East Lansing, MI — MichBio, the association for Michigan’s biosciences industry, welcomed approximately 300 bioscience professionals and service providers to its eighth annual Expo & Conference held November 7-8 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing, MI. The MichBio Expo is the largest annual gathering of Michigan bioscience industry professionals.
The first day of the event kicked off with a bus tour of local bioscience companies. Stops included Emergent BioSolutions, MBI International, Neogen, Orchid Orthopedics and Phenometrics. The Conference formally kicked off with a CEOs Unplugged session where top executives from Emergent BioSolutions, Oxford Biomedical and Terumo Cardiovascular joined Doug Rothwell from the Business Leaders for Michigan who shared their perspectives and outlooks on a range of state, national and global topics, including how the state’s bio-industry can be more competitive.
Later that day, the annual Emerging Biosciences Showcase began with the first of 10 early-stage companies presenting their new technologies before venture capital and angel investors. The remaining presentations wrapped up on day two of the Expo. Finalists included Blaze Medical, First Sense Medical, Genome Dynamics International, nanoMAG, nanoRETE, Patient Provider Communications, Phenometrics, Social Patient, VibeTech and Working Bugs. Prior to the Expo, each presenting company received coaching from the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center.
Three judges evaluated the presentations, with Patient Provider Communications chosen as the winner, who received a prize package of free legal, strategic, marketing and financial consulting services. The company’s patented solution provides patients with immediate and bidirectional remote communication with their healthcare providers.
“The Showcase is a great opportunity for emerging bioscience ventures to begin honing their pitch skills for potential investors,” said Stephen Rapundalo, PhD, president and CEO of MichBio. A number of past Showcase presenters have gone on to achieve great success in their fundraising efforts and business growth.
The Expo featured tracks in Pharma & Consumer Healthcare, Medical Devices & Diagnostics, Emerging Business and Ag/Food & Bio-Based Technologies. Session topics ranged from wireless technologies to growing the sponsored clinical trials industry, as well as tech transfer and co-development partnerships with the NIH to discuss how to build a bioenergy supply chain in Michigan. A bio-industry Town Hall ended the first day and featured Gautam Jaggi, Global Lead Analyst for Ernst & Young’s Life Sciences Group and author of numerous state-of-the-industry reports. Mr. Jaggi spoke about evolving trends in R&D models, capital formation and healthcare delivery, and how young companies must pay closer attention to market demands, behavioral economics, projected patient outcomes and pricing pressures.
MichBio presented several key awards during the Expo. Congressman Fred Upton (R-6th MI) was the 2012 recipient of the “Legislator of the Year” award. “Each year, we recognize a legislator who has devoted outstanding efforts on behalf of Michigan’s biosciences industry,” Rapundalo said. “Rep. Upton provided key leadership for the bio-industry and ensured the bipartisan reauthorization of the package of FDA user fees. He continues to be a strong friend for us on Capitol Hill.”
“Innovator of the Year” was presented to Bart Dickson, MD, ENT Biotech Solutions and recognized his development of a new surgical tool used in adenoidectomies. “ENT’s innovation is masterful in its simplicity of design and superior function – it should set a new standard for patient care,” said Rapundalo.
Ash Stevens 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 Riverview, MI, Ash Stevens is a full-service contract pharmaceutical manufacturer that has seen its revenues increase dramatically over the last several years.
The Expo keynote address by Teresa Stanek Rea, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Directory of the United States Patent & Trademark Office closed out this year’s event. Ms. Rea spoke on “Rebuilding the Ecosystem of Innovation: Implications of U.S. Patent Reform on the Biological and Life Sciences.” She outlined the many changes going on at the USPTO, some as a direct consequence of the America Invents Act passed in fall 2011 and others as a result of major court decisions. Ms. Rea gave a personal service touch to it all by encouraging patent filers to correspond with her directly on any issue and to ensure that their concerns were being addressed promptly.
The 2013 MichBio Expo & Conference will be held at the Kalamazoo Radisson in Kalamazoo, MI, on October 15-16, 2013. Details on next year’s conference will be shared at www.michbio.org/expo as they become available.
MichBio’s CEO, Stephen Rapundolo, was recently featured in a CEO Podcast: Conversations on Economic Opportunity. You can listen to that conversation online here.