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News and Press: MichBio News

June 'On the Road' with Stephen Rapundalo

Tuesday, June 23, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katie Trevathan
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 Rapundalo and Luann Pendy of Medtronic
May ended with several meetings in Detroit. First, I met with Wayne State University’s The Front Door to discuss how best to maximize their interactions with the state’s bio-industry. The group is a one-stop shop for accessing the world-class resources at the institution, whether to new technologies under development, commercialization services or access to talent. Later that day, I met with Dr. Christal Sheppard, the new director of the Detroit USPTO. Prior to joining the USPTO she was an assistant professor of law at the University of Nebraska, where she co-founded a program of Concentrated Study in Intellectual Property law. Dr. Sheppard has a MS and PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan and a JD from Cornell University Law School. It’s great to have a bioscience expert at the USPTO right here in our own backyard.

June began with interactions with a couple of European bioscience delegations. In Ann Arbor, I met with a contingent of life science companies from its sister city Tuebingen, Germany. The delegation included a University of Michigan alum with a bioinformatics background and now founder and CEO of Computomics. I then raced over to Grand Rapids that same day to meet with various medical device companies and other institutions from the Netherlands. It was a very sophisticated group with great experience in product development; most were looking for partners to expand their businesses here in the U.S. or serve as distributors/interface for our companies looking for a foothold in Europe. The Van Andel Research Institute served as the meeting and reception venue.

That same week I had the opportunity to meet with several members of the College of Health and Human Services at Eastern Michigan University. This included Dean Murali Nair, PhD, Stephen Sonstein, PhD and Irwin Martin, PhD, Director and Associate Director, respectively of the Clinical Trials Management Program, and Colleen Croxall, PhD, Director of the School of Health Sciences. The following day, I met with Jamie Stacey, Life Sciences Lead for Kelly Scientific to discuss their talent placement and recruitment programs, and then raced back to Ann Arbor for the last installment of BioArbor before the summer hiatus.

MichBio hosted a double-header set of events during the second week of June. Our first-ever “Women Building Success in Biosciences” program was a huge success. Approximately 125 attendees heard from engaging speakers in three panel sessions (positioning in the marketplace, life as a woman entrepreneur and leadership lessons). Dr. Luann Pendy, Senior Vice President for Global Quality at Medtronic (and Flint native and U-M alum) rocked the program as the keynote speaker and described pivotal moments in her impressive career. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable event.

The next day, Dr. Pendy headlined our CEO Leaders' Club breakfast. She spoke about her management experiences, imparted on leadership values and talent development, and the future of medical technology. Don’t forget our July 8 event, when we host John Lechleiter, PhD, CEO of Eli Lilly – you won’t want to miss that one. Details here.

I finished that week my monthly visit to Genesys Health where a group (Genesys, MichBio, and MEDC) has been working on developing a health care innovation cluster on their sprawling campus. We’re in the market analysis and business plan development stage and are reviewing proposals for such support by third party providers.

Last week was the annual BIO International Convention, held in Philadelphia for the first time in ten years. All the state bioscience associations gathered for meetings on the Sunday, followed the next day by a meeting of the state bioscience institutes. We reviewed key programs and best practices, as well as the latest in legislative issues and efforts. The actual convention kicked off formally on Tuesday with the opening of the Exhibit Hall and sessions. MichBio was among several companies and organizations that comprised the Michigan Pavilion including Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, Michigan Life Sciences Innovation Center, Diplomat Pharmacy, TransPharm Solutions, University of Michigan Technology Transfer, Biocrede, SRI International, Ash Stevens, Zoetis, and Asterand. Other Michigan-based organizations present in the Exhibition Hall included MPI Research, Harness Dickey, Emergent Biosolutions, and Pfizer Center Source. This year’s Convention was lively with approximately 16,000 attendees and over 29,000 one-on-one partnering meetings. Of course, it wouldn’t be BIO if there wasn’t an overabundance of networking receptions, gala events, great keynote speakers (Tom Brokaw and Dr. Eric Topol), and cool surprises (like the real-time link up to the International Space Station).

I left the BIO Convention early on its last day for planned meetings with various federal agencies in Washington, DC. G2G Consulting, a MichBio Preferred Provider, arranged meetings with the Department of Labor, Economic Development Administration, and the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. The hot and humid weather in the nation’s capital did not deter us from discussing funding opportunities for talent and workforce development, entrepreneurial support services, and various bio-industry initiatives (i.e., Precision Medicine and Brain Initiative), respectively. 

That’s it for now. Best wishes for a safe and fun July 4th holiday weekend. We’ll catch up again in a month’s time.

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