Thursday, December 22, 2005

MdBio and TCM: Merger Before New Year?

According to the Washington Business Journal, the two Maryland bioscience organizations may have finally reached an accord.

MdBio, Tech Council merger inches closer

Neil Adler
Staff Reporter
The two main advocacy groups for Maryland's biotechnology industry appear ready to tie the knot after two years of negotiating in a somewhat tension-filled courtship.
At their most recent board meetings, leaders of MdBio and the Tech Council of Maryland voted to move forward with discussions, and officials say a deal could be wrapped up in the next couple of weeks. The two organizations expect to make an announcement soon, perhaps even before year's end.
Officials from both groups say there are two or three operational issues with the agreement that need to be ironed out before the merger can be completed. Officials declined to provide specifics.
More than a year ago, the organizations called off their attempt at a merger. Negotiations fell through in part because the two had different structures. The Tech Council is a member organization; MdBio was not.
However, in May MdBio announced it would become a membership-driven group. At the time offered it offered $500,000 to buy the Tech Council's biotech membership list. Tech Council officials said no thanks.
That caused a strain in the relationship, a strain that officials say no longer exists.
"We're very optimistic the deal can get done," says Jim Leslie, MdBio's chairman and a senior vice president in the Vienna office of executive search firm
Kincannon & Reed.
MdBio's board voted about two weeks ago to move forward with the merger talks. The Tech Council's board voted Dec. 20 to proceed.
Given the history between the organizations, however, officials are cautious in speaking about the deal until it's done.
"We've still got some things to clean up," says John Nyland, the Tech Council's chairman and an executive with
IBM Global Services in Bethesda.
In September, Nyland told Washington Business Journal that if an agreement was going to be reached by the two organizations, it would happen in 2005. Nyland now says the groups continue to exchange documents as they finalize the merger. They are currently drafting new bylaws for a combined entity.
Under the proposed deal, the Rockville-based Tech Council would have two divisions, one focused on advanced technology companies, the other focused on biotech firms and called MdBio.
Sources say Bob Eaton, president of Frederick-based MdBio, is likely to lead the biotech division.
Eaton declined to comment, saying there is "nothing new to report right now

This would be great news for the entire region. Let's hope they can get it done.

Monday, December 05, 2005

State Funding for Bioscience Research

Here is an article about the need for increased state funding for Virginia's research efforts. UVA and Tech are not in the top 50 yet, so additional funding is critical.

George Mason president calls for more research funds
By Neil Adler, Staff Reporter

George Mason University needs about $25 million in additional funds over the next five years from Virginia lawmakers to propel it into a top-notch research university that will better compete for jobs in biotechnology and other high-tech industries, says its president.

In a meeting Nov. 28 with delegates from Northern Virginia, George Mason President Alan Merten called on the legislators for additional funding, which the university would use specifically to recruit faculty members known worldwide for their focus in cancer biology and bioengineering, as well as the neurosciences.

Merten says the university is hoping to generate research dollars of about $150 million over the next five years, putting George Mason in the top 100 research universities nationwide. Investing in George Mason will benefit Virginia's economy over the long term, university officials say, by attracting additional researchers and biotech companies to the community.

While several hundred biotech and pharmaceutical companies have a presence in Virginia, the bulk of attention -- and research dollars -- still go to research organizations and private-sector companies along the Interstate 270 corridor in Montgomery County, where a much larger cluster of drug-development firms exists.

Local biotech industry officials say for Northern Virginia to rival Montgomery County, universities must do their part by improving education and convincing top scientists and lab researchers to conduct their work locally. Some officials in Virginia say a new campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a roughly $500 million facility slated to open in Ashburn late in 2006, will do its part to command attention.

"George Mason University is poised to become a premier research facility in the world," Merten says in a statement. "The best way to achieve this goal, from an economic standpoint, is to invest in growing Mason's already solid base of highly regarded researchers."

The university says it recently hired Matthew Kluger as its vice president of research. Kluger previously was vice president of research and dean of the School of Graduate Studies at the Medical College of Georgia

Will Governor Warner include any funding for bioscience research or for recommendations from the State Biotech Commission? Rumors are rampant, but no solid info yet...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Virginia Leads the Way in Forensics

The cover story in the latest Virginia Business magazine is all about Virginia's leading role in the field of applied forensic technology. From the state's leadership in developing the DNA database to private firms such as Bode Technology and Commonwealth Biotechnologies.VaBIO board member Kevin McElfresh is on the cover, looking quite stern and unforgiving! The headline is "Sorting Out Murder, Madness and Mayhem." I guess they asked for a CSI pose? Click here for the article.

