Anthony Chang was unfamiliar with Grand Rapids when he was invited on a recruiting tour for the Van Andel Institute while studying as a graduate student at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
A decade after joining the Institute as a researcher, Chang is now founding his promising medical technology start-up, BAMF Health Inc., in Grand Rapids with the intention of launching advanced cancer treatment this summer and s expand to the United States in the coming years.
Chang, who came to the United States from Taiwan 20 years ago, decided to found the company in Grand Rapids as part of the Medical Mile research, healthcare and education cluster which owns the “critical factors” for BAMF Health, he said. The company exemplifies that a world-class medical technology company can start in Grand Rapids, bring new technology to market and grow from here, Chang said.
BAMF HEALTH INC.
Senior leader: Anthony Chang, Founder and CEO
Total number of Michigan employees: 60
Company Description: Grand Rapids-based medical technology startup
“I like the concept of the Medical Mile. As a scientist, I have always believed that a scientist’s job is not to publish papers. A scientist’s job is to adapt technologies to impact human life,” Chang said. “The Medical Mile idea will have great potential and allow us to bring technology from the lab directly to patients.”
The Grand Rapids headquarters and flagship clinic base earned BAMF Health – short for Bold Advanced Medical Future – a MiBiz 2022 M&A Deals and Dealmakers of the Year Award in the Life Sciences category.
BAMF Health began work last summer on the $30 million global headquarters, advanced cyclotron-equipped radiopharmacy, and molecular imaging and theranostics clinics that will open this summer in the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building. at Michigan State University’s Grand Rapids Innovation Park research campus. The headquarters and clinics should eventually employ 200 people.
The clinics will use radiopharmaceuticals for molecular imaging and artificial intelligence to provide advanced cancer treatment that can accurately diagnose and target radiation therapy to tumors and allow BAMF Health to personalize treatment to the patient.
Chang plans to open 30 to 50 clinics across the country over the next three to five years. BAMF Health is already planning a second, smaller clinic at Loma Linda University in California.
“This is an international project, but we’ll start from Michigan,” said Chang, who previously served as founding director of the Translational Imaging Laboratory at the Van Andel Research Institute.
“We are building a national network to make this technology accessible and affordable for patients,” he said. “Grand Rapids will be our flagship site and it will be our very first site in the country, but we’re actually going to build a whole network across the country because one site can never meet the need.”
Chang formed BAMF Health in 2018 to bring medical technology, which has been used in Germany, to the United States
The company is “close enough” to complete a $30 million Series B capital round to open the Grand Rapids clinic, prepare for other sites and continue medical technology research and development, which can potentially treat other diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease.
Investors in the Series B round include the Grand Rapids-based New Community Transformation Fund, which invested $500,000. Waséyabek Development Co. LLC, the off-game economic development arm of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, invested $3 million in BAMF Health in November 2021.
Waséyabek CEO Deidra Mitchell met Chang at an event hosted by the West Michigan CEO Council.
“I have a background in biology, and so my ears have really woken up. … We’ve always said that the way we try to treat cancer is really barbaric. It’s so damaging to the body in its traditional capacity” , Mitchell said. “And then Anthony told me about the very targeted cancer treatments and the success rate, and that it was not an unproven technology, that in fact they were exercising in Germany for a while, and then their desire to found in Grand Rapids. Then you think about the tribes and the fact that they haven’t had the best health care over time and they have health issues inherent in their population. It all kind of came together.
When Waséyabek considered investing in BAMF Health, “there was no argument: ‘Shouldn’t we do this?’ It was like, ‘How quickly can we get involved and support this effort?’ said Mitchell.
For Chang, BAMF Health is not just a business but a “mission” to advance medical technology.
Chang seeks to make BAMF Health a “very large, strong and successful company so that we can continue to advance technology to deliver the best patient care.”
“We are here to establish a solid foundation that allows us to bring the latest technology to patients as soon as possible and that is accessible and affordable, so that we can have a very big impact on human health for the next 20 or 50 years. . ,” he said.