November 03, 2011 15:00 ET

Michigan Bio-Executives Gather in Grand Rapids for MichBio Expo

GRAND RAPIDS, MI--(Marketwire - Nov 3, 2011) - MichBio, the association for Michigan's biosciences industry, welcomed nearly 350 biosciences professionals and service providers to its seventh annual Expo & Conference on Wednesday and Thursday of this week at the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, MI. The MichBio Expo is the largest annual gathering of Michigan bioscience industry professionals. This year's event also attracted 38 exhibitors.

The first day of the event featured the 5th Annual Emerging Biosciences Showcase, where 10 early-stage companies presented their new technologies before an audience of venture capital and angel investors. Each presenting company received coaching from the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center. Three judges evaluated the presentations, with Aursos, Inc. winning a package of services that included free legal, strategic, financial and marketing consulting services. Aursos is leveraging for application in humans the evolutionary advantages of the black bear in escaping the debilitating effects of osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases. Paul Brown, vice president, Capital Services, Michigan Economic Development Corp. keynoted the session with a discussion of the alternative and state-enhanced funding for emerging companies.

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

In addition to the Showcase, Day One featured an afternoon track devoted solely to the needs of Michigan's growing number of medical device manufacturers and manufacturing suppliers. The track provided information and insights from industry experts on topics ranging from compliance quality control to positioning for success with other OEMs as a contract manufacturer.

Day Two of the Expo began with presentation of MichBio's "Legislator of the Year" award to U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers ®. "Each year we recognize a legislator who has devoted outstanding efforts on behalf of Michigan's biosciences industry," Rapundalo said. "Congressman Rogers continues to provide key leadership for us on legislative issues important to the biosciences industry. He's been a strong friend for us on Capitol Hill."

The award presentation was followed by a biosciences policy breakfast where leaders of a number of successful Michigan biosciences companies had a candid conversation about the challenges and opportunities facing Michigan's biosciences industry, the progress being made in growing this sector, and what it's going to take for the state to be a more competitive player on the national and global levels. The day continued with concurrent track sessions on pharma, medical devices, bio-based/ag-bio technologies and emerging business topics.

The Expo keynote address was given by Kim Popovits, president & CEO, Genomic Health, who spoke about transforming healthcare to deliver personalized medicine to patients, physicians and payors through clinically actionable information.

Rapundalo presented the 2010 "Innovator of the Year" and "Good to Great" awards, which recognize an individual and a company that have demonstrated excellence in Michigan's biosciences community during the past year.

"Innovator of the Year" was presented jointly to Neb Duric, Ph.D., Chief Technical Officer and Peter Littrup, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, of Delphinus Medical Technologies. Located in Plymouth, MI, Delphinus has succeeded in building a three-dimensional full-breast ultrasound imaging device that effectively differentiates benign from malignant masses in breast cancer cases using a safe, comfortable, and reliable patented technology.

Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy 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. Located in Flint, MI, Diplomat provides unique disease-specific management programs focused on the needs of the individual patient.

"Diplomat has demonstrated a rapid growth lately, and its expansion in jobs, facilities and capabilities, along with its industry leadership, has propelled the company to a high level of achievement," Rapundalo said. "Delphinus' technology is the type of innovation that holds great promise for the future of healthcare delivery, and it's 'Made in Michigan.'"

In conjunction with the 2010 Expo, MichBio, along with the Van Andel Institute and Grand Valley State University, held its annual High School Career Day on November 1. Over 220 high school students and their science teachers from 19 schools participated in tours and activities during the event that aims to raises 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 area colleges and universities 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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