Category Archives: Biotech

MichBio Sets Women’s Networking Session

ANN ARBOR — MichBio, the industry association for Michigan’s biosciences industry, will host a networking breakfast and interactive session on Thursday, March 2 in Ann Arbor with acclaimed networking guru Kelly Hoey, whose book, “Build Your Dream Network,” helps readers build and activate powerful networks to achieve both their long and short-term goals.

Continue reading MichBio Sets Women’s Networking Session

MichBio Conference and Expo Coming Jan. 18

ANN ARBOR — MichBio, the association for Michigan’s biosciences industry, will welcome hundreds of bioscience researchers, manufacturers, executives and service providers to its Conference and Expo Jan. 18 at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo.

Continue reading MichBio Conference and Expo Coming Jan. 18

Former Stanford Prof To Lead New MSU Biomedical Engineering Department

EAST LANSING –  Christopher H. Contag will join Michigan State University as the inaugural director of the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering and chair of the new Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Contag was previously a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Radiology, Bioengineering, and Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University. He held the titles of associate chief of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, director of Stanford’s Center for Innovation in In Vivo Imaging and co-director of the Molecular Imaging Program.

MSU’s new Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering is a collaboration between the Colleges of Engineering, Human Medicine and Natural Science. It will be an interdisciplinary research center devoted to basic and applied research at the interface of life sciences, engineering, information science, and other physical and mathematical sciences.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering was established in January 2015 and began accepting students into the graduate program this fall. The department will be housed in the new Bio Engineering Facility, which will open in late October of this year. This facility will bring together engineers and basic science researchers with medical researchers to help solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.

“New programs, facilities and faculty are critical investments in MSU’s research infrastructure as well as in the success of future generations of students,” said Provost June Pierce Youatt. “As a leading figure in medical imaging research, Chris Contag is the right person to lead our new institute in this emerging field of study.”

According to Stephen Hsu, vice president of research and graduate studies, MSU has all the right disciplines and faculty to collaborate on cutting-edge biomedical research.

“Contag will lead an interdisciplinary team of researchers from basic sciences, engineering and medicine to advance human health,” Hsu said. “We have the highest expectations for what he and his team will achieve.”

In his new roles, Contag has a rare opportunity to lead this bold new initiative in collaborative health science and engineering research, said Leo Kempel, dean of the College of Engineering.

“Contag’s international reputation and leadership skills will shape new interdisciplinary partnerships and expand the college’s research enterprise as applied to human health,” Kempel said. “This is an extremely exciting time at our college.”

Contag graduated from the University of Minnesota with an undergraduate degree in biology and a Ph.D. in microbiology. His research career began while studying mother-to-infant transmission of HIV leading to enhanced understanding of how the disease develops. It was during this work that he turned to non-invasive imaging to help study living processes in the body. He will build on this foundation of developing and using imaging tools to understand biology, and expand his research scope at Michigan State.

“I am honored and excited to lead the new institute and biomedical engineering department,” Contag said. “With two medical schools, nursing, veterinary medicine, along with engineering and the new Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering, MSU has the essential elements of a world-class biomedical engineering program and to be become a national leader in biomedical research and development.

“At MSU, the most pressing biomedical questions will direct the science, and if we don’t have the tools we need to answer those questions, we’ll build them,” he said. “Our goal is to understand complex biological processes in the context of living organs and tissues for the purpose of developing and engineering the most effective therapies to restore normal function. We have a real opportunity to drive the convergence of disciplines through biomedical engineering, and make fundamental discoveries that change paradigms in biomedicine.”

Contag’s appointment will begin Nov. 1, pending approval by the MSU Board of Trustees.

MichBio Expo Back For 2016

ANN ARBOR — MichBio, the association for Michigan’s biosciences industry, will welcome hundreds of bioscience researchers, manufacturers, executives and service providers to its 2016 MichBio Conference and Expo Sept. 28.

Now in its 11th year, the Conference & Expo will be held at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo. The event is the state’s largest gathering of bioscience industry professionals.

Continue reading MichBio Expo Back For 2016

Michigan Biotech Industry Sees Strong Job Growth

ANN ARBOR — Michigan’s biotech industry has added almost 2,400 jobs since 2014, according to a new research report released during the annual convention of BIO, the biotech industry organization, being held in San Francisco.

The “Value of Bioscience Innovation in Growing Jobs and Improving Quality of Life” report showed Michigan biotech employment now stands at 44,277, up 5.7 percent since the last report in 2014.

Continue reading Michigan Biotech Industry Sees Strong Job Growth

Ann Arbor Pharma Starts Trial Of Drug For Adrenal Disease

ANN ARBOR — The pharmaceutical startup Millendo Therpeutics Inc. announced the start of a Phase 2 clinical trial of its new drug candidate ATR-101 to treat classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), a rare inherited endocrine disorder characterized by overgrowth of the adrenal glands.

