Welcome to our blog community! This blog will show you how CED is helping emerging companies scale and grow in the Research Triangle Region. Plus we post news about our members and entrepreneurial resources.
Finance and First Flight Venture Center are joining together for a timely, and
useful discussion on no-dilutive funding for life science companies. A
distinguished panel of local successes will be gathered at American
Underground in Durham on Oct. 8 to give startups insight, and ideas, on how
to start and grow life science endeavors with limited cash flow.
for a period of time allows companies to raise capital in the future and at
better terms. The trick for life science and medical device companies is to
identify early sources of alternative non-dilutive capital to move the business
as far as you can before seeking the larger amounts of capital that will
eventually be needed.
forum panel includes the following well-known leaders:
co-founder and CEO of his fourth life sciences startup, which is focused
on newborn screening (www.baebies.com)
of Affinergy, a Duke spinout commercializing medical devices and
is Chairman of Powered Research, a preclinical CRO
September 23, 2014—Intrepid
Powerboats offers the first hybrid yacht from factory powered by Natural Gas,
featuring fuel-system technology from Blue Gas
Marine, Inc. to power its outboard
motors.The Intrepid 327 Center Console boat
will be on display at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat show in
October.The BlueGas Natural
is the first technology of its kind and it was developed by Blue Gas Marine,
Inc., which is based in Apex, NC.
Boats equipped with
Blue Gas Marine natural gas hybrid fuel-systems can operate on natural gas or
as a hybrid that carries natural gas and a traditional fuel like gasoline. This
system allows a boat operator to switch between the two fuels on-demand and at
any speed with the press of a button. This technology provides tremendous value
to boaters everywhere since operating on Natural Gas is 50% to 70% less
expensive than gasoline and its performance is the same or better than gasoline’s.
Blue Gas Marine, Inc. is now developing a network to distribute the natural gas
fuel to boaters ensuring the fuel is readily available to those making the
change. Boaters can even fill-up at home or from any building equipped with
Natural Gas. Intrepid is a semi-custom powerboat builder
that began in 1983 and builds about 12 different models from 24-47 feet. Every
boat built is presold and designed a la carte per customer to their needs. Intrepid
is considered the highest quality and most innovative outboard boat builder in
the world and is eager to once again be the first in this innovative project
with partners at Blue Gas Marine.Customers
can now order factory ready boats featuring Blue Gas Marine, natural gas hybrid
“I am very excited
about the possibilities that a project like this brings by being able to bring
such a clean energy to a recreational industry that makes its living from a
natural resource like water.” Ken
Clinton, President, Intrepid Powerboats, said.
The Blue Gas Marine
natural gas hybrid fuel system is designed to be installed on existing or new
outboards, inboards and generator engines and uses natural gas in the
compressed (CNG) or liquefied (LNG) forms.The company markets its hybrid fuel-systems and natural gas fuel to frequent
boat operators such as commercial fishermen, charter boats, ferries, tugs,
large ships, the military and recreational users.
There are many benefits
to boaters moving to this new technology.Boaters can save more than 50% on fuel immediately by making the
change.On boats that have a 230 gallon
tank like the Intrepid 327 it currently costs about $1150 to fill-up, based on
$5 gasoline, with natural gas the cost is only about $345 when filled at home
or $575 when filled at most public CNG Gas Stations and Marinas offering the
fuel. These savings have a direct impact on high-fuel-usage boaters, many of
whom rely on their boat for business.The
fuel savings cover the cost of the fuel system in under one year, for most
The new BlueGas Natural
Gas Hybrid fuel system is an excellent option for boaters trying to avoid
gasoline with ethanol, now that most gasoline blends have at least 10% ethanol
added, which is detrimental to marine engines.The performance of natural gas on a boat is the same or better than with
its original fuel, with the added benefit that natural gas emissions are 90%
cleaner (green alternative fuel) than diesel and 70% cleaner than gasoline and
do not produce any exhaust odor or smoke.Additionally, this innovation will also positively impact boaters and
the marine industry in general by meeting and exceeding the regulatory
requirements of upcoming emissions law, for certain displacement-size engines
ahead of the stringent regulations coming into effect in 2015 and 2016, which
require cleaner operations.
Miguel Guerreiro, Blue
Gas Marine CEO and Founder, said, “We are glad to partner with such an
innovative company like Intrepid Powerboats.They like to lead the market in innovation and we are trail blazing with
new technology, which will revolutionize boating.It is a great partnership and one that I know
boaters will be excited about.Boaters
can do more of what they love and save money in the process by getting the most
affordable and cleanest fuel alternative than any other on the market today.”
