Archive for April, 2012

Place Based Innovation: Biotech Startup Hub @ Tom Tom Festival

As part of the Tom Tom Festival’s “Place Based Innovation” series, this panel of biotech experts will examine how a biotechnology hub develops around a world-class research university like the University of Virginia. Charlottesville’s numerous biotechnology innovators are establishing start-ups in Charlottesville and one local firm has proposed redeveloping the historic Coca-Cola bottling plant on Preston Avenue into a bio-tech start-up hub. With a renewed focus on innovation at the University of Virginia, what does the future hold for biotechnology in our community?

Panelists include:

Mark Crowell, Executive Director of U.Va. Innovation and Associate Vice President for Research
Martin Chapman, CEO of Indoor Biotechnologies and head of the CityCampus Biotechnology Center
Uday Gupta, CEO of Global Cell Solutions
Nikki Hastings , Vice President, Laboratory Operations at HemoShear
Graham Anthony, CFO of Biovista

The panel will be held at The Gleason Building -(126 Garrett Street # D) on Wednesday, May 2 from 7pm to 10pm.

The 4 Secrets Drug Companies Don’t Want You To Know

The pharmaceutical industry unfortunately is viewed negatively by the public, who believes that companies do little to ensure the safety of its medicines and that the main goal is to make profits at the expense of an unsuspecting public. Furthermore, people believe that drugs are really discovered in universities, research institutes or the NIH and that pharmaceutical companies simply license and manufacture new medicines. This is simply untrue. This talk will give concrete examples of the value that the pharmaceutical industry adds to the overall healthcare system. 

The talk will feature:

John LaMattina
Former Head Global R&D, Pfizer

John LaMattina

John LaMattina was the Senior Vice President, Pfizer Inc. and President, Pfizer Global Research and Development. In this role, he oversaw the drug discovery and development efforts of more than 12,000 colleagues in the United States, Europe and Asia. LaMattina joined Pfizer as a medicinal chemist in 1997 and over the years, he held positions of increasing responsibility for Pfizer Central Research, including Vice President of U.S. Discovery Operations in 1993, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Discovery Operations in 1998 and Senior Vice President of Worldwide Development in 1999.

During his tenure as Head of Global R&D, Pfizer produced new treatments for cancer, smoking cessation rheumatoid arthritis and AIDS. Dr. LaMattina is the author of numerous scientific publications, holds a number of U.S. patents and he is the author of “Drug Truths: Dispelling the Myths About Pharma R&D.” Dr. LaMattina has received a number of awards including the 1998 Boston College Alumni Award of Excellence in Science, an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of New Hampshire in 2007, and the 2010 American Chemical Society Earle Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management.

Dr. LaMattina is a Senior Partner at PureTech Ventures, he serves on the Board of Directors of Human Genome Sciences, the Board of Directors of Ligand Pharmaceuticals, and the Scientific Advisory Board of Trevena.

Co-Sponsored by HemoShear, LLC and U.Va. Innovation.

Space is limited. RSVP to Sharon Krueger at or 434-243-1407.

Open Grounds on University Avenue 

Event Date/Time: 
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 – 10:30 am to 11:45 am

Call for Applications to 2012 SEBIO Investor Forum

The 2012 SEBIO Investor Forum connects investors and emerging companies. There will be more than 30 emerging life sciences and medical technologies companies presenting to an audience of over 350 attendees. The forum provides an opportunity for presenting companies to increase visibility to investors, industry partners, and media exposure. Early stage companies also benefit from a private advisory session with experienced business professionals. Companies also have increased access to SEBIO and the opportunity to arrange one-on-one meetings. Representatives from presenting companies will receive complimentary registration.

October 31 – November 1, 2012
The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida
SEBIO 2012 Investor Forum
Applications due Friday, June 29, 2012.

