New Initiative to Cultivate Michigan’s Biosciences Industry


MichBio, in partnership with Business Leaders for Michigan and the University Research Corridor, has launched a statewide effort to grow the state’s biosciences industry over the next three to five years.

“Michigan’s bio-industry is at a critical point given the rapidly changing dynamics in the health care delivery marketplace, regulatory landscape, and global economy,” says Stephen Rapundalo, president and CEO of MichBio, the state’s biosciences trade organization. “For the state’s bioscience research, development, and manufacturing enterprise to have future success, a shared and executable vision with performance measures is required.”

Called the Michigan Bio-Industry Roadmap 2015, the strategic plan will focus on functional areas including innovation, industry growth, business climate, capital access, and education and talent development. In addition, the proposal will assess needs and opportunities across several bio-industry sectors and market areas where Michigan has a recognized strength and/or potential for growth.

While there haven’t been any economic reports about the industry in recent years, bioscience firms and companies contributed about $9.5 billion to the state’s GDP in 2010, the latest figures available, Rapundalo says.

“Growing Michigan’s strengths in the area of life sciences is key to growing a new Michigan economy,” says Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “As the demand for life sciences solutions grow, Michigan will benefit from leveraging its bio-industry to its fullest potential. Developing such an industry pillar for Michigan’s economy will make us more competitive globally and increase opportunities for job growth.”

The road mapping effort is being overseen by an executive steering committee comprised of bio-industry experts from around Michigan:

  • Linda Chamberlain, Ph.D., venture fellow, Michigan Accelerator Fund 1, Grand Rapids
  • Rob DeWit, Ph.D., director, Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, Kalamazoo
  • Michael Hagen, chair, Ash Stevens, Detroit
  • Dean Knuth, director, Jasper Clinic/MPI Research, Kalamazoo
  • Jeffrey Mason: director, University Research Corridor, East Lansing
  • Ken Massey, venture director, Wayne State University Office of Technology Commercialization, Detroit
  • Fred Molnar, Michigan Life Sciences Innovation Center, Plymouth
  • Karen Studer-Rabeler, technology consultant, Michigan Small Business Development Center, Grass Lake

“It is important to note that the biosciences industry is one of a number of sectors where Michigan has truly world-class institutions that deliver discoveries and serve as the substrate for commercialization,” says Jeffrey Mason, executive director of the University Research Corridor. “A roadmap that integrates stakeholders from across the state is critical to develop a R&D ecosystem that can compete globally.”

Data Consulting Group in Detroit will facilitate and support the statewide roadmap initiative.

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