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Best Week, Worst Week: Venture capital flows in Md.; CJCC forced to disband

best-worst-101417Venture capital numbers are up, which is good news to those investing in Maryland, while Gov. Larry Hogan forced the disbanding of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council this week after cutting off its funds.

Business writer Tim Curtis reported Wednesday that venture capitalists invested more than $181 million over 13 deals with Maryland-based companies in the third quarter of 2017, a higher total than the previous quarter and from the same period in 2016, according to quarterly PricewaterhouseCoopers/CB Insights MoneyTree Report.

The overall amount invested in Maryland companies was buoyed by $103 million invested in SpringWorks Therapeutics, a drug company spun off of Pfizer last month with investors including Bain Capital, LifeArc and OrbiMed Advisors.

Industry analysists say it was a good quarter for Maryland, and the state has had a comparatively good year through three quarters. With $73 million of investment in the fourth quarter, Maryland would double its total from 2016.

The big investment in SpringWorks could help the state attract capital. Last month, a Johns Hopkins study indicated Maryland is struggling to keep businesses in the state as they seek capital elsewhere.

Analysts add having big rounds could get other investors interested, and looking at the national trends could also indicate a way for the state to attract more investment. $19 billion was invested nationally in the third quarter, including 26 megadeals of greater than $100 million.

Meanwhile, money was also a topic of discussion this week for the CJCC. The group was forced to disband Wednesday after Gov. Larry Hogan stripped the body of its $272,000 state grant funding.

Legal affairs writer Heather Cobun reported Wednesday the group disbanded in a unanimous vote, but also agreed to form a new body to continue the council’s work.

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby proposed continuing to meet without the funding, though Baltimore City Circuit Judge Charles J. Peters, who chairs the committee, pointed out it would be less effective without the executive director and project manager, whose salaries made up the bulk of the grant funding.

The 21-member committee, formed in 1999 and includes stakeholders from city, state and federal government, was created to address the nuts and bolts of criminal justice administration in Baltimore.

Hogan didn’t mince words when he categorized the CJCC as a “lunch club for people to sit around and talk about other issues” and said he would give the remaining money to Mayor Catherine Pugh’s office to work on violent crime reduction. The governor said if the group was not committed to focusing on violent crime in Baltimore, then the state did not feel compelled to keep it running.

Council committee members defended the organization’s work, saying Hogan may not have been aware of the important work the council does when he eliminated the funding. Pugh offered to maintain a dialogue with committee members on addressing violence reduction through the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.