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Press Release: CvilleBioHub Names First Executive Director

GO Virginia and Charlottesville Economic Development Authority Support Organization to Accelerate Regional Life Sciences Industry Growth

Local biotechnology industry leader Nikki Hastings, PhD, has been named the first Executive Director of the CvilleBioHub, a non-profit that connects and supports the Charlottesville-area biotechnology sector. CvilleBioHub is expanding through the award of an $80,000 grant from theGO Virginia Fund and $10,000 from the Charlottesville Economic Development Authority to accelerate and sustain growth in the regional life sciences industry.

The Charlottesville area is home to more than 50 life sciences organizations employing more than 1,500 people engaged in developing therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, and other products and services to improve human health. Conservative estimates show, local industry has attracted more than $118 million in investments, generating about $17 million in revenue in 2016 and over $4 million raised in competitive grant funding in the last five years.

“With many entrepreneurial ideas being developed and spun out from the University of Virginia, now is the perfect time to invest in creating a stronger and more viable biotech network,” said Hastings. “I look forward to leading the CvilleBioHub as we seek to attract top talent and new entities to our region.Together, our team will further develop foundational infrastructure and support the needs of this growing industry that has great potential to be an economic engine for the future of central Virginia.”

Dr. Hastings, who holds her PhD from the University of Virginia in biomedical engineering, has been involved with the local biotech community for nearly a decade.  She has served in executive management roles with HemoShear Therapeutics and Contraline, overseeing operations to grow the companies from concept to sustainability.

GO Virginia funds were awarded in the amount of $83,540 to CvilleBioHub in a capacity enhancing grant entitled “CvilleBioHub: Driving Region 9’s Biotech Growth and Sustainability.”

GO Virginia Region 9 encompasses the counties of Albemarle, Culpeper, Fauquier, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, Orange, and Rappahannock; and the City of Charlottesville.  This opportunity will accelerate CvilleBioHub’s goals to transform the local biotech industry by highlighting the region’s strengths in biopharmaceuticals, medical devices and instrumentation, biomedical research and agribiotech. The goal is to stimulate growth and sustainability of the sector to double in size over the next 10 years.

Along with creation of a long-term vision to grow the biotech sector, one of CvilleBioHub’s near-term goals is to establish the current economic impact of biotech companies and their employees, investment capital and other financial resources.  As Executive Director, Dr. Hastings, will be engaging with biotech company leaders across the region to refine CvilleBioHub’s real metrics on the industry, assess infrastructure needs, growth strategies and trajectories. This information will be used to prepare a report on the current status and strategic development of the biotechnology industry in Region 9 in 2019.

Additional new team members include Denise Hubbard, Program Director, University of VirginiaEconomic Development Department and Dr. Grant Tate, leadership coach and strategic planner, from theBridge, Ltd.

Nikki is an engineer, entrepreneur, and operations executive.