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Federal Trade Commission allows Amgen’s $27.8 billion acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics

The companies anticipate being able to close the acquisition in early Q4 2023

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. and DUBLIN, Sept. 1, 2023 – Amgen and Horizon Therapeutics plc announced the entry into a consent order agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that resolves the pending FTC administrative lawsuit. This clears the path to take the final steps to close Amgen’s acquisition of Horizon.

As a result of the consent order agreement, Amgen and Horizon expect that the parties will jointly file stipulated proposed orders to dismiss the preliminary injunction motion and dissolve the temporary restraining order (TRO) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and that Amgen and Horizon will quickly seek the final approvals required under Irish law to close the acquisition.

Amgen has consistently stated to the FTC, the courts and the public that it has no reason, ability or intention to bundle Horizon’s TEPEZZA® (teprotumumab-trbw) or KRYSTEXXA® (pegloticase injection) with any of its products. This narrow assurance, formalized in the consent order with the FTC, will have no impact on Amgen’s business.

The companies anticipate being able to close the acquisition in early fourth-quarter 2023 and look forward to the opportunity to serve patients around the world suffering from rare diseases.

About Horizon Therapeutics

Founded in 2008, Horizon Therapeutics is a focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of medicines that address critical needs for people impacted by rare, autoimmune and severe inflammatory diseases. Horizon is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with global offices including one in Rockville, Md. Learn more at https://www.horizontherapeutics.com/

About Amgen

A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people’s lives. Amgen is one of the 30 companies that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is part of the Nasdaq-100 index. Learn more about Amgen at https://www.amgen.com/


Link to press release: https://www.amgen.com/newsroom/press-releases/2023/09/amgen-and-horizon-therapeutics-plc-resolve-ftc-lawsuit-clearing-path-to-close-acquisition

15 Rockville companies included in the Inc. 5000 list for 2023

Companies on the 2023 Inc. 5000 are ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2019 to 2022.

Every year, Inc. reveals its Inc. 5000 list, showcasing the fastest-growing privately held companies across various industries. Companies on the 2023 Inc. 5000 are ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2019 to 2022. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2019. The minimum revenue required for 2019 is $100,000; the minimum for 2022 is $2 million.

Here are the Rockville-based companies have secured their place on the esteemed Inc. 5000 list for 2023 by order of rank:

#408: Axiom Consultants – Government Services

#1,029: Z Family Law – Legal

#1,689: Behavioral Framework – Health Services

#2,338: Presidential Exteriors – Construction

#2,761: Pioneer Power Group – Energy

#3,127: Transparent BPO – Business Products & Services

#3,351: Green Threads – Government Services Industry

#3,642: Audley Consulting Group – Government Services

#4,008: BETAH Associates – Government Services

#4,126: 495 Movers – Logistics & Transportation

#4,142: SysArc – IT Services

#4,301: DogiZone – Consumer Services

#4,507: fusionSpan – IT Services

#4,583: Columbia Technologies – Environmental Services

#4,973: TISTA Science & Technology Corporation – Technology/IT Industry


View the full Inc. 5000 list: https://www.inc.com/inc5000/2023


Montgomery College ranked a top 10 Best Community College in the US and first in the State of Maryland

Image credit: Montgomery College
Image credit: Montgomery College

Maryland has the 3rd-best community college system in the country, according to WalletHub's 2023 ranking

ROCKVILLE, Md., Aug. 16, 2023 – Montgomery College (MC) has been named one of the ten-best community colleges nationwide by WalletHub in their 2023 ranking of community colleges, released this week. MC came in at #10 out of the nearly 700 ranked colleges. Montgomery College is also ranked as the best community college in Maryland, with Howard Community College second, 14th nationally. 

The state’s community college system earned a top ranking in the new WalletHub report, as well, with Maryland community colleges rated as the third-best system in the country, trailing only New Mexico and Connecticut. See the rankings by state system here

WalletHub analyzed data from 668 community colleges around the U.S. and ranked them based on 19 metrics, including tuition costs, availability of free community college education, transfer rates and student-loan defaults. All 668 schools are members of the American Association of Community Colleges. 

