MichBio, BLM work on strategy to grow life sciences industry


Members of Business Leaders for Michigan, plus experts in the life sciences, pharmaceutical and medical device industries in the state, met at MichBio in Ann Arbor last week to begin development of strategies for growing Michigan’s bio-sciences industry.

The meeting was hosted by MichBio, the state’s biosciences industry trade association, and the event was part of MichBio’s newly created CEO Leaders’ Club, a program series for senior bioscience executives from around the state.

The featured guest was Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson and a native Michigander. A workgroup discussion followed the moderated Q&A and set the stage for initiating a bio-industry-led strategic planning effort.

“We greatly appreciated Alex Gorsky’s national and global perspective about the future of the biosciences industry,” said Steven Rapundalo, president and CEO of MichBio. “Michigan needs a strategic path to leverage its strong legacy of biomedical innovation and commercialization. The states that are top 10 in the life sciences industry have done two things well. First, they’ve developed a strategic plan and have had the fortitude and commitment to follow it through. Second, they have addressed their work force needs by working with higher education in an integrated manner to ensure that the industry is supported. All of our competitors have growth strategies, yet the last time that Michigan had one was a decade ago. It’s time to change that.”

Michael Jandernoa, a director of Perrigo pharmaceuticals company in Allegan and active member of BLM, commented on Michigan’s proven potential to grow the life science economy.

“We have one of the fastest growing life sciences communities in the country — here in the state of Michigan,” said Jandernoa, the former CEO of Perrigo. “Our vibrant life sciences startup community is having a significant impact in our state, and will have across the country and around the globe. Michigan is at a precipice and the potential for job growth is substantial. For every life science job created, four good paying spinoff jobs are created.”

The commitment to developing a strategy also was reinforced by William U. Parfet, chairman and CEO of MPI Research in Mattawan, near Kalamazoo.

“Michigan has a robust history and heritage in the life sciences,” said Parfet. “We rank 10th in the nation for life science patents and research funding. Michigan’s background, not only with its universities, but with its medical centers, well established physicians, and a vast array of support services in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry make it well positioned to lead in this arena.”

“Leveraging Michigan’s wealth of health and medical expertise is a key component of growing the new Michigan economy,” said Business Leaders for Michigan president/CEO Doug Rothwell. “We are pleased to work with MichBio in developing a strategy to use this strength to Michigan’s advantage.”

BLM was organized with the specific goal of making Michigan once again one of the top 10 states for job, economic and personal income growth. Its members represent major Michigan corporations estimated to drive more than 25 percent of the state’s economy.

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