Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
Sparrow First Hospital in State to Enroll Heart Patient in New Clinical Trial
Sparrow Hospital in Lansing has become the first medical facility in Michigan to implant a WATCHMAN FLX heart device in patients as part of a clinical trial aimed at reducing risk of stroke in a broad range of people with atrial fibrillation.
The procedure was performed by Dr. Mohammed Qintar, director of the Sparrow Structural Heart Program, and Sparrow’s Structural Heart Team, and is part of what’s called the CHAMPION-AF clinical trial.
“If the study meets its endpoints, it could potentially be a game-changer for a large number of patients with atrial fibrillation,” Qintar says. “We are very excited that we have this trial for our patients in mid-Michigan.”
Atrial Fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm that increases the risk of blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. It is the most common form of heart arrhythmia in the United States, affecting more than 2.7 million Americans. The WATCHMAN device is implanted in the upper chamber of the heart and used for patients with atrial fibrillation who cannot use blood thinners, which are commonly prescribed for those with the condition.
“A positive outcome from the CHAMPION-AF trial may put this device on equal footing with best-in-class drug therapy for stroke risk reduction and offer an alternative for more patients who would otherwise face lifelong use of blood thinners and the associated risk of serious bleeding, says Dr. Nam Cho, an interventional cardiologist at Sparrow.”
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U-M Report: Detroit Economic Recovery Outpaces State
The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and the City of Detroit last week presented an update on the Detroit Economic Outlook for 2021-2026 and revised economic and revenue forecasts for the remainder of fiscal year 2022 and for fiscal year 2023 through fiscal year 2026.
U-M continues to predict a faster economic recovery for Detroit than the state overall due to city-led efforts to bring good-paying jobs to Detroiters.
The Detroit Economic Outlook for 2021-2026 reports that “Detroit’s economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 recession despite the resurgence in new caseloads.” The forecast predicts a faster recovery for Detroit than the state overall.
Resident employment is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022. Jobs at establishments within the city boundaries will recover by early 2023. The city’s economy will continue to grow through 2026 with blue-collar jobs leading the way, according to the report.
These job gains are driven by major city-led projects, such as the Stellantis and General Motors Co. automotive plant expansions and Amazon’s new distribution center. The forecast is prepared by the City of Detroit University Economic Analysis Partnership, which is a collaboration of economic researchers at the city, Wayne State University, Michigan State University, and the Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics (RSQE) at the University of Michigan.
The city’s revenue outlook continues to improve following two challenging fiscal years of revenue losses driven by the pandemic. Recurring city revenues are forecasted to exceed pre-pandemic levels in the current fiscal year ending June 30, primarily due to stronger income tax collections and the implementation of internet gaming and sports betting last year.
Income taxes continue to drive revenue growth in future years, in line with the city’s economic recovery and despite an ongoing loss from nonresidents expected to continue working remotely through hybrid work models. All other revenues are expected to see stable but more modest growth.
The ongoing pandemic and supply chain issues remain substantial risks to the economic and revenue forecasts presented today. Future gaming behavior, and potential substitution effects, remain a risk as well. The city’s ongoing efforts to attract major employers and provide Detroiters with opportunities for good-paying jobs, however, provide potential revenue upside to the forecast. Proposed increases in State Revenue Sharing and other funding in the state budget provide potential upside as well.
Ann Arbor’s Xoran Reaches 1,000 Installations Worldwide
Ann Arbor-based Xoran, a supplier of low-dose radiation, cone beam CT systems, announces that it has installed 1,000 of its 900 MiniCAT and 50 VetCAT systems worldwide.
Specializing in otolaryngology and allergy, Xoran’s flagship product, MiniCAT is a low dose, upright CT system specifically designed for sinus, temporal bone, and skull base imaging.
Recognizing the need for ear, nose, and throat surgeons to have access to their CT images, Xoran released XoranConnect — a 510k FDA-cleared cloud-based PACS and back-up system, that allows clinicians and patients to view CT images from any computer with internet access. Millions of scans are backed up each year and thousands of doctors view the images as part of their daily clinical, diagnostic routine.
Xoran specifically designed its xCAT suite of products for use in the operating room and critical care unit. With capabilities for bone window and soft tissue (brain) imaging, the xCAT IQ is suited for neurosurgery, craniomaxillofacial procedures, as well as sinus, skull base, and otology surgery, according to the company.
The latest addition to Xoran’s mobile CT suite is vTRONTM, an open bore 3-D CT released for veterinary sale in 2021. Key features of the vTRON are the large gantry and small footprint, making it easy to implement in companion animal hospitals. The vTRON joins the VetCAT suite of products, a truly mobile 3D CT imaging system for heads and small animals that have been installed throughout the United States and Europe, primarily in the clinics of dental and exotics specialists who value its super high image resolution, down to an industry-best of 70 microns (0.07 mm).
