December 13, 2010 11:10 ET

Armune Wins $500K Top Prize at Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

ANN ARBOR, MI--(Marketwire - December 13, 2010) -  Armune BioScience, Inc., a MichBio member based in Kalamazoo, with a R&D facility in Ann Arbor, won the top prize of $500,000 at the inaugural Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition held late last week at the University of Michigan's North Campus Research Complex. Armune bested nine other finalists on the last day of the competition with its diagnostic test that can detect prostate cancer earlier and with greater sensitivity.

"Armune is a shining example of bioscience innovation in Michigan at its best," said Stephen Rapundalo, president and CEO of MichBio, the state's biosciences trade association. "Eli Thomssen and his team should be congratulated for their fine performance. We're honored to have Armune as a MichBio member."

The finalist judges -- Roger Newton (Esperion Therapeutics), Andy Dillon (House Speaker), John Denniston (Kleiner Perkins) -- listened to some masterful five-minute pitches. Attendees got to vote for their top three companies with the leading vote-getter receiving the People's Choice Award. Other awardees included Innovative Surgical Solutions (Life Sciences Sector), Hygieia (Medical Devices Sector), and Life Magnetics (Encore Award). Epsilon Imaging was also a finalist.

The international competition, the first of its kind in Michigan, featured 300 competitors. Eighteen of the 50 semifinalist companies that delivered 10-minute pitches to investors, financiers and other attendees are involved in bioscience-related endeavors.

The competition evolved out of a $1 million grant from the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan and the region's four key business accelerators -- Ann Arbor SPARK, Automation Alley, Macomb-OU INCubator and TechTown. It was geared toward early-stage technology companies in nine key sectors. Each sector had its own $25,000 prize.

"One of the goals of the competition was to promote Michigan as a venue for innovation and opportunity, and it clearly is that for the biosciences as the number of presenting bio-companies illustrates," said Rapundalo. "It also demonstrates the importance of our industry in the state's economy and reflects our core strength in this global technology sector. To sustain this kind of innovation success means the state must continue visible support with needed resources and favorable business policies."

Presenting biosciences companies and semi-finalists included:

Angott Medical Products* (Bloomfield Hills)
Apolife, Inc.* (Plymouth)
Armune BioScience, Inc.* (Kalamazoo)
Compendia Bioscience* (Ann Arbor)
Epsilon Imaging, Inc.* (Ann Arbor)
FreeStride Therapeutics, Inc. (Northville)
Hygieia* (Ann Arbor)
ImBio, LLC (Ann Arbor)
Innovative Surgical Solutions, LLC (Southfield)
Life Magnetics, Inc.* (Ann Arbor)
NextGen Metabolomics Inc. (Ann Arbor)
OcuSciences, Inc.* (Ann Arbor)
ProNAi Therapeutics, Inc.* (Ann Arbor)
RealBio Technology Inc.* (Kalamazoo)
RetroSense Therapeutics* (Ann Arbor)
Spinal Ventures, LLC (Brighton)
TherapyCharts LLC (Ann Arbor)
Vestaron Corporation* (Kalamazoo)
Vir(Sn), Inc. (Ann Arbor)

* Denotes MichBio member.

MichBio is committed to driving industry growth by fostering the collective impact of its members and by providing them with education, information, connections and services. MichBio members include biosciences companies, academic and research institutions, biosciences service providers, and related organizations.

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