Life Sciences: A Data-Driven Diagnosis For Success

Digital transformation is driving innovation in the life sciences sector, making transparency a top priority and heralding an era of “relationship-driven partnerships among all of the sector’s stakeholders.

By the BF Staff
From the September/October 2019 Issue

According to Deloitte’s 2019 Global Life Sciences Outlook, strategic transformation is at the core of life science companies as they build new business models for the future. To accelerate change, the focus will be on developing innovative and relationship-driven partnerships and creating real value for patients.

Deloitte says data is now the currency of life sciences, and mobilizing data throughout the enterprise, transforming work and using technology symbiotically will be fundamental to advancing digital transformation.

In 2019, the life sciences sector is seeing a strategic rise of the digital mindset and further adoption of transformative technologies. While traditional investment vehicles, like mergers and acquisitions, can expect a sharper focus, external innovation can become a meaningful culture change-agent through innovative and creative partnerships with new entrants and non-traditional players.

The digital age requires more transparency and disclosure and a need for real relationship-driven partnerships will extend to all sector stakeholders—patients, advocacy groups and regulators—and also to outsourcing vendors critical to the supply chain, Deloitte says. Data will be the force behind new revenue models and crucial to understanding and delivering an exceptional patient experience.

Continued pricing pressures, increasing access to drugs, growth of gene and cell therapies and uncertain trade policies will further change the dynamics of the market.


Palm Beach County, FL is home to the world’s top two life sciences research institutes, has a new 150,000-square-foot life sciences accelerator on the horizon and is experiencing unprecedented growth in the Life Sciences industry. Already home to over 700 life sciences companies, change in the national tax law is fueling explosive growth in the county’s sector. Companies are leveraging the area’s affordability and enjoyable pace of life to spark collaborative innovation. With biotech and pharmaceutical education programs at local universities, world-class core facilities available for commercial access and a lifestyle that attracts talent, life science companies are finding Palm Beach County to be irresistible.

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Scripps Research Institute, located on Florida Atlantic University’s campus in Jupiter, FL, has been ranked the most influential research institute in the world by Nature Index. (Photo: Enterprise Florida)

Palm Beach County is the only place in the world where a Max Planck Institute and The Scripps Research Institute, the world’s top two research institutions according to Nature Index, reside together. On Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) Jupiter campus, Max Planck Florida Institute is a Zeiss “labs@location” partner institution and home to the U.S. headquarters for Abberior Instruments. Combined with FAU’s Brain Institute in Jupiter, which is a Nikon Center of Excellence, the Cluster offers a large collection of microscopy resources. Also located on FAU’s Jupiter campus is Scripps Research Institute, ranked the #1 most influential research institution in the world by Nature Index. In fact, its graduate program ranked 10th nationally in the biological sciences, 5th for organic chemistry and 2nd for biochemistry. Palm Beach County gives companies access to the best technology in the world in a collegial environment.

Florida Atlantic University offers educational programs in drug development and biotechnology, a medical school and a nationally recognized marine science drug discovery program. Nearby, Palm Beach State College has a targeted biotechnology program with students graduating with significant wet lab experience. Anchored around world-class research and top-ranked educational programs, life sciences companies are finding abundant talent in the community.

The movement of hedge funds, private equity and other capital firms from high-tax states to Florida has been well-documented in the national media. However, less reported are the large number of entrepreneurs and growth-stage life sciences companies moving their companies to Palm Beach County. Many of the top pharmaceutical and device executives, targeted and diversified life sciences investment funds, and other stakeholders have an office, home or other connection to the community. As a result, the largest life sciences Series A investments in Florida for 2018-19 were in Palm Beach County, including Expansion Therapeutics and X-Vax, both exceeding $55M each.

