Magellan Labs was the big winner Tuesday evening at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s fourth annual Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards, where a total of 12 awards were distributed to local companies and individuals.

Accepting the CED’s award for “Entrepreneurial Excellence” and for “Deal of Year” was Alfred Childers, chief executive officer of Magellan Labs. Childers founded the RTP-based company in 1991 with Lowry Caudill, and it has since developed into a full-service contract pharmaceutical development organization.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the CED for this award,” Childers says. “Our achievement and success over the years is a result of holding true to our values, providing our clients with timeliness, quality and communication, and inherently recognizing the challenges and concerns that are faced by our clients. And, at the heart of understanding and helping our clients overcome these challenges are Magellan’s employees, our greatest asset and pride, who have committed themselves to helping not only our clients succeed, but also Magellan.”

The CED says Magellan won the “Deal of the Year” award because it was the largest known transaction. The company was acquired in February for slightly more than $200 million by Cardinal Health. Magellan has continued a successful history record of attaining 30 percent growth per year since inception and achieved $60 million in revenue in 2001, the CED says, adding that the company has excelled financially with no venture funding and maintained its roots within the RTP community.

“Magellan achieved its successful exit without the benefit of venture financing,” says CED President Monica Doss. “Operating as a pure stand-alone business unit, the Triangle operation displays exceptional market leadership and vision due to its unique operational structure following the transaction…a true model for successful acquisitions in the burgeoning biotech sector.”

Eight other companies recognized

In addition to Magellan, several other companies and entrepreneurs walked away with awards at the CED event held in the Entertainment and Sports Arena.

TogetherSoft, a Raleigh-based collaborative software development company known for its Together ControlCenter product, was recognized as “Growth Company of the Year.”

Trimeris was selected as “Established Company.” Trimeris is a development stage, biopharmaceutical company in Durham engaged in the discovery and development of therapeutic agents that block viral infection by inhibiting fusion with host cells.

The “Life Science Company of the Year” award went to Norak Bioscience, a private biotechnology company based in RTP and utilizing its proprietary Transfluor technology to discover and develop drugs that regulate G protein-coupled receptors.

“IT Product of the Year” went to PeopleClick, an enterprise-class provider of Web-based HR software and services, such as clickXG, the RTP-based company’s workforce recruiting and management solution.

The CED recognized two companies as “Spin-Out of the Year” winners. Amphora Discovery Corporation is a recent spin-out of Mountain View, CA-based Caliper Technologies that located in RTP to pursue the development and commercialization of a chemical genomics database. The other winner is Centennial Campus spin-off Silicon Wireless of Raleigh. It recently moved from the N.C. State campus to a new building, which will allow the company’s engineers to build on semiconductor technology that will allow wireless communications relay stations to handle 10 times their current signal capacity.

Rounding out the list of award-winning companies are “Start-Up of the Year” Athenix Corporation and Advanced Integrated Manufacturing Solutions (AIMS), which won the “FastTracker Award.” RTP-based Athenix is a provider of genetic solutions for the agricultural, energy, and chemical feedstock industries that secured $8 million in a first round of funding from Intersouth Partners, Polaris Venture Partners and Boston Millennia Partners in September. Durham-based AIMS provides mid-tier discrete device manufacturers with a product suite of shop floor application software called WEB/STAR.

“Tonight reinforces that there are still great entrepreneurs starting and running terrific companies,” Doss says. “Entrepreneurs are an optimistic bunch and will prevail even in difficult economic times.”

CED honors 11 individuals

Eleven individuals were recognized in four different categories, from “Outstanding Service to Entrepreneurs,” which went to Larry Robbins of Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton, to “Angel of the Year,” bestowed upon Bernard Gray of Gray Ventures.

Robbins, who practices in the area of venture capital in Raleigh, represents entrepreneurs beginning with early start-ups and continuing through the initial public offering stage. The CED says he won because of his leadership style.

“Larry believes the most satisfying accomplishment associated with assisting entrepreneurs is to be included as an outside member of the founding group of entrepreneurs; counsel the group through organizational start-up and funding; assist with strategic and business planning; and observe as the group and its family grow from idea or concept through to becoming a sophisticated, living organism or business,” Doss says. “His leadership in this area contributed to his selection as an Entrepreneurial Excellence Award recipient.”

Gray has been an avid supporter of the North Carolina entrepreneurial community through his investments with Atlanta-based Gray Ventures, remaining dedicated through the current economic climate to the RTP community, where it also has an office. For this reason, Doss says, the CED recognized Gray, adding that he has provided leadership to both angels and entrepreneurs, not only as an investor with start-up companies, but also as a mentor.

The third individual that the CED awarded was state Treasurer Richard Moore for being a “Public Servant.” The organization says Moore won because he has been a strong advocate for the entrepreneurs and investors of North Carolina.

“As a public official, he has sought policy and programs to support the education and infrastructure needed to build new businesses and attract capital,” Doss says. “He is using this authority to create a stronger and sounder pension plan, which will benefit
all North Carolinians. In establishing a national investment program in private equity, Treasurer Moore is taking a leading role in attracting venture capital to North Carolina and creating a more fertile investment climate in the state.”

As head of the North Carolina Retirement Systems, Moore sought and received authorization to significantly revamp the state’s investment statutes. He says he’s proud what he’s been able to do for the state and to receive recognition for it.

“It is a great honor to receive CED’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award,” Moore says. “The work that CED does is so important, and anytime that I, as state treasurer, can help with that work by bringing buyers and sellers together with the end result being new jobs in North Carolina, then I feel I’ve done something very positive for the state. North Carolina has a strong and vibrant investment community, and I hope that I can continue to help that community grow.”

Finally, the CED recognized eight other individuals in the entrepreneurial community with the “Chairman’s Service Award.” They were recognized for their contribution to the CED’s Innovation to Impact Campaign (see related story).

The recipients were: Jeff Clark of The Aurora Funds in Durham; Dick Daugherty, former campus coordinator for N.C. State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh; Tim Gupton from Hughes Pittman & Gupton in Raleigh; Bill Gwyn from Maupin Taylor & Ellis, P.A., which has several locations throughout the Triangle and in Wilmington; Fred Hutchison, Merrill Mason of Hutchison & Mason PLLC in Raleigh; Steve Nelson from The Wakefield Group, which has offices in Durham and Charlotte, and Jim Talton of Impact Design Build in Cary.

“The development committee undertook a huge challenge in a unstable market raising funds for CED’s 5-year Innovation to Impact campaign,” says Doss. “The committee met and exceeded goals and helped position CED to have the highest level of service to our members. The campaign is critical to the future of CED and these individuals went above and beyond expectations by providing service and support to the success of this campaign.”


Magellan Labs:



Norak Biosciences:


Amphora Discovery Corporation:

Silicon Wireless:

Athenix Corporation: