INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Ten years ago today, a task force comprised of Indianapolis business, academic and civic leaders came together to develop a strategy for Indiana's life sciences sector that would catapult the state's legacy of strong life sciences companies and research institutions into a 21st-century hub for biotechnology and medical technology. Known today as BioCrossroads, that strategy has driven the state into the national spotlight as a leader and destination in biotechnology, medical devices and healthcare information technology.
"With major players like WellPoint, Eli Lilly and Company, Cook, Roche and Indiana University School of Medicine calling Indiana home, we knew we had worthy assets to build an economy of scale," said David Johnson, president and CEO of BioCrossroads. "But 10 years ago, those remarkable entities weren't collaborating, or in some cases even talking to each other, so we knew we needed a catalyst to make bigger things happen for Indiana."
Initially, BioCrossroads (originally called the Central Indiana Life Sciences Initiative) was tasked to spur life sciences research, generate more investment dollars, and attract more talent to build on the remarkable base of leading life sciences companies and research institutions already residing in the state. BioCrossroads started as a Central Indiana-based initiative, but over the past decade has spread throughout the state making significant--and measurable--progress on the original goals.
A "success story" according to an industry report in 2011, BioCrossroads has raised more than one-quarter billion dollars in philanthropic grant funds and capital investments to start and support life sciences opportunities. BioCrossroads has also organized four venture capital and seed-stage investment funds, launched eight new enterprises like the Indiana Health Information Exchange, the Fairbanks Institute for Healthy Communities, and OrthoWorx to advance signature life sciences strengths, and partnered with state and local government to attract hundreds of new jobs to Indiana's life sciences and healthcare-related fields.
The sector reaches every corner of the state and accounts for a $44 billion impact on Indiana's economy with more than 50,000 jobs (and an indirect impact of another 105,000 jobs). Since 2002, Indiana has seen a 21 percent increase in life sciences employment and a growth in companies from 550 to more than 825. In 2010, more than $9.1 billion worth of life sciences products were exported from Indiana, accounting for nearly one-third of the State's total exports.
"As much as any organization, BioCrossroads has driven Indiana's emergence as a life sciences leader over the last decade," said Bart Peterson, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Lilly and mayor of Indianapolis in 2002 when BioCrossroads was created. "As a state, we already had amazing resources -- from a nationally recognized medical school to global leaders in medical innovation and health care. BioCrossroads has facilitated stronger relationships among existing companies while enhancing the visibility of what our state offers -- leading to nearly 300 life sciences startup companies over the last 10 years."
Although the organization has made greater impact than originally envisioned, there is still much work to be done.
"The power of Indiana's life sciences sector has been even stronger than we realized. We have even more energy and people to collaborate today than we did when we were first organized in 2002," added D. Craig Brater, M.D., dean of Indiana University School of Medicine and chairman of the board of BioCrossroads. "The work from here gets harder and takes even more collaboration from key stakeholders in the community, but there are many more opportunities for growth and success in the sector, and BioCrossroads is poised to lead the way."
BioCrossroads (www.biocrossroads.com) is Indiana's initiative to grow, advance and invest in the life sciences, a public-private collaboration that supports the region's existing research and corporate strengths while encouraging new business development. BioCrossroads provides money and support to life sciences businesses, launches new life sciences enterprises (Indiana Health Information Exchange, Fairbanks Institute for Healthy Communities, BioCrossroadsLINX, OrthoWorx and Datalys Center), expands collaboration and partnerships among Indiana's life science institutions, promotes science education and markets Indiana's life sciences industry.
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