Successful biotech entrepreneurs are finding the community to be exceptional. Dr. Matthew Disney, Founder of Expansion Therapeutics, a drug discovery and development company pursuing small molecule medicines for RNA-mediated diseases, said, “There is no better place to get this work done than in Jupiter and at the Scripps Research Institute, which represents the pulse of Florida’s life sciences industry.” Alphazyme, a developer, manufacturer and global distributor of enzymes, chose Jupiter over Boston. “Jupiter is a magical place and we’re excited to build a great bioscience company here. The support of the Business Development Board and Town of Jupiter made it an easy decision to invest resources here,” said Chris Benoit, Co-Founder and CEO of Alphazyme. Algafeed, an algal production company revolutionizing the global aquaculture industry, is also expanding in Jupiter. “Our Jupiter, Florida founding headquarter has consistently provided the ideal climate and business environment stimulus for our evolving technology,” said Scott D. Hollingsworth, CEO of Algafeed.

Attracted by the world-class research, Beacon Capital announced the opening of the Beacon Center for Life Science and Research, a new life sciences accelerator and manufacturing facility coming to Jupiter, seeking to support 30 to 50 life sciences companies between IND and commercial stage. After seeing the Cluster, Beacon chose Jupiter over New York. “The Beacon-Accelerator will host and invest in cutting-edge companies seeking to bring promising medical advancements to market making it a significant addition to Palm Beach County’s Bench to Bedside Life Sciences Cluster,” said Kelly Smallridge, President and CEO, Business Development Board.

Palm Beach County isn’t just a retirement spot anymore, it’s ripe with life sciences innovation. Home to FAU Tech Runway and Research Park at FAU, two engines for entrepreneurship, South County is home to dozens of internationally recognized start-ups. It’s home to Modernizing Medicine, the leading EMR system in several medical specialties, F1 Oncology, which is on the forefront of CAR-T cancer therapies, and Reachlink, a leader in telemedicine.

There’s been so much activity that the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County (BDB) has set up a special department to help companies within this sector relocate to or expand in the county. In the past year alone, the BDB has assisted over a dozen life science companies to grow, making direct investments of over $100M into the local economy.

“The BDB connected us with a funding source to finance the project and assisted in expedited permitting through the City of Lake Worth Beach, a feature that saved us from a nine-month process,” said Dr. Naim, President and CEO of Capzer Pharmaceuticals, one of the life science expanding companies.

The innovative Life Sciences Cluster makes Palm Beach County a compelling draw for life sciences companies around the globe. Local companies benefit from tax advantages, 47 miles of beaches, access to one of the world’s top three domestic airports, the 4th busiest port in Florida, and a quality of life that’s second to none. Many companies are asking, “Why not Palm Beach County?”


Chaffee Crossing is a 7,000-acre mixed-use, Smart Growth community in western Arkansas that has attracted more than $1.651 billion in industrial, commercial, educational, residential, recreational and historical development through the savvy guidance of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority (FCRA). Arkansas’ premier economic development project, strategically located in the center of the continental U.S., proudly boasts a complete list of transportation assets, a solid mixed-use master plan, and a healthy list of federal, state, regional and local partners. Over the past five years, the heartbeat of the development has been the new Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine, the first school on the campus of Arkansas College of Health Education, a privately funded medical college.

With FCRA’s gift of 200 prime acres of real estate, Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE) was able to quickly launch its first medical college, the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM). The college opened in August 2017 to an inaugural class of 150 medical students. In addition to first-class education space featuring leading edge technology, the $32 million “Taj Mahal of medical education facilities” includes a $3 million, 7,000 square-foot research space that is attracting national attention from biomedical researchers and grantors that include the National Institutes of Health.

A second college, the multi-discipline Arkansas College of Health Sciences (ARCOHS), and a bio-med Masters program were announced in June 2017. The 66,000 square-foot ARCOHS building will be home to schools of occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), and physician assistant (PA) studies. Building features include a fully functional walk-in clinic open to the community; “Live and Learn”, pediatric, neuro, splinting and modality labs; quiet study spaces, practice rooms, and classrooms with the latest technology. These three disciplines combined will graduate approximately ninety physicians per year.

The 228-acre ACHE campus is being developed under a comprehensive master plan which includes a variety of residential, commercial, and retail districts complemented by recreational amenities. A highly anticipated mixed-use area known as The Village at Heritage will host 32 commercial/retail spaces with two vertical floors of hotel-style apartments available for students and faculty in addition to other campus housing. ARCOM is projected to have a $400 million annual economic impact on the regional economy.

