Swift Biosciences nets $7 mln in Series B financing

October 17, 2013 – Reuters PE Hub

Swift Biosciences, an MAF-1 portfolio company, has closed $7 million in Series B financing. Fletcher Spaght Ventures led the round with participation from Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, the Mercury Fund, Michigan Accelerator Fund I and several Michigan-based individual investors. In conjunction with the funding, the company has named Peter Kleinhenz, a partner at Fletcher Spaght Ventures, to its board of directors. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Swift Biosciences develops technologies for genomics and personalized medicine.  more


After robust year, Michigan VC takes a breather (sort of)

October 13, 2013 - Crain's Detroit Business

After accelerating to nearly a quarter-billion dollars in 2012 activity, the pace of venture capital funding for Michigan companies has slowed significantly in 2013. Michigan companies netted just $20.7 million in VC funds through the first six months of this year, down from $80.6 million in last year's first half, according to the PWC MoneyTree Report.  The second quarter was especially paltry, with just $3 million going to Michigan companies, the lowest quarterly total since 1995, according to MoneyTree statistics. 

While the pace may have slowed, consider it a breather rather than a grinding halt, local experts say. "It is more of an anomaly than anything," said John Kerschen, who helps raise capital for companies and VC funds, including the Grand Rapids-based Michigan Accelerator Fund I, which he co-manages. Growth in the number of venture funds that have set up shop in Michigan over the past five years, increased activity among high net-worth investors and the state's overall economic recovery have set the stage for a new burst of activity. Plus, "we haven't stopped producing new technology or medical devices or entrepreneurs who need capital," Kerschen said. more

nanoRETE Receives Air Force SBIR Phase II Award

May 9, 2013

nanoRETE, Inc. a Michigan Accelerator Fund I portfolio company, announced  that it has been awarded a Phase II contract under the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program for the continued development of a “field-appropriate biosensor for the detection on Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection,” a latently infectious form of TB. The award enables nanoRETE to build upon proprietary technology developed under the previously completed SBIR Phase I contract.

Development work will take place over a two year period, with an estimated funding level of $750,000. The company has also been awarded a matching grant for $125,000 under the State of Michigan’s Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) to help support and expand the efforts under this program.

“We are pleased to have received the Air Force award, which serves as strong validation of our Phase I contract activities, as well as our overall work in the area of nano-particle based biosensors for pathogen and toxin detection,” said Fred Beyerlein, nanoRETE CEO. “We are also very appreciative of the ETF grant, which will enable us to further expand our work and translate it into other potential commercial and employment opportunities. Via both funding and its many support programs, the State of Michigan has proven to be a strong partner in helping nanoRETE to form, develop, and grow.”



Local life sciences firms fund research, growth through private offerings

MAF-1 porfolio company Ablative Solutions recently completed a $1.5 million offering. The funding comes after Ablative Solutions in 2012 completed a $5.3 million Series A preferred stock offering led by venture capital firms Biostar Ventures in Petoskey and Michigan Accelerator Fund I in Grand Rapids. The company will use the additional capital as a “bridge” to trials in Europe planned for this summer and eventually to seek further funding, said Dale Grogan, managing director of Michigan Accelerator Fund I. By doing a trial in Europe first, the company would generate data that creates the basis for an easier and quicker pathway to seek approval in the U.S. from the Food and Drug Administration. It also would boost the company’s value by providing a proof of concept and validation of its treatment. “If you have European approval in your pocket, it’s worth a lot more,” Grogan said. more

MAF-1 finds fertile ground in Michigan for innovation

March 10, 2013 - Crain's Detroit

In a quest to fill West Michigan's early-stage funding gap, the $15 million Michigan Accelerator Fund I has invested $4.8 million in seven companies, with an additional $3 million earmarked for add-on investments in those companies. Finding those firms meant looking at more than 500 companies, a process that shined a light on the state's innovation culture for the fund's managers, John Kerschen and Dale Grogan. "Michigan is a fertile ground for innovation," Grogan said. "The quality of the deals in Michigan is every bit as good as what you would see nationwide." Grogan and Kerschen manage the fund from their offices at The Charter Group, a Grand Rapids-based merger and acquisition advisory firm. 

Increasing the number of venture funds in Michigan will lead to the development of new companies and, ultimately, more jobs, said MEDC President and CEO Michael Finney. "We are confident that by co-investing in these promising funds, we can continue to grow Michigan's venture industry and accelerate the growth of innovative technology startups," he said. more


Swift Biosciences Introduces Accel-NGS™ DNA Library Kit

February 27, 2013 - Select Science

Swift Biosciences, Inc. today announced the launch of the Accel-NGS™ DNA Library Kit, the first product in a new line of kits for Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) sample preparation. NGS users can now produce PCR-free libraries with as little as 5 ng of input DNA. The highly efficient Swift adaptation technology eliminates the need for PCR, thereby minimizing base composition bias and fidelity issues while reducing the input requirement. The unique, two-step adaptation process also reduces adapter dimer formation to maximize sequencing output. more


MAF-1 Portfolio Company Awarded Funding by The Michael J. Fox Foundation

February 7, 2013 - PR Newswire

MAF-1 portfolio company Metabolic Solutions Development Company, LLC announced today that it has received an award from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research to conduct preclinical research on a first-in-class mTOT Modulator, MSDC-0160, as a potential treatment for levodopa induced dyskinesia. The study will be undertaken in collaboration with Patrik Brundin , MD, PhD, of Van Andel Institute. As the world's largest private funder of Parkinson's research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson's disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson's patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $313 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. more


VC on the rise: State bucks national trend, sees investments increase  

February 3, 2013 - MiBiz

Venture capital investing in Michigan had one of its best years ever in 2012, setting the stage for what one venture investor sees as “another very big year” for further growth. The 2012 activity positions the state well for the future, said Dale Grogan, co-managing director of the $15.1 million Michigan Accelerator Fund I in Grand Rapids.  “There are several funds that have money to invest, which means that capital is available. There is some really great innovation that is coming from all three sectors of public institutions, existing companies and startup companies. That trend should continue for 2013,” Grogan said. more



MAF-1 Invests $750K in Swift Biosciences

January 16, 2013 - CBS Detroit

Michigan Accelerator Fund I has made a $750,000 Series A1 investment in Swift Biosciences Inc. This is the seventh company MAF 1 has funded since the fund’s inception in 2010, and the first investment since the fund closed at $15.1 million in August 2012. The investment in Swift Biosciences continues MAF 1’s strategic focus to invest in Michigan-based, early stage, life science technology companies. more



Michigan Accelerator Fund I Invests $750,000 in Swift Biosciences

Michigan Accelerator Fund I (MAF-1) has made a $750,000 Series A-1 investment in Swift Biosciences, Inc. This is the seventh company MAF-1 has funded since the fund’s inception in 2010, and the first investment since the fund closed at $15.1M in August of 2012. The investment in Swift Biosciences continues MAF-1’s strategic focus to invest in Michigan-based, early stage, life science technology companies. Located in Ann Arbor, Swift Biosciences is commercializing genetic testing technology to advance the field of genomics and personalized medicine. According to David Olson, CEO, Swift Biosciences, “The inclusion of MAF-1 as a Michigan-based investor is highly encouraging, and provides us with additional financial runway as we launch new products in 2013. They are a welcome addition to the Swift team.” more
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