Spring 2018 Newsletter
Fleis and Vandenbrink employees put on their brightest vests
to recognize National Work Zone Safety Week in April.

Upcoming events
  • Saturday, June 9, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CyclingLawyer.com Criterium--BTR Park Bike Race. Spectators welcome; food available. Information.
  • Food Truck Tuesdays--information circulated via the WMU Park Partners primary contact list and posted on the park's Facebook group page (members only). Contact Margaret to join the Facebook group.
Expansion planned at Newell Brands 

Demand for additional product lines at the Newell Brands design center in the park will be met with a recently approved expansion that will provide 18,234 square feet of additional space and up to 60 new jobs.

The expansion was approved by the City of Kalamazoo Planning Commission earlier this year, pending a review of storm water management system upgrades. Construction is likely to begin in summer 2018 and will take about a year to complete. Read more at MLive
Weidenhammer marks 40th anniversary 

John Weidenhammer
Launched in February of 1978, from a spare room in his house, and a $100 in his pocket,  John Weidenhammer became founder and president of Weidenhammer, one of the first regional technology companies. Forty years later, the company is a $42 million technology and consulting company with seven offices in the United States, including one in Western Michigan's Business Technology and Research Park. 

"Much of the company's sustained growth can be attributed to John's strategy of occupying multiple lines of business concurrently, while remaining relevant across a number of strategy, marketing and technology touchpoints," said Chuck Zwicker, senior vice president of Weidenhammer. 

The firm is planning a number of activities to mark the 40 year celebration, including allowing employees to volunteer eight hours of paid-time to a non-profit agency of their choice.  Read more.
Leading European manufacturer acquires Kalexsyn

Dipharma Francis S.r.l., a leading European manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients, and Kalexsyn, Inc., a world-class contract research organization providing chemistry services to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, are pleased to announce that their respective shareholders have entered into a definitive agreement in which Dipharma will acquire 100 percent control of Kalexsyn. The transaction is expected to close in late May. As a result of this acquisition, Kalexsyn may expand its facility in the park. Read more .
Western Michigan University 
Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine Innovation Center 

IONTOX cells land at International Space Station

Congratulations to IONTOX on the successful launch of the rocket that took their cells to the International Space Station. 

The investigation, in collaboration with LaunchPad Medical LLC, involves sending human osteoblasts--specific cells required for bone healing and formation--into space. The bone cells were sent to the International Space Station because the microgravity environment created in the space station is known to cause loss of bone density in astronauts, mimicking the biological effects of osteoporosis. Read more.


Autism treatment drug cleared for FDA phase 2 testing

Tetra Discovery Partners Inc. is getting close to releasing a potential treatment for a form of autism that could also help those with Alzheimer's disease. The drug is focused to treat Fragile X syndrome, the most common genetic form of autism.

The company has received clearance from the federal Food and Drug Administration to move on to phase two of testing, which means a clinical trial on humans will start soon. "We're hoping that this drug will have significant impact on the quality of patients' lives," Tetra Chairman and CEO Mark Gurney said. Learn more in this WOOD TV story.

Proteos and Tetra earn small business honors

The WMed Innovation Center  is pleased to announce that two client companies were awardees at the 2018 Michigan Celebrates Small Business event held on May 3. 

Congratulations to Proteos Inc., the 2018 SmartZone Best Small Business of the Year  award winner, and Tetra Discovery Partners Inc., which was named a 2018 Michigan 50 Companies to Watch .

Proteos is a contract research organization specializing in the production of recombinant proteins and antibodies for the life sciences industry.

Tetra Discovery Partners develops therapeutics to treat memory loss and cognitive impairment by improving how the brain processes and stores information.  Read more.

Startup lunch and learn series 

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP is partnering with the Innovation Center for a lunch-and-learn series designed to help technology startups be more successful in business. 

The series will feature six events throughout 2018 that focus on topics critical for business startups. Warner thought leaders in capital formation, venture capital, intellectual property, labor and employment, executive compensation, tax and other practice areas will lead each session. The series is free to attend; advance registration required. Register.

Sessions take place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Innovation Center's multi-purpose room. The remaining series dates:
  • Thursday, June 21: Intellectual Property for Startups
  • Thursday, July 19: Key Employment Issues for Startup Companies
  • Thursday, Sept. 20: Equity Compensation for Startups
  • Thursday, Nov. 8: Tax from Startups to Full-Fledged Companies
Read more about the series.

Center's assistant dean receives Bremer Scholarship

Alison Campbell, AUTM president presenting
the award to Sandra Cochrane
Sandra Cochrane , assistant dean, WMed Innovation Center, was named one of five Howard Bremer Scholarship recipients at the Association of University Technology Managers' annual conference in Phoenix in February. 

Launched in 2002, the Howard Bremer Scholarship is an annual scholarship program that supports students and emerging professionals pursuing a career in technology transfer. Named to honor a pioneering AUTM member and past president of the association, the scholarship is awarded to those who--like Bremer--wish to bring creativity and innovation to the academic technology transfer profession.

In memoriam

John Sorenson, Ph.D., Vestaron's CEO, passed away unexpectedly in late February in Kalamazoo.

Under his dedicated leadership, as both a board member and CEO, he transformed Vestaron from a start-up research and development company to a commercial endeavor with the launch of Vestaron's first product.

To all who knew him, he was a highly respected scientist, business leader, mentor and friend. He is remembered as an inspiration to everyone he encountered through his kindness, insight and leadership.  Vestaron has lost a great leader and friend and he will be greatly missed by all.

Center announcements
  • Congratulations to Don Carpenter of Drummond Carpenter, who was recently elected to the Kalamazoo Rivershed Council Board of Directors.
Tekna wood pellet grill picks up design award
Tekna was recognized with multiple 2017 GOOD DESIGN Awards for products they developed, including the Timberline Grill for Traeger. The Nara Bassinet for Stryker and the Bark Bath for BISSELL also received awards, which were noted in a previous newsletter.
The Timberline Grill for Traeger is one of more than a dozen products Tekna has helped the company launch, improving the breadth of their portfolio, brand recognition, and financial performance.
Timberline grills are fueled with wood pellets that deliver exceptional performance and cooking versatility, delivering on a 6-in-1 strategy. Timberline can grill, braise, BBQ, roast, bake, and, most importantly, smoke foods. It delivers on a new-to-market experience of "Smoke Science," combining true convection, downdraft exhaust, and super smoke not found on any other product in this category. Timberline also incorporates state-of-the-art technology with traditional grilling to enhance the cooking experience by allowing the user to cook/monitor remotely through mobile applications, control algorithms, and custom cook cycles. 
welcomed to the park

Thank you to Lisa Lewman and her coworkers at Fluid Process Equipment for hosting an excitement zone during the Kalamazoo Marathon on Sunday, May 6. The group had fun cheering on the runners in their beach-themed zone, while dodging pink flaminigos and dancing to some Beach Boys music!
General park announcements
  • Acura Valuation, Inc. has office space available: 2057 square feet office, which includes 7 private offices, conference room with a kitchenette, server room, open area, and reception desk. Completely remodeled. US 131 signage available. Adequate parking. Low maintenance triple, net lease. For more information, call Wm. Brian Hartman at (269) 330-5233.
Office of Community Outreach | Western Michigan University | (269) 387-2072
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