Conference Keys On Venture Capital

September 8, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — Business and investment leaders today will hear first-hand success stories from venture capital-supported firms when The Right Place Inc., the Van Andel Institute and the Michigan Venture Capital Association host a venture capital briefing from 2-5 p.m. at the Van Andel Research Institute. There is no charge to attend.

Top executives from life science and technology companies, the Van Andel Institute, and the West Michigan Science and Technology Initiative will present overviews of the life sciences industry in West Michigan and specific details of the growth and development of firms that have successfully leveraged venture capital funds. The afternoon will conclude with a networking reception from 5:15-6:30 p.m.

The half-day event includes a keynote presentation from Roger S. Newton, Ph.D., senior vice president and director of Esperion Therapeutics, a division of Pfizer Global Research and Development, and formerly president and CEO of Esperion Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company. Newton will discuss the scientific and business challenges Esperion faced as a start-up biopharmaceutical company, the disappointments and what could have been done better, and the transition from being an independent company to becoming a division within the world’s largest pharmaceutical company.

“The Michigan life sciences industry is in its early stage of growth and development. However, more start-up companies are being incorporated every year due to the scientific talent in the state and the desire to commercialize their science,” he said.

“Strong capital investment in high-growth businesses can be a catalyst for job creation, and product and idea development,” noted Birgit Klohs, president of The Right Place. “This conference is designed to increase awareness of the availability of venture capital in West Michigan and Michigan and to showcase some of the firms who have successfully leveraged those funds.”   

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