The president and co-founder of Biomedex Inc., a prominent Spokane-based biotechnology startup, has filed personally for protection from creditors in U.S. Bankruptcy Court here, and the company reportedly has shut down.
In the Chapter 11 filing, the companys top executive, George Coleman, and his wife, Deborah, list total assets of $1.1 million and liabilities of $5.6 million. Coleman declined to comment on the personal filing, which includes business-related debt.
Launched in 1999 by Coleman, who was a former Bayer Corp. executive, and other investors, Biomedex had sought to be a catalyst for the local biotech industry and had stirred excitement among economic-development advocates who viewed that industry as having big potential here.
The company pursued several revenue channels, including providing expertise and production to other manufacturers that were taking products to market, distributing other biotech companies products, and buying rights to products to manufacture itself. Two years ago, it employed 35 people, reported revenues of $1 million to $2 million, and said it was earning most of its revenue by helping drug makers and other biotech concerns validate their manufacturing processes and sterilize equipment.
Also in 2002, Biomedex started a subsidiary called FirstPharma to do pharmaceutical compounding for both consumers and health-care providers. A compounding pharmacy fills specialty prescription orders for customers that cant find a drug in the form they need it, such as a liquid rather than a tablet. Cathy Hudek, FirstPharmas director of pharmacy, bought the operation from Biomedex earlier this year and changed its name to Riverpoint Pharmacy.
Biomedex occupied space in the Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute building in the Riverpoint Higher Education Park east of downtown. Patrick Jones, SIRTIs director of business development, says the company vacated its space in that building on April 1, and apparently has ceased operating. SIRTI still has unsettled financial issues with Coleman, he says.
In an effort that Coleman spearheaded, Biomedex also for some time was trying to raise upwards of $20 million in private capital to build a planned 60,000-square-foot plant in the Pacific Northwest Technology Park, on the West Plains. The park originally was the brainchild of Coleman, but now is being developed by Granite Investments LLC, which is headed by Spokane developer Dick Vandervert.
In the bankruptcy filing, the main assets listed by the Colemans are their personal residence in Spokane, which they say has a market value of about $450,000, and a vacation residence in Sagle, Idaho, with a listed value of $600,000. Lenders hold secured priority claims on both properties.
About $4.6 million of the couples liabilities are owed to creditors holding unsecured nonpriority claims, the documents show. The largest of those claims$3.8 millionis held by Bank of Whitman, which provided a corporate line of credit and was secured partly by property on the West Plains in which the Colemans had an ownership interest.
The largest of 27 other listed unsecured nonpriority creditors include Wheatland Bank, $250,000; Washington Trust Bank, $186,000; and China Best restaurant owner Gang Li, $62,000.
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