WMU News

Research effort of biosciences firm moves to BTR Park

July 26, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Actives International, a bioscience company focused on developing active components for skin treatment and other products, announced July 22 the relocation of its research and development facilities to the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center at WMU.

The 3-year-old company will occupy laboratory space in the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center's Phase I facility in McCracken Hall. Actives expects to relocate its research and development function to the new multitenant incubator/accelerator at WMU's Business Technology and Research Park on the Parkview Campus. That facility currently is under construction and is scheduled to open early next year.

Actives will be the fifth tenant in the $12 million, 58,000-square-foot facility, which is funded by the state of Michigan and the Kalamazoo community.

The company develops and markets ingredients from natural sources for cosmetic, nutritional and pharmaceutical products. Company researchers focus on identifying and purifying active ingredients from natural products that are derived from such sources as plants and marine algae as well as from fermentation processes.

The company, which currently employs eight people, will maintain its headquarters in Ramsey, N.J. Actives' new Michigan facility is expected to develop high-purity prototype ingredients from natural sources and establish efficacy and product safety standards. Personnel at the new facility also will provide analytical support for the ingredients that will be produced commercially through the firm's partner manufacturing companies.

"We envision growing our business by developing close relationships with the life science community in Kalamazoo," says Jon Anderson, vice president of technology at Actives. "We see a lot of talent in the area and hope to work closely with the University and local pharmaceutical companies to tap this highly-skilled talent pool."

Anderson said his company intends to commercialize some of its prototype ingredients by partnering with local extraction/manufacturing companies. He currently is meeting with several research labs to explore collaboration opportunities.

"Actives International's expansion in Kalamazoo sends a significant message in light of the recent news at Pharmacia," says Barry Broome, Southwest Michigan First executive director and CEO.

"Our community has the critical resources to support life sciences companies and we are committed to join the rest of the Michigan to build the best life sciences and technology corridor in the Midwest."

Kalamazoo first came into consideration for Actives' new facility when Anderson's wife was recruited as a research scientist at the animal health division of Pharmacia Corp. Southwest Michigan First proposed the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center as a site for Anderson's company.

"I was impressed with the employment opportunities in Kalamazoo at that time but I couldn't find the perfect fit. This is often a problem for the 'trailing spouse,'" Anderson says. "With the help of Southwest Michigan First, we are very fortunate to have access to the Innovation Center and the research capabilities at the University, thus making this move a seamless one."

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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