Leading the Bioscience Growth
The Memphis Bioworks® Foundation is bringing together public, private, academic and government entities in a collaborative effort to change the Memphis bioscience landscape. Established in 2001 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3), the Foundation’s is leading initiatives to expand upon the community’s current bioscience niches and demonstrated areas of leadership to create an internationally recognized center for the development and commercialization of bioscience technology.
The biosciences have transformed cities from coast to coast. Memphis is in a unique position, with a strong foundation in orthopedics, medical devices, pediatric cancer, infectious disease, logistics and agriculture to be a leader in accelerating the growth of the biosciences.
Community leadership recognized the impact the biosciences could have on economic development, revitalization of the medical district and community pride. The opportunity to create innovative businesses, high paying jobs, recruit talent and provide educational programs to build the workforce will successfully move the initiative forward.
Competitive Strengths and Plans for Growth.
The Memphis Bioworks Foundation commissioned a study to examine the current bioscience activity and potential for growth in the area. The Battelle study concluded that among the benchmark cities, "Memphis is the only region to have four out of the five bioscience sectors that stand above the national level of concentration.” Specifically, Memphis excels in three sectors - medical devices, hospitals, and organic chemicals.
The orthopedic industry is well represented within Memphis and several new companies are beginning to make an impact in the musculoskeletal market. The medical community is marked by strong hospital systems and ambulatory clinics, and includes the world renowned St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The organic chemical industry is poised for change as the world moves from a fossil fuel foundation to a sustainable resource economy – perfect for the farmers and researches in the nutrient-rich Delta where Memphis sits. And, Memphis International Airport is the world’s busiest cargo airport, providing the kind of logistics infrastructure upon which bioscience industries can grow.
The Foundation has worked hard to analyze the bioscience strengths and identify the opportunities to make the city a center of excellence. There are three areas the community must address in order to effectively capitalize on the opportunities to create a bioscience nucleus of innovation:
- Building infrastructure
- Growing the workforce
- Promote entrepreneurship
The Memphis community has come together to provide added leadership to the Foundation. Influential individuals from the biosciences, educational, clinical and research and development have joined in supporting the mission of the Memphis Bioworks Foundation. The Foundation continues to seek additional thought leaders to help transform the Memphis economy and the bioscience landscape.
Visible Progress, Meaningful Steps Taken
The most visible component of a 10-year, $500 million plan to advance the biosciences is the development of a world recognized research park that will drive new business opportunities in a spirit of collaboration and entrepreneurship. The landscape has already changed following the implosion of the Baptist Hospital and the construction of the UT Health Science Center's Regional Biocontainment Laboratory and the beginning work on the School of Pharmacy.
Memphis Bioworks Foundation recently hired internationally recognized architectural services firm Perkins+Will to design the 40,000 square-foot, FDA/GLP focused vivarium and 200,000 square-foot laboratory space building in the UT-Baptist Research Park.
The labs will be designed to meet the needs of multi-tenant commercial clients with a variety of research specialties, from infectious disease to biopharmaceuticals and orthopedics. The Perkins+Will design team will provide state-of-the-art ideas that will make the facilities competitive with the best in the country, while at the same time be able to use its vast network of contacts across the country to put the city in the running for lab work, new businesses and regional operations that it did not have access to before.
Progress is being made rapidly and the community is continuing to stand up and take notice of the changes. The Foundation encourages feedback from the community and welcomes the opportunity to communicate and share ideas that will drive the mission to establish Memphis as a bioscience center of excellence.