Sunday, December 31, 2006

Recap of 2006 Biotech in Maryland and Virginia

Another recap from the DC Examiner-- This highlights biotech in Virginia and Maryland.

Biotech industry makes significant strides in 2006
Katie Wilmeth, The Examiner
Dec 28, 2006 3:00 AM (3 days ago)
Current rank: Not ranked

WASHINGTON - The region’s biotechnology industry took center stage in 2006 as several high-profile successes showcased Washington’s growth in the highly competitive sector.

The October opening of Janelia Farm — a $500 million, 689-acre state-of-the-art research campus dedicated to basic biological research in Ashburn, Va. — demonstrated the region’s ability to attract world-renowned scientists and drew the attention of even more investors to the region.

“It’s the single largest science investment of the decade and it will probably have the most impact for [Virginia], maybe for decades to come,” said Larry Rosenstrauch, director of economic development for Loudoun County, in a September interview. “We have to recognize this is a global asset that has landed in our region and we have to try and use it.”

October also saw a successful biotech fair that attracted hundreds of venture capitalists and numerous local biotech firms in search of capital. Though the event was only the second bio-focused venture capital fair for the region, it was a sign that biotechnology was on the same path as the region’s other highly successful industry: information technology.

“We wanted to create a platform where private equity and venture investors felt they could do business around the growing industry of life sciences,” said Julia Spicer, president of sponsoring organization Mid-Atlantic Venture Association, in a September interview.

MAVA launched a similar fair, Capital Connection, 20 years ago when the region’s technology industry was finding its footing and today the conference is one of the most respected in the industry.

Several individual biotech firms had notable successes in 2006. MedImmune, the region’s most successful biotech company by revenue, broke ground on a $250 million plant in Frederick, Md., that will allow it to manufacture vaccines in the state. While there are many biotech firms in the region, there is limited manufacturing capability. MedImmune’s plant points to a maturing of the industry, said economic development officials.

MedImmune’s expansion “is important. All of this is evolutionary,” said Aris Melissaratos, Maryland’s secretary of business and economic development, in September. “For every drug in the pipeline, you want to get [to the manufacturing stage].”

Several companies, including Vanda Pharmaceuticals, also went public, each one an important step in turning Washington’s research-focused industry into a commercial one.

“I really think [success] is when you have more publicly traded companies,” said Tim Priest, executive director of the Greater Washington Initiative, a regional organization that markets the Washington area to potential biotech companies looking for a home. “We have a handful of companies that are forces in their industry ... but there’s a deficiency in this region. We don’t commercialize as much as we should.”

As more investors look to Washington as a biotech region, local industry leaders expect to see the industry gain ground on competitors. There were also signs in 2006, that the industry was beginning to catch up to the region’s robust the IT industry. In the second quarter, for example, venture capital investments in local biotech firms overtook both software and telecommunications.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Recap on DC Area VC Activity for 2006

Here is an article that gives a recap on the DC area's VC activity for 2006. Mid-Atlantic Bio is mentioned at the end.

Venture capital: Strong year for software, telecom

Katie Wilmeth, The Examiner
Dec 27, 2006 3:00 AM (6 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 1 of 13,170 articles
Washington, D.C. - Despite several high-profile biotechnology deals in 2006, software and telecommunications remained the dominant industries among venture capitalists looking to invest in the Washington region.

“We have a strong legacy sector in telecommunications and technology in this region,” said Julia Spicer, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association. “That will continue to be opportunistically a great investment space, and we have lots of investors across the board who understand that space.”

Funding for local software companies was approaching the $200 million mark at the end of the third quarter with $192 million invested in 51 deals. While numbers aren’t out yet for the fourth quarter, those figures put the category on track to outpace 2005 investments. During the third quarter of 2005, investments had reached only about $140 million.

Telecom also had a strong year. With more than $270 million invested in 17 deals in the first three quarters of 2006, the industry sector jockeyed with software and biotechnology for the top spot among investors.

But while software and telecom quietly remained on top, it was the biotech industry that made headlines in 2006 with several multimillion dollar deals. Investments in local biotech companies surged ahead in the second quarter with $145 million in funding and 13 deals. Much of that money went to Rockville-based CoGenesys. The biotech firm received nearly $55 million in Series A financing in June, a number often unheard of in the software industry.

Biotechnology remains a growth area for the region, said Spicer, with few venture firms focused on the sector and more money needed to fund fewer companies.

“[Software] is more predictable in some ways,” said Bill Gust, managing general partner of Anthem Capital in a July interview. “It’s more predictable. You can sell the company or software to somebody else and recoup your investment. Whereas the life sciences … you’re talking about tremendous amounts of money needed to carry a company into commercialization.”

The opening of Janelia Farm — a bioscience research campus in Loudon County — and a successful venture capital fair sponsored by MAVA, as well as the Virginia Biotechnology Association and MdBio, also put the industry in the spotlight in 2006.

