Ex-Pfizer staff notch start-up hits with MicroDose Life Sciences

Part of finding the next big hit in Michigan's entrepreneurial ecosystem is knowing where to look, and the ex-Pfizer people at MicroDose Life Sciences know where to look.


A group of former Pfizer Inc. employees is offering start-ups an alternative to traditional venture financing.

MicroDose Life Sciences, staffed mostly by people affected by Pfizer’s Michigan job cuts, was formed in 2007 to buy majority stakes in start-ups and to steer their products toward the market. The company, backed with $100 million from an undisclosed private equity investor, has recently made its first two investments, said Kenneth Massey, its director of research and clinical operations.

With start-up funds scarce, MicroDose’s model is bound to appeal to some entrepreneurs. By selling to MicroDose, based in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills, they no longer need to worry about financing as long as their products meet milestones, Massey said. MicroDose fills various business needs as well, such as help with marketing, human resources and intellectual property. An affiliated research group, Ann Arbor Bio Research, supplies clinical-development services.

"Once we’ve partnered with somebody it’s a true partnership. They don’t have to do round A and come back with another tranche," Massey said. "We don’t do your standard phases of investing. When we invest in a company, it is our intent that we will take it all the way through to an exit."

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