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New "Corridor 1" Offices Provide Home For Community Of Start-Up Companies

Nov. 22, 1999 -- Five start-up companies built around technology conceived at the University of Virginia are moving into new offices on West Main Street in a building dubbed Corridor 1. It is part of a joint effort launched by University faculty, local real estate developers and business leaders to nurture the growth of new high-tech businesses in Charlottesville.

The building opened officially today with a ribbon cutting at noon. The newly renovated building at 327 West Main Street sits next to the new Training Center for Biotechnology Jobs, a collaborative job training project which opened Oct. 27 sponsored by U.Va., Piedmont Virginia Community College and the city of Charlottesville.

"As with the recently established Training Center in Biotechnology Jobs, Corridor 1 represents a bold and novel partnership that will benefit the local and state economy as well as adding to the science and technology capacity of the community and the University," says Gene Block, U.Va. vice president for research and public service. "I congratulate all of the individuals involved in getting this facility established."

Corridor 1 is the first of what is hoped to be many new or renovated facilities built along the Charlottesville High Technology Corridor envisioned for West Main Street by business, city and University leaders.

"This small office building on West Main Street is a humble start for what we hope will become the high technology corridor we have talked about for so long in Charlottesville," says Gabe Silverman, a local real estate developer who is participating in the project.

Sponsoring the project are the U.Va. Patent Foundation, Main Street Associates, the Batten Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at U.Va.'s Darden Graduate School of Business

Administration, and the Charlottesville law office of McGuire Woods Battle & Boothe. Main Street Associates, a partnership between Silverman and California lawyer Allan Cadgene, owns the building.

Corridor 1 has six offices, five of which will be occupied by the start-up companies, while the sixth will be shared by the Patent Foundation, the Batten Center, and McGuire Woods to provide in-house assistance to the start-ups.

The strategy is to put talented business students and legal interns in close proximity to the principals of the new U.Va. ventures -- to the benefit of all. The students and interns will offer the value of their professional training at U.Va, to help these companies perform market research and a variety of business development activities. The companies, in turn, will provide the entrepreneurially inclined students valuable professional development through first-hand experience with a high-tech start-up.

"The Patent Foundation is enthusiastic that small companies grown right here at home can bring U.Va.-developed technologies to the marketplace and in the process create new jobs and be good neighbors to the downtown community," says Bob MacWright, executive director of the Patent Foundation.

The Patent Foundation already has transferred patent rights in U.Va. technologies to 17 different start-up companies and is in the process of transferring rights in other new technologies to local start-ups as well.

The five companies that have signed up to lease space in the five available Corridor 1 offices are:

•Adenosine Therapeutics, L.L.C., started by Joel Linden, professor of medicine, and Charlottesville investor and entrepreneur Rob Capon

•Alglutamine, L.L.C. started by Richard Guerrant, chief of the Division of Geographic and International Medicine, and Capon

•Applied Metacomputing, L.L.C., started by Andrew Grimshaw, professor of computer science and Fritz Knabbe, senior scientist of computer science

•GeNeuron, Inc. started by Greg Helm, professor of neurosurgery, David Kallmes, professor of radiology, and local entrepreneur Matt Hantzmon

•Contravac, L.L.C., started by John Herr, professor of cell biology

"We’re building a venturing community," said Wendell Dunn, executive director of the Batten Center. "This experiment presents opportunities to people who know what to do with

them. To the extent that these ventures take root here, the whole Charlottesville community will benefit."

McGuire Woods has created a new internship program to supply legal advice to the companies. "High technology companies have important legal needs when they are young," says partner Leigh Middleditch, "and we want to be there to help them grow strong."

Dan Ravicher, a third-year student at the U.Va. School of Law and former Patent Foundation student intern, has been selected as the first McGuire Woods intern.

The Corridor 1 sponsors are discussing the addition of new buildings to the Charlottesville High Technology Corridor as start-up activities increase and the existing companies enter the second phase of their growth, needing expanded space, especially for laboratories and light manufacturing.

For more information, call Bob MacWright, executive director of the U.Va. Patent Foundation, at (804) 982-0378.

Contact: Charlotte Crystal, (804) 924-6858

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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