Top five venture capital deals of 2006:

» CURRENT Communications Group — $129,999,700 (Germantown)

» CoGenesys Inc. — $54,999,9000 (Rockville)

» MacroGenics Inc. — $45,000,000 (Rockville)

» SunRocket Inc. — $33,000,200 (Vienna)

» Kajeet Inc. — $27,000,000 (Bethesda)


Friday, December 22, 2006

Re Building on Virginia's Biotechnology Foundation

The 2006 Virginia Biz/Bio Conference (December 14, Virginia BioTechnology Park, Richmond) was an important, perhaps seminal event for the Commonwealth. Robert Skunda, Mark Herzog, Aneesh Chopra and all the organizers deserve congratulations for an excellent, eye-opening Conference. Dr. Charles Hamner, William Conklin and other speakers graphically illustrated what works to develop and grow a world-class biotechnology and life sciences cluster, and thereby provided keys to what we need to do now. The speakers and panelists illuminated many dimensions of Virginia's opportunities and challenges.

It is clear that Virginia has a solid foundation, and exciting new developments, thanks to proactive State action, important biopharma industry investments and public-private-academic partnerships. We are ready to jumpstart Virginia's leadership position.

We need to work hard, and together, to develop and strengthen the critical mass, infrastructure and identity to support Virginia's emergence as a global leader in the biotechnology and life sciences sector. Let us make 2007, the Jamestown QuadriCentennial, a year of leadership, action and progress for Virginia-based biotechnology and life sciences.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Virginia Bioscience Podcast: Dr. Charles Hamner

This edition of the Virginia Bioscience Podcast features Dr. Charles E. Hamner, DVM and PhD, the former president and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. When Hamner joined the Center in February 1988, the state had a fledgling biotechnology industry. Today, North Carolina is among the nation’s top five biotechnology states with several hundred thriving bioscience, contract research, device, and other supporting companies throughout the state.

Under his leadership, the Center strengthened the state’s biotechnology infrastructure by investing more than $50 million in the state’s universities, seed-funding 62 startup companies, creating a $26 million venture capital fund for new companies, building a permanent headquarters building and conference facility, providing biotechnology workshops for more than 1,000 high school teachers, and helping recruit more than a dozen biotechnology companies to North Carolina.

Dr. Hamner’s presentation, “Key Factors of Attracting the Biotechnology Industry to a State,” was given on December 14, 2006 at the Virginia Biotechnology Association’s conference on economic development strategies for the bioscience industry. The host is Mark Herzog, executive director of the Virginia Biotechnology Association.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dr. Francis Collins Featured in Va Biotech Podcast

Virginia Biotech Podcast: Dr. Francis Collins

This special edition of the Virginia Bioscience Podcast features Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Collins was the guest speaker at the 2003 Virginia Biotechnology Summit, held at the McLean Hilton in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. Following his remarks about his work on the Human Genome Project, Dr. Collins thrilled the crowd by pulling out a guitar and singing some pop songs—though with new lyrics that take a light-hearted view of genetics and the commercial side of biology.

Dr. Collins sings “Amazing DNA” and “We Really Got The Code On You.” The recording quality is poor but well worth the download!

The host of the Virginia Bioscience Podcast is Mark Herzog, executive director of the Virginia Biotechnology Association.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Bioscience Economic Development Focus of State Conference: December 14 in Richmond

Nearly thirty national and state organizations have joined forces to present a half-day policy conference on how to develop and enhance Virginia's bioscience industry. The event, "The Virginia BizBio Conference," will be held from noon to 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 14, at the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park in Richmond.

This interactive half-day conference will address how government, business, academia, investors and entrepreneurs can work together to create a positive climate to maximize the growth of the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industry in the Commonwealth.

Here is a link to the "Virginia Biotech: Vision 2010" Report:

Here is a link to a video that helps frame the issues:

Here is a new report from the Biotech Industry Organization that outlines important legislation passed by state legislatures across the United States: Click here.

Here is the link to the 2006 Batelle State Biotech Report that outlines all of the known state initiatives and some basic statistics about each state:

Featured speakers include William Conklin, biotech business unit director for Merck & Co.; Charles Hamner, founder and former CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center; Tony Corso, CEO of B.I. Chemicals; Cheryl Moore, COO of the Janelia Farm Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; the Honorable Brian Feldman, Maryland House of Delegates; Hugh Keogh, president of the Virginia Chamber; the Honorable Walter Stosch, majority leader of the Virginia Senate and member of the Finance Committee; the Honorable Patrick Gottschalk, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade and the Honorable Aneesh Chopra, Virginia Secretary of Technology.

Bioscience research and development represents a major source of capital to Virginia and local communities. Throughout the discussions during the event, the speakers will illustrate the potential economic growth that the industry can bring to Virginia if resources are accessible.

The event is open to all interested attendees but requires advanced registration. Lunch and a closing reception are included. Limited seating is available. For more details and registration information, please visit