To the Editor,
I compliment Jessica Sabbath for an excellent presentation of?legislative (and other) power in the Virginia General Assembly with its impact on the Virginia?executive?branch [January issue, “Power shift”].
Tenure +seniority +numbers = POWER, and plenty of it.
The 2008 Virginia General Assembly session promises to be one of the most challenging political football games we will have experienced for quite some time, but it will reflect?the awesome reality that our political process is loaded with certainty and uncertainty.
Whatever happens, this could be the year that voters and taxpayers should hold on to our pocketbooks. Let us pray that common sense will prevail among those?legislators and other?officials who will be directly and indirectly involved in this political process, which affects and will continue to affect those of us in the? voter and?taxpayer constituency.
Frank G. Tsutras
To the Editor:
I read with interest the article by Robert Burke in your September 2007 issue titled “No Magic Pill.” The author nicely highlights the variety of opinions regarding assistance to advance startup biotech/biomedical businesses and accurately points out the lack of blueprints or magic pills.
The article goes on to identify Intrexon as an example of a potential success story in the making. Unfortunately, the article essentially skipped from the formation of Intrexon in Ohio in 2000 to the 2007 $25 million Series C round of financing of the Blacksburg company. I would like to take this opportunity to elaborate on the Intrexon story which the article did not cover.
I was part of Carilion Biomedical Institute (CBI) at that time and am therefore aware of the pivotal role CBI played in Intrexon’s history. Four years before the Series C round (early 2003), CBI was contacted about a Cincinnati startup biotech company that might be interested in relocating to the Roanoke region. At that time, we at CBI were involved in identifying promising biomedical companies that would consider relocation. Over the next few months, we came to know the Intrexon team and began to appreciate their potential. After performing our diligence, we decided to make an investment in the company and to do what we could to help make the company successful.
Over the next year and a half, I, along with the rest of the CBI team, worked with Intrexon to make the relocation to southwestern Virginia a reality. In addition to leading efforts to help secure financing, CBI assisted Intrexon by providing a wide variety of support.
Startup technology companies have diverse needs that require input from multiple areas of expertise. It is that integration of science, technology, and business that makes these companies exciting additions to our business community.
One of the major strengths of CBI was its ability to draw upon and mobilize resources in the region. In addition to CBI, many organizations helped in the Intrexon relocation. Carilion Clinic and the Virginia Tech Foundation played key financial roles in bringing Intrexon to Virginia. The company relocated early in 2004 and closed the Series A round of $925,000 in June.
Also not mentioned in the article was the significant role of the NewVA fund (NewVA Capital Partners). The NewVA fund was established by Carilion and the Virginia Tech Foundation in 2004 to help promote promising businesses in the Roanoke and New River valleys. A year after Series A, the NewVA fund (managed by Third Security) recognized the promise of Intrexon and invested $500,000 in the Series B round. Those early investments set the stage for the $25 million Series C round of financing by Third Security.
I hope that this expansion into Intrexon’s story might give your readers additional insight into what hopefully will be a terrific success story.
Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
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