Roundup: MI’s Bio Sector Ranked, Wayne State, StockX, and More

Here’s a look at news from around Michigan’s innovation hubs:

—According to a report released at the BIO International convention earlier this month, Michigan’s biosciences sector experienced significant growth from 2012-2014. The TEConomy/BIO report measured several indicators, including the number of employees and companies, average wages, academic research expenditures, venture capital investments, and number of patents issued.

Key takeaways? Michigan’s total biosciences employment grew 5.7 percent, led by an 11 percent gain in the drugs and pharmaceuticals sector. Employment improved by as much as 6 percent in three other categories: bioscience-related distribution; medical devices and equipment; and research, testing, and medical laboratories. Overall, the number of biosciences jobs in Michigan is now roughly 248,340.

Michigan’s research institutions also conducted more than $1.2 billion in bioscience-related R&D in 2014, ranking them 10th nationally. National Institutes of Health funding granted to the state’s academic research institutions saw gains as well, increasing 9.1 percent to almost $623 million. Michigan is the global headquarters for major bioscience corporations, including Stryker, Dow Chemical, Dow Corning, Kellogg, MPI Research, and Diplomat Pharmacy.

“The new TEConomy/BIO report once again reinforces the fact that Michigan has a robust and growing bioindustry, with specific strengths in several key sectors,” said Xconomist Stephen Rapundalo, president and CEO of MichBio, in a press release. “We must leverage and promote our strengths if Michigan is to become a national leader in the global bioeconomy.”

StockX, the Dan Gilbert-backed online stock market for high-demand collectibles such as sneakers, last week announced a partnership with Detroit rapper Eminem. As part of the partnership, Eminem and his longtime manager, Paul Rosenberg, will be investing in the online trading platform. StockX will also create exclusive content and showcase rare sneakers from the rapper’s personal collection. Eminem is the first of what the company expects to be several high-profile investor announcements.

Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business has launched a new initiative with the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) to develop supply chain and purchasing talent. Called the Global Automotive Purchasing Supply Chain Network, the program helps provide community college, undergraduate, graduate, and adult continuing education curricula with real-world lecture material, automotive case studies, best practices, knowledge assessments, and standards.

“We have witnessed a strategic transformation of the automotive supply chain over the past 25 years,” said John C. Taylor, chair of the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Ilitch School, in a press release. “The rate of innovation in vehicle design, advanced manufacturing, and engineered materials has been truly remarkable and necessitated the creation of an unprecedented collaboration between industry and academia.”

AIAG will provide the program with guidelines, training, and educational opportunities. WSU will give participants access to undergraduate and graduate courses, executive education, basic and applied research, and international studies programs in China, Italy, Brazil and Poland. Degree and non-degree programs are also available, including undergraduate majors and graduate concentrations in purchasing and supply chain management. For more information, contact [email protected].

—Ken Rogers will retire from his position as the executive director of Automation Alley at the end of August, the statewide technology business association announced late last week. Rogers was appointed to create and lead Automation Alley 17 years ago by Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive. Under Rogers’s watch, it has grown from 42 original members to nearly 1,000 businesses, educational institutions, government entities, and nonprofit organizations from the city of Detroit and the surrounding eight-county region. Automation Alley’s board of directors will form a search committee and seek input from Rogers to fill the executive director vacancy.

Hygieia, the Ann Arbor-based digital diabetes management startup, has appointed John Brooks III to its board of directors. Brooks currently serves as president and CEO of Arete Worldwide, a consulting firm working to address obesity, pre-diabetes, and diabetes. He’s also managing director at Healthcare Capital. Prior to these positions, Brooks founded Prism Venture Partners and co-founded Insulet Corporation, an insulin pump company.

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