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San Antonio Biomedical Startup, ViroXis Corporation, Wins Michael DeBakey Award at Texas Life Science Conference
November 16, 2009

SA biomedical startup company, ViroXis Corporation, received the 2009 Michael E. DeBakey Memorial Life Science Award at last week's Texas Life Science Conference in Houston as the undiscovered life science company with the highest potential to commercialize an important product. ViroXis is developing a novel, patented, antiviral compound for the treatment for warts.

This marks the first time the award, now in its fourth year, has been given to a company based outside of Houston. The conference is Texas' premier venture conference for the life science industry, co-hosted by BioHouston and the Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute. Over 300 entrepreneurs, researchers, community partners, and venture capitalists from throughout the state and nation participated.

The award memorializes the late Dr. DeBakey of Houston, whose contributions to medicine included the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) concept, the first successful artificial heart transplant, an instrumental role in development of the Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) and its first successful implantation into a human. The award was presented by Dr. William T. Butler, Interim President of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Dr. Paul Castella, co-founder and board member of ViroXis, accepted the award after being selected from among other presenting companies by the venture capitalists in attendance. An experienced biomedical entrepreneur, Dr. Castella is also managing general partner of Incyte Ventures, which recently launched San Antonio's Targeted Technology Fund.

"All drug companies, especially startups, are facing mounting funding and regulatory barriers to successfully completing their drug development programs," said Dr. Castella. "This award is an important recognition of the botanical NDA program ViroXis is pursuing as a means of bringing new drugs to market more expeditiously than through the traditional regulatory route. Using this emerging regulatory path, ViroXis aims to establish a leadership position in developing novel pharmaceuticals in areas of significant medical need."

Other San Antonio companies presenting at the conference were Evestra, Inc., GenSpera, Inc., Azaya Therapeutics, and America Stem Cell. Also taking part was John Cole of South Texas Technology Management. DPT Laboratories was a Gold Sponsor of the conference, and BioMed SA served as a regional Community Partner.

"San Antonio can be rightfully proud of ViroXis and the strengths of our overall biomedical sector, which are increasingly being recognized at the state and national levels," said Ann Stevens, President of BioMed SA.

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