Roundup: Mt. Elliott Makerspace, Rockwell Medical, Zell Lurie, More

Here’s a look at news from around Michigan’s innovation hubs:

—Last week, I spotted a headline that made my heart sink: The eastside Detroit church that houses the Mt. Elliott Makerspace is struggling, and the funds that support programs like the makerspace are nearly exhausted. I visited the church in April 2012 and wrote about the vital neighborhood engagement work being done there. In addition to the makerspace, it also offers food, clothing, and business incubation services run by an all-volunteer staff. Pastor Barry Randolph, who leads the Church of the Messiah and recently took a second job to pay the church’s $4,000 light bill, told Channel 7 that he’s hoping for a sponsor, perhaps of the corporate variety, to pitch in and help the church keep its doors open.

“The White House has been here twice, Popular Mechanics, PBS … and we are part of three documentary films as we speak,” Randolph said. “We are broke, that’s the bottom line. We don’t have any money. Salvation is free, but ministry costs.”

If you want information on how to donate to the church, email [email protected] or call (313) 567-1158.

—Wixom-based Rockwell Medical, a biotech company targeting end-stage renal disease and chronic kidney disease through an innovative approach to iron replacement and hemodialysis, announced earlier this month that the FDA is scheduled to review the company’s new drug application for Triferic (called Soluble Ferric Pyrophosphate in our previous coverage) on Nov. 6. Triferic is an iron salt administered to dialysis patients to replace the iron lost during the treatment. The company finished Phase 3 trials for Triferic in May, and the FDA is expected to complete its review of Triferic’s application in January.

123Net, one of Michigan’s largest Internet service providers, has acquired Michigan Network Services. Michigan Network Services was founded in 2006 as a regional provider in southwestern Michigan. 123Net serves customers in metro Detroit, Ann Arbor, Saginaw, Flint, Lansing, and Grand Rapids.

—The University of Michigan’s Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies is seeking business plans for its three student-run investment funds to consider during their respective 2014-2015 investment rounds. The funds invest in early-stage companies that are looking for seed or Series A funding, and they usually serve as a syndicate partner with other, established funds or angel investors. The Social Venture Fund, which makes investments of up to $100,000 in sustainable, for-profit ventures with a social impact mission, is looking for business plans by Oct. 15. The Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund, a pre-seed fund seeking to accelerate the commercialization of ideas generated within the university community, would like business plans submitted here. The Wolverine Venture Fund, which invests in early-stage, high-growth companies, has a rolling deadline and requires companies to have already lined up a lead investor or syndicate partners; click here for more information.

Start Garden, the Grand Rapids-based, $15 million seed fund that picks an idea to fund each week, has awarded a $5,000 investment to The Song Market, which connects music lovers to “the next big thing” though a socially competitive song-trading website. Founder Derek Debiak plans to use the funding toward a newly launched betatanding toward his investment in distribution agreements in Europe, North Africa, and Asia for its DNA library preparation produ test.

—Wayne State University professor Leonard Lipovich has received one of 85 National Institutes of Health grants for scientists proposing highly innovative approaches to current challenges in biomedical research through its High Risk-High … Next Page »

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