Biotech is Still Booming
Rapid growth continues in this seemingly recession-proof industry, spurring regions to keep creating innovative initiatives and incentives.
“Biotechnology is one of the few industries in the world that continues to grow rapidly today. In September 2008, Global Industry Analysts, Inc., a market research group specializing in the medical industry, reported, “biopharmaceuticals is poised to experience spiraling growth given the recent success of commercialized products and the steady stream of products presently in the pipeline.”
Biotech companies raised record amounts of venture capital ($5.5 billion in 2007) and the value of mergers, acquisitions and alliances reached new heights. In their Biotechnology Beyond Borders 2008 report, Glen Tiovannetti and Gautam Jaggi noted: “What we are seeing, really, is the start of a revolution. Three business drivers—the immediate challenge of patent expirations, and the longer-term move toward personalized medicine and globalization—are sparking fundamental changes in the global drug development industry and driving companies to reinvent themselves.” But biotech is not just about pharmaceuticals and DNA testing—these days biofuels have become more important as energy independence and environmental impact take center stage in the U.S. and Europe.
Because this innovative business is still in growth mode, states and cities are creating incentives to attract biotech companies. In choosing a location, biotech companies must focus on factors that feed innovation and invention; these include research incentives such as a venture capital community and a favorable regulatory climate, a highly intellectual workforce, the ability to form partnerships with academic institutions and access to research parks and lab space.
Lexington, KY Fuels Biotech with Incentives
Lexington, KY is committed to fueling the growth of biotech in the Bluegrass State. Calling Central Kentucky home are Alltech, Coldstream Laboratories, Neogen Corporation and a host of others.
Commerce Lexington Inc., the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce, partners with the University of Kentucky (UK) and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s Department of Commercialization and Innovation (DCI) to grow, recruit and retain biotech companies. Commerce Lexington, UK, and Lexington Fayette Urban County Government formed the Bluegrass Business Development Partnership (BBDP), which is funded by the city of Lexington. The BBDP’s goal is to be a one-stop service provider, linking entrepreneurs with financial planning, business plans, funding sources, and real estate services.
Lexington is home to the only research and development business park in the state of Kentucky—UK’s Coldstream Research Campus. Coldstream, a 735-acre office park, was designed for recruiting high-tech and biotech companies, as well as university centers and start-ups. Coldstream offers intellectual capital and resources from UK, as well as infrastructure for existing and new companies.
DCI aims to recruit, create, and retain high-tech and biotech jobs in the state of Kentucky. Through DCI, Kentucky created the first SBIR/STTR grant match program in the country. This innovative initiative has attracted the attention of many new biotech firms.
The Lexington community offers a wide variety of advantages to companies—location being one of them. The Bluegrass Region is located at the center of a 31-state distribution area within a 500-mile radius of nearly three-fourths of the nation’s manufacturing employment, retail sales and population. By virtue of this geographic location and Kentucky’s integrated system of state- maintained roads, interstates and parkways, Greater Lexington is within an overnight range of 66% of the U.S. market.
Lexington is centrally located at the crossroads of Interstate 75 and Interstate 64.
Lexington can claim the title of second most educated workforce in the nation (according to Business Facilities’ annual rankings), trailing only Seattle, WA. This is due in part to being within 30 miles of 16 different institutions of higher education. More than 65,000 students are enrolled in these institutions, graduating close to 12,000 annually.
Strongsville, OH: Diversity with Room to Grow
The City of Strongsville, OH has grown from a small village rooted in agriculture into a thriving city of nearly 50,000 residents with a productive and diverse industrial and commercial base.
