Articles

Articles

Entrepreneurial plunge pays off for former Pfizer employees

Dan and Samantha Ross had just built a 4,000-square-foot log cabin for themselves in Jackson County when their employer, the drug giant Pfizer Inc., announced it was closing its sprawling campus in Ann Arbor. They could have taken another position with Pfizer in Connecticut, but they had no intention of leaving. So the couple took an entrepreneurial plunge. Together, they founded TransPharm Preclinical Solutions LLC, a fast-growing biotech company based in Napoleon Township, a small community in southern Jackson County.

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TransPharm Helping Find Cure for Harmful Bacteria Affecting U.S. Hospitals

One of Jackson County’s first life sciences companies is working to help fight bacteria that are harming — and in some cases, killing — hospital patients across the country.

TransPharm Preclinical Solutions in Napoleon Township is currently doing research for a company that is trying to find a cure for Clostridium difficile, which can cause severe intestinal damage and diarrhea for hospital patients. No therapies are currently available to fight the strain of bacteria that the company is working with, TransPharm owner Dan Ross said.

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TransPharm Named One of 2011’s ‘Michigan 50 Companies to Watch’

TransPharm Preclinical Solutions in Napoleon Township has been recognized as one of 2011’s “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” by the Cassopolis-based Edward Lowe Foundation. TransPharm will be honored at an award ceremony during the seventh annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business event April 28 in Lansing. President and CEO Dan Ross said the award is a great accomplishment for his company.

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Jackson Pharma Contract Research Firm Thrives

Dan Ross is another example of the pharmaceutical industry’s cutbacks spawning Michigan entrepreneurship — and another example of how the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center helps companies grow. Ross, trained as a veterinary technician was a surgical technician at Wayne State University and later an associate scientist at Parke-Davis in Ann Arbor, staying through its transition to Pfizer Inc. ownership. But when Pfizer announced in 2007 it was shutting down its Ann Arbor research operations, Ross was already thinking about striking out on his own.

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Rising from the Ashes of Pfizer

Michigan suffered one heck of a body blow in January 2007. That’s when Pfizer, the world’s largest drugmaker, said it was shutting down its Ann Arbor, MI, research and development center, and eliminating 2,400 jobs. That’s usually the end of the story, as hardly anybody keep tracks of what happens to a talented group of people like that as they scatter to the wind. But many of the people who honed their skills inside Pfizer and other big companies have found new entrepreneurial outlets to keep doing what they do best at a growing array of contract research organizations (CROs).

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TransPharm featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer

For nearly 10 years, Dan Ross worked in the labs at Pfizer in Jackson, Mich. Then the recession hit, shutting down the plant and taking his job. Determined to stay in Michigan, Ross started his own lab and hired his own team to test antibiotics before they land on the shelves of the pharmacy.

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Growing A Company In The Life Sciences Corridor

The life sciences industry doesn’t generally spring to mind when one thinks of Jackson, Michigan. Yet, the Jackson area is home to one of Michigan’s emerging biotechnology companies – a company that is poised for success. TransPharm Preclinical Solutions is a contract research organization (CRO) that provides a complete array of studies in infectious disease animal models for the antibiotic discovery industry. TransPharm president and CEO, Dan Ross, proudly promotes his company as “being located in the heart of Michigan’s Biotechnology Corridor, mid-way between the life sciences hubs of Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo and just south of Michigan State University.”

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TransPharm of Napoleon Township Gets Full Accreditation

Transpharm Preclinical Solutions has been awarded full accreditation from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care. Fewer than 800 companies, universities, hospitals and government agencies in the world have earned this distinction, according to the group’s website.

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TransPharm Thriving In Jackson County

Dan Ross recently purchased a large world map and intends to hang it inside his microbiology laboratory in Napoleon Township. He plans to place pins in all the countries in which his small firm has clients, and even though it’s been open less than a year, there are enough geographically diverse pin placements that there is no chance of it falling down. The team at TransPharm Preclinical Solutions is already doing work for pharmaceutical companies, big and small, across the U.S., from Connecticut to California. They soon will be doing work for a company in India and have interest from companies in Switzerland and Australia.

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