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Rexahn and Ocuphire Enter into Definitive Merger Agreement

Thursday, June 18th, 2020

ROCKVILLE, Md. and FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich., June 17, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NasdaqCM: REXN) and Ocuphire Pharma, Inc., a privately-held clinical-stage ophthalmic biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing therapies for the treatment of eye disorders, today announced the companies have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Ocuphire will merge with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rexahn in an all-stock transaction. Following closing, which is expected to occur in the second half of 2020, the combined company will change its name to Ocuphire Pharma, Inc. and is expected to trade on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the ticker symbol “OCUP.” The combined company will focus on the advancement of its pipeline of ophthalmic drug candidates.

Certain institutional healthcare and other accredited investors, including certain Ocuphire directors and executives, have also committed to invest $21.15 million in a private placement that will close immediately prior to the closing of the merger, assuming the satisfaction or waiver of customary closing conditions. Investors in this pre-merger financing will receive Ocuphire common stock prior to closing, which will convert into Rexahn common stock upon closing of the merger. Additionally, following the closing of the merger, Rexahn will issue to these investors warrants to purchase shares of Rexahn common stock and, potentially, additional shares of Rexahn common stock.

“After completing a comprehensive review of multiple strategic alternatives, we determined that the proposed merger with Ocuphire would provide the best opportunity for Rexahn shareholders moving forward,” said Douglas J. Swirsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rexahn. “The decision by our management and board to choose Ocuphire to be our merger partner will allow our shareholders to participate in a dynamic company with a robust pipeline, backed by a sizeable commitment from institutional investors to continue the development of multiple drug candidates in a growing ophthalmic market.”

Ocuphire has built a pipeline of multiple product candidates with demonstrated clinical activity that target high value markets. Its lead product candidate, Nyxol® Eye Drops (“Nyxol”), is a once-daily eye drop formulation of phentolamine mesylate designed to reduce pupil diameter and improve visual acuity. Nyxol is being developed to treat dim light or night vision disturbances, pharmacologically-induced mydriasis, and presbyopia. Ocuphire’s second product candidate, APX3330, is a twice-a-day oral tablet, designed to target multiple pathways relevant to retinal diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. Ocuphire plans to initiate two Phase 3 registration trials and two Phase 2 trials across four indications in the second half of 2020, expecting top-line results to read out as early as the first quarter of 2021 and throughout the remainder of 2021.

“This merger is transformative for Ocuphire as we look to advance our late-clinical stage small molecule ophthalmic pipeline, with multiple Phase 3 and Phase 2 clinical data catalysts expected in 2021,” said Mina Sooch, President and CEO of Ocuphire. “We believe the target product profiles of our two product candidates, Nyxol and APX3330, collectively studied in 18 clinical trials and each with large market potentials, creates an opportunity for Ocuphire to become a leading ophthalmic company focused on improving vision and clarity.”

About the Proposed Transaction

Under the terms of the merger agreement, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of customary closing conditions, including (i) the receipt of the required approval of the Ocuphire stockholders and Rexahn stockholders, (ii) the closing of the pre-merger financing and (iii) Rexahn having a minimum amount of net cash at closing, Ocuphire will merge with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rexahn, with Ocuphire surviving the merger as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rexahn.

Upon completion of the merger, Ocuphire stockholders will receive newly issued shares of Rexahn common stock pursuant to an exchange ratio formula set forth in the merger agreement. Under the terms of the merger agreement, immediately following the consummation of the merger, Rexahn’s then-current stockholders would own approximately 14.3% of the combined company’s common stock, and the former Ocuphire securityholders would own approximately 85.7% of the combined company’s common stock, in each case calculated on a fully-diluted basis, assuming Rexahn’s net cash balance at closing is between $3.2 million and $6.0 million. The exchange ratio formula in the merger agreement is subject to adjustment for every $100,000 that Rexahn’s actual net cash balance at closing is less than $3.2 million or more than $6.0 million. Based on Rexahn’s current estimates, Rexahn believes that it is reasonably likely to deliver significantly less than $3.2 million at closing. If, for example, Rexahn’s actual net cash balance at closing is $0, which is the minimum amount of net cash that Rexahn is required to deliver at closing, then immediately following the consummation of the merger, Rexahn’s then-current stockholders would own approximately 11.2% of the combined company’s common stock, and the former Ocuphire securityholders would own approximately 88.8% of the combined company’s common stock, in each case calculated on a fully-diluted basis. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Rexahn’s stockholders’ ownership percentage in the combined company is subject to a floor of 9.1% regardless of Rexahn’s actual net cash balance at closing, assuming Ocuphire waives the minimum net cash requirement at closing. These ownership percentages give effect to the shares of Ocuphire common stock that will be issued to investors in the premerger financing prior to the closing of the merger, but do not account for any additional shares of Rexahn common stock that may be issued following the closing or the warrants issuable to investors after closing. As a result, Ocuphire securityholders and holders of Rexahn common stock could own less of the combined company than currently contemplated.

