WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University is part of a consortium of Indiana stakeholders successful in securing a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub (Tech Hub) designation by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, which recognizes regions poised to ensure the U.S. is globally competitive in areas that are key to national security.
Announced Monday by Applied Research Institute Inc. on behalf of the state, Heartland BioWorks brings together Indiana academic institutions, industry leaders, investors and nonprofit organizations to ensure that bioproducts invented in America are also produced domestically. BioWorks will develop new programs, infrastructure and networks to accelerate workforce development and help dismantle barriers to success for entrepreneurs and small-business owners with new biotech products.
This is the third successful federal hub designation for Purdue in the last month, including the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen, the Silicon Crossroads Microelectronics Commons and now Heartland BioWorks. The microelectronics commons hub is based on Purdue West Lafayette's strength in semiconductors. The hydrogen hub has Purdue University Northwest as the only university from the state. The regional economic development hub is in the Indianapolis-Carmel metropolitan statistical area, where Purdue University in Indianapolis is opening in July. Purdue is the only university in the country to have competed successfully in all three national hubs this year.
“Regional Tech Hubs from the U.S. Department of Commerce is a crucial competition for the tech-driven economy in our country, and a key element of the CHIPS and Science Act championed by Sen. Todd Young. This is a pivotal win for our state and our university,” Purdue University President Mung Chiang said. “Purdue is excited to work with ARI, and through Gov. Holcomb’s support, to win three out of three national competitions this season: in semiconductors from the Department of Defense, in hydrogen innovation from the Department of Energy, and now in biotech manufacturing from the Department of Commerce. Each is a 10% success rate opportunity, and hitting all three is yet another reflection of our excellence at scale.”
The Tech Hubs Program was enacted as part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, with $10 billion authorized over five years and $500 million in FY23 appropriated to launch the program. There were 31 Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs, out of close to 200 applications across the country, designated by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. BioWorks will now compete against other designated hubs for implementation grants of up to $75 million each in year one of the program.
“Through BioWorks, we have assembled partners that bring together biotech and manufacturing research and resources that will ensure that Indiana continues to lead the nation in biomanufacturing,” said Karen Plaut, Purdue University executive vice president for research. “Purdue’s research mission supports national and economic security for all, and we’re eager to contribute our leading-edge R&D and training expertise in biotechnology and manufacturing for the health of people within our state and across our nation.”
Purdue has long been recognized for its interdisciplinary strengths in human, plant and animal health. Purdue has the No. 1-ranked agricultural and biological engineering undergraduate and graduate program in the nation and has been named a top 10 most innovative school in the U.S. for five years running, according to U.S. News & World Report. Purdue’s College of Agriculture, which has brought in more than $100 million in extramural funding in the last fiscal year, is ranked No. 3 in North America and number five in the world in the 2023 QS World University Rankings. Purdue’s College of Engineering is ranked in the top four in the U.S. in U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 graduate ranking, and the university patent count is ranked in the top four in the country in 2023 by the National Academy of Inventors.
Indiana leads the nation in pharmaceutical exports and has the second highest concentration of life sciences jobs in the U.S. Purdue is a strong contributor to both the pharma R&D and workforce development pipelines, with nearly 100 drugs in the university’s pipeline and three Purdue faculty-discovered drugs having received FDA approval in the last two years.
Purdue also strengthened its commitment to pharmaceutical manufacturing last year with the launch of the William D. Young Institute for Advanced Manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals, thanks to a generous donation from pharmaceutical and biotechnology pioneer and Boilermaker William D. Young. The Young Institute focuses on furthering pharmaceutical manufacturing to reduce costs and expand access to new drugs emerging from biotech research. It is one of seven interdisciplinary institutes related to health and biomedical sciences within the Institutes and Centers at Discovery Park District at Purdue, which are focused on advancing large-scale research in support of solving societal challenges.
The Young Institute also offers opportunities for workforce development, with the potential to train future Indiana workers in the basics of the pharmaceutical industry, and serves as a workforce training resource for Midwestern pharmaceutical companies. Purdue plans to bring pharma training through the institute to Indianapolis, including potentially through the university’s Indianapolis campus.
BioWorks will support the national need for domestic manufacturing operations for new (particularly small-batch) bioproducts and infrastructure dedicated to innovations in how those bioproducts are made, which will bring new bioproducts to market more quickly and encourage more businesses to start and grow in Indiana.
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