Michigan Leads Employment in Medical Devices Sector


Michigan is among the states leading the way in the nation’s medical devices and equipment sector, employing more than 11,000 people in 2012, according to a new report.

“We’ve certainly seen growth anecdotally by both established companies and, even more so, new startups in the medical device space,” says Stephen Rapundalo, president and CEO of MichBio, the state’s biosciences trade organization. “So it was nice to get that validation (from the report).”

According to the Battelle/BIO State Bioscience Jobs, Investments and Innovation report, Michigan’s employment in the sector grew 16 percent from 2007 to 2012, with an 18 percent increase in medical device establishments during that time. Some of the startups include Ann Arbor companies Tangent Medical, which produces catheter systems and other IV therapy products, and Blaze Medical Devices, which develops blood analysis technologies, Rapundalo says.

“I would say a lot of that (growth) is being driven by a new entrepreneurial spirit that’s residing in the academic research centers, particularly in the biomedical engineering space,” Rapundalo says. “The big three universities (University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University), as well as schools like Michigan Tech, are taking these new technologies and putting them on the commercialization pathway.”

Overall, Michigan’s total employment in the biosciences industry, which also includes drugs and pharmaceuticals and research and testing, was 41,892 — up more than 2,600 jobs since 2010.

While the numbers are encouraging, Rapundalo says it’s unclear if Michigan will be able to keep that pace of growth in the device sector or the bio-industry as a whole. “Continued growth is not guaranteed particularly in the absence of a coordinated strategic plan for developing the state’s bio-industry. We must identify, leverage, and promote our strengths if Michigan is to become a national leader in the global bio-economy,” he says.

Michigan is home to the global headquarters for Stryker, Dow Chemical, Dow Corning, Kellogg Co., Amway Corp., MPI Research, Diplomat Pharmacy, and Ferndale Pharmacy Group; the North American headquarters of Perrigol, and the research and development headquarters of Zoetis.

To read the full national report, click here. To read the Michigan profile, click here

Michigan — like Pennsylvania, Florida, and New York — is considered a “sizeable” state in the medical device sector, representing 3 percent of the nation’s total employment of 349,000. States with larger employment concentrations — representing more than 5 percent of the total — include California, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Indiana.