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Wayne County Partners With TechTown to Launch Global Stem Cell 'Innovation and Commercialization Lab'
Date:2/16/2009

2,500-square-foot 'open lab' will serve as international hub for collaborative research, biotech start-ups

DETROIT, Feb. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- TechTown, the Wayne State University research and technology park, will soon be home to the first stem cell commercialization lab in Michigan. The Wayne County Stem Cell Commercialization Center is the brainchild of Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, who publicly announced Wayne County's support for the 2,500-square-foot stem cell research facility in his State of the County address last week.

"Wayne State and its University Research Corridor partners, the University of Michigan and Michigan State, are the greatest medical research assets we have in Michigan," Ficano said, "and now we have a chance to share that brainpower with the rest of the world. TechTown's Stem Cell Commercialization Center will be a place where researchers collaboratively accelerate the development of life-saving drugs, and create high-tech companies that bring those treatments to the global marketplace."

According to Randal Charlton, executive director of TechTown, the lab is already in early-stage discussions with stem cell research teams in Sweden, the United Kingdom and Hungary. He explained that the lab will serve as a common resource for core biological research using stem cells, which scientists can transfigure into a replica of any cell in the body. Stem cells are the raw material for drugs that can treat everything from juvenile diabetes to traumatic brain injury.

"We are looking to collaborate with scientists and research universities internationally," Charlton said. "The United States is the largest health care market in the world, and Wayne County is the best place for biotech companies to do business, especially given the access companies now have to this unique innovation and commercialization resource."

According to Charlton, the lab is particularly valuable to small start-up companies, which rarely have the capital to afford the space and high-tech equipment that the Stem Cell Commercialization Center will provide. He added that companies will also have access to TechTown's business growth development programs and services to aid in commercializing their research findings.

Five biotech start-up companies, spun-off from Wayne State University research, are expected to open headquarters at the Lab upon its completion within the next 6 months.

"We are very pleased that Wayne County is continuing to support TechTown's efforts to strengthen the area's economy by investing in the life sciences and the future of Michigan's stem cell research enterprise," Charlton said.

ABOUT TECHTOWN

TechTown is an urban community of entrepreneurs, investors, mentors and corporate partners creating an internationally influential village in Detroit. TechTown brings the resources of Wayne State University to high-technology startup companies so as to diversify and strengthen Michigan's economy in high-growth emerging industries. For more information, visit www.techtownwsu.org


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SOURCE Wayne State University
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