Purdue Research Park celebrates 50th year

Published: September 14, 2011


INDIANAPOLIS; WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.; MERRILLVILLE, Ind.; and NEW ALBANY, Ind. - The Purdue Research Park is celebrating its 50th anniversary this fiscal year with events and programs highlighting the people and technologies that have contributed to the park's growth as the largest university-affiliated incubator in the country.

When established in 1961, the Purdue Research Park was the third such park established in the United States. Stanford Research Park was founded in 1951, and the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina followed in 1959. The Purdue Research Park now has four locations across Indiana and 200 companies that employ more than 4,000 people.

"This is a momentous year for the Purdue Research Park, and as part of our 50th anniversary we engaged an independent research firm to quantify our economic contributions to the state of Indiana," said Joseph B. Hornett, senior vice president, treasurer and COO of the Purdue Research Foundation, which manages the park network.

The study found that the Purdue Research Park network provides an annual economic impact of $1.3 billion to Indiana's economy.

Compiled by Thomas P. Miller and Associates, the study reports:

* $1.3 billion annual impact for Indiana.

* $48 million contributed to state and local taxes.

* $49 million in federal research and development grants for small businesses brought to the state since 1987.

* High-tech, high-quality jobs paying an average annual salary of $63,000 - 65 percent higher than the Indiana average.

"While it is important to recognize the economic contributions to the state, it is just as important to celebrate the international contributions the park and park-based companies have had on helping people by addressing global challenges such as health care, energy, terrorism and hunger," Hornett said. "The companies in the park network are doing work in nearly every sector, including engineering, life sciences, information technology, agriscience, security and advanced manufacturing."

Mitch Roob, Indiana Secretary of Commerce and CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, said the Purdue Research Park is a leader in job creation.

"Purdue Research Park set the gold standard for how universities can support economic development through business incubation and expediting new discoveries through the technology transfer process," Roob said. "Moreover, the successes of the park's companies help keep Indiana in the black."

For example, Cook Biotech Inc. was founded in 1995 on a discovery by the late Les Geddes, who was the Purdue University Showalter Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering. Cook Biotech's regenerative biomedical products have been used in more than 1 million applications for patients around the globe. The company has about 140 employees and is a subsidiary of the Cook Group Inc.

"Celebrating 50 years is a major milestone for any organization, and being part of the Purdue Research Park is important for us because of the access to the brilliant faculty at Purdue University doing work in our field," said Mark Bleyer, president and CEO of Cook Biotech. "Because the relationship between Cook Biotech and Purdue has been so strong, Cook Group now has three companies in the Purdue Research Park."

Endocyte Inc., another park-based company founded on a Purdue discovery, began trading on NASDAQ this year and raised more than $180 million for its research into the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases.

The company was founded in 1996 by Ron Ellis, president and CEO, and Philip Low, Purdue's Joseph F. Foster Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and chief scientific officer for Endocyte. Endocyte has about 65 employees.

"I travel all over the world and meet with other faculty and tour other research institutions. The assistance, support and other facilities provided by Purdue Research Park is unparalleled," Low said. "There isn't anything else like it in the United States."

Other examples of real-world contributions by Purdue Research Park-based companies include:

* M4 Sciences, a company that develops and commercializes advanced technologies for ultraprecision machining. The company's technology, which was developed at Purdue, was named by R&D magazine as one of the top 100 most technologically significant products introduced to the marketplace in 2010.

* Scale Computing Inc., a company recruited from the San Francisco area and based in the Purdue Research Park of Indianapolis, provides data storage for small- and medium-sized companies. In 2009 it was named by Forbes as one of America's Most Promising Companies.

* Energy Management Solutions, an energy monitoring and management company based in the Purdue Research Park of Southeast Indiana. In 2011 the firm received the Lugar Energy Patriot award from U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar for its research and contributions to energy conservation.

"Purdue Research Park is an integral partner for West Lafayette and our surrounding community," said West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis. "Not only does the park provide a strong avenue for economic development, but it contributes to our city's strategic goals such as retaining university graduates by creating jobs for them and bringing tax dollars back to the community through the state's Certified Technology Park program."

The Purdue Research Park has been recognized by state, national and international organizations. In 2010 the National Association of Business Incubators honored the Purdue Research Park Entrepreneurship Academy with the Incubator Innovation Award. In 2008 the International Economic Development Council presented three first-place awards for excellence in economic development in the areas of entrepreneurship, partnerships with educational institutions and technology-based economic development. In 2004 the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) recognized the Purdue Research Park with its top Outstanding Science and Research Park Award.

About Purdue Research Park

The Purdue Research Park has the largest university-affiliated business incubation program in the country. The park has four sites in the state of Indiana located in West Lafayette, Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany. The nearly 200 companies located in the park network employ about 4,000 people.

Media contact:

Cynthia Sequin, 765-588-3340, casequin@prf.org


Joseph B. Hornett, 765-588-1040, jbhornett@prf.org

Mark Bleyer, 765-497-3355, mbleyer@cookbiotech.com

Philip Low, 765-494-5273, plow@purdue.edu

John Dennis, 765-775-5100, mayor@city.west-lafayette.in.us