November 05, 2009 11:16 ET

MichBio Expo Draws Record Crowd to Kalamazoo

ANN ARBOR, MI--(Marketwire - November 5, 2009) - MichBio, the association for Michigan's biosciences industry, welcomed a record of over 530 biosciences professionals and service providers to its fifth annual Expo on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo, MI. The MichBio Expo is the premier annual gathering of Michigan bioscience industry professionals. In addition, this year's event attracted 57 exhibitors.

The first day of the event featured the 3rd Annual Emerging Biosciences Showcase, where 15 companies presented their new technologies before a large audience of venture capital and angel investors and heard VC panels discuss strategies for alternative sources of funding for bioscience ventures and what Michigan needs to do to attract entrepreneurs and investors to the state.

"The Showcase is a great opportunity for our bioscience ventures to position themselves for the early-stage investment," said Stephen Rapundalo, Ph.D., president and CEO of MichBio.

Concurrently, bioscience leaders from throughout the state gathered for a Legislative Policy Town Hall kicked off by Phil Power, co-founder of the Center for Michigan, who talked about fundamental challenges the fiscally and strategically. The format for this year's Policy Town Hall was a "Community Conversation," where participants discussed economic, education as well as good government strategies and best practices, and used interactive polling devices to vote on issues. Results of their input will be compiled into the second "Michigan's Defining Moment" report that is widely read by legislators and will be issued prior to the 2010 election. The session's dialogue will also factor in the development of MichBio policy agenda for the next year.

"The Policy Town Hall was an excellent discourse on what Michigan needs to do to not only improve its overall well being, but on how the bioscience industry can be critical to diversifying its economy," Rapundalo said.

Keynote speaker for the Expo, Dr. Robert Fischell, Sc.D., chairman, Svelte Medical Systems presented, "The Amazing Evolution of Medical Devices." Svelte Medical Systems, Inc., based in New Providence, NJ, is a privately held company focused on delivering novel products in the $5 billion coronary stent market.

John Nanos, president and owner of Ann Arbor-based, Nanosystems, Inc. was presented with the first Innovator of the Year Award, recognizing an individual who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge and understanding of biological processes through a technology, process, or product. Nanos, a former adjunct professor at the University of Michigan, has developed a novel bio-based technology and polymer as soil additives and replacements for petroleum-based plastics, foams and other materials.

Asterand plc was the winner of the Good to Great Award, given to the Michigan company whose business concept, entrepreneurialism, leadership, and work ethic have produced a leap forward in results. The award was accepted by Shannon Richey, Asterand director of marketing. Located in Detroit, Asterand is a young company providing bio-banking products and services to the research community.

Day Two workshops and track sessions focused on topics in R&D, medical affairs and markets emerging business growth. Rapundalo said.

MichBio, along with its partner, Western Michigan University, held its 5th Annual Career Day on November 3 on the university's campus. Over 100 high school students and their science teachers participated in tours and hands-on demonstrations during the event that aims to raise awareness of educational and career opportunities in the biosciences.

"It's critical that we reach out to our future talent and show them how they can play a key role in growing the industry right here in Michigan," commented Rapundalo. MichBio also held a college program during the Expo where over 50 students from Grand Valley State University, Ferris State and Western Michigan University heard about career planning from industry insiders.

MichBio is committed to driving the growth of Michigan's biosciences industry and fostering the collective impact of its members by serving as their unified voice and providing them with education, information, connections and other services. MichBio members include biosciences companies, academic and research institutions, biosciences service providers, and related organizations.

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