Indiana University

News Release

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Last modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Governor and IU and Purdue presidents among those presenting at May 16 life sciences conference

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April 23, 2008

EDITORS: The media is invited to attend this event. A complete program schedule, links to the participants' biographies and parking information is available at

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Secretary of Commerce Nathan Feltman, the presidents of Indiana and Purdue universities and John Diekman, founder of an early stage life science venture capital fund, will speak at the fourth and final program in the 2007-08 Indiana Life Sciences Collaboration Conference Series.

Mary Walshok from the University of California at San Diego also will tell San Diego's story and how that city was able to create one of the world's most successful life sciences clusters.

The seminar, "Life Sciences is a Capital Idea," will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Friday, May 16 at University Place and Conference Center, on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

This conference is sponsored by BioCrossroads, Ice Miller LLP, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC), the IU School of Medicine, The Center for the Business of Life Sciences (CBLS) in IU's Kelley School of Business and Purdue. It is the eighth in a series which began in the fall of 2006.

"Conferences like this are one part of an overall statewide initiative to create a world-class life sciences industry in Indiana," said the CBLS Director Larry Davidson. "Thanks to organizations like BioCrossroads, Indiana has attracted not only a broad spectrum of manufacturing and service companies, but they've brought the capital in as well. Indiana is now on the map when it comes to the key financiers of life science activity."

"The conference's title says it all: 'Life Sciences is a Capital Idea.' Here in the capital of Indiana we will have a stimulating discussion of how we here stack up in comparison to other national efforts in life sciences," said Harry Gonso, a partner at Ice Miller. "It takes ideas supported by money to make great things happen and they are happening here."

Conference participants will discuss how dynamics have changed in the last five years for life science firms, Indiana's entrepreneurial culture, the status of local market venture capital and how entrepreneurs are putting ideas to work.

"This event and the Indiana Life Sciences Collaboration Conference Series are predicated on the idea that life sciences business success results when scientists, professors, business executives and economic development officials work and learn together," Davidson added.

Kelley School Dean Dan Smith said the center and the conference are consistent with the school's mission to transform lives, organizations and society through business education and research.

"Advancing the life sciences is an important, specific aspect of our mission, and the input these state and life-science industry leaders offer will help us immensely as we move forward," Smith said. "The roster of speakers who present also demonstrates how state leadership and Indiana's research universities are leveraging their strengths for the state's long-term success."

Registration is available online at or by contacting Roxie Glaze at the Kelley School at 812-855-9210 or The cost to register is $40.

Gov. Daniels will kick off the conference with a look at the role capital plays in Indiana Life Sciences, followed by a presentation, "The National Life Sciences Venture Capital Scene and Indiana on the Map," by Diekman, founder and managing partner of 5AM Partners of Menlo Park, Calif.

Diekman then will join a panel discussion, "Indiana's Venture Capital, What We are Doing," which also will feature John Thornburgh, a partner in Ice Miller LLP, and Jim Pearson, president and chief executive officer of NICO Neuro & Spine, and Gus Watanabe, chairman of BioCrossroads and Marcadia Biotech.

David Johnson, president and CEO of BioCrossroads, will introduce the keynote speaker, Walshok, who is associate vice chancellor of public programs and dean of university extension at the University of California at San Diego. She will speak on the theme, "Collaborating to Compete: The San Diego Story."

Two panel discussions will follow lunch. Dr. Craig Brater, dean of the IU School of Medicine and IU vice president for life sciences, will moderate a session, "The Intellectual Capital Part of the Equation." It also will feature Dr. Bruce Molitoris, IU professor of medicine and director of the nephrology section; George Wodicka, professor and head of biomedical engineering in Purdue's Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering; Bruce Kidd, IEDC director of entrepreneurship; and Ghassan Kassab, professor of biomedical engineering at IUPUI.

Gonso will moderate the day's final session, "The Role of Life Sciences in the Economic Development of Indiana and the Collaborative Efforts of Higher Education and State Government." IU President Michael McRobbie and Purdue President France Córdova will be joined by Nathan Feltman, who also is president of the IEDC.

In addition to organizing the workshop series, the center operates a Web site at that includes research studies by Kelley faculty, MBA students and industry professionals about various segments of life science industries and the challenges presented. It also provides more information about the Center for the Business of Life Sciences.

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