Monday, May 12, 2008

Nashville loses Veran Medical

[Updated 4:35 PM] Call it Brain Drain or Brain Drip, those seven jobs at Veran Medical Technologies are still a loss. Why? Because those seven brains that are relocating from Nashville to St. Louis are all fixated on capturing sizeable share of the $1 billion market for medical devices for early biopsy and treatment of lung cancer. And that's just Veran's first target. Read the full story here. The fact that 31-year-old Founder-CEO Jerome Edwards (at left) was a star MBA student at the Owen Graduate School of Management doesn't make it any easier. There's some solace in hearing Edwards heap gratitude on VUMC's Harry Jacobson and Owen's Bruce Lynskey for their guidance over the past few years. But, not much. Veran and its reps sought VC capital in Nashville, but quickly became convinced they'd have to look elsewhere. And, Greg Johnson at Prolog Ventures in St. Louis was more than ready to embrace them, if they'd move to St. Louis. [UPDATE: 4:35 PM - Veran announced the total investment was $4.75 million.] Okay, so investors here were just being prudent, "sticking to their knitting" and focusing on familiar deals in hospitals, surgery centers, e-Health, etc. Veran, meanwhile, is just doing what entrepreneurs do, connecting with winners like Johnson and looking for a way to make their dreams come to life. On the one hand, it's just business as usual. On the other hand, it's one of those pesky "L's" on the innovation scoreboard. It's too much like a year ago, when Ira Weiss pulled-up BioDTech's stakes and moved to Birmingham, after being wooed with Alabama incentives. Ira declared at the time Nashville 'doesn't get it'. On the other hand, the Angels among us have more than once rallied around a similar play, Pathfinder Therapeutics here in town. Makes one wonder if Pathfinder isn't also about set off into deeper waters.

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