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MitoStem's disruptive stem cell tech scores $100K prize at GLEQ

MitoStem took a significant step forward last week when it won a $100,000 prize at the Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest business plan competition.

"We're at the stage where we are ready to go to the next level," says Jim Eliason, president & CEO of MitoStem. "This is going to help a lot."

The life sciences start-up is also waiting for approval for the second phase of its Small Business Innovation Research federal grant. MitoStem's approval for the research funding worth about $1 million over two years could could as soon as this summer.

The TechTown-based firm was spun out of Wayne State University. Its developing technology specializes in turning human adult cells into "pluripotent" cells that can be used to replace damaged tissue cells in that same individual. Think of the technology as having the ability to turn regular cells into stem cells.

The $100,000 award will help MitoStem further the development of its technology by buying equipment and paying for intellectual property legal work. It is currently selling some of its services to the likes of Henry Ford Hospital and other local health-care centers as it continues to develop the technology.

"We're not ready to release that as a product," Eliason says. "We're hoping to launch it as a service later this year."

Eliason is a veteran biotech entrepreneur who played an integral role in the start-up success of publicly traded Asterand, the world's largest supplier of human tissue samples and TechTown's first official tenant. He also is the director of the Great Lakes Stem Cell Innovation Center, a novel laboratory in which multiple TechTown life sciences and regenerative medicine start-ups like MitoStem can cost-effectively share space and collaborate to accelerate the pace of technology transfer and commercialization.

MitoStem is 4-years-old and has grown to two employees and five interns. Eliason expects to hire a sales team to help sell the start-up's services a year from now.

Source: Jim Eliason, president & CEO of MitoStem
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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