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News and Press: MichBio News

April 'On the Road' with Stephen Rapundalo

Tuesday, April 28, 2015   (0 Comments)
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Stephen Rapundalo

The last five weeks have seemed like an eternity with many activities, events, and efforts undertaken.

We ended March with a spate of 1:1 interviews and focus group sessions related to the Michigan Bio-Industry Strategic Roadmap 2015 initiative. In addition, MichBio U featured a webinar on “Reimbursement Strategy as an Essential Element of a Medical Product Business Plan.” Then, in partnership with the Global Business Club at MSU’s International Business Center, MichBio co-hosted “Medical Technologies – Growth Strategies for the Global Marketplace” on March 31. It was great event with presentations on international intellectual property protection, regulatory and market access strategies, along with export resources and support. A panel of medtech company executives rounded out the afternoon by speaking to experiences of growing their businesses overseas. 

On March 26th, I attended the Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM) Summit in East Lansing where approximately 500 business and policy leaders gathered to hear an update on Michigan’s promising economic growth opportunities. The event featured leaders from Ohio’s Third Frontier program as a best practice. BLM released a report showing Michigan’s continued strength in life sciences, engineering, mobility, manufacturing, and innovation sectors. From there I traveled to Flint and visited first with Gary Kedlac, President of Diplomat and then with Richard Smith, PhD, Director of Research at the Institute for Neurosurgery and Neuroscience. The following day I drove up to Reed City to meet with Rep. John Moolenaar and other policy stakeholders at the General Mills’ Yoplait manufacturing facility to discuss federal GMO labeling legislation – the yogurt was tasty too.

April kicked off with my attendance at the annual Walker L. Cisler Lecturer presentation at Lawrence Technological University. This year’s award was given to Trachette L. Jackson, PhD, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Michigan and an expert of applied mathematical biology. The following week it was back to Grand Blanc for my monthly advisory meeting at Genesys Health as they continue to develop a life science innovation cluster concept. Then it was off to the University of Detroit Mercy to attend a reception as part of a national site visit related to the ReBUILD program. The program’s goal is to encourage more undergraduate students from underrepresented and economically disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue careers in biomedical research. ReBUILD is funded by a $21.2 million award over five years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to a consortium of institutions including University of Detroit Mercy, Marygrove College, Wayne County Community College District, and Wayne State University. I serve on ReBUILD’s Community Advisory Committee.

The hallmark of the second week of April was the annual BIO Legislative Fly-In to Capitol Hill – read more in a separate article. Once back I visited with WSU’s The Front Door to discuss strategies for bio-industry interfaces. The week finished up with my monthly meeting of the Institutional BioSafety Committee at U-M where I serve as one of two community members.

Last Monday, I drove over to Kalamazoo for an afternoon program at the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center that featured Rep. Fred Upton (MI-06) and Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-01). They are the co-architects of the 21st Century Cures initiative – a Congressional effort to accelerate drug and device development through better policy and impactful regulations. The topic was one of the top two legislative agenda priorities during the aforementioned BIO Fly-In. Mid-week I visited with the Beaumont Commercialization Center and its new Director, Eric Stief, a former MichBio Board member. The Center is Beaumont Health System's technology transfer and commercialization office. I ended the week by attending the annual MSU Innovation Celebration a showcase of that institution’s innovative technologies and tech transfer successes.

In the midst of all the above comings and goings, staff and I continued to work on various events and activities including an initial 2015 lineup of the CEO Leaders’ Club, our first ever Women Building Success in Biosciences program, a soon to be announced Michigan Drug Discovery Symposium, and the next issue of a newly redesigned BioMatters magazine.

See you next month.

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