Congratulations to Paul Ferrara, Kevin McElfresh and Tom Reynolds on the excellent article. It is great to see the biosciences on the cover of the state's leading business magazine.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mid-Atlantic Bio Exceeded Expectations

The 2005 Mid-Atlantic Bio Conference, the first industry-led regional bioscience conference for Maryland and Virginia, concluded successfully last week at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.

The conference attracted more than 600 attendees (we are still counting registrations and walk-ins-- could be nearly 650) from approximately 250 companies, 15 states and 40 different venture capital investment funds. The 58 booth exhibit hall was sold out and more than 770 total registrations were sold.

Those in attendance heard more than 60 speakers on diverse topics such as raising investment capital, the future of personalized medicine, innovative treatments for obesity and aging, biodefense initiatives, nanotechnology and selecting the best tools for bioscience research. The keynote speaker on the opening day, Dr. George Poste, of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, spoke about the convergence of biotechnology, engineering, and computing in healthcare delivery.

The feedback from attendees regarding the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center was surprisingly positive. We were afraid that the site was just too big for our event. Based on the comments, we are seriously looking at the Reagan building again.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bioscience View from Southwestern Virginia

There are challenges to developing good lifescience companies anywhere, but they can be reasonably overcome if the basic building blocks are good: good science and good people. Southwestern Virginia is beginning to distinguish itself with an ability to grow and support bioscience in this area.

Several factors play into this ability. First and foremost is a community desire to be successful. Residents of regions such as Hampton Roads or Northern Virginia which is already growing at a good clip don't wake up in the morning with economic development on their minds. In this area, however, leaders from the Roanoke Valley, New River Valley, and surrounding jurisdictions share a common desire to help businesses grow locally and often come together to provide the resources for them to do so.

Recently that desire for economic development has resulted in an increased availability of capital. Lack of money is often bemoaned as a reason why more early stage companies do not grow. In Southwestern Virginia, however, there are active angel and VC networks that seek to get the best and brightest opportunities funded. The Roanoke-Blacksburg Angel Network and the $12 M NewVa fund are two examples of organizations focused on all businesses, including lifescience, and which actively review and invest in small and growing companies.

This area is also fortunate to have as its economic and intellectual pillars the Carilion Health System and Virginia Tech. These two employment and development leaders are key to many of the bioscience and growth initiatives in the region. Virginia Tech, in addtion to being a nationally recognized research university, had the foresight to establish the VT Corporate Research Center which today houses more than 100 companies and 1800 employees in growing technology and life science companies. Carilion, in addition to being a $1.2 B healthcare system with ten hospitals, actively supports growing medical companies, established the Carilion Biomedical Institute, and created Riverside Center in downtown Roanoke as a new 27 acre village for biomedical and business growth within an already successful city.

These factors have helped create a growing stream of lifescience focused companies in this region and an ability to fund and grow many more. For every Luna Innovations, TechLab, Intrexon, and American Biosystems already established here, there are many more small companies just forming and looking for the opportunities that will help them grow into a next generation of successful biotech companies.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Area Life Science Companies Chosen to Make Presentations for Venture Funding at 2005 Mid-Atlantic Bio

Fifteen Companies Represent Various Industry Sectors, Stages, and Geography;
Two Virginia Companies on Deck: Diffusion Pharmaceuticals LLC and DiaKine Therapeutics, Inc.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Fifteen companies demonstrating the diverse cross-section of the mid-Atlantic bioscience industry have been selected to present before venture capitalists at 2005 Mid-Atlantic Bio: TheConference for Industry and Investors, the region's premier biotechnology forum scheduled from October 26-27 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC.

The majority of companies selected are from the hosting states of Maryland and Virginia, with the balance coming from the two other leading biotech states in the mid-Atlantic, New Jersey and North Carolina. Selected companies represent a cross-section of industry sectors, with most coming from thetherapeutic sector and the remainder focused on the diagnostics and tools categories. Regarding investment stage, most of the presenting companies are from the early/preclinical and clinical stages, with three seeking funding for expansion.