In addition, immediately prior to the closing of the merger, Rexahn stockholders of record will be issued contingent value rights representing the right to receive, during the 15-year period after the closing of the merger, (i) 90% of payments received by the combined company pursuant to its licensing agreements with BioSense Global LLC and Zhejiang HaiChang Biotechnology Co., Ltd., and (ii) 75% of the proceeds received by the combined company from the monetization of Rexahn’s existing intellectual property during the 10-year period after the closing of the merger, in each case, less certain permitted deductions. The merger agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of each company. Following the merger, Mina Sooch will be appointed to serve as the post-merger combined company’s president and chief executive officer. The board of directors for the post-merger combined company will be comprised of seven directors, one of whom will be Richard Rodgers, a current member of the Rexahn board of directors, and the remaining six directors will include existing Ocuphire board members and an additional director designated by Ocuphire.

Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. is acting as financial advisor to Rexahn for the merger transaction, and Hogan Lovells US LLP is serving as legal counsel to Rexahn. Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. and Canaccord Genuity LLC are acting as co-lead placement agents and financial advisors to Ocuphire in connection with the private placement, and Honigman LLP is serving as legal counsel to Ocuphire.

About Ocuphire Pharma, Inc.

Ocuphire is a privately-held, clinical-stage ophthalmic biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing therapies for the treatment of several eye disorders. Ocuphire’s pipeline currently includes two small-molecule product candidates targeting front and back of the eye indications. The company’s lead product candidate, Nyxol® Eye Drops, is a once-daily preservative-free eye drop formulation of phentolamine mesylate, a nonselective alpha-1 and alpha-2 adrenergic antagonist designed to reduce pupil size, and is being developed for several indications, including dim light or night vision disturbances, pharmacologically-induced mydriasis, and presbyopia. Ocuphire’s second product candidate, APX3330, is a twice-a-day oral tablet, designed to inhibit angiogenesis and inflammation pathways relevant to retinal and choroidal vascular diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. As part of its strategy, Ocuphire will continue to explore opportunities to acquire additional ophthalmic assets and to seek strategic partners for late stage development, regulatory preparation and commercialization of drugs in key global markets. Please visit to learn more about Ocuphire’s recent Phase 2 clinical trials. For more information, please visit

About Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Rexahn Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NasdaqCM: REXN) is a biotechnology company that has been focused on the development of innovative therapies to improve patient outcomes in cancers that are difficult to treat. For additional information, please visit Important Additional Information Will be Filed with the SEC In connection with the proposed transaction between Rexahn and Ocuphire, the parties intend to file relevant materials with the SEC, including a registration statement on Form S-4 that will contain a combined proxy statement/prospectus/information statement. INVESTORS AND STOCKHOLDERS OF REXAHN AND OCUPHIRE ARE URGED TO READ THESE MATERIALS CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT REXAHN, OCUPHIRE, THE PROPOSED MERGER AND RELATED MATTERS. Investors and stockholders will be able to obtain free copies of the proxy statement/prospectus/information statement and other documents filed by Rexahn with the SEC (when they become available) through the website maintained by the SEC at In addition, investors and stockholders will be able to obtain free copies of the proxy statement/prospectus/information statement and other documents filed by Rexahn with the SEC by contacting Rexahn by written request to: Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 15245 Shady Grove Road, Suite 455, Rockville, Maryland, 20850, Attention: Corporate Secretary. Investors and stockholders are urged to read the proxy statement/prospectus/information statement and the other relevant materials when they become available before making any voting or investment decision with respect to the proposed transaction.

No Offer or Solicitation

This communication shall not constitute an offer to sell, the solicitation of an offer to sell or an offer to buy or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

Participants in the Solicitation

Rexahn and its directors and executive officers, and Ocuphire and its directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the stockholders of Rexahn in connection with the proposed merger under the rules of the SEC. Information regarding the special interests of these directors and executive officers in the proposed merger will be included in the proxy statement/prospectus/information statement referred to above. Additional information about Rexahn’s directors and executive officers is included in Rexahn’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, filed with the SEC on February 21, 2020, as amended on April 29, 2020, and in subsequent documents filed with the SEC, including the proxy statement/prospectus/information statement referred to above. Additional information regarding the persons who may be deemed participants in the proxy solicitations and a description of their direct and indirect interests in the proposed merger, by security holdings or otherwise, will also be included in the proxy statement/prospectus/information statement and other relevant materials to be filed with the SEC when they become available. These documents are available free of charge at the SEC website ( and from the Corporate Secretary of Rexahn at the address above.

