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Vestaron Corp Named 2017 SmartZone Small Business of the Year

Congratulations to WMed Innovation Center client Vestaron Corporation! On Thursday, May 4, Vestaron Corp. was honored with the 2017 Michigan SmartZone Small Business of the Year at the Michigan Celebrates Small Business event in Lansing. There are twenty SmartZones in Michigan, and Vestaron was selected as the best company nominated from those twenty programs. Nearly 60 businesses statewide, including the 2017 Michigan 50 Companies to Watch award recipients, were honored at the gala, which coincides with National Small Business Week from April 30 to May 6. Michigan Celebrates Small Business is a partnership of the Michigan Small Business Development Center, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Edward Lowe Foundation, the Small Business Association of Michigan, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Michigan Business Network.

Vestaron is commercializing biological insecticides to help the world’s farmers produce safer and better food, ornamentals and fiber in a more environmentally responsible manner. Beginning with naturally occurring peptides from the Australian Blue Mountains funnel-web spider, which have known insecticidal properties, the company scientists select those that are free from mammalian toxicity. Scientists then synthesize the genes that encode them and put them into yeast as a production system to yield a biological insecticide for use on crops. Vestaron has been a client in the Innovation Center for ten years and employs twenty people. Starting off as Venomix, the company has pivoted several times, changed leadership several times, and raised over $36 million in several rounds of venture financing. All the time and effort has paid off, though, as the company prepares to launch its first product into the market late this year. Kudos to the team for their success and the honor.

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