A Colorado biomedical business incubator has just initiated atechnology transfer program with the National Institutes ofHealth that could serve as a model for future NIH-statecooperative ventures.

The Colorado Bio/Medical Venture Center (CBVC), based inLakewood, a suburb of Denver, is a new-business incubator forfledgling biomedical companies. The first-of-a-kind program itannounced Wednesday is designed to stimulate the transfer ofdiscoveries and research capabilities between NIH scientistsand Colorado companies and research organizations.

According to the memorandum of understanding (MOU)between the two entities, the NIH and the CBVC will attempt to"identify NIH biomedical inventions appropriate for potentialcommercialization through the CBVC."

Lewis Kontnik, CBVC's president, views the agreement asserving two ends. First, "there may be some technology at NIHthat would make a good basis for a company," he explained."The incubator could extract that technology and make abusiness out of it."

Moreover, since Colorado already has a concentration of R&D inareas such as medical devices, blood and blood products, andrespiratory disease and treatment, Kontnik sees theopportunity for facilitating "more scientist-to-scientistinteractions," which could lead to licensing opportunities orcooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs)between the NIH and Colorado outfits.

Although the precise means for implementing the newagreement haven't been worked out, the program's kick-offwill be Sept. 21 at the annual Colorado BiotechnologySymposium in Boulder. It will provide an opportunity for NIHand Colorado researchers to come together, Kontnik toldBioWorld.

CBVC is a public/private partnership formed with seed capitalfrom the Colorado Advanced Technology Institute. It providesphysical space, management assistance, access to researchsupport and growth financing to its incubator companies.

In fact, a number of Colorado venture capital funds haveestablished the Colorado Incubator Venture Fund, capitalized at$750,000, for investment in the venture center's tenantcompanies. The most recent fledgling biomedical company togain start-up assistance from the CBVC is Supragen, whichmoved into CBVC lab space in early February. Supragen wasstarted with $1 million from the venture capital firm E.M.Warburg, Pincus & Co., which has also funded Coloradocompanies Synergen Inc. and NeXagen.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.

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