The most recent addition to West Michigan’s growing life science community, Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing (GRAM), has officially opened its doors, following the successful completion of a $5 million fundraising effort.

GRAM was initially a joint venture between the Van Andel Research Institute and Grand Valley State University that has now been sold to an industry experienced leadership team.

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GRAM manufactures small-run, high-value clinical trial drugs that most large pharmaceutical companies cannot produce profitably. 

Based in 12,000 square feet of space on Front Street in Grand Rapids, the company will serve the rapidly growing pipeline of clinical trial drugs by producing aseptic (sterile) and lyophilized (freeze-dried) compounds, a $4 billion segment of the $9.2 billion total market for pharmaceutical contract manufacturing organizations. 

The company’s target market is projected to double in the next five years.

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The $5 million capital infusion was sponsored by The Charter Group of Grand Rapids and BrightPath Capital of Indianapolis and included the following investment groups:

* Pearl Street Venture Funds
* GRAM Acquisition, LLC
* Grand Angels
* Grand River Aseptic – Carter Group
* Eagle Creek Capital

“We are very pleased to be able to help GRAM reach this critical stage and look forward to their operation being a unique, high-value member of West Michigan’s growing biotech community,” said John Kerschen, principal at The Charter Group. “They have a truly exceptional leadership team, all of whom have a history of success in this industry and are ready to make the most of the facility’s unique capabilities.”

Jerry Arthur, the pharmaceutical industry veteran who is GRAM’s CEO, said the company was opening at the right place at the right time. 

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“Given the overall trends in our industry, we believe we have an outstanding market opportunity ahead of us in 2011 and beyond,” Arthur said. “We look forward to further strengthening Grand Rapids’ place as an emerging location of choice for innovative biotech activity.”