BIO Mid-America VentureForum Planned for St. Louis

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 9, 2003) – The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) will be hosting its second annual BIO Mid-America VentureForum in St. Louis, MO at the Chase Park Hotel, May 4-5, 2004.

"We had an overwhelmingly positive response last year in Chicago, and we anticipate another great Missouri event in St. Louis," said Morrie Ruffin, BIO VP of Business Development. "In 2002, there has been over $76 million in biotech funding there alone. That shows a huge level of interest in building the industry there."

"This is the only venture event in the Midwest focused solely on biotechnology and medical devices. Missouri proved to be a good fit with a growing biotechnology cluster and the presence of established life science and pharmaceutical companies such as Monsanto, Wyeth-Biopharm, and Glaxo, to name a few," Ruffin added.

Once again, BIO will partner with eight State Biotechnology Associations including Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization, Indiana Health Industry Forum, Iowa Biotechnology Association, MichBio (Michigan), Minnesota Biotechnology Association, Missouri Biotechnology Association, Omeris (Ohio), and Wisconsin Biotechnology Association. The forum will feature presentations by companies mainly from the Midwest but also from around the country. Seed, early-and late-stage companies will make presentations to venture capitalists from all over the U.S. The selection process will be led by an advisory board of venture capitalists from some of the most prominent venture firms including members of the Midwest Healthcare Investment Network.

"The Mid-America BioVenture Forum held in Chicago this April was a tremendous success for both our Midwestern startup companies and the Venture Firms that were introduced to them. For the first time Venture Firms came to the Midwest from all over the country and were exposed to a number of quite promising biotech discoveries representing a virtually untapped source of new opportunities," stated Bill Romjue, President and CEO of the Missouri Biotechnology Association, "From the perspective of the St. Louis Community there is a great deal of anticipation about the forum and a solid regional commitment to its success."

Participants will have the opportunity to attend workshops highlighting current trends in the financial market and biotech companies, as well as network with the biotech industry's most prominent CEOs and venture capitalists.

"Our firm's experience with last year's conference was excellent." Scott Zajac, Managing Director at Advantage Capital Partners, stated. "It provided the opportunity to network with colleagues in the venture community, evaluate a large number of the region's best biotechnology deals, and synthesize information from numerous sources to get a clearer picture of the state of the industry."

David R. Scholl, PhD, President and CEO of Diagnostic Hybrids, Inc. (DHI) declared, "This conference provided DHI with substantial credibility and has resulted in discussions with four [venture capital] funds from not only the Midwest, but from both coasts."

BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.