Momentum Carries Futures Promise

June 25, 2007
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The domino effect continues to ripple. Step by step the momentum rumbles and grows like a snowball down a mountain. Biotechnology, life sciences and intellectual property are setting the pace. Business owners are clustering their efforts in sensible coalitions and joint strategies to meet the growing demands of a vibrant industry sector.

The medical professionals who will drive that growth for generations, including the expanding Van Andel Institute researchers, are arriving every day. As the story on Page 6 indicates, West Michigan Science and Technology Initiative’s ability to thrive as an incubator space in the Cook-DeVosCenter for Health Services is already maxed out, with the VAI scientists sure to need temporary lab space. It’s positive sign, but an ‘oh my,’ we need to find room fast, situation.

One of the latest indicators of the blossoming sector is the pending formation of the West Michigan Medical Device Consortium to serve the region’s large base of medical device companies. The participants are being put in place through the West Michigan Science & Technology Initiative. The intent is to get the medical device firms to work together in order to continue to spur growth and investment in the sector. A key role the group could play is to coordinate efforts to help the firms become better known, thus continuing a pattern of expansion and interest from companies that will want to come to Michigan to utilize them.

As reported in the June 18 Business Journal, there are already efforts under way in the medical device community to pursue quality management system requirements. ISO-13485 is an international medical device certification that meets the quality standard requirements of the global medical device industry and addresses most Food and Drug Administration requirements, as well. It’s understood that even companies that have good, solid quality management structures to start with, in many cases can still experience efficiency gains.

Due to such measures as ISO, quality consultants have recognized the potential of working with the medical industry. And, as has been well documented on these pages time and again, so are such business drivers as bankers, law firms and scores of other professional service categories.

Fifth Third Bank was recently profiled on these pages for its expanding presence in the medical sector nationally, with the establishment of a national health care team. The bank is working with physicians and medical practices for everything from the physician’s personal banking needs all the way up to the practice needs.

Earlier this spring a story focused on lawyers who are finding more and more work in these fast-growing sectors. Even the American Bar Association has established a Biotech Subcommittee, as the legal industry is drawn to a biotechnology industry that is beginning to demand more industry-specific legal services.

The entire evolution of this sector brings new promise. As the evolving atmosphere of cooperation and trust breeds ever more expansion, it will draw new investment support. That’s the kind of snowball of which we can never get enough.     

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