Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Funding Targets Retention of Former Pfizer and Pharmacia Workers
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm announced today that an additional $200,000 is being provided from the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor fund to help former Pfizer and Pharmacia workers start up new life sciences companies. The funding will be awarded to the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center and will be used to provide assistance in business plan development, management support, market assessment, market research, technical assessments and other services.
“This partnership with the Innovation Center is another step towards our goal of helping to launch new life sciences companies that will keep former Pfizer employees working and living in Michigan,” Granholm said. “Helping researchers and other professionals manage the business side of their new companies will significantly increase their likelihood of success.”
The Southwest Michigan Innovation Center (SMIC) is a state-of-the-art facility designed to nurture and develop start-up firms in both early and later stages. Located in the Kalamazoo SmartZonesm, the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center serves as one of Michigan’s business accelerators designed to help entrepreneurs and researchers identify technology with commercial potential and, with the assistance of SmartZone resources, help develop the technology into viable businesses.
“This is a very exciting time for new business start-up activity in Kalamazoo,” said Donald R. Parfet, Chairman of the SMIC Managing Director Board.“The Innovation Center has some very exciting new tenants and this support from the Governor and the Life Science Corridor will significantly strengthen their chances of success.”
Today’s funding is in addition to the $2 million company creation fund recently provided by the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor to help recently laid-off Pfizer scientists and professionals begin new business ventures. Keeping these highly educated workers in Michigan has been a priority for Governor Granholm since Pfizer’s acquisition of Pharmacia resulted in the loss of key research positions in several Michigan locations.
The Governor has announced several other key efforts directed at helping former Pfizer employees. Those efforts include:
- $10 million from the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor for a new Biotechnology Research and Commercialization Center in Kalamazoo;
- Ongoing discussions with Pfizer, encouraging the company to authorize carve-out companies that would commercialize Pfizer research. Pfizer recently announced plans to support one of those carve-out companies, Jasper Clinical Research and Development, with a three-year, $18 million contract;
- A high-tech career fair held in Kalamazoo which attracted more than 200 candidates;
- Support for legislation that would provide tax breaks to those who invest in Michigan venture capital companies focused on seed stage investments; and
- An aggressive business attraction campaign conducted by the MEDC to encourage life sciences companies to open new operations in west Michigan.
# # #