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April 9, 2003

Cell Therapy Firm Cognate Therapeutics Moves to UMBC Incubator

Cognate Therapeutics, Inc., a biotech company formed by the state-supported venture fund Toucan Capital, is the newest tenant at techcenter@UMBC, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's on-campus incubator for emerging and start-up tech companies. Cognate finalized a lease on 14,000 square-feet of office and lab space in late 2002 and is now fully operational.

Cognate Therapeutics is focused on regenerative medicine, in particular the repair and regeneration of tissues and organs through the use of cellular therapeutics. Cognate currently provides development services such as GMP manufacturing, preclinical animal studies and quality management.

Cognate also provides clinical and regulatory development for the cellular therapies being developed by the Toucan family of companies including Layton BioSciences, Theradigm and Vesta Therapeutics. These companies' core technologies rely on using stem cells and other cell types to address major tissue engineering markets, such as stroke, spinal cord injury, liver failure and potentially other organ and tissue regeneration applications.

Cognate Therapeutics has key financial support from Toucan II, a $120 million venture capital fund that works closely with the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and the state's Department of Business and Economic Development. Toucan II is the second venture fund for Bethesda-based Toucan Capital Corp., the small business investment company (SBIC) set up by the two state agencies to specialize in early stage investments.

"We're excited to be at UMBC," said Dr. Alan Smith, Chief Operating Officer of Cognate. "We now have a prime business location to go along with our strong financial support from Toucan. Add our core technology to the mix and we think that's a successful combination."

Smith and Cognate CEO, Dr. Annemarie Moseley, have over 30 years of combined experience in the biotech industry. Prior to starting Cognate, Moseley and Smith both worked at Osiris Therapeutics, Inc., where they served as CEO and COO respectively. Linda Powers, Chairman of Cognate, is an experienced venture capitalist and one of two managing directors of Toucan Capital. Cognate employs 15 people at the techcenter@UMBC location and 15 at its Sunnyvale, CA, location.

"UMBC is delighted to welcome Cognate Therapeutics to our tech center," said UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski. "Combining the talent and experience of Drs. Moseley and Smith, the expertise and innovation of our faculty, and the support of TEDCO and DBED is a very positive development for Maryland's biotech industry."

Philip Singerman, TEDCO's executive director, said "On behalf of the State, TEDCO managed the process of selecting Toucan Capital to receive a $4 million investment by DBED. Toucan's commitment to the State of Maryland is reflected in its investment and creation of Cognate, a central element in their bioscience strategy, and its placement of the company at the UMBC Tech Center."

"Cognate Therapeutics is the type of tenant company we look for at UMBC," said Ellen Hemmerly, executive director of the UMBC Research Park Corporation. "They have experienced leadership, a solid business plan, a strong financial base from Toucan Capital, and biomedical technology with huge potential." Hemmerly added that Cognate is an excellent prospect for future expansion into bwtech@UMBC, the University's on-campus research and technology park.

About Toucan II:
The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development is a limited partner in Toucan's fund. Maryland TEDCO helps Toucan identify investment opportunities in Maryland's research universities and federal laboratories. Toucan II is a $120 million venture capital fund specializing in seed and first round funding for start-up companies. The investment focus is about 60% life sciences and 40% IT and other areas.

About techcenter@UMBC and bwtech@UMBC:
techcenter@UMBC offers a dynamic, fully-equipped facility for start-up and emerging companies and is a magnet for high-technology business development. Its specialized environment and services provide the 20 techcenter@UMBC resident companies with a competitive edge. The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, the Baltimore County Department of Economic Development, the Greater Baltimore Alliance, the Maryland Technology Development Corporation and area foundations and corporations work with the tech center to attract and retain high-quality companies by facilitating access to capital, and providing other business support services. techcenter@UMBC also promotes strategic alliances among tenants and connections between tenants, UMBC faculty and external companies in the region.

bwtech@UMBC is the University's 41-acre, on-campus business park. With 350,000 square feet of planned office and lab space, bwtech@UMBC is a progressive business environment for the most discerning companies in today's high-tech world. bwtech@UMBC's strong team includes its developer Grosvenor, one of the largest private real estate companies in the world with over 400 years of investment and development roots, and Colliers Pinkard. bwtech@UMBC is home to RWD Technologies' eLearning and eCommerce division, RWD Applied Technology Solutions.

Posted by dwinds1 at April 9, 2003 12:00 AM