Animal funds

Embrace Elanco’s Vision as the “Epicenter” of Animal Health – Indianapolis Business Journal

Rising from the former home of the long-abandoned General Motors Stamping Plant is a vision that could transform Indianapolis. Elanco, the world’s second-largest animal health company, opened a more than $100 million global headquarters last week.

But as CEO Jeff Simmons likes to point out: the real development is not the physical building but the vision his company, along with city and state leaders, has for creating an epicenter of scientific advancement. animal.

The goal is for Elanco’s new headquarters to serve as a catalyst for research, development and the creation of new businesses focused on animal health.

It’s a big dream. And a lot of things will have to go right for that to happen. But at least Elanco and economic development leaders are taking a first step in that direction. The campus is being developed in conjunction with AgriNovus, the state’s food and agriculture initiative, and venture studio High Alpha.

Take the dream to its highest level and Indianapolis could become a biopharmaceutical corridor for animal health similar to what is developing around new discoveries for human health in biotech hubs such as Boston, San Diego and San Francisco.

Boston, the giant hub, has 430 biotech companies. In 2018, biopharmaceutical companies in the region attracted more than $4.8 billion in venture capital investments, up from $900 million in 2012, according to BioSpace.

San Francisco is home to biotech giants AbbVie, Genentech, Amgen, Gilead and Merck. The San Diego-Los Angeles corridor is home to 3,000 life science companies and 25 research institutes.

Could the synergy around animal health one day generate this type of investment in Indianapolis? No one will know if we don’t try.

Simmons readily acknowledges that the biotech industry for animal health is not as mature as the ecosystem built around human medicine. But that’s what makes the possibilities so vast and exciting.

“If you can create in our community in Indianapolis the first community in the world for animal-centered innovators who want to progress and get things done, … there’s going to be a lot of value in that,” Simmons told the IBJ Podcast host, Mason King.

Simmons sees Elanco’s new headquarters as a place where innovators can come and use Elanco’s co-creation space as a place to launch new ideas and ventures, and maybe even land funding in the process. He already has examples of how the concept could work.

Earlier this year, Elanco and High Alpha announced seed funding to create and launch Athian, a new company formed to certify, aggregate and monetize environmental footprint reductions within the food system.

Last week, Elanco announced the creation of BiomEdit, a microbiome innovation company for animal health, in partnership with Boston-based Gingko Bioworks.

BiomEdit is a company that will discover and develop novel engineered animal health drugs based on microbial communities in animals and the surrounding environment.

The hope is that Elanco Headquarters will accelerate the creation of even more companies and advancements in animal health – and that many of these companies will locate in Indianapolis because of the infrastructure of support and the creative spirit that is being built here.

Our hope is that the vision becomes a reality.•

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