Thursday, October 12, 2006

More than 800 Attended Mid-Atlantic Bio


Science posters, research updates, commercialization guidance, international business perspective, federal policy trends and investor presentations part of regional conference

October 11, 2006 -- Washington, DC – More than 800 attendees from 18 states and countries, including representatives from 135 different life science companies and more than 60 venture investors, participated in the 2nd annual Mid Atlantic Bio Conference coordinated jointly by MdBio, the Virginia Biotechnology Association (VaBIO) and the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA). The two-day program offered something for everyone, including 60 exhibits, 36 scientific posters, and plenary sessions by leaders of science and industry. Keynote speakers included Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and David Holveck, President of Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation. A variety of scientific, business and investor workshops, panels, and focused roundtables rounded out a full programming agenda.

During the conference participants heard lessons learned from a panel of CEO’s; the current status of regenerative medicine, FDA policies and research funding from Washington policy makers and international companies; how to implement a corporate licensing program from representatives of GlaxoSmithKline, compugen USA, MedImmune and Pfizer; understanding and overcoming the unique challenges of running a company of ten or fewer employees; and how to master operating clinical trials on an international level.

Exhibitors interfaced with attendees and other exhibitors throughout the day, with both a luncheon and evening reception taking place in the exhibition hall on Tuesday. In the afternoon, companies from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, and Pennsylvania who had survived a rigorous selection and preparation process made company presentations to industry colleagues and more than 60 investors from some of the leading life sciences private investment groups in the industry.

On day two, as part of the inaugural debut of the conference’s “Innovation Corridor,” thiry-six scientific posters were on display, featuring a variety of cutting edge academic, federal laboratory, and company research and development efforts providing commercial solutions to unmet needs and highlighting advances in biotechnology. During the morning plenary on October 11, 2006, Dr. Fauci provided insight into the “Matrix of Infectious Diseases.” He discussed both emerging infectious diseases such as AIDS and SARS, and re-emerging diseases such as West Nile Virus and Influenza. During his remarks he noted that a new case of West Nile Virus has just been reported this week in Maryland and that the disease, while prevalent in Africa and the Middle East for centuries, was not evident in the United States until 1999. “More than 26% of all deaths in the world are caused by infectious diseases,” Fauci said, adding that a new strain of drug resistant TB known as XDR-TB had recently lead to the deaths of several people overseas. Putting the common seasonal influenza in perspective, he said “Influenza is a very different, unique re-emerging disease for which the world’s population goes largely under vaccinated.”

The closing plenary luncheon took a look into what it takes to build a sustainable company, and included representatives from Aisling Capital, Morgan Stanley and UBS, who spoke candidly to the audience about their views of the market. They suggested that emerging companies need to understand the competitive landscape and provide a business plan that shows they have the in-house power to get things done from a financial, management and regulatory perspective. They noted the importance of the company having IP and a minimum of Phase II proof of concept data. Dennis Purcell from Aisling Capital noted that the new trend is for VCs to fund a company all the way through the process, so it is important to pick the right VCs from the beginning. He also noted that early stage companies today are further along in the development process than early stage companies of five to ten years ago. All panelists agreed that while now is a more difficult time to go public, it is a positive time for mergers and acquisitions and attractive ideas are getting funded.

The Mid-Atlantic Bio conference program is designed to offer business development and networking opportunities for academics, policy makers, federal labs, and industry leaders through exhibition, industry showcase, scientific poster sessions, and topical panel and plenary sessions. Unique to this event is the opportunity for companies at all stages of development to present to venture capital firms interested in the areas of therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices, and healthcare services as well as network with potential pharmaceutical partners.

“This conference is growing in reputation and attendance,” said Julia Spicer, Executive Director of MAVA and a member of the Host Committee with partners MdBio and VaBIO. “2006 Mid-Atlantic Bio was an overwhelming success providing a platform where leaders of industry, science, academia, policy, and finance have all come together to collaborate and support the growth of the biotechnology and life sciences communities. We look forward to building on this success in 2007 and 2008, and hope even more members of the life science and investor community will participate in the upcoming regional conferences hosted jointly by MdBio, VaBIO and MAVA.”

During the event the Mid-Atlantic Bio host committee announced plans to rotate the conference around the region to further highlight area assets. The 2007 conference will be held October 25-26 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in North Bethesda, Maryland, in the heart of “DNA Alley.” The 2008 conference will be held on October 23-24, at the Westfields Marriott Conference Center in Chantilly, Virginia, a commerce and technology hub. Aris Melissaratos, Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development and Patrick Gottschalk, Secretary of Virginia’s Department of Commerce and Trade joined officials from Montgomery County, Maryland and Fairfax County, Virginia in applauding this regional commitment to promote the life science sector and public/private partnerships on a multi-state level.

“By rotating this conference from Washington, DC to other locations in the region, this will continue to be the ‘annual meeting’ for our region’s bioscience community, a place where industry leaders, academic entrepreneurs and researchers, investors, educators, policy makers, and economic development officials can meet, network, share ideas and foster the relationships and partnerships that strengthen the region’s bioscience sector,” said Bob Eaton, President of MdBio.

Lead and diamond sponsors for the 2006 conference included Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Cooley Godward Kronish, LLP, Quintiles Transnational and the states of Maryland and Virginia. For a complete list of sponsors visit

About Mid-Atlantic Bio
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. For more information, please visit

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