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February 6, 2008

Amethyst Technologies Joins bwtech@UMBC

Growing Company Seeks to Carve Out Market Niche

Deborah Shapiro
Marketing Manager

Amethyst Technologies, a growing company specializing in services for life science companies and research organizations, has set up shop at bwtech@UMBC’s technology incubator. The company’s owner, Kimberly Brown, hopes to capitalize on the location and establish business relationships with the life science companies located at the incubator.

Amethyst, originally founded as Cell Systems, Inc., in 1992, provides overall management, implementation, and execution of current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) compliance systems. These services include equipment calibration and validation, quality management software, process validation, qualification and design services for clean rooms and high purity utility systems, and environmental monitoring system management. Its clients include hospitals, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, biological repositories, and federal government labs and research institutions. The Incubator and Accelerator at bwtech@UMBC is the headquarters for numerous early-stage life science companies, so the location presents multiple business opportunities for Amethyst.

Setting up operations at bwtech@UMBC was a natural move for the company. Brown, who has owned Amethyst for about a year, is a recent graduate of UMBC’s ACTiVATE program, which teaches mid-career women with significant business or technical experience how to start companies using technologies developed at universities and other research institutions.

A chemical engineer with a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park, Brown was unique among most ACTiVATE participants in that she already owned a company at the time she began the program. However, she notes that the knowledge of marketing, finance and intellectual property laws that she gained from ACTiVATE has been essential to her success as an entrepreneur: “ACTiVATE provided the knowledge and awareness to have a successful business. You can have a good product, but you also need to know how to run a company. Now I know how to protect my business.”

In addition to the business opportunities for Amethyst at bwtech@UMBC, Brown and her company will benefit from the support and networking that the incubator provides. In addition to monthly networking events for CEOs and senior managers, the incubator offers an array of business support services that include market analysis and strategic planning guidance and assistance with grant funding applications. Companies also have direct access to UMBC’s technology transfer office and an abundant supply of students, graduates and faculty that are ready to serve early-stage companies.

Brown’s long-term goals for her company are “to become an industry leader in both the private and public sector” as well as develop a product line focused on patient safety and environmental responsibility and provide “green” services to create environmentally friendly clean rooms and labs.


bwtech@UMBC ( is a 71-acre research and technology community at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). It comprises the technology business Incubator and Accelerator, home to over 30 early-stage high-tech and life science companies, and the Research and Technology Park, with a total development capacity of 350,000 square feet of office and laboratory space. bwtech@UMBC offers collaboration with university faculty and students, and enjoys a strategic and convenient location, close to downtown Baltimore, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, and Washington, D.C. bwtech’s annual economic impact on the state is estimated to be over $300 million.

UMBC is a medium-sized public research university of 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students who collaborate with faculty to address real-world challenges. Located just south of Baltimore near I-95 and the BWI airport, UMBC's residential campus houses state-of-the-art facilities in the sciences, engineering, arts, social sciences and humanities. UMBC combines the energy of a research university with the close community feel and attention to individual students found in liberal arts colleges.

Posted by dshapiro at February 6, 2008 2:48 PM