Oakland County Medical Main Street adds $34.8 million in investment in 1st quarter

Posted on April 5, 2011

Oakland County’s Medical Main Street program surpassed $61 million in total investment during the first quarter — and a Southfield alliance hopes to draw even more to a new business incubator by the last quarter.

The county said today that five life-science companies either located or expanded operations during the first three months this year, generating $34.8 million in total investment in the quarter and creating or retaining about 1,000 jobs.

That compares with just under $26.9 million in total investment from the inception of the program in 2008 through 2010, for a total of 15 companies committing $61.7 million to date.

“Medical Main Street is less than 3 years old and continues to show impressive growth,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in a statement. “These investments demonstrate that Oakland County and Southeast Michigan is a leading destination for excellence in health care and the life-science industries.”

Two of the five new deals were previously announced either by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, the county or the companies themselves. The deals to date in 2011 include:

Ascendant Mdx Inc., a laboratory company providing obstetrical and genetic testing services, which will spend up to $3.7 million and add up to 162 jobs by 2015 in one of the vacant West Tech Park buildings in Farmington Hills.

CareTech Solutions, a Troy-based health care information technology and management services provider, which recently completed the second phase of an expansion. The investment totaled $28 million. The company has said it expects to create up to 200 jobs during 2011.

Innovative Surgical Solutions, a Royal Oak-based maker of a system to monitor nerves during minimally invasive surgeries, which will spend $500,000 and add up to 30 jobs.

GloStream Inc., a Bloomfield Hills-based electronic medical records vendor and consulting firm, which will invest $1.4 million and add up to 40 jobs.

Total Repair Express, which will spend $1.2 million in Orion Township and add up to 100 jobs.

Also, the Southfield Cornerstone Development Authority is in talks with two local companies to host at least 13,000 square feet of space for a new life-sciences incubator with 12-15 tenants, said the authority’s executive director, Al Aceves.

In January, Cornerstone launched a Southfield Healthcare Corridor to attract for-profit health care companies such as insurers, medical-device manufacturers and even IT or staffing companies with a health care industry focus.

“There is some space already like this in the Kalamazoo area, but obviously there is enough distance between us that we believe there will be enough demand for another incubator, too,” Aceves said.

The host “investor” would donate the space and pay to build out a finished laboratory space for the incubator tenants — a cost Aceves places at $200,000 to $500,000 — in exchange for first rights to sign leases with tenant companies that graduate from the incubator.

Aceves said he hopes to have a lease deal and construction under way by the fourth quarter.

At least a dozen businesses related to health care account for more than 6,000 jobs within the 1.5-square-mile authority district, which falls mainly between Northwestern Highway and Greenfield Road from Eight Mile Road to Mt. Vernon Street, Aceves said.

Those businesses include St. John Providence Hospital, a Southfield office of Detroit-based Health Alliance Plan with more than 450 employees, the 10,000-square-foot Northland Park Dialysis Center and a CSL Plasma center.

By Chad Halcom, Crain’s Detroit