Tuesday, September 19, 2006

$26 Million in Funding for Two Richmond Companies

This is great news for biotechnology in Virginia.

2 biotech companies get funding
One has produced a blood test for the unborn; the other firm is focusing on tumor cells
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Two Richmond-based biotechnology companies have secured more than $26 million in venture-capital funding.

Living MicroSystems Inc. received $18 million, its second round of financing in less than two years. CellPoint Diagnostics Inc. received $8.5 million, its first funding.

The deals closed late last month. Both firms are in the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park in Richmond and have the same president and CEO, Mike Grisham.

"The really hard work is now ahead of us," Grisham said yesterday. "Getting capital just gives you the runway to go execute, and this is all about execution."

The 16-employee Living MicroSystems will use the money to finish clinical trials of a blood test for early detection of Down syndrome and other genetic abnormalities in unborn babies.

Grisham said the blood test, performed on the mother, is safer than the current procedure, called amniocentesis. That requires drawing and examining fluid from the uterus, and it poses the risk of a miscarriage.

Funds will also go toward a strategy to commercialize the product if federally approved.

The eight-employee CellPoint will use funds in part to expand a management team and test a technology the company has developed that can analyze cancerous-tumor cells before they turn into deadly lumps.

Grisham believes CellPoint's product has potential to better target therapies -- which may work in one person but not in the next -- in patients with breast, lung, prostate or colorectal cancers.

Ultimately, the product could be used for early detection of those fatal diseases. Clinical trials allow Grisham to publish his firms' findings in medical journals. That data also can be used to apply for regulatory approval.

"Our next big milestone is commercialization," he said.

Mike Grisham is one of the speakers at the 2006 Mid-Atlantic Bio meeting next month.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mid-Atlantic Bio Conference, Oct 10 - 11, 2006, Washington, DC

Participate in the 2006 Mid-Atlantic Bio Conference

October 10 and 11, 2006

Ronald Reagan Building (Washingon, DC)

Mid-Atlantic Bio is the only industry and investor conference and exhibition dedicated to promoting the growth of biotechnology in the region. The Conference is collectively sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic's most influential bioscience and investor associations, MdBio, the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA), and the Virginia Biotechnology Association (VaBIO). The initiative benefits from broad regional support, including the investor and greater business communities, academic institutions, government agencies, and partnered regional associations.

The conference provides the platform for conducting business, and building broad alliances with key organizations and audiences sharing a common interest in the long-term growth and stability of biotechnology in the Mid- Atlantic. The event aims to bring together a critical mass of public and private stakeholders – including biotechnology and pharmaceutical senior executives, scientists and researchers, academia, policy makers, legislators, venture capitalists and media – and provide the premiere Mid-Atlantic networking and business development forum favorably positioning the region’s biotechnology industry in terms of its collective strengths, business opportunities, resources, and core competencies among key constituencies.

At a Glance

o Date: October 10 and 11, 2006
o Location: Ronald Reagan Building (DC)
o Attendance: 800+ (expected)
o Program Offerings:
o 12 dynamic workshops/panel sessions
o 6 open-forum topical roundtables
o 16-20 company presentations to investors and collaborators
o 3 plenary sessions
o 50+ scientific posters
o 50+ exhibitors
o Goal: Accelerate business growth, create investment opportunity, and advance product commercialization

For more information and to register, visit