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Indiana Companies, Universities Form Biosciences Institute

Pins on a map (CJ Sorg/Flickr)A consortium of life sciences companies and universities in Indiana launched today the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, a public-private partnership that expects to be financed largely through corporate funds. The institute aims to attract top research talent and dollars to develop pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices, biologic therapies, and agricultural biotechnology, including animal health.

Indiana Biosciences Research Institute plans to operate mainly with funds from industry, which will also define the organization’s research agenda. The State of Indiana is providing the first $25 million for the institute’s start-up budget, which is expected to be matched by corporate and foundation donations, with annual operating costs estimated at $31.1 million. Much of (44%) the institute’s ongoing operating funds will come from proceeds from the organization’s endowment, with nearly all of the remainder divided between industry and federal research funds.

The institute’s board says the organization will work first on the interrelated health issues of obesity, nutrition, cardiovascular, disease, and diabetes. Some 35 percent of Americans suffer from cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders, such as diabetes. Risk factors for the diseases,  such as high blood pressure and insulin resistance make it possible for the disorders to be diagnosed early, and sometimes prevented through improved nitrition and other early interventions.

The institute plans to first recruit a CEO, then attract what are called Indiana Fellows, researchers that are expected to lead research teams staffed from companies and universities in Indiana. The organization says Indiana Fellows will be drawn from a range of disciplines including bioengineering, bioinformatics, nanotechnology, and agriculture.

Companies taking part in Indiana Biosciences Research Institute include Eli Lilly and Company, Dow AgroSciences, Roche Diagnostics, Cook Medical, Indiana University Health, and Biomet Biologics. University participants are the state’s research universities: Indiana University, Purdue University, and the University of Notre Dame.

The institute says nearly 2,000 life science companies are based in Indiana, employing 55,000 workers statewide. The average annual life sciences salary in Indiana is $88,500. Life sciences are estimated to contribute some $50 billion annually to the Indiana economy.

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Photo: C.J. Sorg/Flickr

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