Two Hoosier research powerhouses are joining forces. Greenfield-based Elanco Animal Health Inc. (NYSE: ELAN) and Purdue University have announced a four-year research agreement, which the university says will involve collaboration and training talent “as they seek solutions to some of the greatest challenges in animal health.” Purdue adds the agreement includes the potential for a variety of research collaborations and intellectual property opportunities.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Purdue Biological Sciences Professor Richard Kuhn said the deal brings many benefits.
“Purdue has a number of areas of expertise that Elanco has not invested in. One of those areas is in structural biology in which Purdue has been a leader for many years on an international scene and that’s a tool that is very useful for the kinds of innovations that Elanco is trying to develop,” said Kuhn. “It also allows Purdue faculty who are involved in that area to work on some new things and to work in an area in which their discoveries could be translated and could be impactful to animals.”
The university says its Life Sciences Institutes and Elanco will conduct collaborative research in Purdue’s laboratories. Kuhn says in addition to the science and technical side, the agreement also has benefits in the area of workforce development.
“It’s clear that we have expertise that we can share. The second (piece) is developing partnerships in terms of training some of their employees in some of the latest techniques and also developing a pipeline for new employees which they get to interview and talk to and maybe provide internships for our students.”
Kuhn says the partners are developing a number of events in which Elanco will be able to interview and talk to undergraduate and graduate students at Purdue. He says it gives Elanco a great opportunity to look at students for potential employment and evaluate them in a real-world setting.
Purdue says the collaboration will dramatically shorten the time it takes to get projects from the idea stage into active work. It will also support a visiting scholar in structural biology who will work with Purdue scientists.
“Elanco and Purdue have a strong alignment of mission and values, and we anticipate many positive results from this important alliance,” Brian Edelman, president of the Purdue Research Foundation, said in a news release. “This partnership is designed to educate students on real-industry problems, advance research endeavors, provide collaboration opportunities with skilled research scientists and laboratories, and train the next generation of our workforce.”
Kuhn says as a land grant institution, one of Purdue’s missions is to do work that can be impactful.
“What I’d like to see out of this is collaborative work that we do together that’s going to make an impact in the industry, whether that’s for agricultural products and animals or whether it’s for companion animals. There is a booming market in companion animal treatments (and) therapies and we are looking forward to partnering with Elanco in this area because that could clearly be something that really makes a big impact.”
Kuhn says the agreement brings many benefits.