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University of Iowa News Release


March 6, 2007

NOTE: This release has been revised.

UI Research Foundation Recruits Experienced Technology Investors As Advisors

The University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF) has recruited two leading national experts in university-based new ventures formation as the initial members of its Ventures Advisory Board.

Pamela York, executive director of the UIRF, said Doug Johnson, director for the University of Minnesota Office of Business Development, and Alfred "Buz" Brown, managing director for BCM Ventures and president of BCM Technologies, have joined the advisory board. Their role is to advise the UIRF in creating a highly effective new ventures formation process at UI. They will also facilitate connections to larger regional and national venture firms that focus on early-stage technology investments.

"Forming companies from university technologies is a difficult thing to do, even in metropolitan areas where there are many high-tech venture firms and entrepreneurs," York said. "If we are to attract experienced management and investors, especially for UI life science spinouts, it is essential to be connected with people who have direct experience in this kind of activity. We're honored to have Buz and Doug working with us."

Both Johnson and Brown have extensive, nationwide investor contacts and have developed proven approaches for spinning out early-stage tech companies from universities.

As director for the University of Minnesota Office of Business Development, Johnson designed and implemented a university spinout company development group and process. Johnson constructed and teaches the Carlson Ventures Enterprise, a six-credit, 15-month course within the Carlson School of Management's full-time MBA program that teaches venture capital and investing skills. He also has 20 years experience as an investor, including being an investment banker at Dain Bosworth, and serving as the senior officer and general partner at the Norwest Venture Capital, one of the oldest and most successful venture capital firms in the United States.

Johnson is also president of the Minnesota Venture Capital Association, a special limited partner in Minnesota Seed Capital, a local startup venture capital firm. He is an active board member on several private high tech companies, and is an investor, director and/or chairman of several early-stage companies.

Brown is managing director for BCM Ventures, an early-stage venture firm in Houston, and president of BCM Technologies, which was formed to capitalize on technologies from the Baylor College of Medicine. He was the chief visionary responsible for transforming BCM Technologies into BCM Ventures, now raising its second venture fund, BCM Ventures II. He has more than 30 years of experience in biotechnology commercialization and venture creation, including large pharmaceutical, academic and venture roles, with emphasis on cancer, immunology, regenerative medicine, molecular diagnostics and predictive medicine.

Formerly at the Yale School of Medicine, Brown served as the director of the Office of Cooperative Research and co-developed the "Yale model" of academic venture creation, which is now recognized as one the of leading academic technology commercialization and new venture creation programs. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in biology and a Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology. He has been involved with or instrumental in the formation of more than 50 companies, and serves on the Boards of numerous biotechnology startup companies.

York said the initial advisory board will support the UIRF in its own business planning process, and help delineate the UIRF's role in the formation of new companies. Brown and Johnson will also help the UIRF fill out the Ventures Advisory Board with firms that have experience investing in early stage high technology companies.

The UIRF is a 501c3 corporation that manages new ventures, licensing, and intellectual property management for the University of Iowa. The UIRF is part of the IOWA Centers for Enterprise, which integrates existing economic development activities at the UI. The IOWA Centers for Enterprise offers a comprehensive program that promotes economic development and technology transfer, provides assistance to Iowa startups and existing Iowa businesses and communities, and helps the state of Iowa develop a creative, entrepreneurial workforce.

SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory 319-384-0012,

OTHER INFORMATION: For background on the UI Research Foundation, see: