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November 19, 2010

SEBIO Announces Success of 12th Annual Investor Forum; Winners of EARLY/Stage Shootout and BIO/Plan Competition Named

Filed under: SEBIO News — admin @ 4:44 pm

Southeast BIO’s (SEBIO) Twelfth Annual Investor Forum exuded an air of optimism for emerging life sciences companies in the Southeast region as executives from established enterprises told their recent financing, partnering, and exit success stories to nearly 350 attendees. The Investor Forum took place on November 3-4th in Atlanta, Georgia.

Recognized as the Southeast’s premier life sciences venture capital conference, the two day event explored issues impacting funding, intellectual property, regulatory, reimbursement, and exit strategies and opportunities for growth in the industry over the course of the next few years. Participants included biotechnology and medtech executives, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, investment bankers, and other industry professionals.

Ken Tindall, Sr. V.P. for Science and Business Development at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and newly elected Chair of SEBIO confirmed that, “SEBIO continues to be a forum that draws investors, entrepreneurs, technology transfer professionals and the life science business community together in support of companies from across the Southeast. Again this year, the Investor Forum provided opportunities for the mentoring of early-stage company executives and a venue that highlighted access to capital and the development of partnerships.”

The Investor Forum offered something for everyone: a MAIN/Stage presenting company event, which showcased companies in the region that have completed at least one round of institutional financing or achieved recent notable success; an EARLY/Stage event, which profiled the best new initial investment opportunities in the region; the BIO/Plan Competition, which brought forward the most promising new technologies from the region’s research organizations; and the inaugural Corporate Partnering Day, where investors met with senior business development executives from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Medtronic and Teva Pharmaceuticals to explore strategic partnerships.

The EARLY/Stage event allowed participants to introduce their companies to selected advisory teams, which then chose the four best to participate in the EARLY/Stage Company Shootout. During the Shootout, the companies had the opportunity to present to the entire conference audience. The selected participants of the EARLY/Stage Shootout were: Endomimetics, LLC (Birmingham, AL), GeneCapture, Inc. (Huntsville, AL), Physcient, Inc. (Durham, NC), and Vascular Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Cary, NC).

The winner of the EARLY/Stage Shootout is Vascular Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Vascular Pharmaceuticals is developing novel therapeutic compounds for the treatment of diabetes associated complications. The winner was determined by a panel of celebrity judges, including venture capitalists and industry experts. The members of the management team are Richard Shea, CEO; David Clemmons, Founder and CSO; and Laura Maile, Co-Founder.

SEBIO also announced the winner of its fourth annual BIO/Plan Competition. Four final competitors (FibroTherapeutics, Inc., Medical University of South Carolina; NRG Biotechnology, Morehouse School of Medicine; Reactive Diagnostics, Inc., Georgia Institute of Technology; and SPECTROPATH Medical, Emory University) were selected from nine semifinalists who underwent a rigorous mentoring process to develop an executable business strategy and associated written development plan. The mentoring teams included experienced professionals from active venture funds or angel groups, biotech entrepreneurs and managers, and service providers with relevant start-up expertise. Each mentoring team worked together for four months. The resulting plans were judged by a panel of experts who selected the four finalists.

The winner of the 2010 BIO/Plan Competition is NRG Biotechnology (Atlanta, GA), a pre-formation venture out of the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) developing biotherapeutic drugs for the treatment and prevention of inflammatory damage from acute neurological attacks such as stroke, neurotoxins, and traumatic brain injury. In addition to lead researcher, Dr. Byron Ford (Professor; Director, Neuroprotection, Neurorepair and Stroke Program at the MSM), other key advisors to MSM’s NRG Biotechnology project include: Rob Derricotte, M.B.A. (President of the Georgia Biosciences Commercialization Center), Jim Heitner, M.B.A. (CEO of Ripple Management), Gregory Ford, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor at Morehouse College), and James Lillard, Ph.D., M.B.A. (Assistant Dean for Research Affairs at the MSM).

The winning NRG Biotechnology mentoring team included John Bonfiglio, Scytel Research; Kathy Carr, Tall Oaks Capital; and Becky Kaufman, King & Spalding.

The conference’s opening lunch featured Jay Yadav, Founder and CEO of CardioMEMS, Inc. Dr. Yadav discussed the challenges of building an innovative medical device start-up company in the Southeast, and referencing CardioMEMS’ recent deal with St. Jude Medical, encouraged attendees to always “keep the discussion open” with potential partners, even if a deal doesn’t get done initially.

Rakesh Mehta, Executive Director in the Healthcare Investment Banking group at J.P. Morgan and the closing lunch keynote speaker, provided attendees with an industry specific equity market update, overview of biotech M&A/licensing activity, and a medtech market update.

The 2011 Southeast BIO Investor Forum will be held November 2-3, 2011 at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, North Carolina. Further details will be posted on the SEBIO website (

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