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Michigan venture fund raises $15 million to invest in lifescience companies

Arundhati Parmar on May 4, 2011

A Kalamazoo-based venture fund has raised $15 million to invest in lifescience companies that have a significant presence in southwest Michigan, said the fund’s managing director.

SWMF LifeScience Venture Fund intends to raise another $35 million, said Pat Morand, adding that six years ago, the fund raised its first $50 million.

While Morand is the managing director, three other individuals hold the position of director in the fund: William Johnston, William Parfet and Goran Ando, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

The goal is to look at companies nationwide and locally, but to invest in companies that have major operations in southwest Michigan. That focus is apparent even in the name of the fund; SWMF stands for Southwest Michigan First. The fund is part of Southwest Michigan First, a private, nonprofit organization focused on driving economic growth in the Kalamazoo Region.

Morand said he did not have a particular timeline within which he wants to raise the additional $35 million. The company has been making investments since the first $50 million was raised in 2005, but so far none of the portfolio companies has exited the fund.

“They are mostly therapeutics companies,” Morand explained. “I know raising money is news, but I’d much rather talk about exits.”

The fund has invested in seven companies, according to its website.

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