Strongsville now has four main business parks that are home to nearly 200 companies and 9,000 employees. With more than 450 acres of land available within Strongsville’s business parks, the city has room to grow. A tract of land known as Parcel “D”, located within the Strongsville Business & Technology Park, is the central focus of the city’s development plans. Consisting of 169 acres of undeveloped land, Parcel “D” is the largest municipally owned, green-field plot of land within Cuyahoga County, OH. Strongsville dedicated the acreage as a technology park with the objective of creating a campus-like environment, which would attract technology orientated businesses. In October 2008, The CSC Group, a computer software and data service provider for the medical industry, became the first company to locate within Parcel “D.” The company’s new corporate headquarters is a 48,500- square-foot, environmentally friendly, campus-like facility that provides security for clients’ assets. CSC Group employs more than 130 people at its Strongsville headquarters.
Parcel “D” is located within a Foreign Trade Zone and a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA), meaning all real estate improvements are abatable. City planning indicates that Parcel “D” has the capability to hold up to 12 medium-to-large-scale technology oriented end users with the potential of 965,738 square feet of total building space on 98,108 developed acres. These end users would provide between 1,000 and 3,000 new jobs to Strongsville and the region.
Northwest Iowa Biotech: Strength in Numbers
Seven counties in Northwest Iowa have combined forces to attract biotech industries.
“As an economic developer, you are always trying to find that point of difference that separates you from the rest of the pack,” says Chris Myres, head of the Northwest Iowa Biotech Consortium. “In our case, that difference was the cluster of biotech companies that have already chosen Northwest Iowa as their home. The synergy created between these companies creates efficiencies that are an easy sell to new biotech prospects.”
The group is made up of many communities—some that may be overlooked by companies that would otherwise find these locations to be ideal. It is able to provide information on many locations up and down the corridor, so business don’t have to contact each and every community independently.
“The latter rarely happens. The site selector or corporate executive in charge of choosing a location just doesn’t have the time to check out every community out there,” says Woody Grabenbauer of Northwest Iowa Community College. “As a consortium, we can find the very best option that may possibly go overlooked. Without this group working with one voice, Northwest Iowa could miss out on new business even if we would have the most ideal location for the new business. The Consortium gives a louder voice to the smaller community that may otherwise not be heard by the potential business. Meanwhile, the larger communities benefit from the resources made available by agriculture and industry spread throughout Northwest Iowa.”
Northwest Iowa Biotech is made up of seven counties along the Highway 60 corridor. The counties include Lyon, Osceola, Sioux, O’Brien, Plymouth, Cherokee and Woodbury. Existing biotech companies that already call Northwest Iowa home include: BoDeans Baking Group, Dean Foods, Mobren, Gelita, Cargill, Jolly Time Popcorn, Patrick Cudahy, SueBee Honey, Sara Lee, Trans Ova Genetics, John Morrell, Novartis, Well’s Blue Bunny, Terra Industries, and Palmer Candy Company.
The Hawkeye State Leads the Way in Biotech Research
The State of Iowa and two of Iowa’s top state universities are leading the way for state and national businesses to engage in basic and developmental research.
In early February, Governor Chet Culver, Congressman Dave Loebsack, and University of Iowa President Sally Mason announced that $8.68 million in funding has been identified and is in the final stages of federal approval for the Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratory on the University of Iowa campus.
The Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories houses the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, the Optical Science and Technology Center and a portion of the Center for Computer-Aided Design. The multi-disciplinary 124,439 square-foot IATL building, unites five functionally and visually distinct structures.
In medical biotechnology, Iowa has one of the finest teaching hospitals in the world at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing (CBB) in neighboring Coralville works directly with research entrepreneurs from the university and provides a full range of laboratory services for new discoveries.
The University of Iowa’s Oakdale Research Park offers the opportunity to locate near—and benefit from— academic researchers and a wide array of well-equipped laboratories and research facilities. Firms at the research park can expect to establish and sustain working relationships with University of Iowa faculty—scientists, physicians, and engineers of national renown in such fields as pharmaceuticals, molecular and cellular biology, industrial bioprocessing, and computer simulation of dynamic systems. The Research Park occupies the northern one-third of the University’s 500-acre Oakdale campus. Located on the campus are the University Hygienic Laboratory, Institute for Agricultural Medicine and Occupational Health, Technology Innovation Center, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and the Center for Advanced Drug Development as well as other University research laboratories.