"The principal criterion for the companies we chose was that they be quality companies that represent fundable opportunities reflective of the current interests of investors," said Don Rainey, a partner in the Reston, Va. office of Intersouth Partners, who co-chaired the Selection Committee withMatt Zuga, managing director of Red Abbey Venture Partners, Baltimore, MD.

"The slate of presenting companies provides a glimpse into the entrepreneurial environment of the mid-Atlantic biotech region. We are seeing more seasoned management teams with compelling science, intellectual property, technologies and business ideas which speak to the growth of this industry in the mid-Atlantic region."

"The diversity of the selected companies' investment stage and sectors reflects positively on the growth occurring within the life sciences industry," said Julia Spicer, Executive Director of MAVA. "We are pleased with the quality and strength of the companies that were chosen by our investor-driven selection committee. The Selection process and the overall investor portion of the 2005 Mid-Atlantic Bio conference was bolstered by the strong leadership and participation of veteran venture capital firms including:Anthem Capital, Boulder Ventures, The Carlyle Group, Emerging Technology Partners, H.I.G Ventures, Intersouth Partners, Maryland Venture Fund, MedImmune Inc., New Enterprise Associates, Quaker BioVentures, Red AbbeyVentures, Tall Oaks Capital, and Toucan Capital Corp."

The companies selected to present at 2005 Mid-Atlantic Bio are:

* A&G Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Columbia, Md.)
* Cerionx, Inc (Pennsauken, NJ)
* Cylex Inc (Columbia, Md.)
* DiaKine Therapeutics, Inc. (Charlottesville, VA)
* Diffusion Pharmaceuticals LLC (Charlottesville, VA)
* GlycoMimetics, Inc. (Gaithersburg, Md.)
* Intradigm (Rockville, Md.)
* MacroGenics (Rockville, Md.)
* MaxCyte Inc. (Gaithersburg, Md.)
* NeoDiagnostix (Rockville, Md.)
* PharmAthene (Annapolis, Md.)
* SCYNEXIS (Research Triangle Park, NC)
* Sensors for Medicine and Science (Germantown, Md.)
* Sequoia Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Gaithersburg, Md.)
* TissueGene, Inc (Gaithersburg, Md.)

The conference is a jointly-hosted regional event for the bioscience industry and the investor community, combining components of a regional industry convention and investor conference under one roof dedicated to promoting the growth of biotechnology in the Mid-Atlantic region. Mid-Atlantic Bio is hosted by four of the region's most influential bioscience andinvestor associations: The Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA), the TechCouncil of Maryland (TCM), the Virginia Biotechnology Association (VaBIO), and MdBio.

As part of the 2005 Mid-Atlantic Bio program, executives from presenting companies are participating in several pre-conference programs, including a networking event and a one-day boot camp session to help prepare for the formal presentations before investors. This effort by the organizers was made to encourage collaboration beyond the one-day presentation.

Event information, registration, presentation, and sponsorshipopportunities are available at Additional information is available by calling 703.683.5698.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Medical Device update #1

Intelliject LLC was named one of Richmond's companies to watch at last week's Greater Richmond Companies to Watch (CRCTW) Event. Congratulations to Eric, Evan and the Intelliject team for building value in another Virginia device company. Intelliject is an example of how moving into an incubator can assist a start-up be sucessful. Could it be the right move for your company? If you want to learn more you should check out a series of rountables being sponsored by the Virginia Business Incubation Association :

"Small Business Incubators are an effective community economic development tool. These roundtables will provide a forum for information sharing among incubator staff and board members, local and regional economic developers and PDC staff. The goal is to strengthen existing alliances and to forge new ones in an effort to help promote incubation and in turn job creation and investment in our communities"

Events are scheduled:
OCTOBER 27, 2005
Franklin Business Incubator
601 N Mechanic St
Franklin, Virginia
Cathy Davison

NOVEMBER 3, 2005
@ VATech
2200 Kraft Drive
Blacksburg, Virginia
Jim Flowers

NOVEMBER 10, 2005
Fairfax Innovation Center
4031 University Dr
Fairfax, Virginia
Judy Barral

Email Morgan Bird ( for more information.

If your company is looking for new sensor technologies you may be interested in attending this year's SensorsGov 2005 conference. It's being held will be held on December 6-8, at the new Hampton Roads Convention Center ( in Hampton, Virginia. There are two sessions on Human Health Monitoring on Wednesday (Dec. 7).

