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Posted on Sat, Nov 7, 2009 : 1:30 a.m.

Business Review announces winners in fifth annual 'Deals of the Year' celebration

By Paula Gardner's Business Review announced the winners of its 5th annual "Deals of the Year" celebration during the event held Friday night in Ann Arbor.

All winners were kept secret until the gala event at the Four Points Sheraton.

Here are the winners:

• Deal of the Year: The University of Michigan's acquisition of the former Pfizer campus. Pfizer's exodus, which displaced more than 2,100 workers, paves the way for the University of Michigan’s biggest expansion in five decades. U-M, which acquired the site in June for $108 million, plans to hire 2,000 to 3,000 workers to populate the 2 million square feet of facilities over the next 10 years. It also set a goal to double its $1 billion research budget.

• Company of the Year: Arboretum Ventures. The Ann Arbor-based venture capital firm has invested in some of the city’s top technology companies. Arboretum keeps hitting home runs, and its investors rewarded the firm with $73 million in fresh capital in 2009 despite a dismal year for financing. Arboretum, which harbors ambitions of becoming a national player in health care technology investment.

• Banking & Finance: Lycera The Plymouth Township-based biotech firm raised $36 million in venture capital, marking the biggest VC deal in Michigan since 2007. Scientist Gary Glick’s leadership helped deliver critical funding for Lycera during the global financial crisis. The University of Michigan spinoff company, whose investors include Ann Arbor’s EDF Ventures, is pursuing drugs for various immune system conditions.

• Commercial Real Estate: Cooley Law School The largest law school in the country chose Ann Arbor for its expansion this summer. In the newly vacant 84,500-square-foot former Ave Maria Law School on Plymouth Road, Cooley found a location that was already configured for its needs and its plan to admit new classes three times per year. In addition to the school expansion, the deal also kept a large potential vacancy from impacting northeast Ann Arbor.

• Construction & Development: Near North The Three Oaks Group assembled the run-down houses that comprise 1.19 acres just north of downtown years ago, planning to build condominiums. But market changes and neighbor reaction pushed them into a different direction: An Alliance with Avalon Housing to create 39 units of affordable housing. The unique collaboration won both neighbor support and city approval after the team sought input from both groups, creating a winning plan that will result in filling a local housing need.

• Health Care: Terumo Heart The subsidiary of Japanese giant Terumo Medical Corp. concluded a $3.6 million expansion this fall, moving into its own, expanded facility on Terumo’s Scio Township campus. The move was driven by momentum of the highly specialized DuraHeart medical device, which is in clinical trials, requiring both additional and faster manufacturing capability. Terumo Heart, started in 2003, now employs nearly 160 and projects at least a 10 percent annual growth rate.

• Nonprofit: Packard Health The clinic opened a facility on the west side of Ann Arbor, its first expansion after 36 years of providing local health care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. The expansion will help Packard reach more uninsured peoplein the area who need access to care, but also attract more insured patients who may prefer the now-popular “medical home” model that Packard Health has always followed.

• Research: Sakti3 The Ann Arbor-based vehicle battery startup raised $5 million in private capital, expanded into bigger facilities and struck a technology partnership with General Motors. Led by global battery expert Ann Marie Sastry, the University of Michigan spinoff is poised to become an early leader in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. The company’s partnership with GM aims to accelerate the electrification of the vehicle.

• Technology: Clean Energy Coalition The Ypsilanti-based nonprofit won a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to help cities, companies and transportation organizations buy clean energy vehicles and install alternative fueling infrastructure. The nonprofit’s rise to a statewide profile reflects its expertise in alternative energy infrastructure and technology. Led by executive director Sean Reed, Clean Energy Coalition already quadrupled its office space this year and expects to add employees.