In 2009 the University of Michigan bought the shuttered Pfizer campus adjacent to its North (Ann Arbor) Campus for $108 Million. The 174-acre, 30-building, 2-million-square-feet of research and administrative space have since been renamed the North Campus Research Complex, and the Complex' Venture Accelerator has just opened with five startup companies as tenants. The 16,000 sf Accelerator facility is designed to fast-track new businesses based on UM technology by providing lab and office space, IT infrastructure, business services, and mentorship. The Accelerator is a branch of U-M's Tech Transfer, which also moved onto the new campus, along with the Business Engagement Center and the Medical School Business Development.
The purchase of the property by UM in 2009 came as something of a surprise to most of the interested parties in Ann Arbor and Plymouth Township, the negotiations having been kept largely secret until the end. Just what the University had purchased was a mystery to the public as well. Few people knew what all was contained in the Pfizer complex. As it turned out, there was some impressive laboratory equipment and very nice commons space (see the above video for a tour of the newly-purchased campus and the NCRC website for videos of the occupied and available spaces). Retrofitting was minimal in many cases. One new tenant of the Accelerator space said of his company's decision to set up shop there: "The former Pfizer facility is world-class...the infrastructure is in place, we don't have to waste time and energy trying to pull it together."
At least ten buildings on the North Campus Research Complex are already occupied by units such as: Translational Oncology; the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research; Distributed Health Technologies; the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative; the Cardiovascular Research Center; the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine; Bioinformatics; Imaging; and DNA Sequencing.
While startups and selected partnerships with industry will utilize some of the campus space, the NCRC is not destined to be a tech park. The decision to purchase the property (which U-M once owned and sold to a pharmaceutical company in 1957) was based on the need to expand the University's research facilities, which the acquisition of the NCRC has accomplished. UM is a top-ranked research institution, and the additional lab space has increased its overall research space by 10%, positioning the University for a leadership role in science and technology development well into the 21st Century.Opportunities for scientists to network and learn about research solutions and for suppliers of life science laboratory tools in Michigan continue to grow. Meet science researchers and industry professionals in person at a Biotechnology Calendar BioResearch Product Faire™ Eventon either the University of Michigan or Michigan State campus this July:
- University of Michigan BioResearch Product Faire™ July 14, 2011 on the Ann Arbor campus
- Michigan State BioResearch Product Faire™ Front Line Event on the East Lansing campus July 13, 2011