Granholm Announces Support to Keep Pfizer Talent, Resources in Michigan

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Three biotech firms receive loans to hire former Pfizer scientists

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced three more Michigan companies, all based in Kalamazoo, have been selected to receive loans under the state's Company Formation and Growth (CFG) fund, an initiative aimed at retained Pfizer talent and assets in the state. 

“Our commitment to the growth of a knowledge-based and diversified economy is reliant on keeping our talented workforce in Michigan.” Granholm said. “The action taken today will enable Pfizer employees to lend their skills and expertise to help Michigan companies grow and create additional, high-tech jobs.”

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) board today approved the funding that will be used by the companies to hire former Pfizer scientists. Two were approved for loans of $100,000 each and a third for a loan of $50,000. To date, the CFG has approved $6.9 million in loans to a total of 32 life-science companies in Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Jackson, Livonia, Kalamazoo and Portage.

The following companies were approved for CFG loans:


  • ADMETRx, a contract service company supporting drug discovery, is located in state-of-the-art laboratory space in the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center business incubator, and will use its $100,000 loan to hire two ex-Pfizer scientists. It was approved for a $250,000 CFG loan in November 2007.


  • Metabolic Solutions Developmentis developing innovative therapeutics using a different pharmacological path to treat type 2 diabetes. Its first clinical development candidate is now in Phase II human trials. The company will use its $100,000 loan to hire two ex-Pfizer scientists.
  • Velesco Pharmaceutical Services, started in 2007 by former Pfizer scientists, focuses on supporting the early stage work of pharmaceutical companies. The company will use its $50,000 loan to hire an ex-Pfizer scientist as manager of a new clinical trail material manufacturing facility in Kalamazoo. Velesco was approved for a $450,000 CFG loan in May 2008.  

“We are fostering entrepreneurship as part of a concerted effort to ensure Pfizer scientists will continue to start and grow innovative Michigan biotech companies,” MEDC President and CEO Greg Main said. Main also serves as chairman and president of the MSF board.             

MSF created the $8-million Company Formation and Growth fund in June 2007 to accelerate company formation and growth and job creation based on employees, technologies and high-tech equipment left behind when Pfizer closed facilities in Ann Arbor, Holland, Kalamazoo, Plymouth Township and Portage. 

“Kalamazoo has historically built itself around the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurism.  By supporting this ongoing spirit, we are supporting Kalamazoo’s continued economic growth and strength in an industry where it is considered to be at the forefront.  We thank the state of Michigan for encouraging the efforts of these companies that are now part of that history,” said Ron Kitchens, Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Michigan First.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

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