600 University of Michigan employees now working at ex-Pfizer site after recent department shifts
The University of Michigan is shifting its DNA sequencing operation and cardiovascular research activities to the ex-Pfizer property in northern Ann Arbor as part of a plan to populate the 174-acre campus with scientific research in a few key areas.
U-M said today that 60 researchers in "a cardiovascular research cluster" would move to the former Pfizer property. The first two, Eric Devaney and Todd Herron, already have started laboratory research at the site.
Devaney and Herron, whose labs were previously located 10 miles apart, are pursuing new technology that would use stem cells to create new heart muscle. They're the first university employees to start conducting lab research at the former Pfizer site, which U-M bought for $108 million in 2009.
The university has also transferred 23 workers from its DNA sequencing division to the former Pfizer site, which has been renamed North Campus Research Complex.
Altogether, U-M has transferred about 600 workers to the former Pfizer property, including its health care research units, Technology Transfer Office and Business Engagement Center. Among the other operations already located at the property are a Michigan State University spinoff biomaterials company and several startup companies launched by U-M professors.
The resuscitation of laboratory activity at the Pfizer campus comes about two-and-a-half years after the pharmaceutical giant completed its exodus from Ann Arbor, displacing more than 2,100 workers and exiting 2 million square feet of facilities.
"We are thrilled to have the fantastic lab facilities here at NCRC used again, and seeing our careful planning process produce results,” NCRC executive director David Canter said in a statement. "We are continually moving towards creating a center of innovation— a place where collaboration spurs new ideas.”
U-M has said that it expects to have about 1,000 employees working at the Pfizer site by late 2012.
The university plans to place a heavy emphasis on a few specific types of interdisciplinary research at the site, including medical devices, oncology, imaging, cardiovascular science and health services research.
Overall, U-M has said it wants to have 2,000 to 3,000 workers at the site by the end of the decade.