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

North Carolina's Biotech Money--$25m a Year Forever?

How can Virginia compete with states such as North Carolina when, in addition to the significant public contribution to fund the life sciences, there are also private sector billionaires who are committed to building wetlabs and fund research? In addition to David Murdock's money, the state is on the hook for about $25 million a year... for perpetuity. Here is the link to an article on MSNBC:

That is also the theme of a new article in the Triad Business Journal. Here is a link:

The opening section of the article identifies the remarkable situation in North Carolina:

While Research Triangle Park dominates the biotech scene in North Carolina, the state is eager to build other life science clusters to replace the disappearing manufacturing base. With Winston-Salem's Piedmont Triad Research Park bankrolled primarily by the private Wake Forest University, the state's public universities plan to spend $25 million helping to launch Kannapolis' N.C. Research Campus, and $16 million for operations each year.

Other states are boosting biotech as well beyond their best-known location. While the big tax money in the industry is the billions granted through federal government for research every year, states support the industry by funding infrastructure initiatives in the hope of generating high-paying jobs.

For example, North Carolina's 2005-2006 budget includes $4.9 million for biotechnology initiatives at N.C. Central and N.C. State universities, and $3 million in support of statewide biotech training initiatives, among other projects.
What about Virginia? Here is the next section:

North of the border in Virginia, its biotech capital is also the state capital of Richmond, location of the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park. The park opened for business in 1995, the product of a partnership between Virginia Commonwealth University, the city of Richmond, and the state. Park President and CEO Robert Skunda said Virginia has indeed been trying to grow additional biotech clusters in other parts of the state, including Blacksburg to the west, Charlottesville near the center, and Prince William County to the north.

"Most of the money has gone to the universities (in those areas) to invest in research buildings, that they hope will eventually translate into economic activity in research parks" established by the universities, Skunda said. That amount is substantial, he added, probably totaling up to $100 million over the past decade.

However, direct state funding to help establish research parks around those outlying universities has been "right around zero," Skunda said. As in many other states, he said, the administration of Gov. Mark Warner has been scrambling to overcome budget deficits, making extra funds for park development hard to come by.

"It's going to be very difficult to compete looking at places like Kannapolis," where a private individual will pick up a large part of the startup tab, Skunda said. "It's just phenomenal to have somebody come forward with that kind of commitment. The challenge there will be building the accompanying base of research."
Yikes! Bob Skunda is right about the state's commitment. Rumors continue to fly about Governor Warner's outgoing budget. Will he support any of his own Biotechnology Commission recommendations? Even one?

Monday, October 10, 2005

November 4: First in Life Sciences Luncheon Series in Charlottesville Announced

Biotech Patents and Licensing: First Luncheon in Series Starts Friday, Nov. 4 in Charlottesville

The Virginia Piedmont Technology Council and VaBIO are teaming up to co-host quarterly Friday luncheons in Charlottesville. These informal sessions are targeted at those forging the way in the life sciences -- be it bioengineering, biomedical, biotech, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, or healthcare.

The November Life Sciences Luncheon -- the first in the series -- will feature MaryAnne Armstrong, Ph.D., a partner with the intellectual property law firm Birch, Stewart, Kolasch & Birch LLP, as the guest speaker. Dr. Armstrong will demystify the federal legislation known as CREATE Act, signed into law last December. The act amends existing patent law to permit the patenting of inventions made through joint research among multiple partners if certain conditions are met.

Dr. Armstrong will also provide updates on the intellectual property considerations surrounding the Bayh-Dole Act. In her practice, Dr. Armstrong works with inventors, companies and university technology transfer agents in the fields of immunology, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, biotechnology, medical devices and others.

The event will be held on November 4th, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the conference room at the Connected Communities building, 999 Grove Street in Charlottesville. The event is free for VaBIO and VPTC members. Non-members pay only $15 per person.

Lunch and beverages will be provided thanks to our generous sponsor: Birch, Stewart, Kolasch & Birch LLP.

Register online with the VPTC (sorry, registration has closed as the event is full)

University of Virgina Said to Lag Behind Nation in Biomedical Funding

According to an article in the Daily Progress published October 8, 2005, UVa is said to lag behind the Nation in biomedical funding. The article states that biomedical research funding in the U.S. nearly doubled between 1994 and 2003 and that UVa's research funding increased 49 percent between 1996 and 2005.

