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Piedmont Triad Forges Missing Link for North Carolina's High-Tech Corridor; Business-Plan Presentations, Research Expertise on Display April 5 at Connectivity

Forging a missing link in North Carolina''s high-tech corridor, intellectual capitalists, entrepreneurs and research institutions from across the Piedmont Triad will come together April 5 around Research and Connectivity Expo 2001 at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem.

"The potential for having a high-tech crossroads between Raleigh and Charlotte will change not only the economy of Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point, but the economy of North Carolina as well," said Jay Moskowitz, Ph.D., senior associate dean for science and technology at Wake Forest School of Medicine and chairman of Connectivity Expo 2001.

Spearheaded by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, the event will connect established, spin-off and start-up technology companies, and researchers with venture capitalists, business partners and would-be licensees.

Presenting companies will include four spin-offs from Wake Forest University School of Medicine: Amplistar, Inc., which develops biomarkers for early cancer detection; Pilot Therapeutics, which develops evidence-based dietary supplements; PointDx, aims to revolutionize how 350 million radiology exams are reported each year; and Prosperon Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which creates compounds to safely treat stroke, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.

Other presenting companies will include FirmLogic, a spin-off of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice that gives small law firms more clout with comprehensive practice support services, and Targacept, a spin-off of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. that creates neural nicotinic receptor-drugs for Alzheimer''s and Parkinson''s diseases.

Connectivity Expo 2001 also will feature more than 150 leading-edge researchers in science, medicine, and engineering technology from Wake Forest School of Medicine, North Carolina A&T State University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Winston-Salem State University.

The keynote speaker will be David Hepler, vice president for planning and business development with the U.S. Pharmaceuticals division of Pfizer, Inc. Hepler, who received his MBA from Duke University, has responsibility for operational and strategic planning, analysis and direction of business development initiatives, e-business strategy and investment, internal consulting and marketplace and competitor analysis.

"What David Hepler can say about collaborations among university researchers, local governments and business will be valuable to the Piedmont Triad as we continue growing into a cluster of high-technology companies, investors and entrepreneurs," said Peggy Low, senior vice president of technology development for the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, a co-sponsor of the expo.

The Piedmont Triad, long a center for manufacturing and banking, flourishes as a center for technology and innovation because it has the cluster of complementary resources that a high-tech economy needs to thrive. Besides schools of medicine, engineering, business and law, the Triad also is home to technology giants including RF Micro Devices, Frisby Technologies and the U.S. Division of MWG Biotech.

Admission to Connectivity Expo 2001 will be by registration only from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 5, with the doors open to the public from 3-4:30 p.m. For more information, go to the Web site, www.triadconnectivity.net .

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