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Published in Health Care

Michigan life sciences industry ranks among best in nation as employment grows

BY Wednesday, November 09, 2022 04:59pm

Employment in Michigan’s life sciences sector grew by 5.6 percent from 2018 to 2021 to 44,340 jobs, ranking the state among the top 15 in the nation for industry size.

Three areas within the state’s life sciences industry also each ranked in the top 10 for establishments in a biennial analysis by the national trade association Bio Industry Organization (BIO).

Medical devices and equipment companies accounted for 454 of Michigan’s 2,429 life sciences establishments — a 22-percent increase from three years earlier — to rank fifth nationally, up from sixth in 2018. Michigan had the ninth-largest number of pharmaceutical companies with 184 establishments, according to the BIO report prepared by Columbus, Ohio-based TEConomy Partners LLC.

At 50 establishments, the state’s agricultural feedstock and industrial bioscience sector was the nation’s ninth largest in 2021, up from 17th in 2018.

The data in the latest BIO’s latest analysis on the size of the U.S. biosciences industry show that Michigan outpaced other states in the formation of new establishments, and “Michigan is home to significant life science infrastructure and talent,” said Steve Rapundalo, president and CEO of Ann Arbor-based trade group MichBio.

“Michigan has always had a thriving life science ecosystem and these trends reflect the impact of having a long-established focus on R&D throughout the industry and at our world-class research institutions, paired with hubs of high concentration of life science expertise and employment, and a growing engagement with life sciences from the state — together creating synergy around life sciences innovation,” Rapundalo said in a statement.

The industry’s growth from 2018 to 2021 occurred in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic and also shows that the industry “shouldered a larger than average burden of the pandemic response effort,” Rapundalo added.

“The state was a critical manufacturing hub for therapies and medical products needed during the pandemic,” he said. “While it would be easy to write off the growth in the number of establishments as strictly expected and therefore unremarkable, what these numbers indicate is something that we’ve always known about Michiganders — we are a state of unsurpassed grit and integrity, and significant expertise across all manufacturing industries that, when presented with an impossible problem, rose to the challenge in a way that was anything but unremarkable.”

Jobs within the state’s life sciences industry paid an average of $101,734 annually.

The largest sector in Michigan by jobs was bioscience-related distribution companies, with 1,014 establishments that employed 13,612 people in jobs that paid an average $112,589 annual salary.

Next was medical devices and equipment, which directly employed nearly 12,000 people in 2021, an increase of 12.8 percent from 2018. Pharmaceuticals employed nearly 10,000 people last year with an average annual salary of $94,582.

The 728 research, testing and medical labs in the state employed 8,250 people with an average salary of $102,004.

Kalamazoo, with Pfizer Inc.’s large production presence nearby and the home of Stryker Corp., had the highest concentration of medical devices, equipment and pharmaceuticals employment in the nation among medium-sized metropolitan areas.

Among small metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. with less than 75,000 total private employment, Niles ranked fifth nationally in employment in medical devices and equipment.

Michigan also ranked ninth in university-led, bioscience-related research and development at $1.62 billion in 2020, a 5.4-percent increase from 2018. Venture capital investments in the industry grew to $362 million in 2021 and totaled $959.9 million over the four years analyzed for BIO.

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