October 21, 2008

UAMS, Chamber of Commerce Host Venture Capitalists

Michael Douglas, Ph.D.

Oct. 21, 2008 | The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) recently unveiled 15 of its most commercially promising discoveries to venture capitalists from Arkansas and other states.

The Oct. 2-3 UAMS Private Equity Roundtable hosted by UAMS BioVentures was the third since 2005.

The event, held at the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, drew about 50 invited guests and interested observers, including local media. Venture capitalists from Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois and Utah heard brief presentations on the technologies and discoveries during the two-day event.

Michael Douglas, Ph.D., director of UAMS BioVentures, noted that the forum brought a nice mix of investors – from the risk capital community to high-net-worth investors looking for opportunities. A few other schools, such as MIT, hold similar events, he said. 

“This is essentially a classroom exercise that involves venture capitalists, technology entrepreneurs and university inventors,” Douglas said. “It’s growing – the venture capitalists like this kind of question-and-answer forum. They’re engaged and it has allowed us to validate the high quality of technologies being developed right here at UAMS.”

Those attending the roundtable included UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., Maria Haley, director of the Arkansas Department of Economic Development, Mark Stodola, Little Rock mayor, Jay Chesshir, president and CEO of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and Larry Cornett, Ph.D., UAMS vice chancellor for research.

The BioVentures companies, technologies and presenters (in chronological order) were:

·        IntraTherm, LLC, Dr. Gal Shafirstein, Ph.D., and Jerry Mraz, CEO

·        Protrom Medical – Richard Swingen and Justin Regner, M.D.

·        Improvement to Urinary Catheter Kits and Surgical Clip –Emad Aboud, M.D., John Riggins and Elizabeth Hood, Ph.D., of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro

·        EZRA Innovations, LLC – Michael Geranen and Cherng-ju Kim, Ph.D.

·        Preservation and Expansion of Mesenchymal Stem Cells – Robert Jilka, Ph.D., and Xaio Dong Chen, Ph.D.

·        CB2 Receptor Modulators in Neurodegenerative Diseases – Paul Prather, Ph.D.

·        InterveXion Therapeutics, LLC – Mike Owens, Ph.D., and Brooks Gentry, M.D.

·        Microbubble Nanostructures for Delivery of Agents for Medical Intervention or Imaging – Michael Borrelli, Ph.D.

·        Acetaminophen Toxicity Diagnostics, LLC, Laura James, M.D., Dean Roberts, Ph.D., and Jack Henson, Ph.D.

·        Tears as a Non-invasive Screening Medium – Larry Suva, Ph.D., and Suzanne Klimberg, M.D.

·        Stage 1 Diagnostics, Inc. – Timothy O’Brien, Ph.D., and Robbie Linn

·        Anti-Nuclease Protection from Tissue Injury by Zn(II) Aminothiol Chelates and Derivatives – Alexei Basnakian, Ph.D., John Sorenson, Ph.D., and Richard Walker, Ph.D.

·        DCV Technologies/Target Peptides for Ovarian Cancer Immunotherapy – Martin Cannon, Ph.D., and Timothy O’Brien, Ph.D.

·        Wellness Works – Heath Service Project – Amy Franks, Pharm.D.

·        RxResults – A Therapy Management Company – Tery Baskin, Parm.D.

BioVentures-supported companies provide more than 300 highly skilled jobs, an annual payroll of $18 million and average salaries of nearly $50,000 a year. BioVentures’ mission also includes negotiating licenses for UAMS intellectual property to start-up companies that use the research to develop new disease treatments.