Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First of CBIC's award winners at forefront of new biotech thrust

For starting a local company that’s developed an international footprint and launching a project to redevelop a historic downtown building into a research center, Martin Chapman, founder and CEO of Indoor Biotechnologies, earned the People’s Choice Navigator Award from the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council.

Presented earlier this summer, the award honors significant leadership in the local entrepreneurial or high-tech community. Chapman, who founded the company in 1997, was one of seven firms or individuals to receive honors from the CBIC this year.

Tracey Danner, CBIC’s interim executive director, also was nominated for the award. However, unlike many of CBIC’s other recent honors, the award recipient was based on community-wide online voting. “It’s obviously ... very encouraging,” Chapman said of the recognition from his peers in the innovation sector and the community at-large.

“I think we actually have quite a vibrant community going on here and lots of meeting and social events being set up which tend to get people together and drive a sense of the biotech community development and companies.”

Chapman is a former professor of medicine and microbiology at the University of Virginia and a former member of the UVa Asthma & Allergic Diseases Center. He’s also served as a consultant to the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency and other biotech and environmental products companies.

Chapman said that Charlottesville’s broad spectrum attractiveness as a good place to live, work and learn makes his job of sharing the successes of the tech sector easier.

“Because of the quality of life, that’s why we see a lot of companies developing,” he added.
Last year, Chapman and the company announced plans to develop the former Coca-Cola bottling plant on Preston Avenue as a bioscience facility called the CityCampus Biotechnology Center.

“Certainly, as far as the CityCampus is concerned ... we’re anticipating if we can get companies moving into the project, [we’ll] have 60 to 70 people working there. It’s certainly one of the things that we’re focusing on and putting a lot of effort in.”

Chapman is also an expert in the fields of allergy and immunology, is chairman of the Virginia Bioscience Foundation and a member of the board of directors of the Virginia Biotechnology Association, according to a biography provided by the CBIC.

Gardy Bloemers served as co-chairwoman of the CBIC gala and has years of experience in the innovation and biotech fields. She said Chapman has always been an inspiration.

“He’s always been on my list of people to meet and ... I’ve been most impressed to learn about what he’s doing with CityCampus. [And] really, he’s got a global businesses that he’s running here from Charlottesville … In many ways, that’s a good thing for everyone,” Bloemers said.
Danner agreed.

“Martin’s leadership nature is gentle yet effective; he’s been a steady force behind the growth of our region’s burgeoning biotech sector. He’s an innovator, an entrepreneur, a friend to biotech and an extraordinary asset to our community,” she said by email.

By: Nate Delesline III 

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