Roche CEO: IBRI Will Succeed Where Others Have Failed

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Phillips says, for Roche, IBRI provides diversity of research and innovation. Phillips says, for Roche, IBRI provides diversity of research and innovation.
INDIANAPOLIS -

The chief executive officer of Roche Diagnostics North America says Governor Eric Holcomb's endorsement of the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute is key to the collaboration that he believes will ultimately make the facility a global leader. Jack Phillips tells Inside INdiana Business the institute is about halfway to its $350 million funding goal. He believes what will make IBRI successful, unlike many similar attempts around the world, is the buy-in by both state and private sector leaders.

Holcomb's $32 billion budget submitted last week to the State Budget Committee includes $20 million in grants for the IBRI. Phillips says it is crucial for the effort to have the backing of Governor Holcomb, just as it did with Governor Mike Pence. The fundraising campaign currently sits at about $158 million.

Phillips says, for Roche, IBRI provides diversity of research and innovation. He tells IIB 99 percent of Roche innovation happens through partnerships. That includes a recently-announced research partnership with Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY), the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine to examine how type 2 diabetes varies in different patients. That collaboration will involve information on more than 800,000 people with type 2 diabetes throughout Indiana. He says it is also "absolutely a possibility" that Roche could have a presence in the 16 Tech innovation district in downtown Indianapolis.

IBRI was able to gain traction last year in attracting talent and investment. In October, the institute hired Rainer Fisher from the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany as chief scientific and innovation officer. At the time, BioCrossroads President and IBRI Board member David Johnson said, "This is exactly the type of world-class talent the institute was built to attract."

Also in October, Bloomington-based Cook Medical awarded the institute a $1 million research grant, with matching funds from the Lilly Endowment. Cook and other life sciences companies, including Dow AgroSciences, Eli Lilly and Roche Diagnostics are part of the scientific advisory board for the IBRI.

"My hope for the IBRI five to 10 (or) twenty years from now," says Phillips, "is this really becomes the catalyst for the life science ecosystem in Indiana, but also it is seen globally, not just nationally, as an institute that's making real differences and bringing real innovation to make a real difference in the lives of people."

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