VAI Staffer Makes Venture Pitch

October 3, 2003
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KALAMAZOO — A member of the staff of Van Andel Institute is one of the presenters this week at Venture Tuesday, a monthly forum designed to bring together entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs and investors.

Making the presentation is Byron Campbell, VAI’s chief information officer, who will discuss a software package he developed at VAI concerning storage and management of biomedical research data.

Campbell told the Business Journal he and VAI — which owns the software — hope to commercialize it.

He explained that data management is critical in research, especially in life sciences, and that the program conforms to federal government data provenance and reliability requirements akin to those in pharmaceutical research.

“We debated whether to buy software or go ahead and develop our own. So we went ahead.”

He said that though VAI owns the product, he has several of the patents so that both he and the institute could profit from it.

The meeting that Campbell will address is part of the Investing In Innovation Forum series offered through Southwest Michigan First (SMF), a Kalamazoo County entity similar to The Right Place Inc.

Campbell said Venture Tuesday is a gathering at which proposals for commercialization of products are subject to informal and rigorous examination and criticism.

He said it also is a chance for people with ideas and products to network with other entrepreneurs and with investors. SMF says the forum, which is free, also is open to anyone interested in nurturing business development in the state and the Great Lakes region.

According to SMF, the Venture Tuesday program typically involves business plan presentations by at least three technology or life sciences companies.

Aspiring entrepreneurs also receive coaching from seasoned business development experts.

The Miller Canfield law firm sponsors Venture Tuesday.

SMF advises that a regular presence at the forum is ARCH Development Fund, a venture capital fund.

In its own words, ARCH focuses on pre-seed and seed stage opportunities with intellectual property in biotechnology and life sciences, wireless, software, Internet infrastructure and educational content.

Other presenters at this week’s forum are:

  • CrimeCog LLC — a Michigan-based company offering an integrated justice information system affordable for small and mid-sized municipal law enforcement and justice agencies.
  • New Targets Technologies (NT2) — an early-stage pharmaceutical research and development firm investigating novel drug targets for the treatment of diseases, with special emphasis on diseases of the central nervous system.

  • Avacore — outlining a patented Rapid Thermal Exchange (RTX) system, a technology to control body core temperature, developed at Stanford.

  • Phenome Systems — a firm that develops biotechnology and services that can accelerate the development of medicine by providing validated, pharmaceutical targets and therapeutic siRNA drug candidates.

Business people interested in attending future Venture Tuesday sessions are urged to e-mail Gail Lindsey at

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