Last week at the State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI) Annual Conference in Chicago, Indiana-based life sciences initiative BioCrossroads won the Excellence in Technology-based Economic Development (TBED) award in the category Improving Competitiveness of Existing Industries. This is the same SSTI award won last year by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) — one of the most well-known and successful economic clusters in the U.S.

biocrossroadsAEach year, SSTI recognizes initiatives that have a big impact on their state and regional economies. This national competition showcases effective and innovative approaches to building tech-based economies.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by such a prominent organization,” said David L. Johnson, president and CEO of BioCrossroads. “SSTI has been the champion and ‘seal of approval’ for technology-based economic development efforts across America for many years, and has helped policy makers and community and corporate leaders to understand what it takes to drive successful regional economic transformation. As such, SSTI’s work has showcased some of the most successful technology-and science-based clusters in the U.S. today, and we are proud to be recognized as a part of this distinguished network.”

Why does BioCrossroads deserve such an award? Here is a brief summary of accomplishments:

  • BioCrossroads directly raised nearly one-third of a billion dollars (and counting) of market capital and philanthropic funding to identify and pursue promising new Indiana life sciences opportunities;
  • BioCrossroads organized two life sciences venture capital funds – the Indiana Future Fund ($73 million) and the INext Fund ($58 million) – and organized and actively managed the Indiana Seed Fund ($6 million) and Indiana Enterprise Fund ($2 million); currently manage the Indiana Seed Fund II ($8.5 million);
  • BioCrossroads formed nine new sustainable enterprises to advance signature Indiana life sciences strengths (and resulting so far in a collective total of more than 100 new jobs); and
  • BioCrossroads supported more than 300 start-up companies and collaborations by connecting them with industry partners, providing basic business planning guidance, advising on patent and IP strategies, opening connections to sources for further commercial development, and linking with additional funding sources.

Over the past 12 years, BioCrossroads has served as a catalyst for growth within Indiana’s life sciences industry in both direct and indirect activities that have made the state a national leader.

“The strength of BioCrossroads is its emphasis on the collaboration among its corporate, academic and philanthropic assets of its life sciences community,” said Dan Berglund, SSTI president & CEO. “BioCrossroads has been able to truly build private-public support for its initiatives, with the majority of its funding coming from private sources.”

“Even back in the early 2000s, there was little doubt that Indiana had a remarkably broad and deep base of life sciences companies and research assets, but there was a threat to industry growth, and even maintaining what was here. Most of our companies and universities were carrying out ground-breaking research and pursuing medical innovations on their own, and no one had focused on how to bring the players and the pieces together to advance one of Indiana’s truly signature sectors to ensure its continued strength and promote its rightful prospects for national prominence,” continued Johnson. “The industry needed a connection point to build a long-term and lasting coalition to bring new ideas to life and grow the existing community. Thanks to the work of several individuals and organizations, BioCrossroads was established to make that happen.”

Johnson points to the efforts of then-CEO of Eli Lilly and Company Sidney Taurel and John Lechleiter, Ph.D., who was executive vice president of pharmaceutical product/corporate development of Lilly, at the time, as well as Mayor Bart Peterson; Melina Kennedy, then-director of economic development for the city of Indianapolis; Anne Shane, the project leader for the initiative; Central Indiana Corporate Partnership; Lilly Endowment Inc.; Indiana University; Purdue University; and the Indiana Health Industry Forum for organizing the Central Indiana Life Sciences Initiative in 2002, an initiative which became BioCrossroads the following year.


2014 SSTI Excellence in Technology-Based Economic Development (TBED) Award Winners! Vice President of Communications Lori Leroy (second from left) accepted the award on behalf of BioCrossroads.