AgLaunch, based in Memphis, Tennessee, is one of seven new Regional Innovation Clusters nationwide receiving a competitively awarded contract through a competitive process. AgLaunch will help small businesses start, expand and support the next generation of farming capabilities in 98 primarily rural counties in Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee, many of which are located in the Delta region.
Knoxville's EDP Biotech, which was chartered to commercialize assays for early detection of disease and is now focused on its blood-based ColoPlex™ test for colorectal cancer, is pursuing a $5MM raise to propel its work alongside strategic partners. The Series A preferred capital raise was confirmed today by CEO Eric Mayer, the 35-year-old who leads the company, the board of which is chaired by Knoxville serial entrepreneur Tom Boyd.
The southeastern U.S. produces 20% of American GDP and is home to half of America's fastest growing cities. In addition to 84 Fortune 500 companies, 15% of the wealthiest Americans and six leading American universities, more than 2,335 startups called the Southeast home (as of 2018). Yet, despite economic stability, a rapidly growing talent pool, and public-private emphasis on innovation, only 5.3% of 2018's record-breaking venture capital funding found its way into the region.
Last week, Alnylam CEO John Maraganore passed the torch to Jeremy Levin, CEO of Ovid Therapeutics, to serve as the newly elected chairman of the industry’s trade group, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). “Reflecting on the last two years, it’s been a remarkable period of time. There’s been no doubt the industry has continued to innovate,” Maraganore told FierceBiotech.
Analysts point to increasing confidence in new technologies such as gene therapy and CAR-T as a driver of these larger and earlier IPOs. The rise of platform companies that need more cash to target multiple disease areas are a factor, too. We caught up with some biotech CEOs at this year’s BIO International Convention in Philadelphia to get their take.