Arbor Assays Becomes First Employee-Owned US Life Sciences Company
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Posted by: Kate Oesterle
ANN ARBOR, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
On January 1, 2017, Arbor Assays became the first employee-owned (EO) life sciences company through the use of a “perpetual trust.” The owners sold their interests to the employee trust and provided seller financing. This method of employee ownership maintains the company perpetually for the benefit of its employees. While a relatively new technique in the United States this arrangement is more common in Great Britain where “perpetual trusts” are widely recognized.
Founded in 2007 by Drs. Russell Hart, Nancy Schmidt and Barbara Scheuer, Arbor Assays is an Ann Arbor company that designs, develops, and manufactures detection and immunoassay products for important research biomolecules. Bobbi O’Hara, R&D Project Manager at Arbor Assays, led the employee group through the transaction as the Employee Representative. Russ, Barb and Bobbi are Directors of the Perpetual Trust that now owns the stock of Arbor Assays, Inc.
A number of law firms were involved in the transaction. Graeme Nuttall, at Fieldfisher in the UK, dealt with setting up the UK trust. Graeme has been intimately involved with drafting the UK government policy and laws governing Employee Ownership. The company used Bruce Elliott at Conlin, McKenney & Philbrick, and Christopher Moceri at Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss for US legal work. Attorney Deborah Olson was hired by Arbor Assays to ensure that the company is run for the benefit of the employees.
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