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Quinn Conference

Amber Gulla/MEDILL

Lawrence Schook, vice president for research at University of Illinois, introduced Gov. Quinn and opened the press conference for new incubator.

New incubator opening this summer to help create jobs in biotech industry

by Amber Gulla
Apr 24, 2013

Layout HTI

Amber Gulla/MEDILL

HTI will consist of offices and labs, both wet and dry, for future tenants of the facility.

A new incubator and technology center opening this summer to the Illinois Medical District will be beneficial in providing jobs as well as new research in biotechnology.

Gov. Pat Quinn and Robert Easter, president of the University of Illinois, announced Wednesday plans for the new facility called Health, Technology, Innovation at Chicago Technology Park. Quinn said at a press conference that the $3.4 million project will not only advance biotechnology, but will help create new jobs and benefit the local economy.

HTI is modeled on EnterpriseWorks, another incubator, which is located at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. “It’s actually an outgrowth, or offshoot, of EnterpriseWorks, which was recommended by the Illinois Innovation Council,” said Mike Claffey, deputy press secretary of health care for Quinn. Claffey said that much like EnterpriseWorks, science and medical research will be conducted in the offices and labs for entrepreneurial life-sciences startups.

“The Illinois Medical District, collectively, envisioned job creation overall,” said Kapila Viges, director of EnterpriseWorks Chicago and HTI. “One hundred to 150 researchers a year will serve the companies to accelerate their commercialization.”

Viges said by doing so, there should be more attraction to venture capital, which in the end will create more jobs.

Scott Daigle, CEO and co-founder of Intelliwheels, a tenant of EnterpriseWorks, credits the incubator for his company’s success. “EnterpriseWorks has been hugely helpful to us,” he said. “It helped us create jobs in the sense that we’re launching a new company and providing some jobs throughout the community.”

Other facilities, such as University Technology Park at IIT, focus on the business and financial aspect as well as the research for each of the companies. “It’s a facility designed for individuals that are very early in the process,” said David Baker, executive director at University Technology Park at IIT. “They don’t have a lot of money right then but need the space to move their company into a business environment and out of a university lab.”

According to a press release from Quinn’s office, there are more than 3,500 biotech companies in Illinois, of which 81,000 jobs exist.

“It is really important to embrace biotechnology,” said Quinn during the press conference. “The biotech industry in Illinois is very strong and we have all of the resources to convert applications into jobs.”