Leading Discovery: Life, Medical & Health Science

Strong Presence and Impact on Michigan

The institutions of the University Research Corridor (URC), one of the nation’s leading university clusters, are changing lives through groundbreaking research, talent development, and innovation. Some of the most impactful and ambitious research underway at URC schools is focused on challenges in the life, medical and health sciences. This research advances global scientific discovery while generating a significant contribution to the state’s economy. It also fosters unique levels of collaboration and partnership among key business, government and community leaders.

“In the past 10 years, the URC has made significant contributions to the medical and health science marketplace in both Michigan and across the country,” said Jim Haveman, retired Director of Community Health for Governor Engler and Governor Snyder. “Much of the universities’ funding focuses on addressing crucial health issues [seen across the nation], and we are especially fortunate for the URC’s interminable commitment to and support of community and mental health efforts in our state.”

Community health has been a significant focus for all URC schools for many years. WSU research and advocacy on health disparities in urban areas is helping diverse populations gain better access to care and achieve better outcomes. Michigan Medicine at U-M has a global reputation as a leader in patient care, research and education. The MSU College of Medicine has locations across the state, focused on delivering primary and specialty care while providing clinical training for Michigan’s future physicians. Overall, the URC is increasing research and development expenditures, making discoveries that improve everyday life, and advancing innovations from concept to marketplace.

“The URC is an incredible asset for our industry, state, and citizens in terms of the scale of R&D conducted at its universities in critically important areas, such as biomedical engineering, bio-agriculture, veterinary medicine, pharmacology and health disparities,” said Michael Jandernoa, Former Chairman of the Board and CEO of Perrigo Company. “Medical and healthcare discoveries with the potential to improve and save lives position Michigan as a top state for innovation in the life, medical and health sciences.”

The URC’s focus on specialized medical services and research, across multiple sectors, has led to productive collaborations with a variety of world-class healthcare providers, such as the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Mott Children’s Hospital. The MSU Veterinary Medical Center partners with private practitioners across the state, sharing resources and knowledge. In addition to partnering with established institutions, the URC is helping create future industries by bringing new innovations to the marketplace through licensing or patent activity. During the past several years, the URC institutions have developed and expanded entrepreneurial incubators, as well as services and programs to assist with business formation, planning and growth. These services—along with the relationships the universities have fostered nationally and around the world—contribute to the successes of startups.

Mina Sooch, President, CEO and board member of Gemphire Therapeutics; former CEO, cofounder and principal of Apjohn Ventures; and prior member of a number of private, public and VC industry boards, stated, “As a serial entrepreneur and venture investor based in Michigan since 2000, I’ve experienced first-hand the innovation-rich environment provided by the presence and accessibility of the URC that enables Michigan’s life sciences sector to thrive, attract venture investment, and create opportunities for business and job growth. Apjohn Ventures has made investments in a number of companies founded on a university technology licensed from a URC institution or that were university startups, including RenaMed Biologics, CytoPherx, and ProNAi Therapeutics.”

With over $1.2 Billion in research and development expenditures on an annual basis the URC is a research juggernaut. Each day thousands of researchers and clinicians come to work committed to discovering treatments and/or cures which will impact the lives of Michiganders, and people around the world.

“The University Research Corridor showcases Michigan’s world class universities, economic competitiveness, and scientific breakthroughs being made every day in our state,” said The Honorable Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Senator from Michigan. “This innovative partnership is creating jobs, fostering relationships with all types of businesses, from our largest corporations to smallest entrepreneurial businesses, and driving innovation in all sectors of our economy. The impact of the Corridor on healthcare has been especially important in pushing boundaries of medical science to improve people’s health and medical care.”

The URC produces medical talent on a grand scale, conferring more medical degrees than any other university cluster in the nation, educating 92 percent of the medical doctors who graduate each year in Michigan. Additionally, these universities operate or partner with hospitals that treat the highest level of trauma as well as those with the greatest need for specialization, ultimately drawing patients from across the nation and around the globe. The impact of the URC’s medical education can be felt every day, from urban cores to rural community clinics.

“The University Research Corridor helps make Michigan a leader in granting medical degrees and educating highly-qualified nurses and doctors with specialized knowledge and skills,” stated Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, the statewide leader representing Michigan’s community hospitals. “Michigan hospitals are equally invested in graduate medical education of physician residents. Taken together, these efforts make Michigan a national leader in growing and retaining physician talent, which is critical to ensuring healthy, vibrant communities.” Medical talent produced by the URC continue to develop and deliver effective and innovative treatments that promote physical and mental wellness. Competing with the nation’s top university research clusters, the URC attracts billions of dollars in national funding for R&D, which not only leads to life-saving discoveries, but also supports a robust entrepreneurial environment in the life sciences.

The net effect of the URC in the life, medical and health sciences can be measured in many ways, from lives saved to dollars invested to jobs created. At the same time, what cannot be fully measured – but nevertheless appreciated – are the new moments, new chances and new hopes that URC research, and its results, offers so many every day. This collective benefit continues to grow every year with every new inspiration and novel innovation, strengthening our state, our nation and our world in the process.