Money alotted to keep talent in Michigan after Pfizer closings

KALAMAZOO, Mich. A multi-million dollar state program was allotted to 22 life-sciences companies in order to retain Pfizer’s assets and talent that were once present in state of Michigan.

Kalamazoo-area companies were granted a total of $5.05 million, and are expected to create 71 new jobs in the area, according to a press release from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Low-interest loans of between $50,000 and $400,000 went to the companies following approval by the Michigan Strategic Fund board. $500,000 also goes to two of Michigan’s economic development groups, Southwest Michigan First in Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor SPARK, in order to augment the Michigan Innovation Equipment Depot, which was developed last year to distribute equipment donated by Pfizer to state companies.

“This new resource will provide new opportunities for Pfizer employees and spark entrepreneurial activity and job creation,” Gov. Jennifer Granholm said.

The Michigan Strategic Fund board created the account in June to help communities recover from closure of Pfizer facilities in Holland, Kalamazoo and Portage, as well as in Ann Arbor and Plymouth Township. Pfizer announced in January plans to cut 2,410 jobs in Michigan by the end of 2008, with 2,100 of those from Ann Arbor, where Pfizer currently has a 2.3 million-square-foot facility.

“This is part of a concerted effort to ensure Pfizer scientists continue working and living in Michigan and reapply their knowledge and expertise to help grow great new Michigan life sciences companies,” MEDC President and chief executive officer James Epolito said.

The MSF in June also awarded $3.4 million from the 21st Century Jobs Fund to turn a former Pfizer research lab in Holland into a bio-economy research and commercialization center.

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