Incubator chief lands at life science firm

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Art Patterson, who launched Flagship Enterprise Center in Anderson and built the small-business incubator and accelerator into a three-building operation, has been named CEO at Elona Biotechnologies Inc. in Greenwood.

Patterson left Flagship early this year after completing a four-year startup phase. Expertise to help small businesses had been established through host Anderson University as well as Purdue University and Ivy Tech, leaving Patterson to think his background no longer was necessary for an executive director.

“I had done what they hired me to do,” said Patterson, who had been an executive at Great Lakes Chemical Corp.

Elona, which conducts contract research and development for drug companies, has a dozen scientists and several support staff. It was founded in the late 1980s by former Eli Lilly and Co. researcher Ron Zimmerman.

Zimmerman sold Elona to Ivax Corp., a Miami pharmaceutical firm. It was then acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, an Israeli drug company.

Teva sold Elona back to Zimmerman for what Patterson describes as a “song.” “He’s in good shape, Patterson said.

Zimmerman, 64, wants to focus on his long-time passion of science, and hired Patterson to handle the business end of Elona, Patterson said.

Patterson wants to raise $10 million in equity and use debt and other forms of capital to expand. The company could easily add 30 jobs with average compensation in the six figures, he said.

“Ideally, we would stick to our knitting,” he said.

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