To read the full story, click here:!news

Friday, October 07, 2005

Tim Kaine on Biotechnology

As noted below, we are taking a look at what each of the three candidates for governor have posted on their campaign websites (or in media releases) about biotechnology or issues such as tech transfer, R&D tax credits, venture capital, etc.

The relevant page on Tim Kaine’s site is located here:

On that page, dedicated to economic development initiatives, the Kaine Campaign does not seem to have much listed on biotech, except in one reference to projects in Roanoke. Here is the full quote:

Roanoke and New River Valleys

* Support safety and capacity improvements to Interstate 81
* Invest in Virginia Tech, Radford, and the Roanoke Higher Education Center
* Support biotech research through the development of the Carilion Biomedical Institute, a public-private collaboration of Carilion Health Systems, Virginia Tech, and the University of Virginia
* Support arts and cultural attractions that attract tourism

There is a separate page dedicated to higher education located here:

Elsewhere on the Kaine Campaign site, we did find a media release congratulating the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park on the Philip Morris R&D facility deal. Here is the link for that:

While the websites may not have much detail on biotech issues, it is clear that the candidates are aware of the challenges faciling the industry. When the lieutenant governor spoke at the 2003 Virginia Biotechnology Summit (pictured above), he was able to draw upon his experiences as Richmond's mayor working with the development of the biotech park. Jerry Kilgore also spoke at that same conference, addressing the achievements of forensic science and Virginia's investments in the DNA database.

While it would be great if biotech-related economic development issues had more prominence in the platforms of the candidates, it could also be a double-edged sword. In some other states, biotech policy has been overshadowed by divisive issues such as cloning and stem cell research.

If anyone has other links to the Kaine Campaign’s biotech agenda, please add it to the comments below.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Jerry Kilgore on Biotechnology

What have the candidates for governor said about biotechnology, tech transfer or state funded research? We will look at the plans from all three candidates for governor over the next few days. We will start today with some information from Jerry Kilgore's campaign plan for technology-related economic development:


"Virginia is home to businesses and universities that are on the forefront of innovation and cutting-edge research in biotechnology, nanotechnology, wireless innovation, nuclear and particle physics, aerospace, information systems, and many other disciplines. Now is the time to leverage these advances, build upon the successes of the Center for Innovative Technology, and make Virginia the place for the business and higher-ed communities to turn knowledge into the power to create jobs, advance discoveries, and turn experimentation and inventions into reality for our families and our future. As Governor, Jerry Kilgore will:

  • Create a Governor's Research Partnership Fund to attract new businesses willing to partner with universities on research initiatives and co-locate their operations and/or laboratories on or near the university campus;
  • Establish a comprehensive policy in Virginia law to address technology transfer and commercialization of intellectual property through performance grants for private sector research investment, intellectual property ownership, and expanded state support for copyright offices within universities;
  • Leverage the deployment of VORTEX (a broadband fiber-optic network linking Virginia's universities with each other and national and international research networks) to link research driven business ventures with our universities and spread the cyber infrastructure to rural parts of the state so that private sector researchers could be located in Sussex, Danville or Wise and still work side-by-side with their public sector counterparts at any of the doctoral universities;
  • Implement the key recommendations of the Virginia Research and Technology Advisory Commission (VRTAC), including the creation of a defined tax exemption for private investors rather than the current unpredictable tax credit program;
  • Expand the scope of CIT to become the Virginia Advanced Research Alliance
    ­ the focal point and engine that will drive all of these initiatives forward."


Back in 2003, Kilgore addressed the Virginia Biotechnology Summit. His press release about the event is available here.

If anyone has more information about some of these positions, especially on the "Partnership Fund" and tech transfer issues, please let us know.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Biotech @ Greater Richmond Companies to Watch Event

The Greater Richmond Companies to Watch (CRCTW) Event is being held next Wednesday October 5th at Main Street Station. This event will feature the announcement of the first annual GRCTW list (10-12 companies) deemed most likely to have significant future economic impact in the region. The event is organized by The Venture Forum with sponsorship by Troutman Sanders and others.

I want to personally encourage each of you to attend this event and take advantage of the opportunity to hear the featured speaker Scott Rasmussen, co-founder of ESPN, and network with representatives of up and coming businesses in the region. For more information and to register see the event web site:

You won't want to miss being there to find out which life science companies make the list..........................I'm sworn to secrecy but I think our industry will be nicely represented.

