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Three BioPark Tenants Nominated for Maryland Technology Council ICON Awards

Three BioPark tenants, Vita Therapeutics, KaloCyte, Inc., and Astek Diagnostics, have been selected as finalists for the Maryland Technology Council’s 2023 ICON Awards. The ICON Awards honor the individuals and companies in Maryland’s technology and life sciences communities that have made a significant impact in their respective fields.

Vita Therapeutics
Vita Therapeutics was been nominated for Emerging Life Sciences Company of the Year, and Chief Executive Officer, Douglas Falk, MS, has been nominated for Chief Executive Officer of the Year in the Life Sciences category. Vita is a cell engineering company that uses induced pluripotent stem cell technology to engineer specific cell types designed to replace those that are defective in patients. Since locating its headquarters in the BioPark in 2022, the company has grown rapidly, adding staff and closing additional financing rounds.

KaloCyte, Inc.
KaloCyte, Inc., which was nominated for Emerging Life Sciences Company of the Year, is developing ErythroMer, a dried, bio-inspired artificial red blood cell, to treat life-threatening blood loss when stored red blood cells are unavailable, undesirable or in short supply. In 2019, KaloCyte co-founder, Allan Doctor, MD, was recruited to lead the School of Medicine’s new Center for Blood Oxygen Transport & Hemostasis (CBOTH), and he brought his company, KaloCyte, along with him. Recently, it was announced that KaloCyte will be a partner on a $46 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The research program is being led by Dr. Doctor and the School of Medicine.

Astek Diagnostics
Astek Diagnostics has been nominated for Life Sciences Company of the Year. Led by Mustafa Al-Adhami, PhD, Astek is developing a benchtop diagnostic device that employs a single-use cartridge to identify bacterial infection in urine and antibiotic sensitivity in one hour. This will inform physicians which antibiotics would be best to give to patients in a short period of time. The company is backed by Harvard, Y Combinator, TEDCO, and the NSF.

There were 93 total nominations among 11 categories this year. A celebration will be held on April 27; winners for each category will be named that evening.