WMU News

First Kalamazoo-area firm gets BRCC funding

June 29, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University President Judith I. Bailey presented a check from the WMU's Biosciences Research and Commercialization Center to a Kalamazoo life science startup company June 22, marking the completion of the first of a series of contracts between the BRCC and nine life sciences firms slated to receive support.

Bailey, who is a member of the BRCC Board of Governors, presented a check for $202,500 to Proteos Inc. co-founders Robert Heinrikson, president, and Clark Smith, chief operating officer. The amount represents 90 percent of the $225,000 the BRCC has committed to the company. The BRCC funds will be used for essential equipment, and other startup costs to support the production of purified proteins and peptides that will facilitate research and drug discovery.

Founded in the summer of 2003, Proteos offers customers input ranging from consultation on strategies covering all aspects of protein production and purification to service or research in providing crude, or pure proteins and peptides. The firm's nine employees include eight who formerly worked for Pharmacia or Pfizer.

The company is one of nine area firms selected by the BRCC's governing board in March to receive support in the first round of funding awarded by the BRCC. Since the initial announcement, individual contracts between the companies and the center have been negotiated. The Proteos contract is the first to be finalized

Conceived in the spring of 2003, the BRCC aims to turn the latest bioscience discoveries into new processes and products for the commercial market, tapping into the expertise of former Pfizer scientists and other top researchers from around the nation. The center was established with $10 million authorized by the Michigan Legislature.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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