BD on Why It's Better Here
By Alex Keown
For more than six decades, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company)’s diagnostics business has played a key role in the business community of Baltimore and Maryland.

Founded in 1897 and so already a well-established healthcare company by the time it acquired the Baltimore Biological Laboratory from Johns Hopkins in 1954, BD has continued to grow its medical diagnostics business in Baltimore, centered on the purpose of advancing the world of health.

The level of public interest in and general understanding of diagnostics has grown significantly in the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brooke Story, BD’s worldwide president of Integrated Diagnostic Solutions said. She pointed out that the company’s PCR and point of care rapid antigen tests have been critical tools in the global fight against COVID-19, providing support to frontline healthcare workers, nursing home staffs and employers and now, with the launch of the BD Veritor™ At-Home COVID-19 Test, directly to the consumer.
Brooke Story
Integrated Diagnostic
Solutions, BD
Story, who joined BD last year after serving in a leadership role at Medtronic, noted that the integrated diagnostics business comprises three core components: Specimen management, meaning collecting and preparing blood and urine samples; microbiology, which includes a wide range of instruments, media and tests for clinical and industrial labs; and molecular diagnostics, also wide-ranging with instruments for hospital and high-throughput labs and tests for a variety of infectious diseases, including STIs and cervical cancer. Those platforms are crucial tools for researchers and clinical labs alike in diagnosing conditions like sepsis and antimicrobial-resistant infections, both of which can be hard to identify—and without proper identification, even harder to treat.
She noted with clear pride that, “About 90% of inpatients in the U.S. alone use at least one BD product during their hospital stay. Blood collection is a huge part of that—next time you’re having blood drawn, take a look at the tube. Chances are, it’s a BD Vacutainer®.”

On the microbiology diagnostics side, Story touted the company’s BD BACTEC™ FX blood culture system that helps determine sepsis, a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the body’s immune response to an infection. She also pointed to BD’s diagnostics prowess that aids physicians in determining infections that may be resistant to some common antibiotic medications.

“We can identify the bug and the drug…we have solutions that will help caregivers determine what antibiotic to provide for the specific infection,” she said. “It’s a robust solution. We have to make sure we can manage AMR (antimicrobial resistance) and stop the rise of infections that carry those traits. We’re all-in on it.”

Within the molecular diagnostics sphere, Story highlighted the company’s BD Onclarity™ HPV Assay with extended genotyping. Persistent infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the primary causes of cervical cancer, and while HPV vaccines protect against two kinds of high-risk HPV (HPV 16 and HPV 18), HPV31 has proven to be a high-risk genotype as well—and it’s not among the kinds vaccines cover.

“BD Onclarity is the only FDA-approved test that individually identifies HPV31,” she explained. “Other HPV tests report the rest of the high-risk HPV genotypes in a single, pooled result, which may mask the true risk of the disease, meaning that a test might come back positive, but you won’t know what kind of HPV you have and might then either have more tests you don’t need—or delay a potentially life-saving test that you do need.”

BD innovations have a significant impact on global healthcare and much of it stems from its Maryland campus, home to the global headquarters of its IDS business unit. The company has more than 2,000 associates on its campus in Sparks, Maryland and in nearby Hunt Valley (another 7,000 in IDS around the world; 75,000 total for BD). 

Story, who relocated to Baltimore from Minnesota, said Maryland offers a number of key positives for business operations, including proximity to major airports and harbors for global distribution of products and easy driving up and down the eastern seaboard as well as inland. She also pointed to the strong talent pipeline in the region.

“From [Johns] Hopkins to the University System of Maryland, including our four state HBCUs, there’s a lot of great STEM talent coming up,” she said. “I’m really excited about BD’s involvement in programs like the UMB CURE Scholars to foster and build that STEM interest even earlier in kids’ lives.”

She also appreciates the sense of pride and community found in Baltimore.
“It wasn’t a hard decision to come here,” she said. “The weather is good. It’s centrally located and the Ravens can be a great football team to see!”
Learn more about BD on their official website.
Share Your Story!
We are always interested to learn more about the work that our members are doing and sharing it with the world. If your company is interested in being featured as a Member Spotlight, you can submit your information below.