Author Archives: Jean Richards

AbokiaBLAST 2.0 Released

AbokiaBLAST 2.0

AbokiaBLAST is a parallel implementation of NCBI BLAST created by the inventors of the open-source mpiBLAST project. AbokiaBLAST inherits the super-scalable architecture from mpiBLAST but is re-factored and re-engineered to offer production quality. With intelligent task parallelization and I/O optimization, AbokiaBLAST enables users to massively accelerate large-scale BLAST search on clusters or supercomputers with a single command.

Why Use AbokiaBLAST?

  • Performance. AbokiaBLAST is up to 10 times faster than the open-source mpiBLAST. Its parallel engine scales efficiently across tens of thousands of compute cores.

  • Accuracy. The results of AbokiaBLAST match the new NCBI BLAST engine, i.e., 2.2.25.

  • Auto-Configuration. AbokiaBLAST greatly improves usability by automating the system configuration for optimal performance.

  • Timely Upgrades. The BLAST search engine is regularly upgraded to support the latest version of NCBI BLAST.

  • Service and Support. AbokiaBLAST offers rapid response and support from an experienced team of bioinfomaticists and computer scientists.

For further information, please contact info@abokia.com.

SDSC Computational Science

With the dramatic increase in humankind’s ability to change the physical environment of the world around us, the environmental sciences have become one of the most prolific scientific research areas. Already strong at UCSD — with major research efforts at SIO, the Division of Physical Sciences, Cal-(IT)2, and elsewhere — the area is also becoming increasingly critical to the State of California.

In response to these expanding opportunities, the Computational Sciences program area, led by Kim Baldridge, will develop a strong Environmental Informatics group. “As in biosciences, SDSC and UCSD are well positioned to build and support a large-scale program in environmental sciences that spans scales from the molecular level to entire populations, accurately modeling the impact of population on the environment,” Baldridge said. “SDSC and the campus will work together to build a program that advances the capacity to monitor, guide, understand, and explain environmental complexity.”

SDSC will provide the computational and data-management components of this program. The ability to integrate large-scale information from different disciplines and multiple spatial and temporal scales provides the foundation for a distinctive and substantive contribution to environmental sciences. SDSC will apply its expertise in partnerships that couple wireless and sensing technologies to large-scale computational and data management capabilities. These “sensors-to-supercomputers” capabilities will be critical for partners such as NPACI, LTER, SIO, Cal-(IT)2, the Partnership for Biodiversity Informatics, and the Division of Physical Sciences.

In addition, this program area will nurture and maintain SDSC’s leadership in other critical strategic capabilities, including chemistry, parallel applications and performance modeling, and design visualization.

Abokia Lands Entrepreneurial SCOUT Award

Abokia has been selected as the recipient of the first Southwest Virginia Connection for Originating Unique Technology (SCOUT) Award. The award recognizes the most promising entrepreneur or emerging business in southwest Virginia.

 

Press Releases

Abokia Wins LeClairRyan SCOUT Award

01/15/2010

“BLACKSBURG, Va. – LeClairRyan is pleased to announce that Abokia has been selected as the recipient of the first Southwest Virginia Connection for Originating Unique Technology (SCOUT) Award. The LeClairRyan SCOUT award recognizes an entrepreneur or emerging business in southwest Virginia with a unique idea that is poised for the next stage of its evolution.

Abokia seeks to deliver easily customizable and massively accelerated biocomputing software in order to address the inability of today’s computing technology to keep up with the exponential growth in genomic sequencing information. Specifically, with the computing required to perform routine sequence analysis increasing 100-fold every 18 months, a growth rate that is 50-fold more than the projected computing capability of processors, Abokia’s innovative software solutions promise to bridge this ever-widening gap, thus enabling scientists and engineers to accelerate discovery in the life sciences.

“With the looming deluge of DNA promised by today’s sequencing technologies, our society sits at the dawn of a new era where high-end computing has become the key to unleashing discoveries in the life sciences,” said Dr. Heshan Lin, founder of Abokia. “As such, Abokia sits at the nexus of high-end computing, bioinformatics, and genomics to enable scientists to make discoveries faster and at a fraction of the cost. Initially, we will be commercializing the cutting-edge bioinformatics research coming out of Virginia Tech.”

