N.O. BioInnovation Center Grant May Lead to More Jobs, Investment

Nobic Building
Photo courtesy of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center

NEW ORLEANS  — The New Orleans BioInnovation Center has won a $1.5 million award through the United States Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale Venture Challenge which seeks to support entrepreneurship and accelerate company growth in communities, regions, or a combination of regions.

In an effort to accommodate an increase in research and development activity and adapt to the new challenges facing the South Louisiana region, NOBIC will use these funds to strengthen the competitiveness of the bio-industry through new technology development and increase the number of full-time job opportunities in innovation-based ventures in the state.

“Since the BioInnovation Center opened its doors in 2011 and the BioFund began investing in 2012, we have seen significant growth within the biotech industry in Louisiana,” said Executive Director of the BioInnovation Center and Managing Director of the New Orleans BioFund Kris Khalil. “However, that momentum had stalled due to a lack of robust wrap-around support services for researchers seeking to commercialize novel technologies. We are thrilled to be receiving this highly competitive award to accelerate not only our state’s technology commercialization activities, but also the specialized job growth in new industries that we so desperately need. We look forward to partnering with those in our region who wish to improve health outcomes via integrating advanced technology and novel treatments into our health systems.”

NOBIC’s enhanced commercialization program will help regional innovators apply for non-dilutive funding, de-risk their technologies, gain exposure, and connect with key stakeholders. To accomplish this, NOBIC plans to: Partner with local health systems to establish a streamlined pathway for entrepreneurs to attain contracts for pilot projects; create a workforce development program to engage regional students and connect startups with qualified prospective employees; and provide fundraising, grant writing, and wrap-around support.

“By providing Louisiana-based biotech companies with these customized commercialization services, such as assistance with local tax incentive programs and technology assessments, coupled with premier facilities and a comprehensive support network, NOBIC’s efforts are not only dramatically enhancing economic development here in the state, but also improving health outcomes globally,” said Patrick Norton, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Tulane University and chair of NOBIC’s Board of Directors. “The Center will thus be able to expand its impact beyond the 350 innovators who have already received specialized support to create new high-growth businesses such as Advano, Axosim, Fluence Analytics, and more that have emerged from Tulane and other local institutions.”

“Over the last decade, the healthcare industry has become a much greater focus for regional stakeholders, as Louisiana entrepreneurs have formed more than 300 new biotech and healthcare companies,” said Dean of LSU Health New Orleans and Vice-Chair of NOBIC’s Board of Directors Dr. Steve Nelson. “Louisiana universities have been driving the growth of the life science industry by supporting start-ups emerging from our research labs, and with this funding NOBIC will be able to further bolster this growth.”

“This award will provide an exceptional advantage for NOBIC as they continue to establish their position as a leading biotech hub,” said Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development Don Pierson. “Our partnership approach to commercializing new technologies in the healthcare and life science arena for strategic technology-based economic development is based on innovation and leveraging our substantial anchor institutions and the tremendous intellectual capacity here. LED is proud to continue to support NOBIC’s efforts which will build and diversify the region’s economy with new jobs in the high-paying health sciences sector, and ultimately build a more resilient Louisiana.”

“This award will go a long way for Louisiana as we work to empower our state’s innovators to create successful biotech businesses,” said Dr. Reynold Verret, president of Xavier University. “This new workforce development program will further prepare students in the state to step directly into roles within our life science entrepreneurial ecosystem. Xavier looks forward to partnering with NOBIC on this timely and important project.”

Through this award, and subsequent advancement of Louisiana’s innovation-centric economy, NOBIC anticipates catalyzed job growth and enhanced global competitiveness – creating or retaining 650 jobs and attracting $75 million in private capital through the award period.

For more information on NOBIC, visit www.neworleansbio.com. 

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