Henry Ford Health System, Michigan State University seeks to inaugurate research institute

The research institute and medical school will emulate MSU’s venture with Spectrum in Grand Rapids. The duo built a $250 million innovation park more than a decade ago that has attracted significant investment to the region. Last year, pharmaceutical manufacturer Perrigo Co. opened a new 125,000 square foot headquarters in the Innovation Park.

“I see the same thing happening in Detroit,” Beauchamp said. “We can create opportunities like this in Detroit and propel Michigan’s healthcare sector forward and drive social, demographic and economic change.”

Henry Ford Health System wants to be a national player in the same conversation with companies like Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts General and Michigan Medicine. Kalkanis believes this partnership can propel the health system into that higher tier of providers in the country.

“There is no big city without a world-class medical center,” Kalkanis said. “We aspire 100% to be a national destination. Not all top institutions have the same commitment to community as we do, and we believe we can work on both sides of that spectrum to become a new national standard.”

The company has the ability to create a center for receiving grants that relies on itself. Prior to last year’s deal, MSU was the 60th-largest recipient of National Institutes of Health grants in the country and HFHS was the 70th, Kalkanis said. The NIH has since allowed the company to be calculated as a combined entity, propelling the institution into the top 30 NIH grant recipients.

“It gave us meaningful movement on how we can attract grants and talent,” Kalkanis said. “Seemingly overnight we’re in an exponentially better position. Some people will focus on bragging rights, but what that means is that if a clinical trial is launched, we now have the bandwidth and recognition to participate. It allows us to elevate our game and attract more talent. There is huge competition to land the best and brightest in the country. Do you want to go to a place that is 70th in the country or in a place that has the resources to be in the top 30?”

The next steps are to bolster the ranks of the company’s leadership, Kalkanis said, including a head of research, the dean of the campus branch and the head of the new institute.