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Ann Arbor SPARK Receives $3.75M from Michigan's Company Formation & Growth Fund

Five Companies Receive Initial Funding to Retain Pfizer Assets, Talent

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Nov. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Ann Arbor SPARK has been awarded $3.75 million by the state of Michigan through the 21st Century Jobs Fund. The Company Formation and Growth Fund, a state of Michigan loan fund with a low interest rate, is intended to encourage the retention of Pfizer assets and talent in the region. Job creation is vital for consideration for approval of funding through the Company Formation and Growth Fund.

"The Company Formation and Growth Fund provides the essential capital for jobs creation as well as support for start-up companies that can retain displaced Pfizer talent in our region," explained Michael A. Finney, Ann Arbor SPARK CEO. "Providing an economic catalyst for entrepreneurial growth is vital to our region's success; the Company Formation and Growth Fund's focus on creating new jobs for talented biotech professionals is an exciting opportunity."

Ann Arbor SPARK has distributed $1.5 million of the funds it received to five life science companies in the region:

-- Phrixus Pharmaceuticals, a heart repair pharmaceutical company based in

Ann Arbor that is focused on therapeutic drug discovery for heart

failure, was awarded $350,000.

-- Jackson-based TransPharm Preclinical Solutions, specializing in animal

infection studies and contract research studies to test new antibiotic

drugs, was awarded $400,000.

-- SensiGen LLC, based in Ann Arbor, was awarded $300,000, to support its

gene-based molecular diagnostics work.

-- Ann Arbor-based Lycera, Inc., awarded $400,000, develops small molecule

drugs for the treatment of psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and


-- Integrated Nonclinical Development Solutions, Inc., based in Ann Arbor,

awarded $50,000, provide toxicology providing consulting and informatic


The first round of companies receiving Company Formation and Growth loans currently employ 20 individuals and have estimated that an additional 49 jobs will be added to the region in 2008.

Those interested in applying for funding through the Company Formation and Growth Fund can obtain an application through their local SmartZone. Information about the loan fund is available online at: In addition to the application, the company will need to supply a Certificate of Good Standing with Michigan, a business plan or overview, and document that spells out the use of funds.

In keeping with the Company Formation and Growth Fund's emphasis on job creation, as part of the application process, mature companies must complete an employee retention form identifying how many employees they have and how many former Pfizer employees they will be hiring before the end of 2008. Start-ups are required to include a statement with their application that outlines how many employees they will be hiring in 2008 and how many of those hires will be former Pfizer employees.

About Ann Arbor SPARK

Representing all communities in Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is the driving force in establishing the Ann Arbor region as a destination for business expansion, retention, and location by identifying and meeting the needs of business at every stage, from startups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners including the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, the Herbert and Grace Dow Foundation, Pfizer, Washtenaw County, the City of Ann Arbor, the Bank of Ann Arbor, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti LDFA. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit

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