Inaugural Midwest Biotechnology Event Draws Hundreds of Attendees

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 8, 2003) - More than 400 executives, industry leaders and venture capitalists attended the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s (BIO) Mid-America VentureForum last week, the first ever nationally-sponsored biotechnology venture capital event in the Midwest.

“The event greatly exceeded our expectations and overall attendance was nearly double our estimates,” said Morrie Ruffin, BIO vice president of business development and emerging companies. “The turnout from both the venture capital and biotechnology communities on a national level was very impressive for a first time conference. It was certainly a positive measure of the growing biotechnology industry in the Midwest.”

Held in Chicago April 3-4, the Mid-America VentureForum showcased 65 seed, early and late-stage biotechnology companies to private equity firms from across the country. Venture capitalists seeking new investment opportunities were presented with business plans from companies with new technologies in the areas of drug discovery and delivery, pharmaceuticals, nanotechonology, medical devices and more.

“The number of quality presentations indicate a growing emphasis on entrepreneurial biotechnology endeavors in the Midwest,” said Ted Davis, vice president of Vector Fund Management. “With the high profile support of BIO, emerging regional companies should continue to tap into the growing midwestern venture capital pools and also begin attracting interest from leading coastal venture capital firms.”

The event featured industry luminaries such as Dr. Stelios Papadopoulos, vice chairman of SG Cowen, and Dr. Stephen Oesterle, vice president of Medtronic, Inc., who shared their unique insights and opinions on industry issues in front of standing room only crowds. Biotech entrepreneurs engaged in workshops and networking opportunities throughout the conference.

The Mid-America VentureForum was a collaboration of BIO, Mid America Healthcare Investors Syndicate, the National Venture Capital Association and the state biotechnology associations in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

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