Biosciences institute aims for $300M endowment

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The effort to launch a life sciences research institute in Indianapolis got $25 million from the Legislature, but the life sciences institutions backing the effort have set their funding sights much higher.

The Indiana Biosciences Research Institute would build up an endowment of $300 million to $400 million over the next five to seven years, under a plan developed by Gov. Mike Pence’s staff, the life sciences group BioCrossroads and a steering committee of life sciences institutions.

Those institutions include Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co., Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences LLC, Bloomington-based Cook Group Inc., the state’s research universities and other companies.

The endowment, which would be drawn from corporate and philanthropic sources, would fund annual operations of the institute and help recruit world-class scientists. The most likely focus of the research is diabetes and metabolic diseases.

“We had an amazing response from Indiana’s key life sciences companies,” said Ryan Streeter, Pence’s economic policy adviser. He added, “We’re pretty confident that everybody involved can contribute” to reach the endowment goal.

Pence first touted the idea of the institute in August when he was campaigning to be governor. It was one of several ideas generated earlier in 2012 by meetings convened by BioCrossroads to discuss what should be Indiana’s next step to advance its life sciences industry.

In October, Lilly CEO John Lechleiter embraced the institute idea in a speech at a BioCrossroads conference.

Then in January, Streeter and BioCrossroads CEO David Johnson started working with life sciences companies to flesh out a plan.

They will announce details of that plan in the next month or two, Streeter said. At that time, the board will be named, and then the board will start searching for a founding executive.

An executive with both science and business credentials is the most likely candidate at this point, Streeter said.

The basic idea of the institute is for it to be a place where scientists from both academia and industry collaborate, with a strong emphasis toward innovations that can be commercialized into products, procedures or new companies.

BioCrossroads’ Johnson said he expects the institute to name about five scientists to be principal investigators, who will then oversee the work of other researchers. Total staff could be 50 to 200, he speculated.

However many people work for the institute, they would not likely be all gathered under one roof. Johnson said much of the work would happen virtually. Still, the institute likely will have a physical presence in Indianapolis, although that location has yet to be determined.

Indiana is “late to the party” in starting an applied research institute focused on life sciences, noted a January 2013 report by BioCrossroads. There are similar institutes in Cambridge, Mass.; Chevy Chase, Md.; Kansas City, Mo.; La Jolla, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix; San Diego; and in other cities.

Most of those institutes were started with huge philanthropic donations and sustain themselves with a mix of industry and government research funding.

The Indiana Bioscience Research Institute hopes to do something that has yet to be done: launch an institute primarily based on corporate support. The idea is to use the corporate-funded endowment to sustain the institute, and then attract talented researchers that compete successfully for government and industry research grants.

Johnson argues that is the only way to fund an institute these days. Federal research funding has been stagnant for years and doesn’t appear to be headed up any time soon. Meanwhile, he noted, large life sciences companies—especially pharmaceutical firms—have been cutting back on their internal R&D spending and are looking more and more to essentially outsource the work to universities and applied research institutes.

“The life sciences industry is not being rewarded today by investors in the stock market for in-house research,” Johnson said. He added, “That research is going to come from the academic bench or the institution bench, which is going to be bigger than the in-house bench at many life sciences companies. The institute is going to stand in the middle of that.”


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Here are a few candidates for this new group, "ripped from the headlines." First up, that bizzaro State Senator Brent Waltz; secondly, the unethical Todd Huston, and his contractual arrangements scheme; Finally, but not least of all, the dishonorable Eric Turner. What sayeth you Greg Zoeller?

  2. Good day. I can't hide this great testimony that take place in my life I will love everyone to know it and be partaker that is why I always place it on answer, I am Mrs,Natalie Cuttaia by name, I live in Texas, United State Of America, I want to thank (Mr.Bruce Brandon) for his kindness upon my family life. I never knew that there is still nice lender like this on internet and earth here. Just some Months Back, I was in search for a loan of $100,000,00 as I was running out of money for feeding and rent. I was scammed $6,800 Dollars and I decided not to involve my self in such business again but a Friend of my introduced me to a loan firm due to my appearance and doings. And I told him that I am not interested of any loan deal anymore but he told me that there is still a nice lender who he will recommend me to, and I made a trial and I am most grateful lucky am I today, I was given a loan amount of $100,000.00usd, by this great Company (Bruce Brandon Loan Company) managed by (Mr.Bruce Brandon) If you are in need of a genuine or legit loan or financial assistance and you can be reliable and trusted of capable of paying back at the due time of the funds I will advice you to, contact him via: ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com ) And you will be free from scams in the internet. All thanks to Mr.Bruce Brandon You are the one who remove me and my family out of poverty. The reason why i am doing this is that, i promise Mr.Bruce Brandon that if i truly got my loan, i will advertize his company and bring customers to his company. Contact him via ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com )for the Loan you have been looking for..

  3. Hello, We are firm Organization formed to help people in needs of helps,such as financial help. So if you are going through financial difficulty or you are in any financial mess,and you need funds to start up your own business,or you need loan to settle your debt or pay off your bills,start a nice business, or you are finding it hard to obtain capital loan from local banks,contact us today via email mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com So do not let these opportunity pass you by because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever more. Please these is for serious minded and God fearing People. Your Name: Loan Amount: Loan Duration: Valid Cell Phone Number: Thanks for your understanding to your contact as we Await Regards Management Email:mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com

  4. The question is, where could they build a new stadium? It seems in the past year, all the prime spots have been spoken for with potential projects. Maybe in the industrial wasteland area a block past Lucas Oil? I think it needs to be close to the core, if a new stadium is built.

  5. Aldi is generally a great shopping experience. Still, I'm sure YOU wouldn't want to shop there, which I consider a positive.