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Michigan Moves from Motors to Molecules

Michigan can call to mind images of the Great Lakes or of canoe trips through freshwater marshes. The city of Detroit may evoke the clanging of a car-part conveyor belt or the odor from smokestacks. But now Michigan officials and entrepreneurs also want investors around the world to envision hubs of high-tech collaborations that will transform the state into a biotechnology hotspot within the decade. Surprising to many, Michigan already has built a vigorous life science community. The state boas

Ted Agres
Michigan can call to mind images of the Great Lakes or of canoe trips through freshwater marshes. The city of Detroit may evoke the clanging of a car-part conveyor belt or the odor from smokestacks. But now Michigan officials and entrepreneurs also want investors around the world to envision hubs of high-tech collaborations that will transform the state into a biotechnology hotspot within the decade.

Surprising to many, Michigan already has built a vigorous life science community. The state boasts more than 300 biotech companies, a handful of pharmaceutical giants, and a triad of world-class research universities. This lineup helped create 16,800 life science jobs in 2000, making the state the 11th largest supplier of such positions in the United States, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC). The workers generate $1.6 billion (US) in sales, placing the state 10th among those that produce life-science revenues. Michigan also compares...

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