ANN ARBOR, Mich., Nov. 21 MichBio, the association forMichigan's biosciences industry, welcomed nearly 500 biosciences professionalsand service providers to its fourth annual Expo on Tuesday and Wednesday ofthis week at the Rock Financial ShowPlace in Novi, MI. The MichBio Expo isthe premier annual gathering of Michigan bioscience industry professionals.In addition, this year's event attracted 56 exhibitors. The 2009 Expo isplanned for November 17-18 at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo, MI.
The first day of the event featured an Emerging Biosciences Showcase,where 16 companies presented their new technologies before a large audience ofventure capital and angel investors. Concurrently, bioscience leaders fromthroughout the state gathered for a Michigan Biosciences Policy Summit,sponsored by the Wayne County Executive's Office, where intense discussionfocused on issues confronting the future of Michigan's biosciences industry.
"Michigan's bioindustry is strong, but requires sustainable funding,resources and commitment from our decision makers if we are to insurelong-term viability," said Stephen Rapundalo, Ph.D., MichBio President andCEO.
Christine Poon, vice chair of Johnson & Johnson, presented perspectives asthe event's keynote speaker on how biotechnology innovation is impactinghealthcare delivery and patients' lives. Her comments touched on the need forthe industry to take responsibility in insuring affordable and safe treatmentsthat can alleviate suffering and improve quality of life.
Several first-time awards were presented during the Expo. The Legislatorof the Year Award, which recognizes the state legislator who consistentlysupports and defends issues of importance to the biotechnology community, waspresented jointly to Rep. Rebekah Warren (D) and Sen. Randy Richardville (R)for their significant leadership in the formation of the BiosciencesLegislative Caucus, one of the few nationally, and for creating greaterunderstanding of the biosciences and its critical role in expanding Michigan'seconomy.
John D. Schwartz, CEO of AI Medical Devices, Inc., was presented with thefirst Innovator of the Year Award, recognizing an individual who has made asignificant contribution to the advancement of knowledge and understanding ofbiological processes through a technology, process, or product. Schwartzdevised the Airway RIFL, a rapid intubating device for use in emergency roomsthat can potentially revolutionize airway management.
Ann Arbor-based Accuri Cytometers was the winner of the Good to GreatAward, given to the Michigan company whose business concept,entrepreneurialism, leadership, and work ethic have produced a leap forward inresults. The award was accepted by Jennifer Baird, Accuri president and CEO.Accuri Cytometers is marketing revolutionary high performance cell analysissystems in a compact, powerful, user-friendly format that is also affordableto most research laboratories.
Day Two workshops and track sessions focused on topics in R&D, medicalaffairs and markets and emerging business growth. Two sessions also centeredon educating manufacturers who are considering diversifying into the medicaldevice market. "MichBio is committed to providing advanced and automotivemanufacturers with a better understanding of the opportunities and challengesinherent to expanding their products and services into the medical devices andequipment sectors," Rapundalo said.
MichBio, along with its partner, Oakland University, held its 4th AnnualCareer Day on Thursday, November 20 on the university's campus. Approximately130 high school students and their science teachers participated in lectures,hands-on demonstrations and tours during the all-day event that tried to raiseawareness of educational and career opportunities in the biosciences.
"It's critical that we reach out to our future talent and show them howthey can play a key role in growing the industry right here in Michigan,"commented Rapundalo.
MichBio is committed to driving the growth of Michigan's biosciencesindustry and fostering the collective impact of its members by serving astheir unified voice and providing them with education, information,connections and other services. MichBio members include biosciencescompanies, academic and research institutions, biosciences service providers,and related organizations.