Important Cautionary Statements about Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements (including within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended) concerning Rexahn, Ocuphire, the proposed merger, the contingent value rights, the pre-merger financing and other matters, including without limitation: statements relating to the satisfaction of the conditions to and consummation of the proposed merger, the expected timing of the consummation of the proposed merger and the expected ownership percentages of the combined company, Rexahn’s and Ocuphire’s respective businesses, the strategy of the combined company, future operations, advancement of its product candidates and product pipeline, clinical development of the combined company’s product candidates, including expectations regarding timing of initiation and results of clinical trials of the combined company, the ability of Rexahn to remain listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the completion of any financing and the receipt of any payments under the contingent value rights. These statements may discuss goals, intentions and expectations as to future plans, trends, events, results of operations or financial condition, or otherwise, based on current beliefs of the management of Rexahn and Ocuphire, as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, management. Forward-looking statements generally include statements that are predictive in nature and depend upon or refer to future events or conditions, and include words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “would,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “likely,” “believe,” “estimate,” “project,” “intend,” or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions. Statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on current beliefs and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties and are not guarantees of future performance.

Actual results could differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement as a result of various factors, including, without limitation: (i) the risk that the conditions to the closing are not satisfied, including the failure to obtain stockholder approval for the proposed merger in a timely manner or at all; (ii) uncertainties as to the timing of the consummation of the proposed merger and the ability of each of Rexahn and Ocuphire to consummate the proposed merger, including completing the pre-merger financing; (iii) risks related to Rexahn’s ability to correctly estimate its expected net cash at closing and estimate and manage its operating expenses and its expenses associated with the proposed merger pending closing; (iv) risks related to the calculation of the estimated warrant liability of Rexahn’s net cash amount being impacted by the trading price of a share of Rexahn common stock on Nasdaq on the calculation date and its impact on Rexahn’s expected net cash at closing; (v) Rexahn’s ability to meet the minimum net cash requirement at closing; (vi) risks related to Rexahn’s continued listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market until closing of the proposed merger; (vii) risks related to the failure or delay in obtaining required approvals from any governmental or quasi-governmental entity necessary to consummate the proposed merger; (viii) the risk that as a result of adjustments to the exchange ratio, Rexahn stockholders or Ocuphire stockholders could own less of the combined company than is currently anticipated; (ix) risks related to the market price of Rexahn common stock relative to the exchange ratio; (x) the risk that the conditions to payment under the contingent value rights will not be met and that the contingent value rights may otherwise never deliver any value to Rexahn stockholders; (xi) risks associated with the possible failure to realize certain anticipated benefits of the proposed merger, including with respect to future financial and operating results; (xii) the ability of Rexahn or Ocuphire to protect their respective intellectual property rights; (xiii) competitive responses to the merger and changes in expected or existing competition; (xiv) unexpected costs, charges or expenses resulting from the proposed merger; (xv) potential adverse reactions or changes to business relationships resulting from the announcement or completion of the proposed merger; (xvi) the success and timing of regulatory submissions and pre-clinical and clinical trials; (xvii) regulatory requirements or developments; (xviii) changes to clinical trial designs and regulatory pathways; (xix) changes in capital resource requirements; (xx) risks related to the inability of the combined company to obtain sufficient additional capital to continue to advance its product candidates and its preclinical programs; (xxi) legislative, regulatory, political and economic developments, and (xxii) the effects of COVID-19 on clinical programs and business operations.

The foregoing review of important factors that could cause actual events to differ from expectations should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with statements that are included herein and elsewhere, including the risk factors included in Rexahn’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K filed with the SEC. Neither Rexahn nor Ocuphire can give assurance that the conditions to the merger will be satisfied. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are made only as of the date hereof or as of the dates indicated in the forward-looking statements. Except as required by applicable law, neither Rexahn nor Ocuphire undertakes any obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statement, or to make any other forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

CONTACTS: Mina Sooch, President & CEO
Ocuphire Pharma, Inc.
(248) 681-9815

Douglas Swirsky, President & CEO
Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
(240) 268-5300

 Source: Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Michigan Angel Fund Closes Five New Deals in 2019, Invests $1M in Michigan Startups

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

The Michigan Angel Fund (MAF) concluded 2019 investing a total of $1,043,000 in 13 early stage Michigan-based startups, including three deals through the recently created MAF IV which opened in April and closed in December with $2 million in investment from 49 investors.

“In 2011, when SPARK created an angel group, the priority was to attract high-net-worth households into the angel investment world by thinking of tech startup investments like they would any other investment classes — such as stocks, bonds, real estate and private equity,” said Skip Simms, MAF manager and Ann Arbor SPARK senior vice president. “In 2019, our fourth fund closed with 16 new participants who previously have never made an angel investment.”

MAF remains the largest angel investor group in Michigan with a total of 156 members. In 2019, MAF was the most active group in the state with five new investments and eight follow-on investments. Notably, MAF IV made three investments before the fund had even closed.

“There’s a lot of great tech startups and early stage companies in our economy,” added Simms. “High-potential tech startups continue to diversify the state’s economy while creating disruptive technologies, services, and products in healthcare, mobility, security, software, material sciences and manufacturing. There are a lot of opportunities for investors which is why the Michigan Angel Community continues to grow.”

In 2019, three new angel groups formed in the state. According to Simms, many investors will participate in multiple angel groups to see more deal flow. MAF members represent 19 different communities and four states. Over the history of MAF, there have been a total of 29 company investments with more than half based in Ann Arbor.

