Lansing-based AFID Therapeutics
received a $150,000 loan from the state's Company Formation and Growth (CFG) initiative to hire three former Pfizer
scientists to work at AFID's new location – the former Pfizer research laboratory in Holland. The money comes from an $8 million fund established in 2007 to keep former Pfizer employees, technologies and high-tech equipment in the state after Pfizer closed several of its facilities.
AFID is the first commercial venture to occupy lab space in what is now the Michigan State University Bioeconomy Institute
, a facility Pfizer donated to MSU. The university has redeveloped it as a biotechnology business incubator.
"The product AFID is producing in the MSU Bioeconomy Institute is a government-related contract specialty chemical for industrial and commercial uses in aviation and aerospace," says Randy Olinger, manager of Lakeshore Advantage
's BioBusiness Accelerator, headquartered at the Bioeconomy Institute. AFID's new venture is the first in the accelerator. "But I can't give you any specifics (due to confidentiality agreements)."
Lakeshore Advantage played a crucial role in negotiating the donation of the facility and in securing the CFG loan for AFID.
MSU retained seven former Pfizer employees to run the pilot plant and the building and to provide expertise for biotechnology startups in the business incubator. The pilot plant contains 33 different chemical reactors with a combined capacity of about 37,000 liters, and is used to scale up chemical processes from lab bench level to tons of material.
"AFID occupies some lab space in the building and is very actively using the pilot plant and the personnel," Olinger adds. "They've not hired the three former Pfizer scientists yet, but will be looking for scientists trained in chemical synthesis and possibly production processing and analytical chemistry techniques."
Source: Randy Olinger, Lakeshore Advantage; Michigan Economic Development CorporationDeborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at [email protected].