Community colleges play a large role in increasing educational attainment in their communities and provide affordable, accessible, quality educational opportunities for all, Wallethub stated in its report. 


About Montgomery College

Montgomery College is a public, fully accredited institution dedicated to student success and widely recognized for the quality and scope of its academic programs. MC has campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus training and community engagement centers, and off-site programs throughout the county. Learn more at https://www.montgomerycollege.edu/


Link to press release: https://www.montgomerycollege.edu/news/press-releases/2023-8-16-montgomery-college-ranked-a-top-10-best-community-college-in-the-us-and-first-in-the-state-of-maryland.html

Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) expands grant programs to include retail and restaurants

Text overlay on photo of Rockville City Hall that says City of Rockville Business Grants

Application deadlines for REDI grant programs are September 30 and April 30

ROCKVILLE, Md., Aug. 22, 2023 – Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) has announced the expansion of its grant programs, Rockville MOVE Program and Business Expansion Fund, to now encompass retail and restaurant businesses. These updates aim to provide enhanced support to Rockville’s diverse business landscape.

The Rockville MOVE Program is designed to foster and bolster business relocation, expansion and startups within the City. The Rockville MOVE grant offers up to $4.00 per square foot for office, industrial, retail, and flex space to businesses that invest and create jobs in Rockville. Application deadlines for Rockville MOVE are September 30 and April 30 each year.

Additionally, the Business Expansion Fund has been expanded to offer support to existing Rockville retail and restaurant businesses expanding within the city. These businesses can now apply for grants of up to $40,000 per application to facilitate their expansion plans. Similar to the Rockville MOVE Program, the application deadlines for the Business Expansion Fund are September 30 and April 30.

LaVonne Torrence Berner, Chair of REDI’s Incentive Review Committee, expressed enthusiasm about these program expansions. “We’re thrilled to amplify opportunities for business growth by expanding both Rockville MOVE and the Business Expansion programs to include retail and restaurants. These programs are a testament to REDI and the City’s commitment to nurturing Rockville’s vibrant business community.”

For more information about Rockville MOVE and Business Expansion Fund grants, please visit  www.rockvilleredi.org/business-grants-loans

About REDI

Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) is a public-private partnership that helps businesses launch, locate, and expand in the City of Rockville, Maryland. Committed to economic development, REDI is proactive in its efforts to support existing industry and attract new businesses with the tools to get started in Rockville, and resources and guidance to existing businesses in the city. To learn more, visit: https://rockvilleredi.org/ Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Media Contact:

Amanda Bosland, Communications Manager – REDI
301-355-2213 | amanda@rockvilleredi.org

Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce hosts first Business Expo

The GRCC Business Expo offers an opportunity to network, discover and grow business

Rockville, Md., Aug. 14, 2023 – The Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce (GRCC) is excited to announce its inaugural business expo. The event is free and open to the public to attend. Local businesses can purchase a table space to showcase their companies.

The GRCC is hosting the first of its kind event to highlight the variety of businesses in the Greater Rockville region.   On Wednesday, September 13, 2023 from 9 am to noon at the Lakewood Country Club, the Chamber will host a business expo. This event will provide businesses with the opportunity to promote their companies and engage with members of the larger community. Business leaders can make new connections and have in-person conversations with potential new clients and customers. Businesses interested in participating in this event should register by September 1stThe cost is $200 for a table. Space is limited to 40 companies.

Anyone is welcome to attend and visit with the participating businesses. Registration is currently open and encouraged, but there is no fee to attend.

GRCC’s CEO Marji Graf shared, “The Greater Rockville region has a thriving business community, and we want to shine a spotlight on those businesses and provide opportunities for the entire community to come together and learn more about what businesses are in their backyard. When people spend their dollars locally, more money stays local.”

The Chamber is encouraging businesses to participate in this event to expand their business reach.   In this economic climate while costs are increasing, it helps to know what companies are in the community and where partnering opportunities may exist.

