Venture capitalist Arthur Papas is the new chairman of the board at the .

Pappas is the founder and managing partner of . The Triangle-based venture capital firm focuses on life science investments.

“I’m honored to serve as chairman of this organization as it moves into its second quarter-century of serving North Carolinians in this increasingly competitive global biotechnology environment,” Pappas said in a statement.

“These tough economic times reinforce the importance of our mission to expand the role of biotechnology in creating high-paying jobs statewide to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” he added. “Nowhere else in the world can you find our rich blend of assets for growing biotech, including our strong research capabilities, our workforce training infrastructure, our low cost of doing business and our outstanding quality of life.”

Biotech and life science firms in North Carolina employ some 50,000 people.

Sue Cole of Granville Capital in Greensboro served as board chair from 2006-2008. She remains on the board.

Pappas launched the VC firm in 1994. It has raised more than $250 million and made some 40 investments. He spent much of his career before becoming a venture capitalist working with life science firms such as Glaxo and Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. He also worked at one time for Dow Chemical.

A U.S. Special Forces and 101st Airborne Division veteran, Pappas is a graduate of Ohio State University. He earned an MBA at Xavier University.

Other board officers include: Patricia Morton, Franklin Street Partners, vice chair; John Atkins, O’Brien/Atkins Associates, treasurer; and Jack Cecil, Biltmore Farms president, secretary.