The Ann Arbor region is home to cutting-edge biotech startups and entrepreneurs with life sciences research leading the way in southeast Michigan.

Successful companies in biotechnology and the life sciences industry are flourishing in Ann Arbor. Across the region, the life sciences sector includes 250+ firms and employs more than 6,000 people. On the national scale, the Midwest is becoming a notable center for the life sciences industry and at the heart of it all is Ann Arbor.

The largest sectors in the life sciences and biotechnology industry are those related to medical device manufacturing and pharmaceutical development. Service providers — such as contract research organizations (CROs), software development, and prototyping — are also found in the Ann Arbor area. The University of Michigan’s Medical Innovation Center and Eastern Michigan University’s Coatings Research Institute partner with life science firms to develop innovative solutions. Additionally, these initiatives are supported by the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor (MLSC), a $1 billion initiative that began in 1999 to fund biotech research at Michigan’s four largest research institutions. In addition to academic investments, thriving companies and laboratory space support the region.

Of all the life science companies based in the area, Integrated Health Associates provides the largest employee base accounting for more than 20 percent of the area’s industry. While IHA falls into the healthcare services sub-sector, the region also has a particularly large presence of medical device companies. The medical device sub-sector accounts for nearly 40 percent of the industry’s jobs with Terumo Cardiovascular Group employing more than 1,000 full-time employees. Aside from medical devices and healthcare services, the region is also home to a vast array of pharmaceutical, digital health, and biotechnology companies. 

Michigan Innovation Headquarters (MI-HQ) is the Ann Arbor region’s premier biotech incubator and wet lab facility. Home to more than 40 companies, MI-HQ is the largest concentration of life science companies in the region. The region regularly hosts events that support biotech and life science initiatives such as those organized by MichBio, a2geeks, and A2 Biosocial.

Ann Arbor SPARK Services and Resources

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Business Development and Site Selector Services 

Ann Arbor SPARK works closely with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Michigan Works! Southeast, local municipalities, and other partners to facilitate business location and growth within the region. Our team can help make meaningful connections as well as identify office space and the skilled talent you need to achieve your goals.

Startup and Business Acceleration Resources

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The SPARK entrepreneurial services team works closely with early-stage startups to expedite their success. A reliable advocate to help founders navigate the entrepreneurial ecosystem, SPARK offers desk space at our Coworking Programs in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, business accelerator grants to help achieve significant product development milestones, and mentoring opportunities with the area’s experienced business leaders. We’ve also teamed up with the Michigan Small Business Development Center to help our qualified clients apply for the Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund.

In addition to avenues for funding, SPARK initiatives promote collaborative programs in the region. For example, a2Tech360 is an annual weeklong series of events, featuring the region’s companies and leaders. Included in the lineup is the opportunity for angel investors and venture capitalists to hear pitches from early-stage startups during Invest360: Investor Showcase.

Industry Sector Report Highlights

  • Michigan is the 10th largest bioscience state.
  • The University of Michigan has one of the most massive academic therapeutic pipelines in the world, with 14 drug candidates currently in various stages of clinical trials and more than 130 preclinical drug discovery, drug repurposing, and novel drug target validation programs underway in labs across campus. 
  • The state has 1850+ establishments in the bioscience industry 
  • The University of Michigan spent 1.62B on bioscience research and development. 

Recent Industry Projects

  • Sartorius breaks ground on its new 130,000-square foot Center of Excellence for BioAnalytics in Ann Arbor.
  • Deerfield commits up to $130M to commercialize drug discovery at the University of Michigan.
  • BlueSky Initiative: The research will develop novel sensors that will gather microbiome data, including DNA sequences, in real-time. The sensors will be strategically placed across water systems in cities and the data collected will be used to guide water treatment and distribution.
  • LynxDx creates a COVID-19 testing site.
  • Piramal will invest some $32 million into its manufacturing plant in Riverview, Michigan.

Regional Industry Employers 

Company NameDescriptionRegional Employees
Terumo Cardiovascular Group Medical device manufacturing – Cardiovascular 370+
Cayman Chemical Company  Research products – Biomedical330+
QiAGENMolecular testing solutions250+
Sartorius AGPharmaceutical instruments160+
Genomenon, Inc. Data processing algorithms and curated genetic database SAAS125+
CovanceCRO provides small animal in vivo multi-modality imaging services85+
SurgiTelPrecision optics surgical, dental55+

Build and Grow in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor SPARK helps companies looking to grow, expand, or relocate find a space that suits their needs. From work environments at the SPARK Central Innovation Center in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor to commercial real estate options throughout the region, Ann Arbor SPARK has the resources and connections to facilitate your site selection.

Become a SPARK Client

A member of the Ann Arbor SPARK entrepreneurial services team will be in touch to discuss how we can help bring your idea to life. This is the first step in participating in our Entrepreneur Boot Camp, becoming a member of our coworking space, and getting introduced to our growing network of mentors and consultants. We can’t wait to connect with you!