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Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy Grows in Flint, MI

Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy, the nation’s largest privately held specialty pharmacy company servicing the needs of patients and physicians nationwide, announced today it has received an 18-year Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) tax credit for $61.5 million and $14 million in Career Alliance, Inc. workforce training funds.

Diplomat expects the bulk of its employees to be based in Flint, where the company plans to purchase a 340,000 square foot building at the Great Lakes Technology Centre complex on Saginaw Street. The company will invest $12 million in the building over the next five years and anticipates it will move from its current headquarters space in Flint Township to the Saginaw Street site on a phased-in basis beginning in 90 days, with all headquarters operations and employees relocated over the next 12 months.

Additional incentives will also be made by the City of Flint, MI that will allow the company to focus its immediate expansion efforts in Flint. Diplomat’s employee base, currently more than 400 company-wide, with approximately 350 employees in Michigan, is expected to add over 1000 new jobs in life sciences in five years and 4,000 by 2028.

The announcement was made by Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy President, CEO and co-founder, Phil Hagerman, Hagerman said the state tax incentives strengthen Diplomat’s future in Michigan.

“Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy is a leader and innovator in specialty pharmacy, a dynamic industry experiencing explosive growth. The tax credits awarded to Diplomat mean Michigan can further position itself as a life sciences leader, attracting new and complementary businesses that support the rejuvenation of the Flint business landscape and the appeal of Michigan as a hotbed of ingenuity and health care talent,” Hagerman said. “We thank [the governor’s office], the MEGA Board, the City of Flint and the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce for their support in assuring that Diplomat will remain a Michigan-based company.”

Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy was included on the INC. 500 list of fastest growing private companies in America. Of the 43 companies in the health care category, Diplomat ranked #1 in total revenue and sales growth. The company anticipates revenues of $600 million in 2010.

Specialty pharmacy refers to a branch of the pharmaceutical delivery system that focuses on comprehensive and coordinated systems of pharmacological care for patients with serious and chronic illnesses and complex medical conditions. Diplomat offers its services through contracts with prescription benefit managers and health plans, and through direct relationships with physicians and patients.

Diplomat also provides services to large retail pharmacies not equipped to handle the specialty pharmacy needs of patients requiring highly specialized drugs. Diplomat staff includes pharmacists, nurses and patient advocates who interact with patients to answer questions, offer support, ensure medication compliance and even try to find funding sources for those who cannot afford their prescriptions.

In 2009, Diplomat secured $12.1 million in funding for patients through outreach to various non-profit funding sources. As a result of its high touch-high tech patient model, Diplomat’s specialty patients average better than 90% adherence to their medications, while the national average is 50-70% for chronic medicines.

“Specialty pharmacy is a labor-intensive field. It’s a nearly $100 billion industry and a true growth area for Michigan,” Hagerman said. “Three of the top 10 drugs we provide today didn’t exist five years ago. There are hundreds of drugs in the specialty pharmacy pipeline and it is a likely scenario that half of the top 10 drugs we will provide in five years are not on the market today. In a rapidly expanding field like specialty pharmacy, we need top talent to remain industry leaders.

“The MEGA tax credits awarded to us today, along with the multi-million dollar federal training grant and anticipated City of Flint support, ensure that Michigan residents will have new opportunities in a life sciences arena that is not only growing, but one where we have the chance to make a difference every day,” he added.

Given the room for growth at the Saginaw Street site, Hagerman says the area shows great promise for building a life sciences corridor.

“With Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy as an anchor, we expect that businesses complementary to ours, whether they are our own vendors or other life sciences concerns, will see the attraction of creating a life sciences corridor here,” he said. “Diplomat will be reinventing itself in the future and we are thrilled that reinvention will take place in Flint, Michigan.”

 

‘New Blue Economy’ in Macomb County

Macomb County [MI] Executive Mark Hackel has announced the formation of a 22-member panel to support clean water, tourism, recreation and economic development along Lake St. Clair and the Clinton River. The panel members are from the tri-county area.

The Macomb County Water Resources Advisory Council will concentrate on the three cornerstones of Hackel’s New Blue Economy initiative: water quality, water access and water attraction. It also will work to attract smart water technology companies—one of the county’s targeted industry sectors.

“I’m extremely excited about this new direction,” Hackel said of the council. “There’s a lot more that they can help us with. It’s not enough to identify problems, but how to identify and find solutions.”

The council is made up of government representatives, including Hackel and Macomb County Commission Chairwoman Kathy Vosburg, and members of higher education, environmental agencies, economic development and private industry.

Last month, Hackel gave commissioners his organization plan, which detailed $2.5 million in cuts annually, including about $100,000 in savings from the elimination of seven of the county’s 38 boards, including the Water Quality Board. Hackel said he was considering advisory councils for some of the eliminated boards.

The volunteer council, which is expected to meet soon, is to work toward keeping waterways free of debris and pollution, and beaches open. Among the New Blue Economy’s short-term initiatives is opening the Clinton River for canoeing and kayaking between Utica and Rochester, and to erect promotional and location signage for Lake St. Clair along key roadways.

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