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MSU to leverage public-private partnership for new Grand Rapids facility COURTESY PHOTO

MSU to leverage public-private partnership for new Grand Rapids facility

BY Friday, November 22, 2019 11:10am

Michigan State University’s new Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building builds on a uniquely West Michigan model of public-private partnerships that’s been behind some of the largest projects in Grand Rapids.

Funded with a $19.5 million donation from Doug Meijer and the Meijer Foundation, the facility stems from partnership formed between MSU’s College of Human Medicine and Health Innovation Partners LLC, itself a joint venture involving Chicago-based MB Real Estate, Chicago-based Walsh Construction/Walsh Investors and Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction Co. Inc.

“This project is another demonstration of what can be achieved in West Michigan when we work together to benefit the community,” said Mike VanGessel, founder and CEO of Rockford Construction. 

The Meijer Medical Innovation Building will house a new radiopharmacy and a Theranostics clinic operated by BAMF Health LLC, a Grand Rapids company working to move radiopharmaceuticals from the research lab to commercial use for molecular imaging used in precision treatment for cancer patients. Spectrum Health will also become a tenant.

In a ceremonial groundbreaking this week, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said the project represents “the next significant transformation taking place right here in the heart of our city” that resulted from a public-private partnership, or so-called “P3.”

“There are many incredible things that our city is known for, and one that we are extremely proud of is our legacy of public-private partnerships and also deep collaboration across sectors,” Bliss said. “This is a shining example of that.”

Rising adjacent to MSU’s Grand Rapids Research Center on Michigan Street in downtown, the 211,600-square-foot Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building is targeted to open in October 2021. The campus anchors the eastern end of the Medical Mile, a cluster of clinical, education and research partners that has arisen over the past two decades and positioned Grand Rapids as a destination for research and care.

The radiopharmacy supported by the Meijer donation will bring to Grand Rapids a new, advanced cancer treatment that’s presently undergoing clinical trials in the U.S., said Norman Beauchamp, MSU’s executive vice president for health services. Beauchamp expects that treatment to earn U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval by the time the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building opens in two years.

The cyclotron-equipped radiopharmacy will produce diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals for clinical and research uses.

As well, the Medical Innovation Building opens a new research area for MSU that can attract not only more researchers to Grand Rapids but also lead to further partnerships between private industry and startup companies and the College of Human Medicine, Beauchamp said.

The project comes about a decade after MSU relocated the College of Human Medicine to Grand Rapids and two years after the opening of the university’s $88.1 million Grand Rapids Research Center.

“This is Michigan State’s P3 endeavor. It won’t be our last,” MSU trustee Diane Byrum said at the ceremonial groundbreaking. “That was a significant milestone in and of itself.”

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