Panel weighs in on 16 Tech, brain drain and more

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2018 Life Sciences Power Breakfast PanelistsA sampling of panelists comments at the May 4 Life Sciences Power Breakfast:

COY: The problem … of keeping the talent that we are educating here in Indiana is multi-faceted, and I don’t think that 16 Tech is the silver bullet that alone will solve the problem. It is a component of what needs to be a larger strategy that really is focused on growing new life science companies, retaining the ones that we have, and expanding the ones that we have.

At the end of the day, I think the young people will go to where the jobs are. So 16 Tech will be part of that solution, and as it develops over time—as it will employ about 2,500 people over the next 10 years—it will become a highly visible symbol that will create a halo effect that I think will help to attract and retain talent not only to the city, but to Indiana as a whole.

EILENBERG: The tech sector in this town is creating amazing types of jobs. It is bringing in software engineers. It is bringing in web designers. It is bringing in different types of talent that ultimately will influence the life sciences sector because—and digital health is one of the spaces that I love to roll around and play in—if we look at the way that health care will evolve, it has to be through more intuitive interfaces and ambient tracking of things.

COY: Big data and data analytics are in large part going to determine the future of the bioscience sector, diagnostics as well as life sciences, and we need more people with those types of skills.

FISCHER: We are a 501(c)3 not-for-profit contract research organization, and we cannot build everything ourselves. We don’t want to. So instead we want to reach out, we want to connect, we want to facilitate both between academia and industry.

So we have already started doing that, both for starting companies but also taking IP [intellectual property] from partners. So when we have an idea to develop a product—whether it is diagnostic or in the future therapeutic—we look for missing IP.

And we have a contract now signed between the four major Indiana universities where we licensed literally this IP to facilitate doing this much quicker. So this is with Purdue, this is with IU, Notre Dame and Ball State University.

So I think this is a very unique model, and that's what we want to pursue. We want to really integrate, and we want to facilitate and network instead of building everything ourselves. We want to do this as a collaborative effort. I think this is the way forward.

SHEKHAR: The health care industry traditionally has been run by large health systems, with hospitals and bricks and mortar buildings that house experts. But I think it is an industry that is primed for disruption, and it is going to be disrupted by these kinds of new players [from the tech industry] who are going to be much more customer-focused, much service-focused and convenience-focused.

This is going to be competition not between hospital systems but really between large sorts of digital and other new players who are coming to transform health care. So I think we all have to be prepared for this new world.

COY: One of the trends that 16 Tech will be building on is the desire of millennials to live in urban areas and to be able to walk to work, not have to travel a lot. I was in a focus group the other day with an executive from Rolls-Royce who said the suburbs to his young employees is Broad Ripple.

PETERSON: The cost transparency around [health care] is going to do nothing but increase, appropriately so.

And if you are developing any kind of product or service, you better be paying real close attention to what is the value of that product and how is it appropriately priced and how is it valued by payers, and you better be able to show that.

LOW: I believe that there is a gradual conversion of faculty members from the past operational modem of discovering new science, publishing it and then going on to the next important discovery making the transition over to asking themselves, “How can I use my discovery to do something that will leave a footprint on the planet?”

And I think most faculty currently don’t do that, but as this cultural change occurs at Purdue and IU and the medical school, you are going to see a significant increase in the influx of new ideas and new opportunities in the health science area, and I think you will find that it will really fertilize the growth of this in the state of Indiana.•

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