Blue Gas Marine is now taking
orders for the new natural gas hybrid fuel system and dedicated natural gas systems
and expanding throughout 2014.The
company is continuing to partner with Marine Service Centers to perform
used-boat installations, boat manufacturers for new boat installations, marinas
and individual boaters for fuel dispenser installations. Interested investors
and customers can learn more at BlueGasMarine.com and through its Facebook and
Linked-In pages. The partnership and model boat will be on-show case at the
three largest boat shows in the world starting with Fort Lauderdale
International Boat Show October 30 –November 3 2014, Miami International Boat
Show February 12-16, 2015 and Palm Beach International Boat Show March 26-29,
2015.To order new Intrepid hybrid
boats, customers should contact Intrepid Powerboats directly.
L. Fox, a patent attorney at Brinks Gilson & Lione, one of the largest
intellectual property law firms in the United States, will be a featured
speaker at BIO's 2nd Annual IP & Diagnostics Symposium (BIO IPDX) on
Friday, September 26, 2014 at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town in Alexandria, Va.
Fox will present "Recent Patent
Litigation and Disputes" with a panel of biotechnology and IP law
professionals that will discuss the implications for the biotech industry of
the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in the Myriad and Prometheus
cases, along with other recent decisions and ongoing cases.
Fox focuses her
practice on counseling pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in patent and
related transactional matters. Both a research scientist and patent attorney,
she has over 17 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology
industries. She is Of Counsel in Brinks' office in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
BIO IPDX will review
the current patent law landscape and evaluate its impact on both the genetic
diagnostics and biopharmaceutical sectors. The program will explore IP issues
for both general and companion diagnostics, as well as potential regulatory
dimensions. The symposium is geared towards patent practitioners in the life
sciences, both in-house and in private practice, as well as in-house regulatory
affairs staff, licensing professionals, business development executives, and
regulatory agency staff seeking to understand pre-marketing and intellectual
property challenges in the area of diagnostics.
Although there is no
fee to attend, reservations are required. For more information and to register,
contact Caroline Arrington at email@example.com or (202) 962-9228.
Brinks Gilson & Lione
Brinks Gilson & Lione has 160 attorneys, scientific advisors and
patent agents who specialize in intellectual property, making it one of the
largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. Clients around the world
use Brinks to help them identify, protect, manage and enforce their
intellectual property. Brinks lawyers provide expertise in all aspects of
patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright law. The
Brinks team includes lawyers with advanced degrees in all fields of technology
and science. Based in Chicago, Brinks has offices in Washington, D.C., Research
Triangle Park, N.C., Ann Arbor, Detroit, Salt Lake City and Indianapolis. More
information is at www.brinksgilson.com.
The 2014 Biodefense Summit On August 26, 2014, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center held a
summit on biodefense – a term that generally refers to methods for
preventing, detecting, or managing an attack involving biological
weapons. The summit provided a platform for decision makers from
federal funding agencies to engage with academic and industry leaders in
North Carolina's life sciences sector. The impetus for the summit was
the recognition that the level of biodefense spending in North Carolina
is disproportionately low given that the state is home to the third
largest life sciences cluster and the fourth largest military presence
in the United States. In a nutshell, the summit was organized to kick
start strategies to leverage those strengths and expand the number of
biodefense government contracts awarded in North Carolina.
The summit emphasized the cutting-edge life sciences work being done
in North Carolina, some of which would have been considered science
fiction just a short while ago. Mike Wanner, CFO and Executive Vice
President of Operations at Medicago Inc., described his company's work
using genetically-engineered tobacco to produce vaccines much faster and
simpler than traditional methods (Medicago's commercial-scale facility
in Research Triangle Park is targeted to produce 10 million doses of
pandemic influenza vaccine per month). Dr. Anthony Atala, Director and
Chair of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and
Director of the Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine, showed
a video clip in which he and his team use a 3-D printer loaded with
living human cells to make a transplantable kidney in about seven
hours. An earlier iteration of this technology used ink-jet printers to
make bladders that were first successfully used in human patients over
ten years ago.
Grants vs. Contracts One of the takeaways from the summit was the importance of becoming
familiar with all aspects of the federal contracting process. First
off, federal grants and federal contracts must be distinguished from one
another. Federal grants are typically awarded to states, local
governments, universities, and non-profit organizations to accomplish
some public purpose or stimulate a desired activity. Grants are
relatively flexible in terms of the scope of work required and the
ability to make amendments when changes are needed. Reports are usually
only required on an annual basis and failure to perform is not likely
to result in legal action or financial consequences.
By contrast, federal contracts are designed to acquire goods and
services, with an emphasis placed on delivery and performance.
Contracts are more typically awarded to commercial enterprises, though
states, local governments, universities, and non-profit organizations
can and do receive federal contracts as well. Contracts are relatively
rigorous regarding their terms and conditions and many include set
asides for small businesses, minorities, or special classes of
competitors. Frequent reports are usually required and a failure to
perform and achieve the promised results or product will result in
potential legal action and financial consequences.
