Young, growing companies shine in spotlight of GBC's 'Fast 40' list

September 02, 1995|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Sun Staff Writer

Genetic Therapy Inc. of Gaithersburg is Maryland's fastest-growing biotechnology company, and a Beltsville-based Internet access provider, Digital Express Group Inc., is the fastest-growing information company in the state, according to the new "Fast 40" list released yesterday by the Greater Baltimore Committee.

The list promotes young and often little-known companies by recognizing their early accomplishments, in hopes that the spotlight will help them attract venture capital and make contacts with investment bankers, said Victor Hoskins, assistant secretary for marketing at the state Department of Business and Economic Development.

"It's really to recognize them now for where they're going. It provides them, No. 1, with exposure because a lot of them aren't well known," Mr. Hoskins said. "These are some of the employers of the future. These are some of the employers now."

The GBC said 16 companies on the Maryland list also made a national "Fast 500" list.

Stewart D. Frankel, managing director of Grotech Capital Group Inc. of Timonium, one of the state's leading venture capital firms, endorsed the survey for the same reason.

"It's like anything else -- it creates excitement and visibility," Mr. Frankel said. "These companies are mostly not name-brand companies."

"Excellent! Not bad," said Digital Express Chairman Doug Humphrey, whose company has grown to 85 employees from 15 a year ago and projects $10 million in sales this year. "When you're such a small company it's difficult to get the word out that you're growing at such a rate."

The top 40 includes many familiar names. Integrated Health Services Inc., an Owings Mills-based operator of care facilities for patients who don't need a full array of hospital services, is the biggest on the list, at No. 8.

Noise Cancellation Technologies Inc. of Linthicum ranked 18th; Martek Biosciences Corp. of Columbia was 23rd; and Sylvan Learning Systems Inc., also of Columbia, ranked 25th.

The top 10 companies, ranked by the percentage their sales grew from 1990 to 1994, are Genetic Therapy, to be acquired by Sandoz AG for $295 million; Digital Express; HCIA Inc., a Baltimore medical information firm; Neocera Inc. of Columbia; A&L Shatto Inc., a Bel Air engineering firm; ComPro Systems Inc. of Jessup; RWD Technologies Inc. of Columbia; Integrated Health; Telecommunications Systems Inc. of Annapolis; and Information Systems and Services Inc. of Silver Spring.

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