Tech Growth Stats, Assembly Bio, HomeAdvisor & More Indiana News

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

—Indianapolis-based Assembly Biosciences announced last week that it has launched Phase 1a/b clinical trials for ABI-H0731, its oral therapeutic for treating chronic hepatitis B virus infection (HBV). Assembly aims to improve on the current low cure rates for chronic HBV by targeting the disease’s core protein and modulating it. The company expects to report trial results in the second half of 2017.

“This first clinical study is an important milestone,” said Uri Lopatin, the company’s chief medical officer and vice president of research and development, in a press release. “We expect to initiate additional studies of ABI-H0731 in 2017, as we continue to advance other candidates towards clinical trials.”

—According to two new reports from Ball State University, Indiana experienced increases in jobs, gross domestic product, and personal income as part of federal and state efforts from 2010-2014 to stimulate research and development in technology-related fields. The university’s Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) analyzed 74 organizations that received $27 million in investments through the state’s 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, the Indiana Angel Network, and the Indiana High-Growth Fund, as well as through the federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

CBER found that those investments resulted in the creation of 323 jobs, an $18 million increase in gross domestic product, and a $16 million increase in personal income. In a second study, CBER researchers studied data from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation on companies that applied for funding from the state’s 21st Century Fund. They found that grant recipients experienced a 68.6 percent increase in sales and 29 percent more productivity after being awarded grants compared to those not receiving an award. (To read the full reports, click here.)

—Real estate firm CBRE (not to be confused with the aforementioned CBER) released its annual Tech Thirty Report, which also found that Indiana’s tech ecosystem is growing. According to the report, Indianapolis saw tech jobs grow nearly 30 percent between 2013 and 2015—the fifth-highest rank among the 30 cities surveyed. The data, derived from U.S. Department of Labor statistics and the firm’s proprietary research, showed that Indianapolis’s tech labor pool expanded by 27.9 percent over the same two-year span, accounting for just over one third of new office jobs.

“Venture capitalists and tech companies are warming up to the Midwest by opening offices and relocating to the region from other states,” John Vandenbark, senior vice president at CBRE’s Indianapolis office, said in a statement to the Indianapolis Business Journal. (Read the entire report here.)

—On the heels of the Indiana Agbiosciences Innovation Summit, held last week in Indianapolis, comes a call for applications for Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology‘s agtech scholarships. Ten winners will receive $3,000 and a desk at the organization’s agtech startup incubator in Salinas, CA. Scholarships are open to any individual or company working on ideas or technology that will assist the fresh fruit, nut, and vegetable industry in producing more food using fewer resources and with less waste. The deadline to apply is Dec. 30. (To see complete contest guidelines, click here.)

HomeAdvisor, an online home improvement store based in Denver, announced last week that it will invest $1.9 million to expand its footprint in Indiana. The company is expanding its current office space in Indianapolis and adding another facility there at 342 Massachusetts Ave. HomeAdvisor has also pledged to add 170 new jobs. In exchange, the state will give the company up to $1.25 million in performance-based tax credits. As part of its impending growth, the company has already begun hiring. (To apply for a job, click here.)

Verge, a network of entrepreneurs and business leaders formed to help foster startup communities outside of the country’s major innovation hubs, is producing a new podcast called Powderkeg, and the first episodes are now live on iTunes. Episode one features Kristian Andersen, a partner at Indianapolis-based High Alpha, discussing how to invest in talent, build a startup team, and tell a story to grow a business.

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