapies and progress on vaccines. We need a similar effort with equal urgency on indoor virus reduction, working with the US Department of Energy’s ARPA-E, EPA, NIH, CDC, Public Health Service and university, foundation and private sector resources, including the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)The $3 trillion HEROES Act introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives is a vehicle to help bring focus to this issue. As the U.S. Senate considers its response, we need financial incentives to upgrade HVAC equipment, filtering systems, and employ new technologies.  We need funding for research and new standards for residential, commercial, sports and the airlines industry. Restoring confidence of tenants, passengers and spectators will be the mission in the upcoming months, and years. Coming up with new building technologies and standards will make this much easier. Hopefully, these collective efforts will reduce health risks. Meanwhile, when we come back to work – and at least some of us will return to offices – what old school amenity might be the most sought after? An office with windows that open (and maybe an adjacent Peloton bike?).Brian Darmody is CEO of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), a global nonprofit representing research parks and innovation districts in 42 states and 13 countries sponsored by universities, hospital systems, federal labs and municipalities. AURP is headquartered at U of Arizona Tech Park and has a Washington DC area office at UMD Discovery District in College Park, Maryland. www.aurp.net

CEO Blog-06.02.2020: AURP Response to Protests

Dear AURP Members and Innovation Community,
Our global community is grieving the hurtful and destructive acts that have resulted in the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. We recognize the impact of these and other racial injustices and acknowledge the hurt amongst all communities. AURP stands as a beacon of hope in support of peaceful protests and the actions needed to address societal inequalities.
Innovation and science sees no color, religion, gender, or ethnic backgrounds. Together, supporting one another, our global community of innovation is stronger as a united fabric woven from varied experiences, circumstances, and viewpoints. Inclusion and diversity create a phenomena of change; a catalyst for a better society.
Both Covid-19 shelter in place and the recent protests are stressing our communities in ways unimagined. Innovation and economic growth can support inclusive outreach. AURP members and the communities represented are THE CHANGEMAKERS.
United, let’s lead the change. Vote, continue to support diversity and inclusion in your community, and let your voice be heard.
Stay safe and engaged.
 

AURP CEO Blog Posts - 04.24.2020

A couple of stories caught my interest among the flood of information about the Covid-19 pandemic, especially new developments in public policy.
State budgets are being impacted in critical ways and financial support for economic development organizations, venture programs, higher education and other partners in building communities of innovation will be drastically reduced. The Urban Institute has created a 50-state Economy Monitor that tracks state budgets and has other timely information. See, Urban Institute State Economy Monitor.
This week, Congress passed its expansion of the CARES Act, including replenishing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Note however, that the US Treasury Department has new guidance that applicants must ‘be prepared to demonstrate to SBA, upon request,’ the basis for a certification that the loan was ‘necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant’ and if an applicant cannot defend making this certification the PPP loan much be repaid in full by May 7, 2020. This is a significant requirement that PPP loans must be used to sustain ongoing operations and if you have tenants or other applicants considering applying for PPP loans, they should be made aware of the enhanced certification requirement.
AURP is a member of the Innovation Advocacy Council (IAC), supported by the State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI). The IAC sent a letter to congressional leadership outlining actions to support tech led economic recovery. See summary below. Read full letter.

A platform to support science and entrepreneurship through the pandemic and beyond April 23, 2020, SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council has sent letters to congressional leadership outlining emergency actions needed to support tech- and innovation-driven businesses and recovery-focused programs to leverage American ingenuity for economic stimulus. The letters call for expanding SBA’s technical assistance to startups, leveraging EDA’s Build to Scale program, catalyzing new programs for equity investment and commercialization, and incorporating innovation into any infrastructure initiative.
Finally, consider making a donation to a charity of your choice, one that is responding locally in your community, to the Covid-19 pandemic. A little noticed provision of the CARES Act allows any taxpayer, including those that chose the standard deduction (which most taxpayers do now), to deduct up to $300 on their taxes as a charitable deduction. It is not much, and you can of course contribute more, but at least this is a small incentive to support the programs and individuals in your localities needing support.
Stay Safe and Strong.
Brian Darmody
CEO, AURP
 
 