MAF IV 2019 Investments

Akadeum Life Sciences: Founded in 2014, Akadeum was established to create the simplest bioseparation products and to fundamentally change the way that isolating cells and other biological targets is approached. Akadeum currently uses microbubbles for applications in cell separation and other related areas. Akadeum is located at MI-HQ on the west side of Ann Arbor (Scio Township).

Ripple Science: Ripple is a web-based management solution that facilitates the recruitment and management of research participants for clinical, translational and social science studies. Initially developed at the University of Michigan by Dr. Nestor Lopez-Duran, he and co-founder Jacob Benenberger established Ripple Science in 2017. The University of Michigan announced a $750,000 investment with Ripple Science in 2019.

SkySpecs: An Ann Arbor-based software company, SkySpecs develops operations and maintenance solutions for wind farms through the use of technology, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Its solutions include Horizon, a central repository for blade operations and management data, and autonomous drone inspections. This is MAF’s fourth investment with SkySpecs, with the first being in 2017 as part of MAF II.


MAF is a for-profit, pooled, and professionally managed equity fund which focuses on near- or at-revenue, Michigan-based tech companies with the ability to acquire customers, expand markets, and grow the company. For more information about the Michigan Angel Fund, visit


Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by encouraging and supporting business acceleration, attraction and retention. The organization identifies and meets the needs of business at every stage, from startups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners to achieve its mission. For more information, please call (734) 761-9317 or visit

Ocuphire Pharma Raises Over $5 Million to Complete Multiple Late Phase 2 Clinical Trials

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

Proceeds Will Advance Ophthalmic Clinical Trials of Lead Drug Candidate Nyxol® for Night Vision Disturbances, Glaucoma, and Reversal of Mydriasis.
Founders, Board, and Medical Advisors Bring World‐Class Experience in Drug Development, Ophthalmic Disorders, and Biotech Financing.


FARMINGTON HILLS, Michigan, July 22, 2019 ‐‐ Ocuphire Pharma, Inc., a clinical‐stage
pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of therapies to
treat patients with a variety of ophthalmic disorders, announced today that it has closed on
over $5 million of financing. Investors include RBI Opportunities Fund, Belle Capital Fund,
Grand Angels Fund, First Capital Fund, Michigan Angel Fund, Biosciences Research and
Commercialization Center, Ann Arbor Angels, Woodward Angels, Kalamazoo Angels, BlueWater
Angels, and other individual and institutional investors. Proceeds of the offering will be used to
fund multiple clinical trials of its lead drug candidate, Nyxol®.

Nyxol is a novel eye drop treatment for multiple front‐of‐the‐eye disorders, including night
vision disturbances (NVD), glaucoma, and reversal of mydriasis. The company is also exploring
a fixed‐dose combination of Nyxol for the treatment of presbyopia. Nyxol is a proprietary
ophthalmic formulation of phentolamine mesylate, an approved alpha‐1 and alpha‐2 inhibitor,
allowing a more efficient 505(b)(2) development pathway for approval. With safety and
efficacy data from five Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials, Nyxol has demonstrated a differentiated
product profile that includes moderately reducing pupil size (which leads to improved night and
day vision), significantly lowering intraocular pressure, and convenient once‐daily dosing.

Nyxol was originally invented by Dr. Gerald Horn, an ophthalmologist and laser vision specialist
in Chicago, who also invented the recently‐approved redness reliever eye drop Lumify®. Since
acquiring the Nyxol asset in 2018, Ocuphire has built out its management, Board, clinical and
manufacturing partners, and medical advisory board with over ten world‐class ophthalmic key
opinion leaders (KOLs). Joining the founders and executive directors, Mina Sooch, MBA, and
Alan Meyer, MBA, are three independent directors Sean Ainsworth, MBA, James Manuso,
PhD/MBA, and Cam Gallagher, MBA, who have years of distinguished investing and operating
accomplishments in biotech companies with notable exits including Retrosense and Astex.
Collectively, Ocuphire’s team has decades of experience in the successful discovery,
development, approval, and commercialization of transformative therapies in ophthalmology,
cancer, cardiovascular, and orphan diseases.

Ocuphire is currently enrolling patients for double‐masked, randomized, placebo‐controlled
Phase 2 trials in both glaucoma (ORION‐1) and reversal of mydriasis (MIRA‐1) at multiple sites in
the United States. Clinical results from both ORION‐1 and MIRA‐1 trials are expected later this
year. Ocuphire is also preparing for its Phase 3 study of Nyxol in NVD (LYNX‐1).

“We are thrilled to have the support of our investors to advance Nyxol in clinical trials. As of
mid‐July, we are pleased to report that we have successfully enrolled more than 50% of the 40
patients in our ORION‐1 glaucoma trial,” said Mina Sooch, Chair, President, and Chief Executive
Officer of Ocuphire. “We are excited about the potential to improve eye health and vision
quality for millions of people around the world, particularly meeting the unmet needs of those
with progressive, age‐related ocular diseases. We are passionate about building Ocuphire into
a leading ophthalmic company and adding novel ophthalmic drug candidates to our portfolio.”