Erica Land of Erica Land Photography said, “We’re excited to be a part of the Chamber’s Business Expo this year. We see this as a way to network with our peers and meet new potential clients that could help our company grow.”

The Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce is excited to convene this event and foster relationships with businesses and customers and provide more visibility for Rockville area businesses.


About Greater Rockville Chamber of Commerce (GRCC)

The GRCC serves as the voice of the thousands of businesses that proudly call the Rockville, MD area their home. It strives to create and support a thriving Rockville through educational programs, networking opportunities, and services; civic and business involvement in cultural and social programs and services; and advocacy for the interdependence of business and civic goals to expand economic vitality in Rockville. For more information, visit https://www.rockvillechamber.org.



June 2023 unemployment rate is lowest in more than 30 years for Montgomery County, Maryland

Montgomery County Seal with Background Image

Economic indicators for June 2023 show continued positive post-pandemic business trends

Montgomery County, Md., Aug. 9 2023 – The June 2023 preliminary unemployment rate in Montgomery County, Maryland was just reported the lowest *June rate in more than 30 years at 1.5%, according to the BLS State and Local Area Unemployment Statistics series. This key metric is the lowest of any June tracking to 1990.

The June unemployment rate was also lower than Maryland’s overall rate, which was 1.7%, compared to the Washington MSA at 2.5% and the national average at 3.8%.

In another positive economic trend, May Montgomery County employment in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services subsector was robust, showing an increase of 2.9% year over year, which is well above the rate of the state and the Washington MSA.

The leisure and hospitality subsector continues to improve, increasing positions by 6% since last May and is now about evenly paced with 2019. Healthcare and social assistance jobs increased 5.5% year over year, ahead of Maryland, the Washington MSA and the nation.

“It is extremely gratifying to see these positive trends in our economy,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “These trends are a sign that businesses are coming back following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are fortunate to have a diverse economy that is anchored by several federal agencies, a strong biotech industry as well as travel and tourism. We collectively support our businesses to build a stronger economy as we continue post-pandemic recovery efforts.”

“The growth in Montgomery County, with unemployment at a record low 1.5%, shows the strength and resilience of our business community,” said MCEDC President & CEO Bill Tompkins.” It is also exciting to see the substantial growth in professional, scientific and technical services, areas where Montgomery County continues to shine.”

*All figures, including U.S., are non-seasonal.

Watch County Executive Marc Elrich’s press conference here.

See the economic indicators infographic here.


About Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC)

The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) is the official public-private economic development organization representing Montgomery County, Maryland. Created in 2016, MCEDC is led by a Board of Directors of business executives. Its mission is to help businesses start, grow and relocate in Montgomery County by helping them gain access to top talent, business and market intelligence and prime locations. For more information, visit https://thinkmoco.com/

Link to press release: https://thinkmoco.com/blog/montgomerycounty-june2023-unemployment

Explore Rockville website receives 2023 Award of Distinction from the Communicator Awards

Cynthia Rivarde, Chief Executive Officer - REDI (left) and Cory Van Horn, Chief Stategy Officer - Visit Montgomery (right) display Explore Rockville's Award of Distinction from the Communicator Awards

The Award of Distinction is presented to projects that exceed industry standards in quality and acheivement

Rockville, Md., Aug. 7, 2023 – Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI), and Visit Montgomery are thrilled to announce that their collaborative project, the Explore Rockville tourism website, has been honored with the prestigious 2023 Award of Distinction from The Communicator Awards. The recognition is for the website’s design and effectiveness in promoting Rockville’s tourism offerings.

The Communicator Awards receive nearly 5,000 entries annually and are judged by a panel of invitation-only communications professionals from acclaimed media, communications, advertising, creative and marketing firms. The Award of Distinction is presented to projects that exceed industry standards in quality and achievement.

