Lafayette’s healthcare economy is heating up

The gist: Oil and gas may still be down, but Lafayette’s healthcare economy has realized a series of wins over the last few weeks with good news from companies like VieMed, NeuroRescue and ThinkGenetic.

VieMed will add 220 jobs and open a new HQ in Lafayette. VieMed delivers home respiratory services to patients across the country with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and various neuromuscular diseases.

The company recently purchased the old Talos Petroleum building at 625 E. Kaliste Saloom Road and will add 70 new professional jobs along with another 150 healthcare service jobs over the next five years. Economic development officials claim these 220 new direct jobs are expected to create another 168 indirect jobs in our area.

VieMed started in 2006 under the name Sleep Management. Today it’s traded on the Canadian stock exchange and is worth more than $370 million in Canadian dollars.

NeuroRescue has moved its headquarters to the Oil Center. NeuroRescue is a startup that’s developing a cerebral cooling collar to help paramedics maintain patients’ temperatures by cooling the blood traveling to their brain.

NeuroRescue was the winner of last year’s Accelerate South healthcare startup competition in Lafayette. The company is now partnering with Lafayette General Health, Acadian Ambulance and UL Lafayette to begin pilot studies of its technology. Local manufacturer Noble Plastics, and other local companies, will aid in the building process.

ThinkGenetic will open its third office in Lafayette. ThinkGenetic offers artificial-intelligence-driven SymptomMatcherTM to help medical professionals identify genetic disorders in their patients.

ThinkGenetic also participated in last year’s Accelerate South and successfully raised a $1.5 million round of angel investment earlier this year, including some stake from Lafayette General’s Health Innovation Fund.

Why this matters: Healthcare has already become Lafayette’s largest employer with more than 30,000 people employed. And developments like these continue that trend. As the region still needs to make up for a debilitating decline in the energy industry, high-quality jobs in an expanding industry can help fill that gap.