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Industry Leaders and Investors Explore Better Business Models for the 'New Diagnostics' at Bio 2006

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Experts representing venture capital, new diagnostics ventures, global diagnostics leaders and tools and technology providers will debate business models to support the growing potential of molecular diagnostics during a kick-off panel at BIO 2006.

Emerging diagnostics technologies can provide modern medicine with wholly new capabilities and help drive the changes needed by a health care system struggling to deal with soaring costs and an aging population. However, venture interest and business success have lagged behind the potential the field has to offer.

Experts with first-hand experience in commercializing new diagnostic approaches will propose ways to overcome these challenges in the Monday morning panel session "Venturing into Diagnostics: Realizing the Value of the New Diagnostics."

"Venture capital has been, for the most part, shying away from diagnostics, and that means we risk losing out on the immense potential of the new diagnostics to improve healthcare," said Gary Kurtzman, M.D., panel moderator and managing director and COO of BioAdvance.

"The new diagnostic technologies are enabling us to predict disease susceptibility, detect disease with greater accuracy and predetermine an individual's response to drugs, but these companies need capital if they are to achieve their full potential."

Dr. Kurtzman has assembled a diverse panel of experts that includes:

- Dr. Fred Cohen, a former leading scientist and now partner at Texas Pacific Growth Ventures, who has funded and helped build three of the leading new diagnostics firms, including one of the few that has successfully completed an IPO.

- Pierre Cassigneul, president and CEO of venture-funded new diagnostics company XDx, Inc., who will report on confronting these business challenges direct from the front lines.

- Chris Meda, vice president of business development-pharmaceuticals at Roche Molecular Diagnostics, who represents an established global player that is actively working with big pharma to develop and commercialize the companion diagnostics that are ushering in the era of personalized medicine.

- Todd Nelson, Ph.D., vice president of corporate development at Invitrogen Corporation, who will discuss why this global leader in life science tools and technologies is considering investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the new diagnostics.

Dr. Kurtzman continued, "At BioAdvance we are now seeing an increasing number of funding proposals from molecular diagnostics start-ups. If they are to succeed, we believe that innovative science must be matched with sound business strategies."

Added Dr. Cohen, "Increasingly, venture capital is migrating toward new diagnostic opportunities."

"Our experience suggests that it is possile to take biological insight and biochemical technology that is available today and create high value diagnostics that inform important clinical decisions."

"When new diagnostics are validated in clinical studies that rival the statistical precision of therapeutic trials, physicians will incorporate these tests into their practice, and payers will reimburse for the service. I look forward to discussing the growth of the 'new-new' diagnostics industry."

Panel sponsor BioAdvance, the Biotechnology Greenhouse of Southeastern Pennsylvania, is investing $20 million in state tobacco settlement funds to support new life sciences enterprises in the greater Philadelphia region.

BioAdvance has made seed investments in 20 new ventures in its three years of operation. Dr. Kurtzman brings extensive recent experience in early-stage life sciences investing to his role as panel moderator, building on his previous career as a biotech entrepreneur and on his current work with innovative diagnostics start-ups in the region.

The panel, Venturing Into Diagnostics: Realizing the Value of the New Diagnostics will be held on April 10, 2006 at 11:00am CDT at the BIO 2006 International Conference, Chicago Convention Center, Room 402b

BIO 2006 is being held April 10-13, 2006 in Chicago. More information can be found at Company website.