Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez

Senior writer, covers health care, finance and life sciences. Twitter: @masanche

Sunday, 17 February 2019 22:29

Pharma spinoff started in Kzoo mulls IPO

A drug developer rooted in Southwest Michigan and backed by investors across the region may pursue an initial public stock offering that could net up to $86.2 million to support further development and commercialization.

The association health plan two business groups formed last fall for small Michigan-based employers has recorded strong enrollment in its early months. TrascendAHP — created in October by the Lansing-based Small Business Association of Michigan and Warren-based Michigan Business and Professional Association — enrolled about 300 small businesses through January. Those companies account for more than 1,400 contracts between TranscendAHP and their employees for health coverage.

GRAND RAPIDS — A proposed contract between Start Garden Inc. and the Grand Rapids SmartZone would put in place new goals for fostering local tech startups. Rather than focusing on certain activities, the proposed contract establishes outcomes such as adding 10 new tech startups annually to the SmartZone service area, with six of those companies over two years owned by minorities or women, and providing service to 15 startups a year through its business incubator on Pearl Street in downtown.

GRAND RAPIDS — Steady growth led Mercantile Bank Corp. to proceed with an addition at its corporate headquarters. Rising on the south side of the headquarters building at Leonard Street and U.S. 131 in Grand Rapids, the three-story, 25,000-square-foot addition will enable Mercantile Bank to bring together commercial banking teams and support staff — lenders, treasury and credit analysts — at one location.

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids Community College plans to use a $100,000 grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to try to convince more middle school and high school students to consider a career in health care. The college plans to reach out to schools to encourage eighth-, ninth- and 10th-grade students to enroll in a trio of week-long “Health Care Scrubs Camps” scheduled for this summer that will introduce them to health care jobs in the region.

Buying a site in the Grand Haven area gives Muskegon Community College a permanent campus location in northwestern Ottawa County. MCC took possession this month of a former funeral home location on Lincoln Street in Grand Haven Township, just west of U.S. 31. The college paid $378,000 for the property, where it plans to invest another $432,000 in renovations and start hosting classes beginning this fall.

The organization that represents Michigan’s 15 public universities hopes the new governor and legislature will raise state financial support for higher education. In repeating its case for more support, the Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU) cites state data showing a greater need in today’s economy for a college education. Of the top 50 high-demand occupations in Michigan, 36 require at least a four-year degree.

Ken Sikkema and three former state legislative colleagues created the Michigan Consensus Policy Project to offer solutions to pressing problems in the state in an era of what he calls “intense” political polarization. The bipartisan group’s first proposal is a 47-cent increase in the state gas tax over nine years to generate the $2.7 billion annually that’s needed to fix Michigan’s roads.

GRAND RAPIDS — West Michigan investment banking firm Charter Capital Partners led a $18.3 million financing round in Malvern, Pa.-based Trice Medical Inc. The Series C capital round will go to expand Trice Medical’s commercialization and accelerate the development of its product portfolio.

At first glance, the 2019 Health Check report published by Grand Valley State University seems to suggest that medical innovation in Michigan and nationally slowed dramatically in recent years. But health care and legal experts say the medical patent numbers in the report don’t quite reflect reality. They cite an array of factors that likely drove steep declines from 2014 to 2017 in the number of medical patents issued and assigned, both nationwide and in Michigan.

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