“A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock pile when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- Indiana's Life Sciences sector
- Podcast: AI in Flyover Country
- Y Combinator accepts Nebraska startup
- Ford expands research efforts
- The Twin Cities promotes food companies
- $200M investment in Columbus
- Midwest Venture Showcase
- Fueling the Future
- Name that Flyover City!
April 1, 2021
Advancing Indiana's Life Sciences sector
Lori Leroy, EVP of communications at BioCrossroads
What do you know about Indiana? How about these facts:
- Seven Indiana cities are recognized for their national Life Sciences strengths, according to Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and TEConomy Partners’ biennial survey of the US Life Sciences industry.
- Indiana is also one of only nine states with employment specializations in three of five bioscience sectors and is ranked eighth for National Institutes of Health funding growth, with an increase of 44 percent over the years 2016 to 2019.
- Indiana is home to the global headquarters of Anthem, Cook Medical, Eli Lilly and Company, and Zimmer Biomet. And it's the North American headquarters of Roche Diagnostics, Beckman Coulter, Boston Scientific, Catalent Biologics, Corteva Agriscience, Covance, DePuy Orthopaedics, Express Scripts, Medtronic, and Reckitt Benckiser.
Flyover Future spoke to Lori Leroy, EVP of communications at BioCrossroads, which is involved in advancing the Life Sciences sector in Indiana even more.
Tell us about BioCrossroads.
Leroy: BioCrossroads was formed in 2002 as a way to organize the Life Sciences sector. There were some reports done previous to 2002 that outlined what some of Indianapolis’s strengths were. Of course, Life Sciences rose to the top because we’ve got Lilly and Roche among many other companies that are here.
BioCrossroads was formed to help advance the sector. We’re not a state entity. We are a non-profit.
What do you mean by “organize the Life Sciences sector”?
Leroy: To get people to talk to each other who might not talk to each other because a lot of them were operating in silos. We bring a lot of different organizations together, so we might have a project where we’ve got Lilly, Purdue, the School of Medicine at Indiana University, and Roche, for example, all participating.
Another thing we do is promote the state. We do a lot of educational activities and events. We also have a seed fund where we are investing in Life Sciences startups. Right now we have 29 companies in our portfolio.
Depending on the project or what someone needs, it requires us to do lots of different things. We organized the first health information exchange, and we started one of the first medical record systems in the country in 2015.
Is part of your effort to attract talent from the coasts?
Leroy: Yes, absolutely. We have over 2,100 companies in Life Sciences in Indiana. There are tons of opportunities. It’s not just the big companies. There are some really cool companies with 20 to 30 people, where they are doing pretty incredible work. So it’s really been amazing to see the transformation.
"Things are happening not just in Indianapolis. Bloomington has a ton of stuff going on, Lafayette. It’s not just our big cities but it’s some of the smaller ones too."
— Lori Leroy, EVP of communications at BioCrossroads
Can you give me an example of something you’ve done?
Leroy: We started the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute. Most institutes are formed out of a school of medicine or a university setting. What was unique about what we wanted to do, we wanted it to be industry led.
When that formed in 2015 it was a combination of Lilly and Roche and Koch and at the time Biomet, which is one of the orthopedic companies up in Warsaw, and IU Health and Dow Agri-sciences (at the time) who put money into creating this research institute focused on metabolic disease, because they all have vested interests in what is happening from a research standpoint in metabolic disease.
Instead of it being university-led, it was industry-led. They have tons of collaborations and partnerships with the School of Medicine and Notre Dame and Purdue, but they really did it as a way to try to move things out of those big industry companies and get research to accelerate a little bit faster.
We brought all of those people together to say, okay, what else could we do? What would be helpful to you and how can we help make that happen? We created an institute out of it.
Things are happening not just in Indianapolis. Bloomington has a ton of stuff going on, Lafayette. It’s not just our big cities but it’s some of the smaller ones too.
Once you break down those barriers, it’s pretty cool to see what different things have happened.
Why AI implementation in Flyover Country is getting noticed
What makes the middle of the country a good place to innovate when it comes to AI? Alan Berube, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director at Brookings Institution, joins our host Ben Reno-Weber to share his findings while working on the first AI strategy for an American city and why Flyover Country is perfectly primed to figure out how to apply new technologies.
Logica accepted by Y Combinator
Ford expands autonomous car research
Ford is planning to deploy over 100 researchers and engineers at its facility at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, to continue its autonomous driving research and how it can use third-party robots. Ford’s technical expert Mario Santillo talks about the expanded efforts.
Turning food companies into national players
Andelyn Biosciences gets $200m investment
Ohio's Andelyn Biosciences, which was created through research at Nationwide Children's Hospital to pioneer cell- and gene-based therapy, will soon have a new facility thanks to a $200 million investment.
Don't miss out on Midwest opportunities
Co-hosted by InvestMidwest and MGCS, the Midwest Venture Showcase will not only highlight high-growth Midwestern companies, but also include panels like “Why Invest in the Midwest,” “Diversity & Inclusion in Investing,” and “Midwest Unicorns Are Real” as well as informative topics like “Venture Debt 101.”
What is fueling Flyover Country innovation? In this weekly feature, we share a variety of announcements covering funding, acquisitions, exits, grants, and everything in between. Got something to celebrate? Click here to share your story.
- Michigan Technological University has landed a $4.5M grant from the Department of Energy for self-driving vehicle research and development. The research will be led by the university in partnership with General Motors, the American Center of Mobility, and Stellantis.
- Self-driving robot delivery startup Refraction AI has raised $4.2 million in seed funding led by Pillar VC. The fund will be used for customer acquisition, product development, and geographic expansion.
- Disruptel, a St. Louis-based startup, has raised $1.1 million in seed funding to build a voice assistant that can provide detailed information about what’s happening on your TV screen.
It's time for our favorite trivia game!
It’s April Fool’s Day and that means pranksters putting their talents to use. In honor of the day, this week’s trivia revolves around some of the best pranks in the history of the U.S. We’ll give you the prank and you match it up to the perpetrator and the flyover city he was from.
Here are this week's questions:
- In 1938, an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air simulated a live news cast of the first Martian spacecraft landing. Who was the perpetrator and where was he from?
- In 1959, this trickster conducted his most elaborate hoax on the Today Show. He created a group called the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, the goal of which was to clothe naked animals. Who was the man and what city did he hail from?
- In 1978, in what could be one of the best college pranks of all time, two students launched a campaign to take over the student council by promising to get the Statue of Liberty moved from NYC to this city. What city and who were the guys?
Click here for today's answers.
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