Additional milestones this past year include acceptance of a podium presentation by Dr. Jack
Holladay summarizing the second Nyxol Phase 2 NVD trial results (NCT01703559) at the
American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting in October 2018 as well as a first
corporate presentation at the Ophthalmology Innovation Summit in May 2019.

“After being a principal investigator on the first Phase 2 NVD clinical trial for Nyxol
(NCT04004507) and seeing encouraging results, I am very happy to join Ocuphire’s medical
advisory board and advance this promising therapy,” said Dr. Marguerite McDonald, a boardcertified
ophthalmologist and refractive/cornea/anterior segment surgeon with Ophthalmic
Consultants of Long Island. “Nyxol’s once‐a‐day eye drop and differentiated mechanism of
action have the potential to offer a convenient and well‐tolerated alternative for patients.”

About Night Vision Disturbances
NVD causes people to experience glare, halos, starbursts, and poor vision in dim light. NVD is a
significant unmet need, as it affects more than an estimated 4 million people in the U.S and
there is no approved drug therapy.

About Glaucoma
Glaucoma affects 3 million people in the U.S. and is the second‐leading cause of blindness. Its
most common form is open‐angle glaucoma, which is a progressive disease characterized by
abnormally high intraocular pressure (IOP) and can lead to irreversible damage to the optic
nerve, causing vision loss. There are currently several different classes of approved glaucoma
drugs, but due to poor patient compliance and inability to reach target IOP goals, there is still a
large unmet need for complementary and convenient treatment options.

About Medically‐Induced Mydriasis
Medically‐induced mydriasis, or dilation, occurs as part of more than 80 million eye exams
conducted in the U.S. every year. Mydriasis increases light sensitivity and impairs vision for
hours, and there is currently no treatment available on the market.

About Presbyopia
Presbyopia is an age‐related condition, limiting the eye’s ability to focus. Presbyopia affects
more than 110 million people in the U.S. and there are no approved drug therapies; the only
options are corrective lenses or surgery.

About Ocuphire
Ocuphire is a clinical‐stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development and
commercialization of drugs to treat important ophthalmic disorders. The company’s lead drug
candidate, preservative‐free Nyxol Eye Drops, is being developed for multiple indications
including night vision disturbances, glaucoma, reversal of mydriasis, and presbyopia. Please
visit to learn more about the ongoing Phase 2 clinical trials for glaucoma
(NCT03960866) and reversal of mydriasis (NCT04024891). For more information, please visit

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor
shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer,
solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities
laws of any such state or jurisdiction.

Investor Contact:
Mina Sooch
President and CEO

JOOL Health Is Now Kumanu: The Purpose Company

Thursday, March 7th, 2019

Kumanu helps organizations build resilience, mindfulness, enduring engagement, and better business performance by developing and activating an authentic purpose.

ANN ARBOR, MI, March 7, 2019 — JOOL Health was launched in 2015 by purpose scientist and behavior change technology pioneer, Vic Strecher, PhD, to further his audacious goal of helping a billion people find greater purpose in life. His selected route: employers and other organizations navigating the growing demand for purpose in life and meaning at work. Today, JOOL Health relaunched as Kumanu, signifying the next phase in the company’s development and its strategic intent to help thousands of organizations globally ground their corporate, people, and wellbeing strategies in an authentic, people-centered purpose.

“Purpose isn’t just a feel-good topic, it’s a core business strategy,” said Dr. Strecher. “You read about it increasingly in the business press. Purposeful organizations outperform their peers financially, and in employee experience metrics. And research shows that organizations that help employees self-affirm and align with their purposeful best selves do a much better job retaining talent,” added Strecher.

“Vic Strecher’s work with our company has provided our leaders and associates alike with a firmer understanding around the importance and value of being purpose-driven,” said Jeff Brown, chief executive officer of Ally Financial. “By tuning our organization to think in these broader terms, we’re better equipped to deliver for our customers, to stand apart from the competition, and make Ally a place where people want to work.”

When it comes to invoking an authentic purpose, organizations “discover it through empathy—by feeling and understanding the deepest common needs of your workforce. That involves asking provocative questions, listening, and reflecting,” according to Robert Quinn of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, co-author of the recent Harvard Business Review article titled Creating a Purpose Driven Organization. “Kumanu’s approach uniquely does just that,” noted Quinn.

Kumanu’s highly scalable purpose activation platform, called PurposeCloud, comprises a mobile app for individuals, a web-based analytics dashboard for organizations, and an AI-driven Insights Engine that connects and contextualizes them. The mobile app transcends traditional wellbeing and mindfulness apps by harnessing each person’s intrinsic motivation to translate purpose into action. The analytics dashboard delivers meaningful metrics in real-time, including a PurposeGraph, a social graph illustrating the authentic center-of-gravity for an organization with respect to purposeful aspirations. Kumanu also provides an array of launch, integration, and sustainability services to help organizations better fuse their corporate, people, and wellbeing strategies around a shared purpose.

