Roche, Cook help launch public-private Indiana research institute

Indiana devicemakers are among a throng of industry players that has taken up with the state to launch an estimated $360 million public-private research institute to further Indiana's already-thriving biotech industry.

The state of Indiana ponied up the first half of a $50 million startup fund, with the other $25 million slated to come from local med tech outfits like Cook Medical, Biomet and Roche Diagnostics ($RHHBY) to back the planned Indiana Biosciences Research Institute. The first industry-led institute of its kind, the public-private enterprise drew additional funding from Eli Lilly ($LLY), as well as involvement from the state's biggest universities, according to the state's growth initiative, BioCrossroads.

For the devicemakers in the group, the institute's initial focus, in part, on cardiovascular disease offers the potential for further innovation in the devices market and a boost for Indiana's med tech industry overall. Also on the agenda is research in diabetes, obesity and nutrition, which were identified by the industry leaders as common interests for research and discovery.

"World-class scientific talent at the industry and academic level is one of the state's most powerful economic development tools," Cook Chairman Steve Ferguson said in a statement. "Just as companies like Lilly and Cook Medical started as small, entrepreneurial operations, we expect the Institute to draw the best and brightest to Indiana to further deepen our life sciences industry roots and grow more business opportunities."

Roche, in its own right, has been a leader of the industry's presence in the state. In November, the company broke ground on a $300 million expansion of its diagnostics headquarters in Indianapolis.

"We have an opportunity to not only help millions of people around the world who are battling these metabolic disorders, but we can have significant impact on Hoosiers who suffer more than the average American from diabetes and who rank 8th in the nation in terms of obesity," Roche Diagnostics CEO Jack Phillips said in a statement. "The Indiana Biosciences Research Institute will provide the platform to deliver significant advancements that could improve Hoosier lives."

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