Md. biotech industry setting up Web site 'Nonstop trade show' starts next month at

August 28, 1996|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

Maryland's growing biotechnology industry is -- finally -- joining the crush of other industries setting up World Wide Web sites, but the focus of the site will be as much about the business' tooting its own horn as it will be about serious science.

Beginning next month, Internet users will be able to access background information about many of the region's biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as career and investment opportunities at those firms.

Industry seminars and related events, as well as major industry news, in the Maryland-Washington-Virginia region will also be posted.

Eventually, the site ( will offer a way for company executives and scientists to swap questions and ideas to counterparts around the country or the world.

"It's meant to be a nonstop trade show," said Petrina Rosholt of Synergistic Designs, a San Francisco-based company that publishes and operates the Web site, called Biospace.

For purposes of the Web site, companies in the Maryland-D.C.-Virginia region will be grouped under a heading for Internet users called "BioCapital." The Web site already groups companies under five other regional headings, including the Northern California area, dubbed Biotech Bay; Massachusetts, dubbed Genetown; and the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-New York region, called Pharm Country.

The Biospace Web site will begin including the BioCapital members Sept. 16. It's to be unveiled at an annual bioscience forum scheduled at the University of Maryland in College Park that day.

Of Maryland's 176 biotechnology-related companies, 32 signed up to be included on the Web site. They range from high-profile companies such as Human Genome Sciences of Rockville and Guilford Pharmaceuticals of Baltimore to lesser-knowns such as Gryphon Pharmaceuticals of Baltimore and IGEN Inc. of Gaithersburg. At least 10 nonprofit and government agencies also will have listings, including the Food and Drug Administration and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

All of the major universities and research institutions in the region that have biotechnology programs are participating.

These include the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and Johns Hopkins University, which has successfully started several companies based on breakthroughs by university researchers, doctors and professors.

The site also includes several firms servicing the biotechnology industry, such as a law firm specializing in patents.

Participants had to agree to be listed for two years and paid fees ranging from $1,200 to $12,000 depending on the complexity and depth of their listing and whether they will be included on a map showing the locations of some companies.

Lisa Roth, chief operating officer for Synergistic Designs, said BioSpace is averaging 10,000 hits from Internet users each week.

The most popular features visited, she said, have been the brief backgrounders on individual companies and job postings, carried under a heading called "Career Center."

In the five months since the site has carried job postings, 12 companies have listed about 60 openings, she said. For example, Becton Dickinson Immunocytometry Systems based in San Jose, Calif., currently lists openings for a clinical research associate and for a laboratory manager.

While descriptions of job requirements are included, pay ranges and benefits are not. Listings do include whether resume information should be sent by electronic mail, fax or regular mail.

"The Career Center is turning out to be one of the more popular features for the companies, and we are expecting that to hold up for the BioCapital region where the industry is really growing," Roth said.

Pub Date: 8/28/96

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