Volume 15 - February 2014
Ensuring Continued Growth for Missouri's Entrepreneurial Economy: A Legislative Priority
Expanding opportunities for start-up companies and promoting entrepreneurship are key to growth in Missouri and across the nation. The Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) has built a strong track record in accelerating growth and job creation in St. Louis and Missouri. Therefore, BioSTL’s top priority during the 2014 Missouri legislative session is securing a significant increase in funding for MTC and its IDEA Funds and MOBEC programs.
Since the programs were launched in April 2011, 8 rounds of funding have provided $13 million in support for emerging startups. Those startups have attracted more than $90 million in additional funding and, in 2013 alone, created 121 jobs. MTC has already made exits from three companies, yielding greater than 4X return on investment to Missouri taxpayers.
An example of MTC’s impact can be seen in the bioscience company Kypha. In 2011, Kypha moved from Louisville to St. Louis following a joint investment from MTC and the BioGenerator. Since its relocation, Kypha has attracted an additional $3 million in private capital and tripled its employee count.
Cortex Looking to Add New Fabrication Innovation Center
Cortex is steadily becoming an epicenter for innovation and entrepreneurship and a nationally- and internationally-recognized technology hub. Central to achieving Cortex's vision is the development of five innovation centers in the district. The resulting innovation cluster will create a critical mass of entrepreneurial talent, business support, and access to venture investment that will accelerate new company formation benefiting the entire region.
One of the five targeted innovation centers is TechShop, a membership-based, Do-It-Yourself workshop and fabrication studio that provides its members access to more than $1 million worth of machines, tools, and software for design and prototyping.
Launching TechShop requires start-up capital and approximately 1,000 memberships. Currently, Cortex has one-third of the memberships secured and is seeking membership commitments for the remainder.
Join Cortex on February 27th and learn how TechShop is a key entrepreneurial force impacting individuals and companies. Find out more about the event here.
Danforth Center at the Forefront of Plant Science Research
The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is at the forefront of plant science research. Changes in climate and the rapidly increasing global population require huge advances in science research and technology to meet the growing demand for food and fuel. The Center along with representatives of the plant science community are leading the call to educate the public and government about the need for advances in plant science that will be crucial to improving agriculture productivity. The Plant Science Decadal Vision report describes a ten-year research agenda for plant science and its impacts on food, fuel, feed, fiber, pharmaceuticals, and American competitiveness.
In Washington D.C. during her remarks at the briefing, Unleashing a Decade of Innovation in Plant Science: A Vision for 2015-2025, Toni Kutchan, Vice President for Research at the Danforth Center, emphasized the important role technology, automation, and bioinformatics will play in finding solutions in an era of “Big Data” science.
To further its leadership in this area, the Center recently opened the Bellwether Foundation Phenotyping Facility, a one-of-a-kind facility that automates continuous plant imaging and provides accurate control over experimental conditions. These types of technologies allow the Center to continue to achieve its mission of improving the human condition through plant science by accelerating discovery faster than ever before. In the future, it will be technology such as the Center's Phenotyping Facility that leads to the creation of crops that are flexible and adaptable to the challenges of environment and population.
News About the Biosciences in St. Louis
- Three things biotech entrepreneurs should know about St. Louis [MedCity News]
- Number of VC deals reaches 13-year high in Missouri [St. Louis Business Journal]
- Meet me in St. Louis? San Francisco too expensive for techies, too [L.A. Times]
- Danforth Center adds research muscle [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
- 5 U.S. startup cities to watch in 2014 [Upstart]
- Yoo receives Presidential Early Career Award [WUSTL]
- All-Girls STEM Charter Could Open In 2015 [St. Louis Public Radio]
- Get Ready for the Glowing Plants Craze [BioGlow – Atlantic Cities]
- SLU Neurosurgeon Honored for Inventing ‘StealthStation’ [Saint Louis University]
- A Look Inside the Quietly Growing St. Louis Startup Scene [Tech Cocktail]
- Appistry to Build Out, Support NIH Rare Disease Exome Pipeline [BioIT World]
BioSTL was the recipient of a $100,000 grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. The grant will support a new phase of the St. Louis Bioscience Inclusion Initiative. The goal of the program is to strengthen the region’s bioscience ecosystem by identifying high-potential women and minority bioscience entrepreneurs and to provide the resources for them to create viable high-growth ventures. Partners in the program will include Cortex Innovation Community, Prosper, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, WUSTL Office of Technology Management, and Women Entrepreneurs of St. Louis.
The entrepreneurial momentum in St. Louis has received a lot of good press lately. Biosciences were featured prominently in MedCity News, which tracks what's next in medical innovation. BioSTL President and CEO Donn Rubin spoke about the boom in bioscience and “Three things biotech entrepreneurs should know about St. Louis.” Read the full article here.