“I often say that if purpose were a pill, it would be a blockbuster,” said Strecher. “The impact we see it having on people’s lives and organizations every day proves that the purpose movement isn’t just vapor. It’s bedrock.”

Recent research suggests Strecher is right. A strong sense of purpose is linked to longevity, faster recovery from and lower risk of illness, less relapse after substance abuse treatment, and greater receptivity to diversity and resilience to change. Breakthrough brain research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) completed by Strecher and colleagues shows that purpose has a strong, independent effect on behavioral outcomes—exactly the kind sought after, but often not consistently achieved, by traditional wellness and wellbeing programs.

“By leveraging this strong source of intrinsic motivation, or purpose, organizations can become less heavily dependent on budget-sapping financial incentives, which have been shown to have questionable value in producing lasting behavior change,” added Strecher.

Kumanu’s latest research and developments will be showcased in keynote addresses by Dr. Strecher and company exhibits this spring at the Human Resource Executive’s Health and Benefits Leadership Conference on April 24-26 in Las Vegas, NV, at the Silicon Valley Employers Forum’s Bay Area Global Benefit Conference on May 1 in San Jose, CA, and at the Center for Positive Organization’s Positive Business Conference on May 9 and 10 in Ann Arbor, MI.

About Kumanu

Kumanu builds stronger organizations and bigger lives by creating better alignment with purpose. Organizations use Kumanu’s PurposeCloud platform as a transformational and integrative element in their corporate, people, and wellbeing strategies. Purposeful by Kumanu, a brand new kind of mobile app, fuses the latest purpose and behavior science with machine learning and digital life coaching to make it easier for individuals to take more purposeful actions each day, producing deeper engagement and more enduring behavior change. The result: healthier, more purposeful organizations that activate talent and produce better results.

PurposeCloud, PurposeGraph, and Purposeful by Kumanu are trademarks of Kumanu, Inc.

It Takes Money, Episode 1 with Dr. Faz Bashi, MD

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

Guest: Dr. Faz Bashi, MD
It Takes Money is a series of podcasts hosted by Skip Simms featuring angel investors and experts who offer insight on how to invest in startups. In these podcasts we’ll discuss the many aspects of angel investing and why they’re choosing to invest in Michigan.

Shoulder Innovations Announces FDA 510(k) Clearance For Shoulder Technology

Monday, November 5th, 2018

HOLLAND, Mich., Nov. 5, 2018 – Shoulder Innovations announced today that they have received FDA clearance for their InSet Humeral Short Stem System. This is a key addition to their expanding shoulder portfolio and another milestone for their vision to offer a complete leading technology shoulder arthroplasty product line.

The clearance covers products used for partial or total shoulder arthroplasty used in the treatment of degenerative, rheumatoid or traumatic arthritis in the shoulder. The new InSet Shoulder system provides innovative features and solutions to address potential problems encountered with current total shoulder replacement systems.

Peter Johnston, M.D. of Southern Maryland Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine said, “The strengths of the InSet Shoulder System are its streamlined instrumentation, proprietary coating technology for implant fixation with bone preservation and ability to reproduce native humeral anatomy. The system is game-changing.”

Robert Tashjian, M.D. of the University of Utah added, “The combination of the InSet Humeral Stem and Shoulder Innovation’s unique InSet glenoid implant affords a surgically simple, bone sparing option for many types of humeral or glenoid deformities associated with arthritis.”

Rob Ball, Executive Chairman of Shoulder Innovations said, “We are excited to see the fast-paced progress and results made by the team. Genesis Innovation Group has moved rapidly in developing this highly innovative new product line. It plays a pivotal role in the Shoulder Innovations strategy, and Genesis has proven to be an excellent partner in helping our company move forward.”

Shoulder Innovations has also recently announced new investments that will be used to fuel new product development, and to acquire inventory and assets to accelerate growth of its current InSet platform technology. This technology serves as a foundational platform on which many future products and systems are in development.

The long-term vision of Shoulder Innovations is to offer a complete leading technology shoulder arthroplasty product line.
About Shoulder Innovations:

Shoulder Innovations, LLC is a medical device development company which designs and commercializes innovative products which demonstrate the potential for improved patient care and reduced overall cost to the healthcare system.

Leveraging its breakthrough, patented, inset glenoid design, Shoulder Innovations is commercializing a shoulder replacement implant system focused on improving outcomes related to the greatest cause of shoulder replacement failure: glenoid loosening.

The InSet technology has been shown in testing to significantly reduce glenoid implant micro-motion and simplifies the surgical technique, potentially reducing complications or increase implant longevity.

Mi Padrino, Hispanic Event Platform Announces Strategic Investments in Seed Round

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

Funding Attracts Silicon Valley, Michigan Investors and Industry Leaders

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Mi Padrino®, an event-planning and crowd-gifting platform for the Hispanic community, announced today that it has secured a Series Seed round. Launched in 2017, makes it easy to organize and fund Latino events like quinceañeras and weddings.

