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MichBio Expo Draws Nearly 500 Professionals; Career Day Raises Profile

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- MichBio, the association for Michigan's biosciences industry, welcomed nearly 500 biosciences professionals and service providers to its fourth annual Expo on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at the Rock Financial ShowPlace in Novi, MI. The MichBio Expo is the premier annual gathering of Michigan bioscience industry professionals. In addition, this year's event attracted 56 exhibitors. The 2009 Expo is planned for November 17-18 at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Kalamazoo, MI.

The first day of the event featured an Emerging Biosciences Showcase, where 16 companies presented their new technologies before a large audience of venture capital and angel investors. Concurrently, bioscience leaders from throughout the state gathered for a Michigan Biosciences Policy Summit, sponsored by the Wayne County Executive's Office, where intense discussion focused on issues confronting the future of Michigan's biosciences industry.

"Michigan's bioindustry is strong, but requires sustainable funding, resources and commitment from our decision makers if we are to insure long-term viability," said Stephen Rapundalo, Ph.D., MichBio President and CEO.

Christine Poon, vice chair of Johnson & Johnson, presented perspectives as the event's keynote speaker on how biotechnology innovation is impacting healthcare delivery and patients' lives. Her comments touched on the need for the industry to take responsibility in insuring affordable and safe treatments that can alleviate suffering and improve quality of life.

Several first-time awards were presented during the Expo. The Legislator of the Year Award, which recognizes the state legislator who consistently supports and defends issues of importance to the biotechnology community, was presented jointly to Rep. Rebekah Warren (D) and Sen. Randy Richardville (R) for their significant leadership in the formation of the Biosciences Legislative Caucus, one of the few nationally, and for creating greater understanding of the biosciences and its critical role in expanding Michigan's economy.

John D. Schwartz, CEO of AI Medical Devices, Inc., was presented with the first Innovator of the Year Award, recognizing an individual who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge and understanding of biological processes through a technology, process, or product. Schwartz devised the Airway RIFL, a rapid intubating device for use in emergency rooms that can potentially revolutionize airway management.

Ann Arbor-based Accuri Cytometers was the winner of the Good to Great Award, given to the Michigan company whose business concept, entrepreneurialism, leadership, and work ethic have produced a leap forward in results. The award was accepted by Jennifer Baird, Accuri president and CEO. Accuri Cytometers is marketing revolutionary high performance cell analysis systems in a compact, powerful, user-friendly format that is also affordable to most research laboratories.

Day Two workshops and track sessions focused on topics in R&D, medical affairs and markets and emerging business growth. Two sessions also centered on educating manufacturers who are considering diversifying into the medical device market. "MichBio is committed to providing advanced and automotive manufacturers with a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges inherent to expanding their products and services into the medical devices and equipment sectors," Rapundalo said.

MichBio, along with its partner, Oakland University, held its 4th Annual Career Day on Thursday, November 20 on the university's campus. Approximately 130 high school students and their science teachers participated in lectures, hands-on demonstrations and tours during the all-day event that tried to raise awareness of educational and career opportunities in the biosciences.

"It's critical that we reach out to our future talent and show them how they can play a key role in growing the industry right here in Michigan," commented Rapundalo.

MichBio is committed to driving the growth of Michigan's biosciences industry and fostering the collective impact of its members by serving as their unified voice and providing them with education, information, connections and other services. MichBio members include biosciences companies, academic and research institutions, biosciences service providers, and related organizations.

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