April U.Va. Innovation Roundtable

Oliver Platt Mills

Adam Kerpelman

U.Va. Innovation invites you to attend the April installment of our Innovation Roundtable series with Adam Kerpelman and Oliver Platt-Mills. Please join us for networking with University and community innovators, with food and refreshments provided. Kerpelman will disuss his recent involvement with the Startup Bus-Washington and Oliver Platt-Mills will speak about his vision behind the Tom-Tom Festival. The Innovation Roundtable will be held at CitySpace (100 5th St. NE) on the Downtown Mall, above the Market St. Garage.

For more information, please contact Sharon Krueger at or 434-243-1407.

Event Date/Time:
Thursday, April 26, 2012 – 17:00 to 19:00

U.Va. Venture Summit: Turning Ideas Into Businesses

By Brevy Cannon
U.Va. Today News Release

2011 Venture Summit

Technology and business ventures with ties to the University of Virginia will be pitched to an audience of investors from across the country, representing roughly $20 billion in active capital funds, at U.Va.’s fourth annual Venture Summit, being held April 19 in the Old Cabell Hall auditorium and April 20 in room 50 at the Darden School of Business.

At the past three summits, “between two-thirds and three-quarters” of the presenting start-ups found funding from investors attending the summit, said W. Mark Crowell, executive director of U.Va. Innovation and associate vice president for research. The annual event is perhaps the best example of U.Va.’s efforts to become an ever-stronger engine of innovation and job creation powered by fundamental research, Crowell said. And the success of those efforts is starting to get noticed in Congress. On Thursday morning at 10, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) will discuss (via video link if the Senate is in session) the Start Up Act (S.1965), legislation he introduced in December that would promote innovation and start up businesses by relaxing several tax and regulatory hurdles.

One of the bill’s most significant provisions, dealing with ways to speed up the transfer of research and technology from university laboratories to the marketplace, was written with major input from U.Va., Crowell said.

In the six years from 2006 through 2011, U.Va. researchers reported the invention of 981 technologies, 341 of which have been licensed to companies and institutions for further development. U.Va. researchers were awarded 37 patents in 2011, 32 in 2010, and 128 total from 2006 through 2011. More than 600 of the University’s early-stage research discoveries have been put on the path to commercialization, many through strategic research partnerships with major corporations and industry leaders such as AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Rolls-Royce.
“The University of Virginia has rapidly become a global destination for technology-based venture creation,” Thomas C. Skalak, vice president for research, said.

As part of the Venture Summit’s focus on big-picture innovation and technology transfer issues, Aneesh Chopra, who stepped down in January as the nation’s first U.S. chief technology officer, will be part of a panel discussion on Thursday, “Innovation: A New Day in the U.S.” Vonage CEO Marc Lefar and Weather Channel CEO David Kenny will discuss “Opportunities and Challenges for Traditional Businesses in a Digital World.”

Thursday’s public events will conclude with a panel of veteran venture capitalists who will discuss the state of the venture capital industry. Five Charlottesville-based companies – Cardagin, Diffusion Pharmaceuticals, iTi Health, Lend Street and ProteiosBio, all founded or led by a U.Va. alumnus, faculty or staff member or student, or based on a technology developed at the University – will participate in the summit’s interactive showcase, on Friday from 9 to 11:30 a.m. in room 50 at the Darden School of Business. Each company will pitch to an audience of investors, followed by a question-and-answer period. Presenters will then receive feedback from a panel of experienced investors including Jonathan Aberman, founder managing director of Amplifier Ventures; Doug Garland, chief revenue officer of Shazam; Cody Nystrom, a senior associate at SJF Ventures; and Rob Patzig, senior managing director and chief investment officer at Third Security.

After that, the investor panel will also hear pitches from and give feedback to four student-led startup business plans: the two top finishers from this year’s Darden Business Plan Competition, held Thursday – WalkBack and RadioFetch – and the two top finishers in the last U.Va. Entrepreneurship Cup, held in November: Memoria and Powersole.
“To be able to pitch and receive invaluable feedback from this elite group is really a tremendous opportunity for our innovative U.Va. and community entrepreneurs,” Crowell said.

The Venture Summit is hosted by the Office of the Vice President for Research, U.Va. Innovation and the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, part of the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Darden School of Business. A number of networking sessions will offer opportunities for innovators and investors to build relationships.