As expected, health science related businesses are heavily interested in partnering with this rising star. Multiple sites adjacent and in close proximity to the ACHE campus ideal are available through FCRA for medical research and complementary operations.

Located in Fort Smith and Barling, Chaffee Crossing has become the economic development engine of western Arkansas. People and businesses alike are drawn to the Chaffee Crossing lifestyle. Sixteen corporate and regional headquarters and numerous commercial businesses have generated nearly 3,600 jobs, 29 residential developments, and a variety of amenities resulting in an exciting, vibrant mixed-use community. One of those companies is national transportation and logistics leader ArcBest Corporation that built a new 200,000 square-foot headquarters building in Chaffee Crossing. ArcBest chose the location for its strategic geographic location in the center of the Midwest, low cost of doing business, and beautiful surroundings with a great variety of fitness and recreational opportunities for employees. Of the original 7,000 acres of former Fort Chaffee land conveyed in the 1995 BRAC round, approximately 1,400 developable acres and 860 acres of greenspace remain available for sale.

The Fort Smith region is a bi-state center of commerce for a population around 285,000. Arkansas’ second largest city is a destination for commerce, health care, entertainment, history, arts and culture. Two hospitals, the internationally recognized Unexpected Project mural and public art project, a world-class symphony, and a surprisingly diverse, multi-cultural community are even more reasons to be drawn to western Arkansas. Fort Smith is widely known for its manufacturing capability and complete transportation portfolio—two interstates, rail, river and commercial air service. Regional industry is strengthened by a skilled, trainable workforce and supported by customized training through local universities. Several major markets are within a five hour drive—Little Rock, Memphis, Kansas City, St. Louis, Joplin, Springfield, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Wichita and Dallas.

Surrounding Chaffee Crossing’s quiet and eco-friendly industrial neighborhood is a healthy mix of residential and traditional developments; over the past ten years, 29 residential neighborhoods, regional university classrooms, medical clinics and numerous recreational amenities have been created. Miles of multi-use trails are in use and more are under construction. Fishing lakes, golf, softball, soccer, nature centers and other amenities are within a short bike ride of neighborhoods. A 200-acre state nature center is surrounded by neighborhoods and other outdoor activities. Corporate neighbors find this Smart Growth style of development especially appealing when relocating management team members and their families.

People and organizations are drawn to the award-winning Chaffee Crossing lifestyle. This is a community on the rise at the crossroads of U.S. transportation, industry, commerce, medical education, tourism, and recreation. To learn more about development opportunities, design guidelines and amenities, visit


“Biotech”, “startup” and “international corporate expansion”—all popular terms in this exponential information age of disruption and entrepreneurship, though not commonly found all in one place. But at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology (HudsonAlpha) and its campus in Cummings Research Park (CRP), Huntsville, Alabama bioscience spinouts and seed companies share space with established life science enterprises, such as Discovery Life Sciences.

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The 152-acre HudsonAlpha Biotech Campus is centered on a 1.32-mile double helix path and park open to the public for walking, running, biking and skating. Use the GenomeCache® app to explore the scaled model of the genetic information found across the human chromosomes. (Photo: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology)

Locating on the biotech campus offers life sciences companies of any stage or size access to the cutting edge of biotechnology and flexibility to grow. Since nonprofit HudsonAlpha has a mission to foster the success and growth of bioscience companies, it is neither an ordinary incubator nor landlord. More than 40 life sciences companies currently reside on campus, taking advantage of its collaborative culture and its proximity to on-site cutting-edge research and world class sequencing capabilities.

Life sciences companies can lease a single workstation, a single lab, a suite of offices, or any combination of space within three buildings on campus. Unlike many incubators, HudsonAlpha does not require an equity stake in its resident Associate Companies and also does not aim to graduate them out in order to bring in new companies. Rather, the economic development team there works like a mini-chamber for its current tenants to bring them business programming and resources, networking events, and best of all space to expand as companies need it.