Abokia will deliver their massively accelerated biocomputing software through the use of emerging commodity computing platforms that will enable users to access information on demand – whether on their smartphone, laptop or desktop. Abokia’s products encompass technology related to algorithmic transformation, computational acceleration, and I/O acceleration. The end result of the convergence of these technologies will be an increase in both processing speed and data transfer capabilities that will ultimately enhance a multitude of downstream processes such as biomanufacturing, rational drug design, and real-time pathogen detection.

“We are invested in knowing the business needs of our venture capital clients,” said LeClairRyan Venture Capital Practice Area Team Leader Michael Drzal. “Being immersed in the industry, we recognize there are many exceptional Southwest Virginia entrepreneurs with great ideas who are seeking capital. Establishing this award was a natural outgrowth of our desire to invest in those entrepreneurs and their ideas. I am very pleased we can assist Abokia in bringing this cutting edge technology to the bioinformatics/genomics market.”

As the recipient of the award, Abokia will receive up to $15,000 in legal services over the next 12 months. The firm plans to offer the award again in 2011. The application process will begin in August 2010.”

Michael P. Drzal

Michael P. DrzalVirginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Bldg 12
1715 Pratt Drive
Suite 2700
Blacksburg, Virginia 24060

Phone:  540.443.3910
Fax:  540.961.2141

123 East Main Street
Suite 800
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902

Phone:  434.245.3431
Fax:  434.296.0905

Biography

Mike is a shareholder at LeClairRyan and serves as chair of the Firm’s Venture Capital practice. He also is a member of the Firm’s BioPharma and Energy teams. He focuses his practice on and customarily acts as lead counsel in connection with debt and equity financings, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, joint ventures, management buyouts, intellectual property licensing transactions and a variety of domestic and international transactions. Mike currently serves as general counsel to a number of emerging companies, including medical device, bioinformatics, pharmaceutical, diagnostics, manufacturing and distribution, alternative energy, medical information technology, internet, and high-tech research and development companies. He also serves as counsel to a growing angel investor network and has served on the board of directors of client companies. Mike currently serves as co-chair of the Steering Committee for the Greater Roanoke and Blacksburg Regional Innovation Blueprint and Action Plan, a regional initiative of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council.

Mike currently serves as general counsel to two pharmaceutical companies; three medical device companies and two bioinformatics companies; and he has extensive experience in the medical data management field.

He has worked on the following transactions in the BioPharma industry: organization of companies; and employment and incentive compensation agreements; numerous rounds of financing, ranging from friends and family to institutional venture capital; sale of a BioPharma company; numerous licensing deals, including but not limited to outlicensing key science from a variety of universities; contract manufacturing agreements; and clinical trial agreements.

In addition to his extensive general counsel experience in the BioPharma industry, Mike currently serves as general counsel to two companies in the alternative energy field, a France-based biofuel/biochem company building a pilot plant in Southwest Virginia and a fuel emulsion company whose technology reduces NOX, CO2 and particulate emissions. He also represents a company that produces magnetic bearings with applications in the alternative energy field.

Legal Experience

  • LeClairRyan, Charlottesville and Blacksburg, Virginia, 1993 – present
  • Thompson & McMullan, Richmond, Virginia, 1989 – 1993
  • Mays & Valentine, Richmond, Virginia, 1986 – 1989

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American, Virginia and Montgomery County Associations
  • Virginia Biotechnology Association (VaBio): Board of Directors
  • NewVa Corridor Technology Council (NCTC): Board of Directors; Co-Chairman Greater Roanoke/Blacksburg Regional Innovation Blueprint and Action Plan
  • Charlottesville Venture Group (CVG): Board of Directors
  • Virginia Technology Capital Access Forum: Founding Chair
  • Member U.S. Chamber of Commerce Emerging Technologies Committee
  • Board of Directors and Executive Committee, 2008 LEAD Virginia; Chairman 2009 Alumni Association; Alumni, 2007 class