Attendance is free but registration is required. Details are available on the Venture Summit website.

Related Links

U.Va.’s Annual Venture Summit Builds Local ‘Ecosystem’ for Entrepreneurs (UV.a. Today. 04/23/2012)
UVA holds fourth Venture Summit to capitalize on innovation (CharlottesvilleTomorrow. 04/20/2012)
Senator Mark Warner Talks Business at UVA Venture Summit  (NBC29. 04/19/2012)
Innovators, Investors Paired Up at Annual UVa Venture Summit (Newsplex. 04/19/12)
UVA Venture Summit Hopes To Bring Business To C’ville  (NBC29. 04/18/12)

Charlottesville ‘Beer & Biotech’ with Aneesh Chopra

Join the Virginia Biotechnology Association (VABIO) for food, fun and a cold beverage.

Meet other life science professionals, students and university researchers from the area in a casual social environment. Come meet and listen to remarks from Aneesh Chopra, the first and former U.S. Chief Technology Officer.

Registration is complimentary for bioscience company employees and university researchers. All others may purchase tickets.

Event Day/ Time : Wednesday, April 18 5:30-8:00pm

Location: The X Lounge, 313 Second St. SE, Charlottesville

Hosted by: Global Cell Solutions; ProteiosBio; Biologics Consulting Group; Biovista; and VWR
Sponsored by: Keiter and LeClair Ryan

‘Serial Entrepreneur’ Robin A. Felder Named U.Va. Innovator of the Year

Morgan Estabrook
U.Va. Innovation News Release
April 4, 2012


U.Va. Innovation, a new initiative dedicated to maximizing the impact of University of Virginia research discoveries, has named Robin A. Felder its 2012 Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year. The highest honor bestowed on a U.Va. innovator, the award recognizes an individual or team each year whose research is making a “major impact.”

Photo by Dan Addison

“Through his leadership and truly pioneering work in medical automation and basic biomedical research, Robin Felder has significantly advanced laboratory efficiency and patient care,” said W. Mark Crowell, executive director of U.Va. Innovation and associate vice president for research. Felder will be honored April 24 at U.Va. Innovation’s annual awards reception in the Rotunda.

A self-described “serial entrepreneur,” Felder has launched nine companies out of the University over the past two decades, including WellAWARE Systems, Global Cell Solutions and Medical Automation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing costs and improving efficiency in health care systems.

A professor of pathology and associate director of clinical chemistry at U.Va., Felder credits the launch of WellAWARE (then Home Guardian), a provider of technology-based solutions facilitating independent living for seniors, to a visit to a German health club, where he happened to notice the needle on a scale moving to his heartbeat.

“I had this ‘aha’ moment,” Felder said, “that if you can measure your heartbeat through the sole of your foot, imagine what additional signals your body is giving off and what we could use to translate this into the passive continuous monitoring of wellness in the home.”

Inviting collaborators to invent around this concept, Felder led the team in building a variety of sensors that would ultimately detect such activities as sleep, footsteps, falls, dining and bathing patterns, and even one’s mood, allowing aging seniors to live independently with the security afforded by a sophisticated, automated wellness monitoring system.

Kevin Greene, a partner at Valhalla Partners, was instrumental in getting WellAWARE  off the ground. “Building a new company, from invention to innovation, is replete with challenges,” he said. “Professor Robin Felder personifies the optimism, paranoia and courage it takes to foster a University project into a commercially available solution that is affecting  the lives of thousands of senior citizens across the country.

“I take great pride in celebrating the innovation revolution Professor Felder is helping to lead at the University of Virginia. Mr. Jefferson would be proud.”

Systems are now installed in 2,200 residences from Virginia to South Dakota, reporting minute-to-minute data on the wellness of elderly occupants. WellAWARE raised $7.5 million in growth capital in 2009.

Based on technology that was named a “Top 10 Innovation” by The Scientist magazine in 2009, Global Cell Solutions is advancing regenerative medicine, drug discovery, cancer research and other efforts through the automation of 3-D cell culture. Using an automated bench-top system, Global Cell’s novel approach facilitates cell culture that mimics in vivo biology and physiology that could one day obviate the need for animal studies and provide high-quality replacement body cells, Felder said. The company has raised more than $1.5 million in local investments.

