Focus, Manufacturing, and Small Business & Startups

Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing gets $9.8 million for growth

The Municipal Employees’ Retirement System made the biggest investment.

June 20, 2014
| By Pete Daly |
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Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing in Grand Rapids has completed a successful campaign to raise capital for expansion and improvements it expects will lead to new business.

Among the investors that added to the $9.8 million raised is the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System of Michigan.

Investment banking services for the debt and equity fundraising effort were provided by principals of The Charter Group in Grand Rapids, acting as registered securities agents of M&A Securities Group in Kansas City.

GRAM, a small, privately held company located on the Grand Valley State University campus in downtown Grand Rapids, is a state-of-the-art contract manufacturer founded in 2011, providing services to the pharmaceutical industry in support of clinical trials.

“We are delighted with the strong investor response, especially by MERS,” said Tom Ross, GRAM president. “Their considerable support, in combination with the backing from many private investors in our community, is a strong indicator that we’re headed in the right direction. This funding enables us to expand our capabilities, improve our facility, and advance our customer reach, all while creating more highly technical, high-paying jobs in West Michigan. We have a great company, fantastic employees, and a bright future.”

MERS of Michigan is one of the 200 largest pension funds in the U.S., with a nearly $9 billion investment program.

“We are proud to be investing in Michigan’s renaissance,” said Jeb Burns, MERS chief investment officer. “By having a large, diversified portfolio, we have the ability to seek superior risk-adjusted returns among numerous global investment options. GRAM represents a unique opportunity right here at home — world class talent, a blue chip roster of customers, and advanced manufacturing that will lead our state’s economy. We’re excited to grow alongside this Michigan company.”

MERS of Michigan is a nonprofit organization, independent of state government, founded 65 years ago. It manages shared professional retirement plan services, including governance, administration, portfolio management, investment options, participant education, customer service, legal counsel, actuarial services, and plan compliance, including tax qualification. MERS administers more than 2,000 plans representing 800 Michigan municipal organizations, with more than 100,000 participants. MERS assets total nearly $9 billion.

Dale Grogan, vice president of The Charter Group, said his organization began working with GRAM “when they opened the doors in 2011. We have been thrilled to grow with them over the past few years and are excited about this new funding and what it will bring as GRAM moves to the next level. GRAM continues to prove itself as a growing, high-value member of West Michigan’s biotech community, and we’re pleased to be a part of it.”

GRAM is a contract manufacturer of sterile injectable drugs, approved by the FDA for aseptic manufacturing with and without terminal sterilization. The company specializes in aseptic vial filling and finishing for clinical trial materials and commercially manufactured products. With a state-of-the-art cleanroom and highly trained staff of about 15, GRAM offers services including sterile product development and manufacture, lyophilization, terminal sterilization, vial and syringe filling, as well as analytical and microbiological services.

The Charter Group has offices in Michigan and Indiana and advises companies in sale and acquisition transactions, as well as directing capital funding campaigns.

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