Roundup: IBRI, BioCrossroads, The Speak Easy, Indy’s Tech Boom & More

Xconomy Indiana — 

Here’s a look at innovation news from around Indiana:

—The Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) continues to build its core team as it ramps up operations. Earlier this month, the IBRI announced it has hired University of Notre Dame professor Nitesh Chawla to serve as the interim director of applied data sciences. Chawla, a professor of computer science and engineering who also serves as director of the Data Inference Analytics and Learning Lab at Notre Dame, has won numerous of awards and fellowships throughout his career. He’s also the founder of a data science software company called Aunalytics, which helps people and businesses use data to better understand and manage their finances.

In a statement, IBRI president David Broecker said, “This convergence of information technology and life sciences is an exciting area for future innovation. Dr. Chawla’s expertise in interdisciplinary application of data to solve big problems will help the IBRI create tools and develop applications that will enable deep computer learning to assist researchers, clinicians, and patients.”

—More news coming out of the IBRI: Bloomington-based Cook Medical has donated $1 million to the institute to support discovery science and applied research targeting cardio-metabolic disease, diabetes, and poor nutrition. Lilly Endowment, based in Indianapolis, will provide a matching grant.

Dan Peterson, Cook’s vice president of industry and government affairs, said the company was interested in being part of the IBRI, either through collaborative research, contract research, or financial support. “Being in and around innovation helps our people,” he said, in a phone interview. “There’s an amazing amount of opportunities for broad collaboration that hasn’t happened by itself.”

Although primarily a medical device company, Cook also has a regenerative medicine unit developing cellular therapies. Peterson said that’s one of the areas where Cook’s scientists are hoping to collaborate with fellow IBRI members.

—A recent report by JLL, a Chicago-based organization formerly known as Jones LaSalle, had high praise for Indianapolis’s emergence as a hub for technology businesses. In its 2016 U.S. Technology Office Outlook, JLL called Indianapolis “this year’s unsung hero” for its high marks in several areas. The report ranked Indianapolis number one for low costs in wages, office rental rates, and housing; number eight for tech growth from 2001 to 2015; and number 10 for tech office leasing. The population in the city’s central business district has also increased a whopping 92 percent since 2010. To see the full report, click here.

The Speak Easy, a coworking space and hub for entrepreneurs, formally opened its new downtown Indianapolis location last week.  Situated at the historic Morrison Opera House at 47 S. Meridian St., much of the building will operate as a coworking space similar to its Broad Ripple location. In addition, there is 12,000 square feet of dedicated office space available for “micro leasing” and designed to meet the needs of later-stage entrepreneurs. Amenities include a studio for recording podcasts and other audio content, telephone booths, and conference rooms.

TriMedx, a healthcare technology company, this week announced plans to expand operations in Indiana and create up to 108 new jobs by 2020. The company, founded in Indianapolis in 1998 from the clinical engineering department of St. Vincent Hospital, pledged to invest more than $21.5 million in its statewide workforce and 78,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in northwest Indianapolis. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered to award TriMedx up to $1.1 million in tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants based on the company’s performance in creating jobs.

“Indiana is the world’s leader in medical device manufacturing and ranks second in the nation for life science exports,” said Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb in a prepared statement. “Indiana’s life sciences industry is advancing new solutions and changing the face of healthcare thanks to companies like TriMedx.”

BioCrossroads, a public-private organization promoting Indiana’s life sciences industry, has released a new white paper that examines the leadership, innovation, and economics in the life sciences entrepreneurial community. “Powering Indiana’s Life Sciences Community: Profiles of Money, Molecules and Management” summarizes the current state of the sector and profiles 12 people critical to the development of Indiana’s life sciences sector. To read the full report, click here.