Biotech researchers and entrepreneurs from across the region will gather for a networking conference intended to link researchers to funding partners this week. The first Southeast Venture Philanthropy Summit will take place at the at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill April 3-4, and more than 30 foundations will attend, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The summit seeks to help local companies tap into philanthropic venture capital.
Peter Ginsberg is vice president of business and technology development for the N.C. Biotechnology Center, which is sponsoring the meeting with several regional partners. “The goal for this Southeast Venture Philanthropy Summit is a simple one, and it's to accelerate life science innovation across our region - and that's across the Southeast - by connecting new products being developed here with foundations that are eager to bridge these products from research to commercialization,” he says.
Ginsberg also says that local biotech companies aren't taking enough advantage of the funding available from philanthropic organizations seeking to advance new disease therapies. “Life science companies and academic researchers often indicate that their greatest challenge is access to funding,” he explains. “Foundation funding, or venture philanthropy, has increased in terms of the breadth of funding options available and the size of the grants and investments these organizations are making. However, few life science companies or academic institutions in the Southeast have benefited from venture philanthropy.”
Ginsberg was encouraged to organize this regional Summit after 170 participants crowded into an N.C. Biotech forum he led that featured four venture philanthropy executives.