Governor Warner's Budget and Biotechnology

Back in 2002, Governor Warner created the "Governor's Advisory Board for the Virginia Biotechnology Initiative." The group was charged with identifying initiatives to ensure that the Commonwealth is well positioned as an attractive location for the bioscience industry.

Over the course of three years, the commission released a number of reports and persistently advocated for projects that were, in the eyes of the members, critical to maintain the companies we had, let alone be an attractive place for those interested in relocation.

The major recommendations of the Commission were distilled down into a short list of projects. The governor included $10 million in bonds for the biotech shell buildings project in 2004, but that language was stripped out by the House and Senate money committees. In 2005, the governor surprised all of us when he included no money at all for the facilities initiative. VaBIO took up the effort and recruited sponsors for budget amendments that were ultimately unsuccessful.

Now we are closing in on the governor's final budget before he leaves office in January. This is the last chance we have before a new administration arrives in town and the whole economic development study commission process starts all over again and we are back to square one.

Governor Warner has been quoted in a few places saying that he is planning to include significant funding in his last budget for a biomedical project of some kind. We sincerely hope that he will utilize the recommendations his biotech commission has provided after literally years of study and hard work.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Biotech After Hours in Tyson's Corner

Thanks to the kindness of Scheer Partners, VaBIO held a "Biotech After Hours" last Thursday at the Tower Club in Tyson's Corner. More than 130 people pre-registered for the event. The food, drink and views of Northern Virginia from the top of the club were great.

The event was also sponsored by The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Moazzam & Latimer, Keller & Heckman, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Finnegan Henderson, IBM, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr and the NVTC.

The club is a great venue for events like this. Be warned, however, that they take their dress code very seriously. I had spent the earlier part of the day at the President's Cup golf tournament out in Manassas thanks to the folks at Prince William County Economic Development. I was still wearing my shorts and golf shirt when I arrived at the Tower Club to set up all of my signs, name badges, etc. While on a quick tour of the place before I had a moment to go and change into my suit and tie, the manager aksed Dan Gonzales (our host from Scheer Partners) if he could have a quick word in private. It turned out that he was complaining because I was not dressed appropriately and that they would have to ask me to leave!

To all of those who came, thanks very much-- especially those new to the industry and VaBIO. We look forward to having another "BAH" up there soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Charlottesville Bioscience Luncheon Series

VaBIO is working with the Virginia Piedmont Technology Council to set up a bi-monthly brown bag-style luncheon series dedicated to topics of interest to our bioscience entrepreneurs. The first event will be in November and it will address the hidden surprises lurking in the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980. It is the foundation of today's university tech transfer system and should be of significant interest to everyone who has licensed anything from an institution of higher education.

The main speaker will be MaryAnne Armstrong from Birch, Stewart, Kolasch and Birch, a Northern Virginia Patent law firm.

If anyone has any suggestions, let us know.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Mid-Atlantic Bio-- Sell Out?

The latest news from the host committee is that the exhibit hall is over-booked and there are already nearly 500 people registered or coming as sponsors or speakers.

This is remarkable since we still have five weeks to go and the main marketing push has not even started yet. For an inaugural event, this is shaping up to be an impressive launch.

As it is not too late to play a role in the planning for the event, anyone who has an interest should contact me or any member of the host committee.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Mid-Atlantic Bio Experiment

Due to the remarkable response, the exhibit hall at the 2005 Mid-Atlantic Bio event is sold out. In fact, about 6 companies were added today to the waiting list and may not find a space in the hall. The number of major sponsors and the rush we have seen for the "early bird" registration rates is a pretty strong indication that this idea of merging the Virginia and Maryland biotech meetings into a joint event, with our two new partners, was well worth the effort.

The prevailing motivation from the start was to help raise awareness of all the great resources we have in this area-- from Gaithersburg on down through the Commonwealth to the Research Triangle. If a few more VC funds knew about the quality of this bioscience corridor, we might see an increase in deal flow.

Of course, something like that will take years to accomplish and this is just, I hope, a good first effort.

Launching the Virginia Bioscience Blog

Thanks to the encouragement of Mark Licata at BioTrack, the Virginia Biotechnology Association is trying out a new form of communication. This "blog" is intended as a way for our community to network and discuss issues facing the biotech/device industry in the Commonwealth.

Will it be helpful? Good question. A lot will depend on how much traffic we get and the level of discussion.