SOURCE: The Venture Forum

June 13, 2006 08:00 ET

Leading Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Startups to Link Up With Major Investors at Silicon Valley Venture Forum 2006

Venture Capital Firms, Angel Investors to Meet With BioPharma Startups to Help Close the Gap Between Idea and Product Delivery

SAN JOSE, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 13, 2006 -- Close to 100 of the world's most innovative biotechnology and pharmaceutical startups will gather at The Venture Forum's ( 2006 event, June 28th and 29th, to network with venture capital firms and potential investors, exemplifying the new, more entrepreneurial model of drug development. The Forum's 11th annual event is being held at the San Jose Convention Center.

"Traditional R&D pipelines are continuing to dry up. The cost of getting a new drug to market has skyrocketed to a $1 billion in development costs in recent years and it's getting even worse," says Neven Karlovac, Ph.D., Vice President of Technology Commercialization Programs for Larta Institute, founder of The Venture Forum. Larta runs one of the largest, federally funded, commercialization programs for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has, to date, helped more than 200 emerging life sciences companies on the road to commercialization.

"NIH gives these biotechnology and pharmaceutical entrepreneurs seed money. At the Venture Forum these innovators will be looking for partners and investors to take their ideas to the commercial finish line," says Karlovac, who leads the NIH program at Larta.

As R&D budgets are severely strained, new models of drug development are occurring, says Karlovac. Companies are "in-sourcing" technology, buying innovation from outside the corporation and bringing it in house, or engaging in collaborative efforts, in which two companies might cooperate in clinical trials and share in the commercialization rewards. Larger pharmaceutical companies are funding more collaborative efforts, explains Karlovac, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity is increasing.

At the Venture Forum, representatives of major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are on the advisory committee. They include: David Bowser, Vice President, Technology Transfer & Academic Relations, Johnson and Johnson; John Gibson, SVP, Pharmaceutical Development, Allergan; Jay Hagan, Managing Director, Amgen Ventures; Don A. Madren, RPh, MBA, Associate Director, Strategic Alliances, Pfizer; Bruce Pratt, Vice President, Science Development, Genzyme Corporation; and Dr. James M. Schaeffer, Executive Director of Worldwide Licensing and External Research, Merck & Co., Inc.

Registration for the 2006 Venture Forum is $795. To learn more about the Forum and to register for the two-day event, go to

Life Sciences Showcase

On June 28th life sciences companies from DARPA, ATP, and from Canada, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan will be presenting. On June 29th the Venture Forum features the NIH Life Sciences Showcase. Altogether, close to 100 biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device companies will be exhibiting and presenting, as well as networking, one-on-one, with investors in the Innovation Lounge. Discussion panels will include topics on biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical technologies.

Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical companies exhibiting include:

Azevan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Bethlehem, PA, a drug discovery and development company producing novel therapeutics for disorders of stress, mood, and behavior. The first series of clinical candidates selectively block the effects of arginine vasopressin (AVP), a naturally occurring chemical signal in the body involved in the pathophysiology of conditions that include stress-related affective illness, impulsivity/inappropriate aggression, and menstrual-related disorders.

StrataGent Life Sciences, Inc., San Jose, CA, a specialty pharmaceutical company developing next-generation therapeutic products based on transdermal technology. StrataGent's unique ability to capture the performance of an infusion pump in a non-invasive patch-like format will enable it to seize a leadership position in the management of episodic diseases and symptoms and in pulsatile therapies.

Ambergen Inc., Waltham, MA, a molecular diagnostics company focusing on the development of innovative high-value diagnostics for complex diseases. The research is based on the relationship of disease phenotype with changes in global methylation that occur at the DNA level. The company has developed technology to screen asymptomatic individuals who are at-risk for the development of lung cancer.

ApoLife, Inc., Detroit, MI, has developed platform expression technologies for the acceleration of antibody screening in discovery and cost-effective production of recombinant human antibodies and proteins. Antibody products have proved to be highly profitable therapeutics for cancer, arthritis and other diseases and sales of therapeutic antibody products are expected to grow to $30 billion by 2010.

Discussion Panels

On June 29th the Venture Forum will host two panels: "BioPharma Panel Partnering: The Real Deal" and "Medical Technologies: Learning the Dance of the Device" (Emerging Companies Rising Above the Noise). Moderator of the biopharma panel is Joanna Schulman, Founder & Managing Partner, Thallo Bioscience Advisors, LLC. Panelists are Anton Gueth, Senior Consultant, Vantage Partners; Ravi Kiron, Executive Director, J&J Alza; Don Madren, Associate Director, Pfizer; and Bruce Pratt, Vice President of Science Development, Genzyme.

The medical technologies panel will be moderated by Casey McGlynn of Wilson Sonsini. Panelists are Sanjiv Arora, Director, Cargill Ventures; Hanson Gifford, President and CEO, The Foundry; and John Maroney, General Partner, Delphi Ventures.

About The Venture Forum, June 28-29, San Jose

Close to 1,000 technology, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and life science innovators, venture capital firms, government agency representatives and corporate investors will meet at the San Jose event linking early stage innovators with funding sources. Since its inception 11 years ago, The Venture Forum has facilitated $600 million in venture capital, corporate and government investment, thereby helping innovators move high-value technologies closer to commercialization.

The Venture Forum first identifies key trends in major technology sectors, then selects innovators in those areas to present their ideas to leading decision makers in the investment and corporate worlds. Every presentation made by entrepreneurs at the Forum has been carefully mentored by Larta Institute, the founders and producers of the Forum.

Unlike typical trade shows or conferences, where the event has little followup, The Venture Forum is connected year-round to funding sources through the Larta Institute.

A complete schedule is available at

Attendee Registration

Registration for the two-day event is $795. To register, go to A $150 exhibit-only pass is also available.

Credentialed Media: To register for a press pass, please contact Joe Escamilla at or 213-765-4829 or Ashley Andrews, Terpin Communications Group, (310) 821-6100 X 109,

Sponsorship Opportunities

The Venture Forum sponsors include: Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, NIH, Advanced Technology Program, Morrison Foerster, Agilent Technologies, Cargill Ventures, Unilever and Enterprise Partners Venture Capital.

For information on sponsorship opportunities contact Charles R. Sena at 213-765-4836 or email at

About Larta Institute

Larta Institute's mission is to increase economic development through the improved transition of scientific and technological breakthroughs from the laboratory to the marketplace, where they can solve problems, enhance economic opportunities, advance medical care, and better people's lives. Larta Institute is an independent, private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation registered in the State of California.

Since 1993, companies helped by Larta Institute have raised over $1.5 billion in capital. Its programs serve thousands of businesspeople each year. Larta accelerates the transition of cutting-edge technologies to the marketplace by connecting innovators to investors and companies, and leveraging its extensive network of relationships and resources.

Larta Institute was originally formed in 1993 through legislation enacted by the State of California to assist small companies developing innovative technologies. The Institute has expanded dramatically since then to serve thousands of clients in a wide variety of technology sectors globally.

Contact Information