Iowa State University (ISU) Research Park, located in Ames, is a rapidly growing technology community of more than 50 companies. The ISU Research Park is surrounded by a major research university and federal laboratories.
Northeast Pennsylvania: First in Biotech Strength
Northeast Pennsylvania is home to a growing number of emerging companies servicing the biotech industry.
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the Sanofi-Aventis Group, is the largest company in the world devoted entirely to vaccines. Sanofi Pasteur operates a sprawling 500-acre, 44-building campus in Swiftwater, Monroe County.
The SCHOTT North America Regional Research and Development group located in Duryea, PA, in conjunction with the SCHOTT Pharmaceutical Packaging site in Lebanon, PA, is currently developing advanced packaging solutions for protein-based drugs to increase shelf-life stability and uniform dose delivery. Lackawanna County-based Vital Probes and Pierce Manufacturing, Inc. have produced the first Mobile Molecular Testing Laboratory, which allows for onsite identification of suspect select agents.
The Institute for Molecular Biology and Medicine at the University of Scranton in Lackawanna County is researching infectious diseases. Monroe County’s East Stroudsburg University (ESU) is home to The Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory, which offers genotyping services focused on genetic applications for wildlife conservation, management, research, and forensics.
Also working in collaboration with ESU is Chaperone Technologies, Inc., which is developing antimicrobial products to combat drug-resistant organisms.
Nano-Smart, working to commercialize antimicrobial products, has support from The Northeastern Pennsylvania Technology Institute and Ben Franklin Technology Partners.
San Antonio, TX: Thriving Biomed Industry
The bioscience-healthcare industry is San Antonio’s number one economic generator, with an annual impact of more than $16 billion and 116,000 employees. One out of every seven San Antonio employees works in this sector, with its cutting-edge research, world-renowned educational institutions, nationally recognized healthcare systems and leading biotech companies.
Some of the largest areas of research were conducted by the Cancer Therapy & Research Center, the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, home to the world’s largest genomics computing cluster and the nation’s only privately owned biosafety level four (BSL-4) maximum containment laboratory, as well as the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The city has the world’s largest Phase I clinical trials program for new anti-cancer drugs, a $200-million Children’s Cancer Research Institute, and Southwest Research Institute—one of the nation’s largest non-profit, independent research and development organizations with 11 engineering and physical science research and development divisions. San Antonio pioneered the Texas Cord Blood Bank (TCBB), the state’s first public bank for stem cell-rich umbilical cord blood.
The Department of Defense (DoD) is transforming San Antonio’s Fort Sam Houston into America’s hub for all military medical training and research. The city already boasts the new Center for the Intrepid, a world-class rehabilitation center at Brooke Army Medical Center. Ground was broken in 2008 on the new $92-million Battlefield Health and Trauma Center for all combat casualty care and trauma research missions. Also in 2008, construction began on the Medical Education Training Campus where 32,000 students from all branches of the military will receive advanced medical training each year.
Riverside, CA: Shaping Our Future
Over the last decade, the City of Riverside has risen to prominence as the economic engine of Inland Southern California. Riverside has emerged as a burgeoning hub of high technology and research corridors.
Riverside’s professional community is sustained by four internationally recognized colleges and universities, as well as a growing web of local public and private organizations that provide networking support.
OncoNutrition is a good example of Riverside’s attraction to innovative, tech-oriented companies. Its mission is to discover and commercialize new therapeutics that improve the lives of cancer patients, research that has lead to the development of AminoAct™, which helps minimize the adverse effects associated with cancer treatment.
According to Olof Mollstedt, co-founder and CEO of OncoNutrition, Riverside has a very supportive atmosphere for biotech entrepreneurs. “When we doubled our space two years ago by adding a new laboratory, Riverside had the infrastructure in place as well as access to tenant improvement programs that helped us smoothly integrate our old facility with the new one,” he says.
OncoNutrition, located in Riverside’s University Research Park, collaborates regularly with UCR’s Career Center.