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November 29, 2007

SEBIO Announces Winners of First Annual Awards Ceremony to Honor the Top Regional Deals of the Year

Filed under: SEBIO News — admin @ 4:49 pm

Atlanta, GA— Southeast BIO (SEBIO) announced four winners of the First Annual SEBIO Awards in a ceremony held at its Ninth Annual Investor Forum in Pinehurst, NC on November 8th. The awards honored companies in the following categories: Southeast (SE) Deal of the Year: Initial Funding; SE Deal of the Year: Venture Capital Transaction and SE Deal of the Year: Strategic Transaction. In addition, the organization awarded its inaugural SE Leadership Award to an individual or organization that made a notable contribution to the growth of the life sciences industry in the region over the last year. The winners were Argolyn Bioscience, Inc., Metastatix, Inc, Targacept, Inc., and Aaron Davidson of HIG Ventures, respectively.

“We implemented the SEBIO Awards this year to recognize those companies and individuals that are driving the growth of the region’s life sciences industry,” said former SEBIO Chair Rebecca Kaufman, a partner with King & Spalding. “We need to do more to highlight the success of our Investor Forum graduates, many of whom have gone on to raise substantial venture capital rounds, to partner with big pharma, and in many cases, to go public. These success stories show the maturation of the industry in our region and reflect very well on what is happening here to those who have an interest in getting to know our region a little better. The SEBIO Leadership Award, in particular, is a great way to highlight the role of individuals who really distinguish themselves by their unique contribution to our industry.”

Argolyn Bioscience Inc. (Charleston, SC) won the SE Deal of the Year: Initial Funding Award. Argolyn was honored for its $15.8 million Series A financing in June. The round was co-led by Intersouth Partners and Quaker BioVentures. Amgen Ventures also participated in what is one of the largest biotech deals in SC history. Argolyn is developing treatments for psychosis, pain and other disorders and reportedly plans to use the proceeds to advance its drug candidates into human clinical trials and validate its patented technology platform.

Metastatix, Inc. (Tucker, GA) won the SE Deal of the Year: Venture Capital Transaction Award. Metastatix was honored for its $35 million in Series B financing in October. The new round of funding reportedly will be used to conduct clinical trials of the company’s lead candidate, MSX-122, in cancer patients and to advance the company’s development programs in inflammation and HIV infection. Leading this Series B financing was Frazier Healthcare Ventures, one of the nation’s leading providers of venture and growth equity capital to emerging healthcare companies. In this round of financing, Frazier Healthcare was joined by existing Metastatix investors, including H.I.G. Ventures, The Aurora Funds, CM Capital, SR One, MedImmune Ventures, Georgia Venture Partners, Centrosome Ventures and the State of Georgia.

Targacept, Inc. (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) won the SE Deal of the Year: Strategic Transaction for its strategic alliance with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Targacept is reportedly eligible to receive up to $1.5 billion in payments from GSK. GSK and Targacept entered into a strategic alliance in July to discover, develop and market novel therapeutics that selectively target specified neuronal nicotinic receptors. The alliance reportedly includes Targacept’s lead product candidates for pain: TC-2696, which is currently in a Phase 2 trial for acute post-operative pain, and TC-6499, a preclinical product candidate that is currently planned for development for neuropathic pain. GSK reportedly made an initial upfront payment of $35.0 million to Targacept, which included an investment of $15.0 million for the purchase of 1,275,502 shares of its common stock.

Aaron Davidson, Managing Director of HIG Ventures, was honored for the SE Leadership Award. Under Aaron’s vision and leadership, SEBIO launched its first new stand alone initiative in ten years, the BIO/Plan competition. The BIO/Plan competition was launched by SEBIO and founding sponsor H.I.G. Ventures. It is a year-long program developed to promote the creation of new, fundable life science companies based in the Southeast. Working closely with technology transfer offices and entrepreneurs throughout the region, the competition brings forward opportunities from leading Southeastern research universities and research centers. The BIO/Plan competition received more than fifty total applications earlier this year. The applicant pool included applications from Georgia, Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
The Second Annual SEBIO Awards Ceremony will be held during the 2008 Southeastern BIO Investor Forum on December 4-5, 2008, at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, FL. Further details will be posted on the SEBIO web site soon.
“I can’t think of a better group of companies and individuals to receive the inaugural SEBIO Awards,” notes Kaufman. “SEBIO is playing a key role in building the region’s life sciences pipeline, and we look forward to seeing the next set of deals and the next group of individuals that emerge as candidates for the 2008 awards.”

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