Indiana: standing at the crossroads of the US life sciences industry

European life sciences companies looking to set up operations in the American market need look no farther than the state of Indiana. That is because Indiana offers companies the competitive edge they need in today's economy ­ access to people, partners and markets. Jeff Harris and Wade Lange report.

Although not apparent to some, Indiana sustains a high concentration of life sciences leaders. It is home to world-class pharmaceutical, medical device and orthopedics innovators such as Eli Lilly and Co, Bioanayltical Systems Inc., Roche Diagnostics, Guidant Corp, Biomet Inc, DePuy and the Cook Group.

Indiana also is home to academic powerhouses like Purdue University, Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.

These institutions produce talented graduates and leaders in key fields such as analytical chemistry, pharmacy, biomedical and chemical engineering, biology and business.

In fact, Purdue University's graduate program in analytical chemistry was ranked second in the nation this year by US News and World Report in its annual list of America's Best Graduate Schools.

Public and private partnerships

Additionally, Indiana supports a number of private and public partnerships working to sustain and develop the state's life sciences sector. Central Indiana's alife sciences corridor' ­ stretching through Bloomington, Indianapolis and West Lafayette ­ is home to the Indiana Genomics Initiative at Indiana University and Purdue's Discovery Park, featuring a high-performance fibre optic network known as I-Light.

This corridor also links other life science collaborators, including the Indiana Proteomics Consortium, a partnership between Eli Lilly and Co, IU's Advanced Research Technology Institute and the Purdue Research Foundation that creates instruments and methods to improve the study of proteins.

This work has great potential to advance molecular understanding of biology and accelerate drug discovery.

The list of innovative life science partnerships and initiatives in Indiana also includes:

* Indiana's Health Industry ­ an economic development organisation that works with leaders from the health industry, government and academia to create jobs and advance technology within this largest sector of the state's economy.

* The Indiana Drug Development Consortium ­ made up from scientists from Purdue University, Indiana University Medical Center, the National Cancer Institute and five Indiana pharmaceutical companies working to develop vitamin-based drug delivery technologies.

* Purdue University's Department of Biomedical Engineering ­ a collaboration of the best and the brightest minds that works with other agencies to foster interdisciplinary research on molecular and cellular foundations of implantable devices and tissues.

Experienced talent

As a result of these and other life science partnerships, Indiana boasts a wealth of experienced and loyal talent. Right now, its life science industry employs more than 83000 people and produces more than US$14 billion in economic output annually.

That number is expected to grow. Why? Unlike markets such as New Jersey and California, Indiana's market is not over saturated.

As a result, leaders can concentrate on building businesses through research and development rather than spending much-needed time and money trying to lure talent away from competitors.

Richard Florida, the author of the highly acclaimed Rise of the Creative Class, notes this market balance and ranks Indiana as one of the top metropolitan markets attractive to employees seeking stability and growth.

Access to markets

In addition to supporting infrastructures of people, ideas and partnerships, Indiana is perfectly positioned to provide easy geographic access to growing markets in North America and overseas. That's is why the state often is referred to as the aCrossroads of America'.

From Indiana, 65 per cent of American markets can be reached in a single day by truck, and within two days by rail.

Indiana's ports also provide easy access to international markets. And the world's leading air cargo and package services ­ including Federal Express, the US Postal Service, American International Freightways and Towne Air Freight ­ operate major facilities in Indiana.

Moving forward, Indiana is capitalising on its newly restructured tax system. In the summer of 2002 state leaders revamped its entire tax code, making Indiana even more competitive by eliminating inventory taxes, a variety of corporate taxes and dramatically lowering business property taxes.

In addition, the state developed new venture capital tax credits and doubled the size of its research and development tax credit.

With the myriad of resources available, its no wonder that Indiana, the geographic aCrossroads of America', also is becoming the crossroads to life sciences market in Europe, Asia and beyond.

Enquiry No 111

Jeff Harris is with the Indiana Department of Commerce, Indianapolis, IN, USA, and Wade Lange is Executive Director with Indiana's Health Industry, Indianapolis, IN, USA,

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