Federal contracts are governed by the federal acquisition laws
contained in the Code of Federal Regulations ("CFR"). These laws are
implemented through an extensive set of rules codified in Title 48 of
the CFR known as the Federal Acquisition Regulation ("FAR"), which
attempt to establish uniform policies and procedures for acquisition by
all federal agencies. However, each federal agency with contracting
authority can augment the FAR with its own additional regulations, known
as FAR Supplements, which are codified as separate chapters under Title
48 of the CFR (e.g., additional rules unique to the Department of
Defense are set forth in the Defense FAR Supplement, known as the
"DFARS"). It is the FAR clauses contained or referenced in federal contracts
that are the source of the relatively rigid terms and conditions
mentioned above. For example, FAR provisions may include requirements
for changing the scope of work, terminating contracts, making payments,
conducting inspections and testing, accepting delivered goods and
services, and intellectual property rights. Even if a particular
contract does not appear to explicitly list or incorporate by reference
certain FAR clauses, other FAR and/or DFARS regulations may dictate that
certain clauses should have been incorporated and they will thus be
deemed by courts as implicitly incorporated, even if omitted.
Furthermore, if the prime contract recipient recruits subcontractors,
many of these FAR clauses must be "flowed down" and included in the
agreement between the prime contractor and the subcontractor.
The Federal Contracting Procedure Federal agencies typically post Request for Proposal ("RFP")
solicitations for contracts on the Federal Business Opportunities
website (http://www.fbo.gov/) or their own websites. Interested
companies prepare offers in response to the requirements laid out in the
RFP and in accordance with applicable provisions of the FAR. Following
the submission deadline, government agency personnel evaluate all
vendor submissions using the source selection method and criteria
described in the RFP. In some cases, potential federal vendors may
submit unsolicited proposals for new ideas and innovative concepts
pertaining to a given agency's program areas. Such unsolicited
proposals must comply with the requirements of FAR Subpart 15.6.
A key to success in securing government contracts is matching a
specific product or service to the needs of a particular agency. If it
is a stretch to justify the match, the potential vendor is likely
wasting its time. In addition to searching the Federal Business
Opportunities website for available RFPs, potential vendors can attend
"matchmaking" events with federal agency contracting officers and
follow-up with them regularly to stay apprised of agency needs.
For newcomers to the world of federal contracting, an alternative to
seeking prime contracts is to explore subcontracting opportunities.
This strategy was cited at the biodefense summit by a number of
panelists from companies that initially waded into the waters as
subcontractors but that are now successful in securing government
contracts. By subcontracting with an experienced prime contractor, a
vendor can gain familiarity with the process and gain experience to
become ready to competitively bid for prime contracts.
Conclusion With billions of dollars awarded to biodefense contractors annually,
government contracts can be a lucrative source of opportunities for life
sciences businesses. However, there are many potentially costly
pitfalls, especially if the provisions of a federal contract, including
those that appear only in an unreferenced FAR, are not understood.
Potential federal government vendors considering venturing into the
world of federal contracts would be well advised to seek expert counsel
to help navigate the waters.
a business owner or entrepreneur there comes a time when you face a tough
decision – deciding whether to outsource your marketing to a consultant or keep
To make an informed
decision, follow these tips.
1. Perform an internal
audit. The purpose of the audit
is to evaluate a number of factors. What is the importance of this strategic
initiative and its alignment to your business and marketing plan? What level of
in-house expertise is available? Or, do you have limited resources (staff) for
leading and implementing the initiative? What tools and funds are allocated to
the project? How will this initiative impact your customer growth and
2. Who do you know and
trust? Referrals are a great
place to start when considering outside consultants. Tap into your team’s
network for contacts and referrals. If time is not of the essence, you can also
send out an RFP. In the end, trust in the consultant’s ability to perform and
complete the project is crucial to achieving your desired goals.
3. Speak with several
individuals, agencies or firms. Understand that different
people and firms possess unique skill sets and approaches to the work. By
talking with a variety of individuals or firms, you open yourself to generating
additional ideas or asking questions you may not have thought of previously.
4. Review their work,
credentials and previous projects. Upon reviewing the
consultants’ work and credentials, you should be able to answer these
▪Do the potential candidates have a proven track record for
completing similar projects?
▪What results were produced on similar, previous projects?
▪How quickly can they learn about your organization and industry?
▪What is their approach and process?
5. Request a proposal. At a minimum, the proposal
should include a timeline and rough estimate of the project cost. (For
especially complex projects, Ghantt or PERT charts can be very useful in
determining expertise and proficiency.) The proposal provides enough objective
data to share with your team and executive leadership to allow for
6. Interview the top 2-3
contenders. Treat the interview with
prospective consultants as if you’re interviewing a candidate to join your
company. Even though the project may be on a short-term basis, it’s important
to feel good about and like the person (or firm) with whom you will work. While
trust and talent are important, the chemistry may be stronger with one
candidate when compared to others.
7. Ask for a Statement of
Work Agreement (SOW.) SOWs
define the project specifics – what is to be done within a defined scope, the
number of allowable revisions, key deliverables, client expectations and
estimated compensation. The purpose of a well-defined SOW is to protect your
organization as well as the consultant.