Category Archives: Life Sciences

Business Expansions Win State Aid, To Create 203 Jobs

LANSING — An animal health company is expanding in the Kalamazoo area with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced.

That expansion, along with four other business expansion projects that also received MSF approval, will generate a total private investment of more than $71.5 million and create 203 jobs in Michigan.

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Essen BioScience Launches New Cell Analysis Platform

ANN ARBOR — Essen BioScience, a developer of cell-based assays and instrumentation used for drug discovery and basic research, has launched the IncuCyte S3 live-cell analysis platform for real-time, automated measurements of cell health, proliferation, movement and function directly inside a standard incubator.

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Michigan Tech Researcher Seeking Answers on Viruses from ‘Stickiness’

HOUGHTON — A person doesn’t have to get sick to catch a virus. Researchers hope to catch viruses for detection and vaccinations by understanding their sticky outer layers.

The complex structures making the surface of a virus are small weaves of proteins that make a big impact on how a virus interacts with cells and its environment. A slight change in protein sequence makes this surface slightly water-repelling, or hydrophobic, causing it to stick to other hydrophobic surfaces.

A new paper, published recently in the scientific journal Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces (DOI: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2017.02.011), details surface hydrophobicity in porcine parovirus (PPV).

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Biotech Industry Sets ‘Growth Summit’

ANN ARBOR — Leaders from the Michigan biotech industry, academia, and policy realms are joining to discuss how to best drive future business growth at MichBio’s inaugural Michigan Bio-Industry Growth Summit at the Radisson Lansing on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

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UM Zell Lurie Fund Invests In Protein Test Developer

ANN ARBOR — An investment fund led by University of Michgian students has invested in a healthcare company developing a cheaper, faster and more accurate test for multiple proteins from a single patient sample.

Phasiq Inc. was founded by Shuichi Takayama, professor of biomedical engineering and macromolecular science and engineering at the Univesrity of Michigan.

The investment fund comes from the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund, a pre-seed investment fund established to identify and accelerate the commercialization of technology generated within the UM community and surrounding area. It focuses on healthcare, technology, consumer products and cleantech.

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Fruit Fly Studies At MTU Shed Light On Cancer, Pesticide Resistance

HOUGHTON — For being so small, fruit flies have had a large impact on genetic research. Thomas Werner, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, has bridged the miniscule and the massive in an effort to better understand the mechanisms behind several unique features of fruit fly genes.

Over the past week, several studies that Werner co-authored have been published in PLoS ONE, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Nature Education. All are linked by Drosophila — a genus of fruit flies — and the insights that fruit fly genetics provide on human health, specifically cancer-causing genes.

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Ann Arbor Biotech Startup Generates First Revenue

ANN ARBOR — Blaze Medical Devices, an Ann Arbor-based company developing new blood analysis technologies, announced that it has begun offering blood fragility analysis services for pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

Developers of drugs and blood-contacting devices often need to assess the impacts of their products on red blood cell membranes to evaluating their products’ safety and efficacy. This generally includes looking at levels of hemolysis – red blood cell rupture – but Blaze officials say that fails to reflect any “hidden” or sub-hemolytic cell damage.

Blaze’s proprietary technology solves this problem by measuring RBC mechanical fragility – a more precise metric of blood damage than simple hemolysis. It’s also an important parameter in calibrating for hemolysis measurements. While Blaze is developing its first fully integrated and automated Fragilimeter system for academic and industrial research customers, it also now offers RBC mechanical fragility testing on a service contract basis.

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Michigan Tech Researchers Use 3D Printing For Nerve Tissue

HOUGHTON — The printer looks like a toaster oven with the front and sides removed. Its metal frame is built up around a stainless steel circle lit by an ultraviolet light. Stainless steel hydraulics and thin black tubes line the back edge, which lead to an inner, topside box made of red plastic. In front, the metal is etched with a red logo reading “Bio Bot.” Altogether, the gray metal frame is small enough to fit on top of an old-fashioned school desk, but nothing about this 3D printer is old school. In fact, the tissue-printing machine is more like a sci-fi future in the flesh — and it has very real medical applications.

Researchers at Michigan Technological University hope to use this newly acquired 3D bioprinter to make synthesized nerve tissue. The key is developing the right “bioink,” or printable tissue. The nanotechnology-inspired material could help regenerate damaged nerves for patients with spinal cord injuries, says Tolou Shokuhfar, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering at Michigan Tech.

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New DNA Analysis Software From Ann Arbor Firm

ANN ARBOR — Gene Codes Corp. Monday announced the release of version 5.3 of its Sequencher DNA sequence and analysis software.

The company said Sequencher 5.3 adds a new algorithm suite, called
Cufflinks in the industry, to its long list of DNA sequence analysis features, as well as improvements to Sequencher Connections, its newest architecture for DNA sequence analysis.

The new software also adds new visualization tools for DNA expression analysis.

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MichBio Launches Bio Industry Strategic Planning Effort

ANN ARBOR — MichBio, the association for Michigan’s biosciences industry, has launched a statewide effort called the Michigan Bio-Industry Roadmap 2015.

The effort aims to create a five-year strategic plan for growing Michigan’s biosciences industry. It is being conducted in partnership with Business Leaders for Michigan. the statewide organization for corporate CEOs that was the successor to Detroit Renaissance, and the University Research Corridor, the combined research organization of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University.

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