Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by officials from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the Illinois Medical District (IMD) Commission to announce a $3.4 million, 12,000-square-foot lab and office space that will serve as a new hub for Chicago's flourishing bioscience industry. Part of the governor's agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois' economy forward, the Health, Technology, Innovation (HTI) at Chicago Technology Park will bring scientists, clinicians, engineers and industry together and create the nexus for an interdisciplinary approach to drug, diagnostic, medical device and information technology development. The announcement comes as Chicago hosts the BIO Conference, the largest biotech conference in the nation.
"Illinois' thriving, cutting edge life sciences sector creates jobs while improving people's lives," Governor Quinn said. "The HTI will drive further growth in the field, serving as a key resource for our medical science researchers and providing a new platform through which innovative ideas can be developed and introduced to the marketplace."
Strategically located within the Illinois Medical District near the campus of UIC's Medical School, the new facility is funded through a $1.7 million state capital investment that was matched by $1.7 million of UIC funds. It is expected to open this summer and will house both shared wet and dry laboratory space, in addition to co-working office space. The HTI will be anchored by a fully-equipped meeting and classroom with high-definition video conferencing, recording and streaming.
The facility will provide the infrastructure where technology development work can take place outside of academic labs, with support and access to professional services to assist in commercialization planning and venture formation guidance. Access to talent, industry networks and connections to capital sources will be a future offering.
With a community based approach, HTI will serve University faculty, staff and students, Chicago area research institutions as well as the broader entrepreneurial community as a nexus of biotechnology commercialization. Laboratory and office space will be ready for occupancy in summer 2013.
HTI is an outgrowth of the Illinois Innovation Council which was created by Governor Quinn in February 2011 to identify and advance strategies that accelerate innovation, economic growth, and job creation.
"Biotechnology start-ups have an often complicated road through development," University of Illinois President Robert Easter said. "With a fresh approach to incubating promising technologies, HTI will provide a foundation that aligns technology and market feasibility early on, even before companies are formed. Our aim is to produce not only more start-ups but more viable start-ups - companies that will advance both health care and economic development."
"IMD is very pleased to be able to work with our partners to deliver on Governor Quinn's vision of harnessing the brainpower of our researchers to advance medical science and create jobs," IMD Director Warren Ribley said. "The HTI will provide both a physical space and support services that will validate technology, convert innovation into products, and accelerate projects to venture readiness."
"Life science start-ups have unique challenges, including the need for major capital and long development lifecycles," Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Adam Pollet said. "We hope to create a platform that lowers barriers, addresses early stage risk and provides access to resources."
Governor Quinn announced earlier this week that a new independent study by Ernst & Young LLP ranked Illinois at the top of the nation's biotechnology industry, and the state is at the core of the most vibrant bioscience hub in the United States. The report, "The Economic Engine of Biotechnology in Illinois," shows the Midwest Super Cluster, which includes Illinois and the surrounding eight-state region, surpasses California and the East Coast in biotechnology-related employment, number of establishments and research and development expenditures.
According to the new report, within the Midwest Super Cluster there are more than 16,800 biotechnology establishments employing more than 377,900 people. In addition, the overall economic output of Illinois' biotechnology industry is more than $98.6 billion, accounting for 81,000 direct jobs and more than 3,500 biotechnology companies in the state.
The full report may be viewed at ibio.org/illinoisbiotechreport.