Conceived with the goal of fostering Rockville’s economic growth and enriching its community by showcasing the city’s unique offerings, the Explore Rockville website was developed by REDI and Visit Montgomery and designed by LTD Creative. It features an array of resources designed to support tourism, attract businesses and residents, and enhance overall quality of life in Rockville. The website also spotlights the city’s distinct commercial neighborhoods, including Rockville Town Center, King Farm and Rock East District.

“We’re proud to receive an Award of Distinction for the Explore Rockville website,” said Susan Prince, REDI’s Board Chair. “This recognition underscores the importance of strong partnerships between destination marketing and economic development organizations in strategically promoting Rockville as a dynamic and thriving city.”

Visit the Explore Rockville website at www.explorerockville.org

About REDI

Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) is a public-private partnership that helps businesses launch, locate, and expand in the City of Rockville, Maryland. Committed to economic development, REDI is proactive in its efforts to support existing industry and attract new businesses with the tools to get started in Rockville, and resources and guidance to existing businesses in the city. To learn more, visit: https://rockvilleredi.org/

About Visit Montgomery

Visit Montgomery is a 501(c) 6 nonprofit organization whose mission is to market and develop Montgomery County, Maryland and its communities as preferred destinations for group and individual travel. Through tourism marketing and development, Visit Montgomery helps foster economic growth and improve the quality of life in the region. To learn more, visit https://visitmontgomery.com/


Media Contact:

Amanda Bosland, Communications Manager – REDI
301-355-2213 | amanda@rockvilleredi.org

Ripple Effect celebrates 20 years in business

"Ripple Effect is the collective action and work ethic of every single employee making small, positive waves on which we build better and more successful relationships with our clients."

Rockville, Md., July 12, 2023 – In 2003, Ripple Effect set up shop in the federal contracting space with an emphasis on health and science. In August 2023, the award-winning woman-owned company will mark its 20th anniversary supporting the federal government, private industry, and non-profit organizations. Its 200+ researchers, scientists, policy and data analysts, and strategic communicators continue to ramp up as necessary to meet the changing needs of clients.

“The secret to the company’s success is right in the name,” said founder and CEO Amy Bielski. “Ripple Effect is the collective action and work ethic of every single employee making small, positive waves on which we build better and more successful relationships with our clients. Better relationships yield better outcomes for all.”

The company internalized a Work Smarter Perform Better® mantra to build its reputation as an agile, outcome-based, and client-centric organization. According to Bielski, working in this way has helped the company grow and allowed clients to achieve greater success that contributes to the health and well-being of their agencies and the nation. Ripple Effect’s areas of expertise include Program Management and Policy, Communications and Outreach, Research and Evaluation, Digital Transformation, and Strategic Staffing.

Bielski became interested in the health field after overcoming a childhood illness. Being treated at a research hospital helped her develop an appreciation for the work that physicians and scientists do side-by-side. She saw how treatment protocols were improved and timetables were shortened because of ongoing research. She eventually earned a business degree and began working for a small government contractor on a health-related project. While working on a client site, she met biochemist and science policy expert Jennifer Pohlhaus. When Bielski established Ripple Effect, Pohlhaus joined as the COO. “We share core values but see things a little differently” said Bielski. “Our similarities and our differences make us a powerful team.” 

Company Climate

From the start, Ripple Effect built an employee-first culture that encourages life-long learning, flexibility, and adaptability. The company places an emphasis on meeting its employees where they are in their lives, enabling them to work in a variety of capacities from full-time to part-time to on-call with maximum flexibility to work the hours when they are most productive. The company offers a tailored total rewards package, personalized benefits structures, and competitive compensation options. Ripple Effect maintains a progressive and engaging environment that invites staff to bring their whole selves to work. Its DEIA policy ensures that all employees feel empowered and respected.

Making More Waves – The Next 20 Years

While nobody can predict the future, Ripple Effect’s leadership and employees are optimists who consider themselves to be positive wave makers and understand that sustained action pays off. The company continues to expand subject matter and technical expertise, gauge and analyze industry trends, and educate employees to serve the ever-shifting needs of current clients while branching out to identify new opportunities. Ripple Effect has already begun to catch the next wave of innovation for the next 20 years and beyond.

