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Biosciences institute hits $25M fundraising goal

J.K. Wall
November 19, 2013
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The proposed Indiana Biosciences Research Institute now has $50 million in start-up funds after completing its initial phase of fundraising.

The institute, a project spearheaded by Gov. Mike Pence and the Indianapolis-based life sciences group BioCrossroads, announced Tuesday it raised $25 million from private sources to match the $25 million appropriated to it in April by the state Legislature.

The institute already announced in June a gift of $10 million from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment. Since then, Indianapolis-based drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. agreed to donate $7.5 million and Indianapolis-based medical device maker Roche Diagnostics Corp. agreed to put in $4.5 million. The remaining $3 million was donated by Dow AgroSciences LLC, Indiana University and the IU Health hospital system.

“This Institute will help Indiana attract additional global talent and will nurture partnerships across the state and across the country—keeping more research dollars in Indiana and attracting more federal research funds to our state,” said Lilly CEO John Lechleiter, an early supporter of the idea, in a prepared statement.

The initial $50 million will be used to recruit a CEO for the institute, at least one top research scientist, and to start fundraising for a $310 million endowment. That endowment, when raised, will be combined with federal and industry research grants to sustain as many as 100 scientists, the institutes organizers have predicted.

Research at the institute will initially focus on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and nutrition.

“Not only have our State leadership and corporate partners committed financial resources to the Institute, but they have worked closely with our university partners and others to ensure we build an institute that is unlike any in the nation,” said Jack Phillips, CEO of Roche Diagnostics, in a prepared statement.

Indeed, the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, if successful, would be the first such institute in the nation funded primarily through corporations instead of federal research dollars.

A similar institute was launched in Michigan 30 years ago but never reached its expectations. But the institute's backers think the situation will be different this time.

"In the last decade, Indiana has come of age as a recognized leader in the life sciences—with demonstrated capabilities in biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, and diagnostics, as well as in the areas of animal health and crop sciences," Lechleiter said in his statement. He added, "The bio-landscape of Indiana is fertile ground for the Institute, and Lilly is proud to be a part of it."

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