Distinctions

  • The CRC President’s Award, April 2011
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 in the specialties of Biotechnology Law, Corporate Law, Information Technology Law, International Trade and Finance Law, Technology Law and Venture Capital Law
  • Selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America, 2010 edition in the specialties of Biotechnology Law, Corporate Law, Information Technology Law and Venture Capital Law
  • Virginia Leader Award, LEAD Virginia, 2010
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America in 2007 in the specialties of Corporate Law, Technology Law and Venture Capital Law

Venture Capital

Venture CapitalLeClairRyan Venture Capital Practice Area Team attorneys advise companies seeking private investment capital on all aspects of venture and angel capital financing transactions. LeClairRyan was initially formed as a venture capital boutique law firm, and our attorneys have significant and long-standing ties to the venture capital, angel and business communities. Attorneys in this practice hold leadership positions in venture capital-oriented organizations such as the Exit Planning Exchange, Associated Corporate Growth, Richmond Venture Forum, Charlottesville Business Innovation Council, JumpStartDays, and SF New Tech, among others, and collectively have closed hundreds of venture and angel capital transactions for companies and investors.

In addition to providing counsel in connection with venture and angel capital financings, the Firm’s Venture Capital Practice Area Team attorneys serve as general counsel to emerging companies ranging from technology-based companies such as bioinformatics, biotechnology, consumer electronics, chemical, cleantech/greentech/alternative energy, defense, e-learning, engineering, gaming, high-tech manufacturing and assembly, internet (including internet retailing), medical device, medical equipment, software development (such as medical, financial and engineering software), media, nanotechnology, pharmaceutical, research and development, security, SaaS, software consulting, systems integration, and wireless and telecommunications companies, to traditional companies such as manufacturing, retailing, distribution and service companies.

The Firm’s Venture Capital Practice includes:

  • Entity formation/conversion and related tax advice.
  • Coaching and positioning companies for investment by institutional venture capital providers or angel investors, including advice concerning the most advantageous capital structure and form of entity; reviewing business plans; refining business models; preparation for due diligence; employment and loyalty agreements for key employees; designing stock option and other incentive compensation arrangements; and identifying and protecting intellectual property.
  • Strategic introductions to venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, accountants, and other service providers.
  • Advising officers, directors and managers regarding fiduciary duties and other corporate governance matters in the context of a private equity transaction.
  • Structuring offering terms for equity and debt investments, including advice regarding tax and federal and state securities issues.
  • Negotiating, preparing, and reviewing all documents associated with venture capital investments, including term sheets, offering memoranda, subscription and purchase agreements, registration rights agreements, investors’ rights agreements, buy-sell and shareholder agreements, operating agreements, preferred equity terms, and bridge loans.
  • Assisting in the due diligence process and advising on substantive issues that arise in due diligence, including, but not limited to, franchise, licensing, tax, securities, intellectual property, litigation, employment and employee benefits matters.
  • Advice in connection with such pre-closing and post-closing issues as executive employment agreements, corporate governance, conflicts of interest, protection of intellectual property, non-competes and incentive compensation arrangements, including stock options, restricted stock, phantom equity and bonus arrangements.
  • Advice in connection with the structuring and timing of “liquidity events,” including company sales, mergers, initial public offerings, ESOPs and partial sale transactions.

During the life cycle of an emerging technology or life science company leading up to a liquidity event, our attorneys regularly serve as trusted advisors in connection with growth strategies, including strategic alliance arrangements such as joint ventures, co-marketing, co-development, licensing, distribution, teaming, contract manufacturing, and research and development agreements. In addition, in collaboration with other LeClairRyan attorneys, members of the Venture Capital Practice Area Team provide advice concerning the entire spectrum of legal issues that may arise during the lifespan of an emerging company, including litigation, tax, real estate, and wealth transfer issues.

Our Venture Capital services include:

  • Venture Capital – Fund Side
  • Venture Capital – Company Side