Companies Seek Israeli Partners

June 26, 2008 08:00AM

A four-year-old Kalamazoo company already is seeking partners in Israel to further its growth.

"On a per-capita basis Israel is one of the top patent producers in the world," David Zimmermann, CEO of Kalexsyn Inc., said. "Most of the technology being developed focuses on the life sciences in both the medical-device field and therapeutic targets.
Kalexsyn works with companies around the world to more efficiently and expeditiously develop their drug discovery programs. We feel Israel is an excellent partner and match for the talented scientists we have in west Michigan."

Zimmermann and Robert Gadwood founded Kalexsyn in Kalamazoo's business incubator, the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, after Pfizer Inc. [NYSE: PFE] bought Pharmacia and eliminated the two men's jobs.

From two scientists who financed their start-up in 2004 with personal savings and severance pay, the company has grown to 23 people.

"Partnerships with Israel have already begun through acquisitions by both Stryker and
Perrigo, and we would like to see this continue with the life science service
companies and drug discovery companies in west Michigan," Zimmermann said.

At the moment, Joe Parini is president and owner of InterMet Systems Inc., a Grand Rapids-based company that produces upper-air weather instrumentation systems for such customers as the National Weather Service. He also is chairman of the board of Elbit Systems of America, a North American division of an Israeli defense company that transfers Israeli technology to U.S. Department of Defense platforms.

Parini holds several patents for multisensor navigation systems, was vice president of aerospace operations for Lear Siegler, and is the former president and CEO of Rospatch Corp. He also was a founder of the Right Place Inc.

"Being a west Michigan guy and having my own company here, and knowing a little bit about the Michigan economy and the basket case it is because it's been so dependent on automotive, I see the need to change to a knowledge-based economy," Parini said.

That knowledge-based economy should not be so narrowly focused it exchanges dependence on the automobile for dependence on health sciences, he said. Adding some Israeli companies to the mix could further diversify western Michigan's economy.