Efforts to leverage state’s biosciences leadership underway

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

IEDA Director Debi Durham presented plans to establish a public-private Iowa Bioscience Development Center (IBDC) – the next step toward implementing the state’s biosciences development road map. The road map was released in December 2017 by Governor Kim Reynolds, along with IEDA and the Iowa Innovation Council (IIC) and recognizes Iowa’s leadership in the space. For example, Iowa has 31 percent more biosciences jobs than the national average, employing about 24,500 people at nearly 1,300 businesses located across the state.  

Third-party analysis of Iowa’s biosciences industry, conducted by TEConomy Partners, LLC., identified four platforms as the future of Iowa’s biosciences development: medical devices; biobased chemicals; precision and digital agriculture; and vaccines and immunotherapeutics. TEConomy Partners include the authors of the prior two Battelle/BIO State Bioscience Development reports; the 2017 report is the most extensive to date. Four strategies for leveraging Iowa’s competitive advantages in the industry also were identified, including the recommendation to form a public-private center to organize and lead the effort.

In her presentation to the IEDA Board, Durham explained how the existing Iowa Innovation Corporation, the state’s public-private partnership for economic development, will be transitioned to serve as the IBDC rather than creating a new entity. In this new role, the IBDC will bring together partners from research institutions, global companies, entrepreneurs, investors and government to accelerate bioscience sector growth and development. The IBDC will advance the biosciences platforms by working with advisory boards, which will be established for each, and will continue to administer the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program.

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