The author of more than 120 peer-reviewed publications, Felder has received more than $30 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health, with additional funding from industry sources, venture capital and federal Small Business Technology Transfer awards. Felder has been named on 12 issued U.S. patents, with an additional seven U.S. and international patents pending.

In 2009, Felder received the prestigious Engelberger Award for Leadership in Robotics. In 2010, the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry joined in honoring him with the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Chemistry, marking the first time the organizations have honored the same awardee.

Describing the entrepreneurial landscape of years ago as “a challenging maze,” Felder said he thinks things are looking up for today’s would-be entrepreneurs.

“There wasn’t enough information back in the ‘good old days’ about how to be an entrepreneur and what kind of steps you had to take,” he said. “Now we’re a whole lot smarter, and there are high-quality resources dedicated to facilitating translation.”

Felder’s companies have benefited from such University resources as the Venture Forward mentoring program (formerly the T100 program) and the Darden School of Business Darden Incubator and business plan and concept competitions. Off Grounds, Felder has also received support from the Small Business Development Center and Charlottesville Business Innovation Council.

“Don’t try to do it all by yourself,” he cautions aspiring faculty-entrepreneurs. “Get good advice, and don’t be afraid to fail fast and then rebound with an even better opportunity.”

Named for U.Va. Professor Emeritus Dr. Richard F. Edlich and Christopher J. “Goose” Henderson, a 25-year veteran of privately owned financial services businesses, the Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year Award recognizes an individual or team each year whose research discovery is making a major impact. Previously known as the Edlich-Henderson Inventor of the Year award, the award title and criteria were modified this year to be more inclusive of University innovators pursuing a variety of different paths to achieve impact for their discoveries.

Related Links

Robert A. Felder names U.Va. Innovator of the Year (U.Va. Today. 04/04/2012)
U.Va. names its Innovator of the Year
(The Daily Progress. 04/04/2012)
U.Va. names Robin Felder innovator of the Year
(Workit, Cville. 04/04/2012)


Women in Math and Science Organization Hosts Ph.D. Student Career Day

The Women in Math and Science (WIMS) organization at the University of Virginia will be hosting an event entitled “After the Ph.D.:  Non-Academic Careers in Science and Math.” The event will feature speakers in various non-academic careers including government agencies, industry, science writing and publishing. The keynote speaker is Jane Chin, who received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from University of Buffalo at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and later became a medical science liaison and is a well-known writer and public speaker. She is the author of PhD [alternative] Career Clinic, a guide to successfully make it in a non-academic world. The first panel, which will focus on life with a Ph.D. in governmental agencies, will feature U.Va. Licensing and Ventures Group‘s very own Stephanie Miller, licensing associate who received her doctoral degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics from the University.

When:Friday April 13, 2012 from 8:30-2:00 pm

Where: U.Va.’s Zehmer Hall.

This event will be open to all students in science and math Ph.D. programs. To register, click here.


8:15 am – Meet, (coffee, fruit, pastries)

8:30 – 9:15 am -  Government Panel

Stephanie Miller – U.Va. Licensing and Ventures Group
Carol Rivera-Lopez – Food & Drugs Administration (FDA)
Julie McClure – Science Policy Fellow

9:15 – 9:35 zm Michael Palmer – Teaching resource center

9:35 – 9:55 am Patricia Larrabee – Facility L GIX Building Performance

9:55 – 9:15 am Vita Vock – Assistant Dean George Mason University

10:30 – 11:15 am Medical/Science writing Panel

Erin Clabough – Science/Medical Writing
Anastasia Torok – Battelle Technical Writer

11:15 to 12 pm Industry Panel

Tammy Dellovade – EMD Serono Research Institute
Andy Kinley – PRA pharmaceuticals
Kim Kelly – UVA professor, starting her own company

12-1 pm Lunch

1:00-1:45 pm  Keynote Address:  Jane Chin

For more information, email Emily Andre at