WMU News

Fisher to head BRCC on interim basis

Jan. 9, 2004

KALAMAZOO--A biotech entrepreneur and former Pfizer researcher has been named interim director of the Biosciences Research and Commercialization Center at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Christopher Fisher, founder and manager of NanoVir, was appointed to the interim post Jan. 5 by Dr. Daniel M. Litynksi, WMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. Fisher's initial appointment will be for three months.

"Chris Fisher has an excellent reputation as a biosciences researcher," says Litynski. "As founder of a start-up company in Southwest Michigan, he has a keen understanding of how the BRCC will need to interact with both solo scientists and entrepreneurs to commercialize promising discoveries. We're looking forward to working with Chris as he moves the center forward while the BRCC committee continues its national search for a director."

Fisher brings nearly two decades of experience in the pharmaceutical industry to the post. He began his scientific career in the 1980s as a senior fellow and later as a research assistant professor at the University of Washington. He worked for Pfizer and its predecessors--Pharmacia Corp., Pharmacia & Upjohn, and the Upjohn Co.--from 1989 to 2003. Fisher rose through the ranks with those companies to become a genomics research advisor in 2000, a post he held until last summer, when he founded NanoVir, a biotech start-up company located in the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center in WMU's Business Technology and Research Park. The company is focused on developing and commercializing treatments for human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer.

Fisher earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of South Carolina in 1974 and 1978, respectively, and a doctoral degree from the University of Connecticut Health Center in 1984.

"Chris has a solid background in pharmaceutical drug discovery and recent experience in starting up a biotech company. That's clearly going to be key to the launch and long-term success of the BRCC," says Dr. Doug Morton, CEO of the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center. "I look forward to working with Chris to help establish the BRCC as a center of excellence in the region, state and nation."

Conceived in the spring of 2003, WMU's Biosciences Research and Commercialization Center aims to turn the latest bioscience discoveries into new processes and products for the commercial market, tapping into the expertise of former Pfizer scientists and other top researchers from around the nation. The center received final authorization from the state's Technology Tri-Corridor Steering Committee Dec. 1, when members approved a five-year business plan and signed off on $10 million for use in launching the effort.

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

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