“Our goal is to provide assistance to the bioscience companies of all sizes that locate on the HudsonAlpha campus, by supporting growth in increments and durations that fit the business of biotech,” says VP for Economic Development, Carter Wells. Programming focuses on: 1) access to capital, 2) business operations, 3) regulatory issues and compliance, 4) IP assessment and protection, 5) preparation for acquisition/ merger and 6) partnerships.

Sites on the campus are available to biosicence companies seeking headquarters, space for advanced manufacturing and research and development (R&D) in an established genomics biotech cluster. Worldwide, many in big pharma, like Bayer and J&J, have established their own “farm-team” style incubators in order to continuously bring new ideas. HudsonAlpha offers the same innovative environment to biotech corporations seeking to benefit from new IP and discoveries.

Superior shared spaces and full services leases, make locating at HudsonAlpha the first of many simple choices that allow biotech management teams to spend their time and effort on and in the business. CEOs find that rather than spinning wheels coordinating adequate internet bandwidth, or finding impressive space for meetings with potential investors, they can spend time on solid pitch decks, effective business models and critical reimbursement considerations.

“Many times when a company first contacts me, they are seeking 2500 square feet, but I am pleased to lease them only a single workstation or lab. Once they have seen the campus, the shared conference rooms, library, auditorium and classroom, startups and early stage companies realize they can spend their funding on progressing the science and product instead overhead,” says Amy Sturdivant, Director of Business Recruitment.

Companies located at HudsonAlpha work in many subsectors of life sciences including: providing biospecimens to research scientists; offering diagnostic services to physicians and patients; medical devices; and developing and testing biopharmaceuticals.

“When I came from California, I found everything was here that I needed and more. We have been able to take the promise of our patents and attract the buyers we need to move our company forward and on to the next idea,” said Randall Moreadith, PhD, MD, MBA, Serina Therapeutics.

Bioscience companies on the HudsonAlpha campus enjoy a collaborative environment alongside world class researchers in, a genomic medicine clinic, and a high-energy team solely focused on providing genomic literacy to students, teachers and the public. Human, plant and animal genomics are the focus of the faculty on campus who came to Huntsville, Alabama from Stanford, Emory, and Vanderbilt to name a few.

HudsonAlpha leaders recognize that the Institute will create the most value for society when working with partners who have complementary expertise or access to medical and educational communities across the country and world that are not routinely accessible. Breakthrough discoveries in medicine rely on combining HudsonAlpha’s genomics expertise with medical practitioners’ experiences and unique patient groups.

HudsonAlpha faculty investigators currently collaborate with more than 700 researchers and clinicians around the world in projects that will ultimately advance scientific understanding, improve human health, promote agriculture and protect the environment.

HudsonAlpha’s biotech campus is surrounded by a community of talented, skilled and intelligent individuals motivated to apply knowledge in ways that create tangible benefits. Engineering in North Alabama propelled rockets into orbit, landed men on the moon and sent information-seeking probes into deep space.

For more than 50 years, Huntsville has applied its expertise to aviation and missiles at the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal, and has accomplished great feats for NASA and the Army. HudsonAlpha is applying the same passion and drive to the promise of genomics and use of biotechnology to improve the way we approach health and disease.

Cummings Research Park, the second largest research park in the United States, co-locates Fortune 500 companies with local and international businesses specializing in a range of high-tech industries: aerospace and defense, hardware and software development, engineering, research and development, along with the Biotech Campus at HudsonAlpha.

Huntsville is home to major employers in several sectors. Included in the mix of companies are Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman and Boeing (aerospace and defense), Adtran (telecommunications and information technology) as well as internationally recognized life sciences and research companies, such as Aviagen and Nektar.

Biosciences are a priority for the city of Huntsville, Madison County, the state of Alabama. HudsonAlpha is continuously working with the economic development partners to strengthen policies and incentives for the life sciences industry. Alabama already offers tax incentives and training well worth evaluating for growing life sciences companies.

According to Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, “in Huntsville, you can do your research, development, engineering and manufacturing all in the same location. This systems approach is why Huntsville continues to be on the radar for companies looking to innovate and create.”

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