Volume 16 - March 2014
The world lost one of its greatest champions for medical research and cures recently with the passing of James (“Jim”) E. Stowers, founder of American Century Investments and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, both in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.
BioSTL was fortunate to work alongside Jim and his wife, Virginia, in founding Missouri Cures – a nonprofit, public education and advocacy alliance working to promote medical advances and protect access to research and treatments that can improve the health of Missourians.
We will miss dearly Jim's passion and dedication, but his legacy will live on in the institute that bears his name and the countless lives he touched in championing medical research. For more on his work and impact, please visit http://www.stowers.org/James-E-Stowers.
President & CEO
This Issue's Content
WUSTL Joint Venture Aims to Tackle Real-World Problems
Washington University’s IDEA (Innovation, Design and Engineering in Action) Labs will hold their public Demo Day on April 18th at 6PM at the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center at Washington University (660 S. Euclid) to demonstrate what teams comprised of undergraduate, medical, and graduate students have developed to solve problems and shortcomings identified by clinicians.
Founded in fall 2012, IDEA Labs is a bioengineering design incubator that is a joint venture of the schools of Medicine and Engineering & Applied Science and the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences. The program’s goal is to tackle unmet needs in healthcare delivery and clinical medicine by fostering collaboration between students and faculty. “Our goal was to take physicians who know the problems and students and faculty on both campuses who have the skills to solve them, and put them together,” said Avik Som, program president and current MD/PhD student.
During the Problem Day on October 11th, following presentations from physicians, teams of three to four engineering students and three to four medical or graduate students brainstorm, research, design, implement solutions, and develop prototypes. Since that time, IDEA Labs has provided teams with funding, lab space, and guidance from clinical mentors and technical advisers. Teams will be presenting their final designs at a public Demo Day to a panel of judges from the St. Louis entrepreneurial and medical communities. In collaboration with Arch Grants, the winner of Demo Day will be able to present to the Arch Angels as an Arch Grant Finalist. All teams at Demo Day will be continuing their projects in order to translate their solutions to the clinic.
Funded and guided by the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies with additional support from the BJC Healthcare Center for Clinical Excellence, the Office of Technology Management, and the Biotechnology and Life Science Advising (BALSA) Group, IDEA Labs is an innovative addition to Washington University’s push to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship at the university.
Demo Day is open to the public. For more information, please email Avik Som, President of IDEA Labs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tapping into the St. Louis Talent Pool
St. Louis companies have long invested in developing the skills of local talent. Partnerships in the medical and plant sciences can be seen between Washington University and BJC Medical and St. Louis Community College and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Another example is the Hazelwood location of bioMérieux, which is one of five local companies that have established a micro enterprise partnership with Ranken Technical College. The partnership between bioMérieux and Ranken offers manufacturing internships to students and part-time employment for 20 hours of work each week.
Forty-five students have gone through this program since its inception in the summer of 2010. Nine students are currently employed part-time with plans to add additional students in the near future. Their responsibilities include the assembly and testing of high-tech medical electronic sub-components for two of the company’s brands, the Vitek 2 and Bac-T Alert System, which are produced at the Hazelwood Plant. In addition to receiving pay as a part-time employee, students also receive Workforce Education college credits for the educational training.
bioMérieux formed this partnership with Ranken rather than outsourcing the work. “Forward thinking companies, like bioMérieux, are getting on board with this business model and reaping the benefits by having better trained employees for the 21st century workplace. Establishing these partnerships with a strong technical education curriculum can help keep and attract good manufacturing jobs in the St. Louis region,” says Vince Holtmann, Faculty Project Manager – Education and Manufacturing Cooperative for Ranken Technical College.
Manufacturing the Future
The St. Louis region has a long, storied history as a hub for manufacturing. ProductCamp St. Louis builds on this legacy, connecting this historical strength with the collaborative spirit that defines the St. Louis entrepreneurial ecosystem.
ProductCamp St. Louis, which will be held on March 29, is a free professional “un-conference” focused on product management training and networking for product management teams, business development professionals and executives/owners who are interested in transforming their businesses. The theme of ProductCamp St. Louis is: Growth through Innovation. The event will empower entrepreneurs to move their ideas from concept to marketable product.
News About the Biosciences in St. Louis
- St. Louis: A Leading Bioscience Center [Monsanto]
- St. Louis has a banner year for attracting venture capital [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
- Monsanto forms Preceres LLC to develop ag biological [Ag Professional]
- International plant science company achieves key milestone at BRDG Park [SyMyCo]
- An ecosystem’s impact on economic growth [BRDG Park Blog]
- Monsanto wins CiCi Award for Chesterfield expansion [Trade & Industry Development]
- Kander: Startups are future of economic development in Missouri [St. Louis Business Journal]
- Researchers at WUSTL receive $3 million NIH grant [WUSTL]
- St. Louis venture capital firm plans new $150 million fund [St. Louis Business Journal]
- These Are The 15 Best Accelerators In The U.S. [TechCrunch – Capitol Innovators]
- New angel investing network coming to St. Louis [St. Louis Business Journal]
Monsanto Supports the Work of BioSTL
BioSTL has announced a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the Monsanto Company that will support the nonprofit’s work to promote regional economic growth and advance St. Louis’ standing as a leader in bioscience. “Monsanto has been a longtime collaborator with local universities and research institutions as well as an early supporter of regional entrepreneurial activities,” said Donn Rubin, president and CEO of BioSTL. “This contribution will help to advance St. Louis’ economy by further expanding the infrastructure necessary to grow St. Louis’ bioscience community.”