Indiana has long benefited from a tradition of talented leaders who have turned innovations into thriving enterprises — even dating back more than 100 years to the days of Colonel Eli Lilly of Eli and Lilly and Company and Revra Depuy of DePuy Orthopaedics who changed the face of the life sciences and healthcare industries with their discoveries and inventions.  Bill Cook founded Cook Group and Dane Miller started Biomet more recently, but their impact and effect on healthcare and improving lives worldwide is unmatched.  Bill Eason is another Indiana entrepreneurial legacy.  His discoveries in his garage led to a hand-held blood glucose meter, and through a series of company acquisitions, ultimately brought Roche Diagnostics’s headquarters to Indianapolis.

But there have been many more; and in fact, their numbers and contributions are increasing rapidly.  They are raising money, getting products approved by the FDA and looking for more opportunities for growth and innovation. 

In fact, the 16 winners of the BioCrossroads New Venture Competition, an early stage business competition, have secured $21 million in follow-on funding just in the last four years.

Our research universities are turning up the heat with their own strategies for turning out start-ups and commercializing research.  Dozens of start-ups came out of universities in Indiana in 2015, and Indiana’s academia generated 134 patents — a true sign of breakthroughs and discoveries.

Indiana also continues to see an increase in independent start-ups, not affiliated with our universities, and a growing bevy of agricultural innovation companies.

We’ll celebrate entrepreneurship as well as our life sciences leaders at next week’s Indiana Life Sciences Summit.  Indiana’s life sciences industry is unique in that it has depth and breadth across the sector: medical devices and equipment, pharmaceuticals/biotech, diagnostic, agriculture-biotech and biologistics. The result is a vibrant and uniquely collaborative life sciences state-wide community that has an economic impact of $62 billion and employs more than 56,000 Hoosiers.

Lori LeRoy is Vice President of Communications and Marketing at BioCrossroads, Indiana’s life sciences initiative.

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