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Friday, January 15, 2021
How support of the state's manufacturing companies helped distribute the fastest produced vaccine in history.
We have been at war with the coronavirus for a year and, on December 11, we entered a new phase of battle when the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, BNT162b2, against COVID-19 was authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use
With Michigan ranking top 10 for its medical device manufacturing workforce of nearly 13,000 people, it was no surprise when all eyes were on Michigan to witness the historic journey of the first trucks carrying the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine departing the Pfizer plant in Portage, located in Kalamazoo County. Nor was it a shock when in early 2021, Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing (GRAM) in Grand Rapids was also chosen to help manufacture the Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, underscoring the national recognition that Michigan’s ecosystem continues to earn.
By leveraging Michigan’s existing medical device anchor companies and research assets, the state was able to produce and distribute the fastest produced vaccine in history. Yet, this is not Michigan’s first experience leading in times of war. Known as the “Arsenal of Democracy” during WWII, Michigan companies mobilized to produce 4 million engines and 200,000 mobile units. Detroit, with two percent of the U.S. population, made 10 percent of the materials for the war. Since the start of the pandemic, the state once again mobilized to deploy its talent and manufacturing expertise to contribute to today’s “war” effort.
During the early stages of the pandemic, there was a disruption in the supply chain causing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). Michigan manufacturers stepped up to quickly retool production lines to make everything from ventilators to hand sanitizers. And now Pfizer, part of Michigan’s $28 billion life science industry, has produced and distributed the first of three vaccines from one of the most technically advanced sterile injectable pharmaceutical facilities in the world.
And while the COVID-19 vaccines are making headlines, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) supports a robust ecosystem of companies tapping into the state’s technology and manufacturing know-how as well as the concentration of talent available here in Michigan.
In addition to Pfizer, GRAM, Fifth Eye and Stryker, Michigan is home to 383 medical device firms, with the Southwest region of Michigan having five times more workers than the U.S. average in the medical device sector. For companies looking for a new home, there is no doubt that Michigan is uniquely positioned to provide mentorship, workforce needs and R&D facilities to create your business’s success. To learn more about Michigan’s medical device technology industry, visit michiganbusiness.org.
To contact a business development specialist, click here or call 1.888.522.0103.