Why PolitiFact’s founder remains more optimistic than ever about the future of fact checking

During a political season in which fact checking became a central part of the cultural conversation, somehow facts seemed to matter less than ever to the outcome. This was one of the more puzzling contradictions of this tumultuous election season for me, and honestly, a bit dispiriting as a journalist. So much effort was mustered by […]

Run-DMC files lawsuit against Amazon and Wal-Mart claiming trademark violations

(By Jonathan Stempel, Reuters) – A founder of Run-DMC on Thursday filed a lawsuit accusing Amazon and Wal-Mart of selling a wide variety of clothing and accessories bearing the pioneering rap group’s name without permission. Darryl McDaniels, the owner of Run-DMC Brand LLC, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, is seeking at least $50 million of damages […]

Cubans gain access to the internet at home in Havana pilot project

(Reuters) — Downtown Havana resident Margarita Marquez says she received a special Christmas gift this year: web access at home, a rarity in a country with one of the lowest internet penetration rates in the world. Marquez, a 67-year-old retired university professor, was among those selected by the government two weeks ago to participate in a […]

GrayBug: Disruptive RX for Your Eyes

A Baltimore start-up tackles blindness with new innovative treatments.

Warby Parker isn’t the only start-up disrupting the vision space. GrayBug, a company that recently won the Invest Maryland Challenge in Baltimore, Maryland, is revolutionizing drug delivery and treatments for the eye.

GrayBug started after three professors at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University–Justin Hanes, Peter Compochiaro, and Peter McDonnell–developed two treatments to help patients who suffer from age-related macular degeneration. The three founders determined that the fastest way to get their innovations to the public was to start a company.

Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness in adults 65 and over, with over 20 million cases in the U.S. and Europe. GrayBug estimates that market is worth around $4 billion worldwide. The typical treatment includes receiving injections in the eye every one to two months. GrayBug claims its sustained-release drugs may reduce the number of injections needed to just twice per year–a potential boon for the tens of million patients who describe the experience as disturbing and painful. Other treatments for blinding ocular diseases, such as glaucoma, are in the works.

So far, the company has three full-time employees and more than a dozen advisors. A GrayBug spokesperson declined to offer specifics about the company’s valuation or annual revenue, but says that Baltimore’s thriving start-up scene helped drive the company’s early success. Not only does GrayBug enjoy easy access to a number of prestigious universities and federal institutions, but the Maryland Biotechnology Center and BioMaryland have also extended support.

In recent years, Baltimore has become a thriving hub of health innovation. The state of Maryland ranked No. 2 for science and technology assets (behind Massachusetts), according to the Milken Institute. One of the foremost biotech companies, MedImmune, which is based in Baltimore, developed the FluMist nasal spray influenza vaccine. Other innovators include Zyngenia, a biotech company, and MedImmune’s venture capital arm, which invests in health start-ups.