ATR-101 is also being studied in an ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial in patients with adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC).

“The initiation of this Phase 2 clinical trial of ATR-101 in classic CAH marks an important milestone in Millendo’s development and is the first of several planned trial initiations for this year as we build a portfolio of novel treatment options for endocrine diseases,” said Julia C. Owens, president and CEO of Millendo. “CAH is a serious condition with significant unmet need, where we believe we can provide an important new treatment option.”

Added Richard J. Auchus, M.D., professor of internal medicine and pharmacology at the University of Michigan: “A great need exists for alternative treatment options, as the current standard of care for CAH can result in serious long-term side effects, including bone loss, growth impairment and Cushing’s syndrome. Based on the mechanism of action for this compound, we are optimistic that addition of ATR-101 to physiologic doses of corticosteroids can provide improved outcomes for these patients.”

The Phase 2 clinical trial is a multicenter, single-blind, multiple dose study that will assess the efficacy and safety of orally-administered ATR-101, in addition to corticosteroids, in patients with classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia. The study is designed to determine an effective dose or range of doses with the primary efficacy endpoint assessing the impact of ATR-101 on adrenal steroid/steroid intermediate production. For additional information on this clinical trial, visit

In Phase 1 trials, researchers test a new drug or treatment in a small group of people for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range, and identify side effects. In Phase 2 trials, the drug or treatment is given to a larger group of people to see if it is effective and to further evaluate its safety. And in Phase 3, the drug or treatment is given to large groups of people to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments, and collect information that will allow the drug or treatment to be used safely.

CAH is a rare inherited endocrine disorder caused by a steroidogenic enzyme deficiency that is characterized by overgrowth of the adrenal glands, adrenal insufficiency and androgen excess. The most frequent form of CAH, responsible for 95 percent of cases, is a deficiency in the enzyme 21-hydroxylase, which is required for the production of cortisol in the adrenal glands. CAH can lead to severe virilization — the development of male physical characteristics — in women, testicular tumors in men, and infertility.

The incidence of classic CAH is one every 10,000 to 20,000 births, and the current standard of care is treatment with corticosteroids, which are used to correct the endogenous cortisol deficiency and reduce androgen excess. However, high doses of corticosteroids are required to suppress androgens which can result in serious long-term side effects such as bone loss, growth impairment, and Cushing’s syndrome (characterized by fatty deposits around the face and upper back, weight gain around the midsection, and fat loss from the arms and legs).

ATR-101reduces adrenal steroid production, and, at high doses, induces the death of cells derived from the adrenal cortex.

Millendo Therapeutics is focused on developing a portfolio of disease-modifying treatments for endocrine diseases caused by hormone dysregulation. Besides CAH, the company’s research is directed to treatments for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), the most common endocrine disease in women; Endogenous Cushing’s Syndrome (CS) – a condition resulting from chronic cortisol excess; and Adrenocortical Carcinoma (ACC) – a rare endocrine malignancy of the adrenal cortex.

More at

MSU Prof Gets $100,000 Gates grant to develop malaria test

EAST LANSING — Michigan State University will receive a Grand Challenges Explorations grant, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Peter Lillehoj, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will use the $100,000 grant to work toward a skin patch-based rapid diagnostic test for malaria. His research will be on campus at MSU.

Continue reading MSU Prof Gets $100,000 Gates grant to develop malaria test

$413,000 Grant To Help MSU Improve Brain Communication

EAST LANSING — A researcher in the Michigan State University College of Engineering will use a $413,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore why devices implanted in the brain lose their efficacy over time.

Erin Purcell, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and neuroscience, has received a two-year NIH R21 grant to further investigate the influence of neural implants on individual cells in the brain.

Continue reading $413,000 Grant To Help MSU Improve Brain Communication

Delphinus Moves To New, Larger HQ

PLYMOUTH TWP. — Delphinus Medical Technologies Inc., developers of a novel ultrasound technology for detecting breast tumors, is moving this week to a new, larger headquarters in Novi, according to a press release from the company.

The release said the new headquarters is nearly triple the size of its prior location, allowing Delphinus to expand its staff, dedicate more space to research and development, and prepare for commercialization of SoftVue, a breast ultrasound system that allows physicians to image the entire breast for diagnostic imaging purposes.

Continue reading Delphinus Moves To New, Larger HQ

Ann Arbor Biotech Researcher Adopts New Name

ANN ARBOR — Molecular Imaging Inc., a preclinical oncology contract research organization, announced that as of Saturday, April 16, its name will change to MI Bioresearch, with the tagline “Advancing Your Preclinical Oncology.”

The company will unveil its new branding at the American Association of Cancer Research Annual Meeting April 16-20 in New Orleans.

Continue reading Ann Arbor Biotech Researcher Adopts New Name