Maryland Department of Commerce
Rolls Out Life Sciences Directory
By Alex Keown
For years, the Maryland Department of Commerce has played a key role in forging the life sciences ecosystem within the state through various tools at its disposal, including financial incentives, business expansion programs, attraction of foreign direct investment and the recently updated online Life Sciences Directory that provides key information about country’s fourth largest life sciences cluster.

The Maryland Life Sciences Directory is a free tool that provides access to information on more than 1,000 company profiles. Working with the third party company Venture Valuation, the online resource provides an overview of business activities, products, and services, and also allows companies and investors to connect with potential partners.

The Life Sciences Directory is divided into multiple sections, including biotech, medtech and digital health. It also provides information on business accelerators and offers a statewide map showing cluster locations.
Ulyana Desiderio, Director of Life Sciences in the Office of Strategic Industries and Entrepreneurship at the Maryland Department of Commerce, said that the directory is an effective marketing tool for the Maryland life sciences cluster. “Companies can think of the directory and the Office of Life Sciences at Commerce as an extension of their business development team. We are out there every day promoting Maryland and its businesses so it’s helpful to have up-to-date-information about all of our companies so we can promote their assets, too.”

Margia Argüello, the Senior Business Development Manager of Life Sciences, said investors can tap into information about startups or incubators in the directory to see where they can invest their money.

“If a company is trying to find an asset they want to work with, it can be found,” Argüello said. She added that those who use the database can find company information on products, assets in development, where they are in clinical trials and more.

Stefanie Trop, the Manager of Business and Innovation Development at the Office of Life Sciences, said the directory is already benefiting users who are searching for specific information about the sector. As an example, she noted that her office will receive calls seeking information on labs conducting a specific kind of research. Using the directory, they are able to quickly pull up that information.

“The directory is a reliably up-to-date and comprehensive source of information on different types of assets available in Maryland,” Trop said.

Argüello noted that the directory allows for users to “get very granular” within the system as they refine their search to a desired specificity. Office of Life Sciences staff can work with the businesses directly to generate customized reports, if needed.

Not only can investors or companies search for companies and life sciences organizations, the directory also has a place for investors to provide their information in order to make themselves searchable by Maryland’s companies.

“This is of interest to all the different types of organizations included in the directory, whether the user is listed in the directory or not,” Trop said.
Ulyana Desiderio
Director of Life Sciences in the Office of Strategic Industries and Entrepreneurship
Margia Argüello
Senior Business Development Manager of Life Sciences
Stefanie Trop
Manager of Business and Innovation Development at the Office of Life Sciences
Trop said the Department of Commerce strongly hopes that companies will add their profiles into the database if they are not already included in order to “find each other and conduct business.” She said the state’s life sciences organizations are encouraged to create and maintain their profile in the directory in order to enhance business opportunities. 

A company or organization simply has to click on the prominently-displayed “Add or Update Your Company Profile” button and begin to fill in the requested information. Trop said the data is then sent to Venture Valuations where it will be vetted.

“They will do their due diligence and it will go onto the website within a couple of days,” Argüello said.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has made for a softer rollout of the directory than initially expected, Argüello said they have demonstrated the tool at a few virtual trade shows in order to show off its capabilities.

“We want people to use this. It creates a connectivity between the individual businesses and also showcases the ecosystem that we have in Maryland. It helps make Maryland better,” Argüello said. “We’re excited that this tool will be able to support our life sciences businesses.”

The tools developed by the Department of Commerce, as well as the outreach and activities conducted by its staff, have played a key role in rapidly expanding the state’s life sciences ecosystem. There’s no doubt that the Department of Commerce is a cornerstone player and has had a profound impact on why It’s Better Here in Maryland.
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