Statewide collaborative plan makes sense for bioscience industry

April 3, 2015
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At long last the Michigan bioscience industry trade association, MichBio, is focused on development of a collaborative statewide strategic plan, and the Ann Arbor-based group is doing so in partnership with Business Leaders for Michigan and the University Research Corridor.

That focus and the plan that results will undoubtedly impact West Michigan’s numerous contributors as well as assist the fledgling medical device industry.

In recent reports The Right Place Inc. touts a local life sciences industry that is growing faster than the national average, an industry now reporting 165 percent growth in sales. The economic development agency also shows more than $1 billion in investments and expansions, including the Van Andel Institute, the region’s fourth-largest cluster of medical device suppliers, the eighth largest biopharmaceuticals cluster in the U.S. and more than 1,000 clinical trials.

It is no accident The Right Place this year added to its board Dr. Marsha Rappley, dean of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, joining Spectrum Health CEO Richard Breon who is board chair, and John Hendrickson, Perrigo executive vice president of global operations and supply chain.

The MSU Biomedical Research Center in Grand Rapids is under construction and scheduled to open in 2016, but those leaders associated with the game-changing programs are already at work in Grand Rapids in ancillary locations.

MichBio steering committee member Dean Knuth, director of Jasper Clinic/MPI Research, expects the group to focus on the state’s educational assets and integration to the life sciences sector. Jasper/MPI is a Kalamazoo-based company specializing in early-stage new drug testing on humans.

In addition to the university and college assets apparent in the region, the Van Andel Educational Institute has developed educational programs for both students and teachers. In a column in this edition of the Business Journal, Van Andel Institute President and CEO David Van Andel writes: “We are excited about the prospects of extending these best practices on the national stage. The impact could be tremendous.”

MichBio expects to have strategic priority areas determined by month’s end. The Business Journal anticipates associated West Michigan industries and agencies will have a major impact.

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