In 2021, Xoran introduced the VetCAT IQ, a mobile 3-D system that offers bone and tissue imaging capability. This enables dermatologists, ophthalmologists, exotics, and small animal veterinarians to image directly at the patient table, avoiding delays and additional anesthesia.
Plymouth Township’s Esperovax Selected as J&J Blue Knight Company
Esperovax, a developer of oral mRNA vaccines in Plymouth Township, has been selected as a Blue Knight company by Johnson & Johnson.
Blue Knight is a joint initiative between Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS and the U.S. Department of Health’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and is dedicated to anticipating potential health security threats, activating the global innovation community, and amplifying scientific and technological advancements with the aim to prepare for and respond to a rapidly evolving global health environment.
Esperovax will extend its lab operations to the JLABS global innovation network incubator in San Francisco and will benefit from continuing engagement with JLABS and BARDA.
Esperovax was founded in 2019 to advance development of its Egress RD oral mRNA platform, a transformative technology for delivering mRNA vaccines to the abundant population of immune cells in the gastrointestinal tract via a small oral capsule. The company’s proprietary platform enables a broad suite of oral vaccines that are safe, elicit robust immunity, remain stable at room temperature, and can be produced at markedly lower cost than traditional vaccines.
Esperovax has three pending patents and was awarded a 2020 BARDA contract supporting the development of an oral mRNA CoV19 vaccine as part of BARDA DRIVe’s Beyond the Needle program.
“Being invited into the Blue Knight community is an exciting next step for us as we work towards bringing our novel oral mRNA vaccine platform forward,” says David O’Hagan, CEO of Esperovax. “We remain dedicated to bringing oral tablet and capsule vaccinations to the world to protect against mankind’s deadliest and most troublesome diseases — and to do so with the greatest efficacy, efficiency, and safety.”
For more information, visit here.
South Oakland Family YMCA in Royal Oak Set to Reopen Feb. 22
The South Oakland Family YMCA located in Royal Oak is preparing for its grand reopening at noon on Feb. 22.
Upgrades to the club include renovated group exercise and multipurpose rooms, a modern welcome center, new child watch area, safe social gathering spaces, new flooring, updated stairwells, and fresh paint throughout the building.
These renovations will help the YMCA implement its three strategic focus areas:
- Family and community
- Ensure youth are safe around water
- Prepare and support the next generation of leaders
- Child and youth development
- Provide resources to support emotional and physical well-being
- Reduce food insecurity through food distribution
- Health and wellness
- Provide opportunities for individuals and families to connect
- Cultivate diverse, inclusive, equitable and global (DIEG) perspectives in our communities
Free tours, activities, and refreshments will be available beginning at 1 p.m. Guests can sign up for the YMCA 170 challenge all day long to be entered for a chance to win YMCA gear and a Y 170 custom $170 visa gift card.
For more information, visit here.
Key Family Wealth Wins Private Asset Management Awards
Key Family Wealth, the multi-family office division of Key Private Bank, was recognized with two awards at the 2022 Private Asset Management (PAM) Awards.
Key Family Wealth was selected as the Best Multi-Family Office in the $10 billion-$20 billion category from a list of four other multi-family office providers. This award recognizes industry-leading firms that have delivered “exceptional client service and investment returns.” This is the second consecutive year Key Family Wealth has been honored with this distinction.
The company also was selected as Best Fiduciary/Trustee Service for its family office trust and fiduciary capabilities from a list of four multi-family office service providers. This award recognizes overall excellence among firms that provide complex fiduciary and trustee services to family office businesses.
“We are thrilled to be recognized for the Best Multi-Family Office in the country for the second year in row by Private Asset Management and for being selected for the best Fiduciary/Trustee,” says Gary Poth, head of Key Family Wealth. “Winning these awards across consecutive years is a testament to the unparalleled care and service we provide to our families.
“We have an outstanding team of professionals with decades of experience helping entrepreneurial clients to grow and protect the wealth that enables the realization of the family’s vision, mission and set of values.”
Detroit Schools Team with Global G.L.O.W. on Black History Month Curriculum
Eight Detroit Public Schools are partnering with Global G.L.O.W. — Global Girls Leading our World — to give middle school and high school students the opportunity to attend GLOW Club, a girl-informed, girl-led program designed to provide young women with support and mentorship and teach them how to advocate for themselves and their communities and provide them with the resources needed to live up to their full natural potential.
During February, GLOW Club focuses on celebrating Black History Month by allowing girls to learn and explore their shared history through a curriculum centering the history of Black people around the world, titled Empathy Across Cultures. The program encourages girls to recognize and discuss how racism has impacted their communities, acknowledging each girl’s unique experiences along with the shared impact of white supremacy on their lives.
Education is key to celebrating intercultural solidarity and action, according to Binta Freeman, program manager at Global G.L.O.W. and the curriculum designer. She says she created Empathy Across Cultures as an opportunity for girls to increase their social awareness and consciousness. GLOW Club participants are supported by mentors from similar backgrounds to their own to help navigate difficult feelings and conversations.