CEO Blog-04.15.2020: CARES Act

CARES Act: It’s more than Paycheck Protection.
While many AURP members and tenants have been looking at the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in terms of SBA funds and loans, the US Economic Development Agency (EDA) received $1.5 billion in emergency funding for Economic Adjustment Assistance for areas declared disaster areas by the federal government. For the first time in history, all 50 states have been declared disaster areas so there should be opportunities in your community or region to attract EDA funding.
EDA Economic Adjustment Assistance funding is somewhat flexible and administered on a regional basis. Funds might be used for loans, construction and other economic development projects. In the past, several research parks and incubators have received funding from the EDA for planning, development and expansion. Details should be forthcoming from EDA on ways to apply for funding. Partnering with organizations in your region that have successfully applied for EDA funding in the past is one strategy to increase likelihood of success. Note also local matching requirements are usually necessary so plan for that eventuality.
Many federal research agencies have also received increases in base research budgets under the CARES Act, which should increase SBIR and STTR funding opportunities for your tenants since SBIR funding is based on percentage of an agency’s total research budget. So stay tuned for that when new proposals are issued later in the year.
Note that Congress has announced it will be in recess until May 4, meaning confirmation hearings, such as for the NSF director, are on hold until then. Coronavirus funding bills could be considered in the interim, but would require unanimous consent, which would be difficult to achieve. Unlike many of our parks and tenants, Congress has very few tools to operate remotely. Let’s hope they fix that at some point.
Meanwhile stay safe and connected.

AURP CEO Blog Post - 04/09/2020

A couple of recent topics that caught my eye:
 
Capital Lease Accounting Standards Delayed?  The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) earlier this month voted unanimously to consider amending the ASC Topic 842 for Leases for private companies, private nonprofits and any nonprofit that has issued a bond that are traded, which would require many leases to be treated as capital leases. This means that lease accounting standards scheduled to take effect after Dec. 15, 2020 would be pushed back a year for entities beginning Dec. 15, 2021 and interim periods within fiscal years beginning after Dec. 15, 2022.  A 15 day comment period is in effect and the new rules should come out shortly, which will give real estate owners and others another year to prepare.
The State Economic Development Executives (SEDE): SEDE has produced great link to state by state programs that are in addition to the federal resources, such as the CARES Act.
 
University Tech Transfer: Many university and hospital sponsored research parks and innovation districts are tied to university tech transfer activity. A new report in IP Watchdog has some great data on trends in this important field.
 
We will have our AURP communicators virtual check in next Thursday, April 16 at 2pm ET.  All are welcome to join. Register here. Our regular COVID-19 P2P group meets on Wednesday's at 2pm Eastern. Contact the AURP team, if you have ideas for new topics. 
I am hoping you are staying safe in this time of AURP-COVID-19.
Brian Darmody, CEO, AURP
[email protected]
 

AURP CEO Blog Post - 03/31/2020



Good Day:
This has been a rough couple of weeks for AURP members, sponsors and our families and friends. Unprecedented times.
When will peak COVID-19 happen in your state? When will peak ICU beds be available? When will a therapy or vaccine be widely available?
No one knows exactly. The impact on our community of innovation will be long and hard. But for now the rightful focus is on protecting families and friends.
Watch for updates from AURP, including our Peer to Peer (P2P) sessions and other webinars in the upcoming weeks and months.
Watch for details at www.aurp.net
Also there are resources that provide insight into the work of partner institutions.
  • The International Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has some predictions on economic impact of COVID-19 and details on the federal stimulus package.
  • Jim Greenwood and the team at BIO have great insight on technical advances life science companies are making in the fight against COVID-19. 
  • AURP has planned to move our earlier scheduled in person June 7-8 San Diego BIO Health Caucus meeting to a virtual experience, now tentatively scheduled for 2:00pm EDT on June 2 and June 3, 2020. Stay tuned for details.
  • In the fall, we plan to honor those individuals and institutions among the AURP family that have the most effective responses to COVID-19 with the AURP Excalibur Award this November in Salt Lake at the AURP International Conference. We will be soliciting nominations later in the year, so keep in mind possible nominees, whether it is a company in a park working on a new vaccine; firms building new ICU containment facilities; or parks helping to manufacture face masks.
If you have comments or questions, please send them to me at [email protected]. I would be happy to include them in an upcoming AURP CEO blog post.
Stay safe and stay connected.
#AURP #BuildingtheAURPNetwork #InnovationCommunitiesUnited #CreatingStrongCommunities
 
Brian Darmody
CEO, Association of University Research Parks
[email protected]