Grand Angels Supports Development of Alzheimer’s Treatment


Grand Angels will continue to invest in Grand Rapids-based Tetra Discovery Partners, a biotechnology firm that is developing new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, depression, and traumatic brain injury, the company announced Tuesday.

“It’s absolutely critical to do the follow-on investing when a company is growing,” says Jody Vanderwel, president of Grand Angels, a Grand Rapids-based investment firm that offers mentoring, strategic advice, and funding to companies in the region. In addition, the company says it would also continue support for Kalamazoo-based Ablative Solutions and Grawn-based Altus Brands, both in the medical discovery industry.

Vanderwel says the additional undisclosed funds will accelerate work at Tetra (also funded by the National Institutes of Health) as well as help Ablative, which has developed a safe alternative to surgical renal denervation for the treatment of hypertension and other diseases caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system.

While the company won’t disclose the financial details of the individual investments, Vanderwel confirms that they “range as little as $50,000 in some companies to as much as $1.5 million in others over multiple rounds.”

About one-third of the group’s investments have been in the life science industry, including drug discovery, medical devices, and medical software. “There are a lot of good life science deals in Michigan so we’re naturally drawn to invest in those because there’s an opportunity to invest in those,” Vanderwel says. “We also have several members of Grand Angels who have deep experience in the life science space, so that obviously helps us evaluate these deals with a little more confidence.”

Grand Angels has invested more than $2 million in eight companies this year.