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Last modified: Wednesday, September 7, 2005

BioCrossroads' life sciences forum arrives at a time of fast growth in Bloomington

SEPT. 7, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Some of the nation's top venture capitalist firms are being introduced today (Sept. 7) to top life sciences researchers and entrepreneurs at the Indiana Future Fund Entrepreneurial Forum at the Showers Building in Bloomington.

Regardless of whether a match is made among the parties, the BioCrossroads-sponsored conference comes during a time of unprecedented growth at Indiana University Bloomington, especially in the natural sciences.

External funding for research and teaching at IU Bloomington has effectively doubled over the past two years, reaching a record high of $193 million in fiscal 2005, according to a just-released report from the Office of the Vice President for Research.

This increase is largely the result of multi-million-dollar grants from public funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, from private foundations such as the Lilly Endowment Inc. and from the state of Indiana.

With such large increases for research projects, the likelihood that Bloomington campus faculty members will produce useful and marketable technologies and discoveries has also gone up.

"To leverage our state's considerable life sciences strengths, we must support our great research universities, like Indiana University, in the accelerating effort to bring world-class discoveries to market right here in Indiana," said David Johnson, president and CEO of BioCrossroads and a member of the Indiana Future Fund Advisory Board. "The Indiana Future fund was founded on the principle that Indiana holds many untapped opportunities for economic growth. We believe these forums are a great way to ferret out some of the more promising discoveries and position them as viable business opportunities that are ripe for investment and growth."

A large portion of Bloomington's growth is attributable to last year's $53 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. for the IU Bloomington-based Indiana METACyt Initiative. The initiative enables IU Bloomington to buoy research programs in metabolomics and cytomics, new fields of biology expected to vitalize medicine, the basic sciences and even agriculture.

"We're committed to the science, which is what we do best," said Theodore Widlanski, director of the METACyt Chemical Imaging and Assaying Center. "But we are also committed to creating jobs and new businesses at the same time."

The Indiana Future Fund, formed through BioCrossroads, is a $73 million capital pool that employs a network of local and national venture investors to support Indiana life sciences start-ups. IFF investors include Indiana's public pension funds as well as corporate and academic institutions including Indiana University and the Indiana University Foundation.

To speak with METACyt CEO Theodore Widlanski, contact Larry MacIntyre at 812-856-1172 or, or Susan Williams at 812-855-8773 or To speak with BioCrossroads President and CEO David Johnson, contact Jenny Siminski at 317-635-9175 (office), 317-213-5466 (cell) or