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Wolverine Venture Fund Continues Track Record of Industry Firsts

10/29/2009 --

HandyLab, a long-time portfolio company of country's first student-led venture fund, under agreement to be acquired by leading global medical technology company.

Ann Arbor, Mich. The Wolverine Venture Fund (WVF), part of the University of Michigan's Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Ross School of Business, announced Becton, Dickinson, and Company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire HandyLab Inc.

Ann Arbor-based HandyLab develops and manufactures molecular diagnostic assays and automation platforms. The company has been part of the WVF portfolio since 2000. Since that time, the fund has participated in four rounds of financing in HandyLab.

Celebrating 10 years of investment and innovation, the $3.5 million WVF is the country's first student-led venture fund and has served as a model for other University programs over the years. Continuing to pioneer and lead the industry, WVF is one of the first student-led venture funds to deliver successful returns to investors with the IPO of Intralase in 2004, the acquisition of in 1999, and now this anticipated acquisition of HandyLab.

"This news marks another exciting event for the Wolverine Venture Fund," says the fund's director Tom Kinnear. He also is the executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute. "The fund was developed to provide students with a real-world educational experience, and over the years our students have been part of the full spectrum of the investment process."

HandyLab, a University of Michigan spinout company founded in 2000, benefited in several ways from student expertise and resources at the time of the company's inception. In addition to the WVF investment, HandyLab also hosted a team of MBAs as part of a business development class project, and participated in the Marcel Gani Internship Program. Jeffrey S. Williams, president and CEO of HandyLab, earned his MBA from Ross in 1992 and is a member of the Zell Lurie Institute Advisory Board.

Since its inception, WVF has invested in more than 18 companies in a wide range of innovative industries such as information technology, life sciences, and alternative energy.

HandyLab's acquisition by Becton, Dickinson, and Company is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close during the first quarter of fiscal year 2010.

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847,