@ Virginia Conference boosts Life Sciences | SEBIO

Virginia Conference boosts Life Sciences

Posted by on Nov 7, 2013

RICHMOND, VA – Representatives of biotechnology and medical technology companies from across the Southeast have gathered in Richmond this week for a meeting aimed at fostering the life-sciences industry in Virginia and other states.

The annual Southeast Bio Investor and Partnering Forum is being held in Richmond for the first time in its 15-year history. Supported by various funders, the conference serves as a matchmaking opportunity for early stage firms and potential investors.

“The conference is all about creating connections for people in the life-sciences industry to help them be more successful in the Southeast,” said Suzanne Cantando, Executive Director of Southeast BIO.

While the Southeast has a strong life-sciences industry — some 300 biotechnology and medical-device companies have headquarters in Virginia, for instance — startup companies in the region often struggle to find capital that will help them grow.

“Companies that need a lot of money to get through the regulatory approval process and get their drugs or devices to the market certainly rely on the investors that are domiciled here in the Southeast,” Cantando said. “There is so much more opportunity available than there is capital.”

Investors from more than 30 regional and national venture-capital funds are attending, as well as representatives from larger pharmaceutical and medical-technology companies.

The goal of the conference “is to promote the Southeastern United States as a place for great bioscience innovation and commercialization

opportunities,” said Jeffrey Gallagher, chief executive officer of the Virginia Biotechnology Association, a nonprofit trade association for life-science companies in Virginia.

In past years, the conference has been held in North Carolina, Georgia or Florida.

About 300 representatives of biotech and medical-technology companies, investors, university representatives, entrepreneurs, and service providers are attending the three-day conference at The Jefferson Hotel. The meeting ends today. Twenty-two companies are making presentations, many of them early stage businesses that have developed pharmaceuticals, processes or medical devices designed for the treatment or diagnosis of illnesses such as cancer, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and brain injuries.

The Virginia-based companies making presentations are two firms from the Charlottesville area: ADial Pharmaceuticals, a developer of novel prescription medications for addiction and related disorders, and HemoSonics, a developer of diagnostic medical devices.

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