Astia Angels led the round which includes industry leader XO Group (TheKnot) as well as Chloe Capital, Invest Detroit, Invest Michigan and others. An all-in-one marketplace, event hosts use Mi Padrino to register for gifts, find vendors, shop for products, and more. The funds raised will accelerate Mi Padrino‘s growth trajectory by enhancing its platform, expanding marketing efforts, and investing in user engagement and retention.

Mi Padrino has quickly become the leading Hispanic event planning platform in the US,” said Kim Gamez, CEO and Co-Founder. “In twelve months, over two million guests have attended Mi Padrino events. This investment allows us to continue to improve the Hispanic party planning experience helping even more Latinx families enjoy and celebrate their traditions.”

According to Mi Padrino Board Member and investor Carol Schrader, “Astia Angel’s investment in Mi Padrino is significant as it extends our mission. Kim and her team presented a compelling opportunity to not only invest in a dynamic female entrepreneur, but also a Latina-focused business based in the Midwest.”

In the U.S. alone, over 400,000 Hispanic girls celebrate quinceañeras (their coming of age event) every year and on average families spend $20,000 on the event. Globally, quinceañeras are a $49 billion dollar industry and combined with other traditional celebrations (weddings, baptisms, tres años, etc.) create a $400B market.

“We’re thrilled to invest in a company that’s serving the Hispanic community with innovative products and services for quinceañeras and beyond,” said Alison Bernstein, Vice President and General Manager, XO Group. “At XO Group, we believe in the importance of celebrations and traditions. Connecting to the right tools, advice and local services is key in planning an amazing party. XO Group is excited to help Mi Padrino become the premier Hispanic event planning marketplace in the world.”

About Mi Padrino
At Mi Padrino, we believe in the deep and lasting impact of traditions and events in shaping lives and building community. We make event planning easy by organizing and connecting hosts, guests, vendors, products and resources, so that Latino families and friends can focus on what matters: Honoring their heritage and celebrating life’s most significant occasions together.

About Astia Angels:
Astia Angels is a premier global angel network made up of women, men and family offices investing in companies with inclusive executive teams. Since the launch of Astia Angels in 2013, members have made 95 investments into 60 women-led companies across the sectors of technology, life sciences, cleantech and consumer products, from seed to growth stage, representing $20.5M+ in investment and $250M+ in syndicate investments.

SOURCE Mi Padrino

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Groundspeed Announces $30MM Series B Funding Led by Oak HC/FT

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

Groundspeed Analytics (Groundspeed), a leading insurance technology company specializing in artificial intelligence (AI) and data science solutions to the $800 billion global commercial property and casualty insurance industry, today announced a $30 million Series B funding round led by Oak HC/FT. The investment will be used to continue to expand products and reach as well as grow the 40-person data science and engineering team.

Founded in 2016, Groundspeed focuses on solving the insurance industry’s toughest data challenge – unlocking the value of unstructured information. Groundspeed Adaptive Data Pipeline™ enables its carrier, broker, and MGA clients to improve margins, identify underwriting profit pools, and enhance customer experience. Groundspeed’s automation and analytics platform helps eliminate 90% of administration expenses while improving underwriting and analytics efficiency, delivering 10-times the data with 99% accuracy.

“We are thrilled to partner with Oak HC/FT as we embark on our next phase of growth,” said Jeff Mason, Co-CEO of Groundspeed. “Given Oak HC/FT’s deep expertise in InsurTech and extensive network of industry leaders, we are confident that this new association will help Groundspeed aggressively expand our products and reach to help brokers and carriers unlock the tremendous value trapped in their unstructured information.”

Andrew Robinson, Co-CEO of Groundspeed notes, “Groundspeed’s Adaptive Data Pipeline™ has proven to be incredibly powerful. The Series B funding will allow us to continue to enhance this service and further respond to the range of analytic products and services our clients are asking us to provide. I couldn’t be more excited to work with Jeff and the Groundspeed team as we undertake this next step in our journey.”

Prior to joining Groundspeed as Co-CEO, Andrew Robinson served as Executive in Residence at Oak HC/FT, where he will continue as a senior advisor to the company. Matt Streisfeld and Michael Heller of Oak HC/FT have also joined the Board of Directors.

Streisfeld comments, “Groundspeed gives us the opportunity to invest in a team that brings proven insurance industry expertise. We look forward to our continued partnership with the entire Groundspeed team as we further expand the company’s footprint.”

Oak HC/FT is the premier venture growth-equity fund investing in Healthcare Information & Services (“HC”) and Financial Services Technology (“FT”). The fund and its investors contain deep domain experience and are uniquely positioned to provide entrepreneurs and companies with strategic counsel, board-level participation, and access to an extensive network of industry leaders.