About Ripple Effect

Headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, Ripple Effect is a woman-owned professional consulting company offering communications & outreach, program management & policy, research & evaluation, and digital transformation services. Ripple Effect is supported by a strategic staffing capability that helps clients recruit and retain top talent in competitive marketplaces. Learn more at https://rippleeffect.com/

Link to press release https://rippleeffect.com/2023/07/ripple-effect-celebrates-20-years-in-business/


Capital Bank stakes its claim by being friend to DC region entrepreneurs, small businesses and startups

Capital Bank was ranked the 5th top-performing bank with assets between $2 billion and $10 billion by American Banker in 2023

Capital Bank’s Head of Deposit, Product and Operations, Nikhil Bijlani, serves on Rockville Economic Development, Inc.’s (REDI) Board of Directors.

Article originally published by WTOP News on July 12, 2023

Capital Bank rates its performance based on the success of the people and places it serves across the greater Washington metropolitan region.

“When we bank with local businesses, we take those deposits and reinvest them in building communities,” said Capital Bank CEO Ed Barry. “We have a consultative approach, and we want — as we say — to be ‘partners in our customers’ vision.’ Capital Bank is personally invested in the success of our clients. We try to get behind the numbers and find a way to say yes.”

That approach has helped the Rockville, Maryland–based bank thrive too. American Banker in June ranked Capital Bank fifth among banks with assets between $2 billion and $10 billion in its annual survey of top-performing banks.

Barry said that prestigious recognition validates his team’s entrepreneurial spirit and a culture at Capital Bank that has enabled it to help businesses and communities reach new heights.

WTOP talked with Barry, other Capital Bank leaders and its customers during a panel held at its newest location, at 1400 W St. Northwest in Washington, D.C.

The bank relocated its D.C. branch to W Street because Capital Bank for years has invested in businesses along 14th Street Northwest, an area often considered the creative and cultural nexus of the nation’s capital. The bank has played a role in the corridor’s resurgence through these investments, which has strengthened its commitment to the area’s success, Barry shared.

Face to face with customers preferred at Capital Bank

“Community banking is all about relationships,” said Jerome Bailey, vice chairman of the board of Capital Bank. “We depend on customers for deposits and insight for what is going on in a real-time fashion, and then we can take those assets and that data and invest back.”

Bailey, who started out as customer when he was growing his own business, Bailey Real Estate Holding, said building close partnerships with customers is a core tenet of how Capital Bank operates daily.

“We roll up our sleeves, and it is our job to get to know our clientele,” he said. “We don’t do desktop underwriting. We sit across the table from our customers and get information that might not translate on paper.”

In short, Capital Bank’s approach to banking is similar to the local businesses it serves: It doesn’t fit neatly in a box. Humanity, dependability and equity are driving forces behind the company’s ethos, Barry said. Capital Bank’s team views itself as an advocate for the small customer with big dreams and believes the bank isn’t just in a client’s zip code, it’s in that client’s corner.

Brian Edell, chief financial officer of My Dad’s Chips in Gaithersburg, Maryland, said he has personally experienced that sense of having Capital Bank as the business’s advocate.

“As we were looking for ways to grow, Capital Bank was the only bank to take us seriously and believed in us,” Edell said.

That support helped the business expand from what grew out of a potato chip–making hobby by Edell’s father into a snack business with significant distribution deals, he said.

Helping D.C. entrepreneurs achieve their dreams

There are countless Capital Bank stories like My Dad’s Chips — especially in D.C., said Capital Bank Senior Vice President Paul Merritt. He recalled 25 years ago when numerous empty storefronts dotted the 14th Street corridor. Now, he smiles with pride as he walks around the area, pointing out restaurants and other small businesses that Capital Bank helped launch.

“I love the diversity of this city. Everyone comes from different backgrounds,” Merritt said. “It is very rewarding to work with people and to help them achieve their goals. A lot of our clients came to this area with little more than their clothes on their back and, with the help of Capital Bank, they now have successful businesses.”

