Life Sciences Pipeline Efforts Ramping Up

April 7, 2008
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LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. has handed over operation of the Michigan Life Sciences Pipeline to Bloomfield Hills-based CJPS Enterprises.

The MEDC originally contracted with MichBio, the state’s life sciences industry’s trade association, for the pipeline’s development and operation, and MichBio subcontracted the work out to CJPS, so CJPS has actually been on the job for a year. The MEDC contracted directly with CJPS for the three years remaining on the nearly $1.4 million, four-year contract. That was the way MichBio preferred it, according to the Michigan Strategic Fund board, so MichBio is no longer involved. 

The change in leadership represents a new phase for the pipeline, said Christophe Sevrain, CEO of CJPS Enterprises, because his company brings to the table its expertise in business creation, diversification, mergers and acquisitions, best practice training and intellectual property management.

As operator of the pipeline, CJPS will coordinate the commercialization of life sciences research initiatives, assist life sciences start-ups and help larger companies that want to diversify into life sciences. It will also have a role in marketing the talents and capabilities of Michigan life sciences companies. 

“Our job is not to have people find us by accident, but to market the pipeline like crazy,” Sevrain said.

His firm’s first order of business is to build out the existing Michigan Life Sciences Pipeline Web site and create a network of life sciences researchers, entrepreneurs and service providers so they can connect with one another and possibly collaborate on research and commercialization projects.  Membership is free and open to companies, universities and institutions involved in the state’s life sciences industry. Sevrain said members that request more assistance, support or training from CJPS will pay a fee.

In addition to marketing exposure, members receive access to databases of resources and discounts for business events and seminars.

“We’ve just announced that the pipeline is entering its next phase,” Sevrain said. “Membership is now open, and people can go to the Web site to sign up. We’re putting searchable databases of Michigan life sciences companies on the site so that if, for example, somebody is looking for a contract manufacturer, he can key in the words and the names of all the companies involved in that will pop up. We’ll have announcements coming out soon describing our educational seminars.”

As part of its educational effort, CJPS is going to assemble new executive roundtables, comprised of six to 10 CEOs, executive directors, general managers and business owners interested in growing their medical device or life sciences business in Michigan. The original executive roundtable is disbanding after meeting once a month for 12 months of best practices training, which included seminars on such topics as intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, market diversification from automotive to medical devices, strategic alliances and product commercialization. After each session, the executives took what they learned and applied it to their own businesses. CJPS intends to form a few new roundtables in areas of the state where there’s interest in forming one, Sevrain said.

“There is some interest in Grand Rapids and Lansing, so I’m guessing there will be either one roundtable for those two areas or maybe two different roundtables — whatever it takes,” Sevrain said.  “We want to make sure the training is available for people who want it.” 

CJPS is making the series of seminars available around the state for anyone who wants to attend or for any organization that would like to host them. The cost will vary depending on whether it’s a half-day or full-day seminar, he noted.

Sevrain said he expects the initial pipeline membership list will be completed in about a month but membership will remain open indefinitely.

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