About Groundspeed Analytics, Inc. (Groundspeed)

Groundspeed Analytics, Inc. (Groundspeed) accelerates commercial insurance performance with the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence. The Groundspeed platform automatically turns loss runs, exposure documents and policy files into actionable information, empowering users to identify profitable pools of risk and drive better financial outcomes. Groundspeed is privately-funded and based in Ann Arbor and Atlanta. To learn more about Groundspeed, please visit


Founded in 2014, Oak HC/FT ( is the premier venture growth-equity fund investing in Healthcare Information & Services (“HC”) and Financial Services Technology (“FT”). With $1.1 billion in assets under management, we are focused on driving transformation in these industries by providing entrepreneurs and companies with strategic counsel, board-level participation, business plan execution and access to our extensive network of industry leaders. Oak HC/FT is headquartered in Greenwich, CT with offices in Boston and San Francisco. Follow Oak HC/FT on Twitter, LinkedIn and Medium.

Elm Street Technology Announces Acquisition of Agentjet

Monday, February 12th, 2018

Today, Elm Street Technology (EST) announced the acquisition of Agentjet, Inc., a digital marketing, lead generation and technology provider for top producing agents and teams.  Today’s announcement marks the fourth transaction in the company’s two-year history and provides a scalable lead generation compliment to the company’s Elevate productivity suite of technology and client servicing platforms.

This acquisition is just the latest in a series of strategic moves EST has made to create a portfolio of products and services that, when integrated, create a technology solution that will provide everything from lead generation to client retention services for agents, teams, brokers and more.  Previously, the company acquired Listingbook, a collaboration and client servicing platform, RLS 2000 a real estate-focused social media marketing service provider and Consolidated Knowledge, a premiere creator of real estate technology and MLS data management solutions.

“Agentjet has been providing real estate professionals with a proprietary and highly proven digital marketing program that delivers high-quality leads and clients to their real estate customers” said Prem Luthra, Elm Street Technology’s President and CEO.  “We’re looking forward to offering this service to the tens of thousands of Elevate customers nationwide.”

“Our Ann Arbor, MI based Real Estate Technology team is excited to join the portfolio of Elm Street Technology companies, which is led by an incredibly experienced and respected leadership team,” said Eric Pointer, Co-Founder and COO of Agentjet, Inc. “As a veteran REALTOR® myself, I can tell you that the vendor landscape in the real estate vertical is incredibly fragmented and inefficient. Real estate professionals and brokerages, large and small, find it extremely difficult to vet technology and tools and often just end up wasting time, energy and resources. Elm Street Technology is devoted to developing or acquiring all the best-in-class technology, services and products and placing them under one roof, thereby reducing the burden and increasing the efficiency of the selection process.”

“We’re excited to include Agentjet’s solutions in our growing portfolio of integrated technology and service offerings for real estate professionals,” said Randall Kaplan, Chairman of EST.  “Our vision to create a single platform for our customers to accomplish everything from lead generation to client retention has made great progress over the past twenty-four months and we’re looking forward to adding more companies and products in the coming months.”


Elizabeth Kaplan

Elm Street Technology


About Elm Street Technology:

Elm Street Technology offers a portfolio of real estate technology and marketing services companies that provides one vendor, one point of contact, one solution fully fused into one platform to deliver a single source for new leads, client relationship management, and client retention tools for agents, teams and brokerages. Elevate from Elm Street Technology is the single solution that real estate professionals need to handle the marketing while brokers and agents handle the business, including high end IDX websites, lead generation tools, powerful CRM and incubation tools, mobile app, social media management and blogging, and client retention tools. For more information, call 1-866-353-3456.

About Agentjet:

Agentjet, Inc. provides digital marketing and lead generation services to agents and small brokerages throughout the United States and Canada. Agentjet employs a proprietary lead capture process making it one of the most efficient of its kind in the real estate vertical with connecting in-market home buyers and sellers with real estate professionals. Agentjet technology tracks consumer behavior online and delivers this vital information real-time to its customers and simultaneously annotating, scoring and prioritizing consumer behavior in the backend CRM so that customers can efficiently connect with prospects at just the right time.

Orbion Space Technology takes $500,000 top prize at Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017
For eight years Ann Arbor SPARK has played a key role in one of the largest business plan competitions in the world. SPARK was the original producer of the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, which every year has awarded a top prize of $500,000, of which SPARK provides $250,000. This year, the top prize went to Houghton-based startup company Orbion Space Technology, co-founded by Dr. Brad King and Dr. Jason Sommerville.

Orbion Space Technology takes $500,000 top prize at Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

The company’s satellite propulsion system targets the more than 10,000 small satellites that will be launched into orbit by commercial entities in the next seven years. Orbion’s propulsion system is capable of achieving efficiencies unmatched by anything currently available in the market.

Obviously there have been seven other winners of the competition which received the award. Our $250,000 has always been provided in the form of a convertible note. This year was particularly exciting for us because our investment in Orbion will be from returns received from previous winners of the competition.

All previous winners have indeed accelerated their growth since winning. We are thrilled with their success. This story is just one of many that demonstrates the diversity and innovation in Michigan with opportunity for investors, entrepreneurs, and society.