Given its small footprint relative to large nationwide competitors, the bank has the advantage of being nimble and able to act quickly to changing economic circumstances, said Steve Poynot, Capital Bank’s president and chief operating officer. He added that the bank’s team prides itself on identifying where the local economy and broader financial markets are going and then pivoting to meet the needs of Washington metropolitan businesses.

“It’s exciting to see the next areas that will grow,” Poynot said. “We are not limited to one community. We have boots on the ground in so many places across the region. We have so much potential as we fill the void left by community banks that have grown or consolidated.”

share on twitterAbout Capital Bank

Capital Bank is a Maryland chartered commercial bank headquartered in Rockville, MD that offers business and consumer banking services through branches in the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Capital Bank is a member of the Federal Reserve Bank system, FDIC, and an Equal Housing Lender. Learn more at https://capitalbankmd.com/


SYNAPS Dx DISCERN™ Test Provides Accurate Alzheimer’s Diagnosis for Leqembi™

The DISCERN™ test will be crucial in helping patients make decisions regarding the newly FDA approved Alzheimer's drug, Leqembi™.

Rockville, Md., July 11, 2023 -(BUSINESS WIRE)–SYNAPS Dx (SDx) a privately held company focused on the research, development and commercialization of a diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), recognizes the historic Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Leqembi, the first drug shown to slow the progression of AD.

By adding the DISCERN™ test in community practices, healthcare practitioners will have access to the only autopsy-validated accurate skin test to identify AD, one of the first steps in diagnosing AD among people recently diagnosed with the disease. Pursuant to the Leqembi label, once AD is identified, then an assessment of amyloid positivity can be performed in determining if the drug is appropriate. In clinical utility studies, clinicians were four times more likely to prescribe drugs like Leqembi with a positive DISCERN test than if the test was negative.

Frank Amato, CEO and president, SDx, says, “FDA approval of Leqembi is a step forward to help patients and families in their fight against this debilitating condition that impacts millions of Americans. The DISCERN test helps prescribers and patients to weigh the risks and benefits of taking the drug given the significant safety considerations, including amyloid-related imaging abnormalities (ARIA) and potential brain bleeding. Given these risks, diagnostic certainty is critical to ensure that AD is the cause of symptoms. Without access to cost-effective diagnostic tools, data suggest that currently, 50-70% of symptomatic patients are misdiagnosed with AD in the generalist setting.”

The DISCERN diagnostic test assesses factors closely related to the formation of synaptic connections in the brain as well as the formation of amyloid plaque and abnormal tau. Synaptic connections are lost as cognitive functions decline, even early in AD. Amyloid plaques and abnormal tau are the pathologic hallmarks in the brain at autopsy that, together with dementia, definitively identify those patients with AD.

The established relationship between AD and the skin provides unique positioning for DISCERN which requires a minimally invasive, 3mm skin punch biopsy. Physicians in the primary care community and neurology settings place high value on this simplified, cost-effective diagnostic pathway to identify AD. Given the high cost and risk/benefit drug profiles, accurate prescribing is more important than ever.

“AD is complex but DISCERN resolves the diagnostic dilemma, enabling physicians to make a more definitive diagnosis,” continues Amato. “Early intervention is clearly the key to success, but the question is what is the best intervention? We strongly recommend on first focusing on modifiable risk factors before adding drugs with significant safety and economic burdens to patients, practitioners and the overall healthcare system.”


SYNAPS Dx is a privately held company focused on the research, development and commercialization of a diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The Company offers DISCERN™, the first highly accurate, minimally invasive test supporting a clinician’s definitive diagnosis of AD versus other forms of dementia, even in people recently diagnosed with dementia. SYNAPS Dx’s laboratory is certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) as qualified to perform high complexity clinical laboratory testing. Physicians and patients seeking more information can visit https://discerntest.com/. For more information on the Company, visit https://www.synapsdx.com/.