I had the exciting opportunity to present at Project Medtech’s: Midwest Showcase hosted at mHUB. It was a fantastic event, and I wanted to share some key takeaways with you all, particularly regarding iBIO’s unwavering focus on fostering the medtech industry in Illinois.

Illinois: A Legacy of Medtech Powerhouse

Let’s talk Illinois medtech! Our state boasts a rich history of innovation, with giants like Abbott, Baxter, and GE Healthcare choosing Illinois as their home. Major players like Becton Dickinson, Medline, Siemens, Fresenius, and Hollister further solidify our position as a powerhouse.

However, the past decade has presented some shifts. While large company employment remains stable, acquisitions and relocations have impacted the labor market. Additionally, future growth for these established players often takes place outside of Illinois.

The Rise of the Startup Stars

But here’s the exciting news! Illinois’ medtech startup scene has witnessed a remarkable explosion, with growth reaching an impressive 20% since the pandemic began. This is where the future of Illinois medtech lies.

Venture capital, historically scarce, has skyrocketed by a staggering 233%! We’ve witnessed inspiring success stories like Endotronix establishing their new headquarters here and Attune Medical’s recent acquisition.

Building the Infrastructure for Success

Historically, access to capital and necessary infrastructure were major challenges. However, incredible organizations like MATTER, mHUB, and Portal Innovations are changing the game. They provide crucial workspace, investment opportunities, and are instrumental in attracting capital. Over 2 million square feet of infrastructure dedicated to medtech has been built since 2020 alone! To maintain this momentum, it’s crucial to adapt resources to further support our thriving startup scene.

iBIO: A Champion for Illinois Medtech

iBIO, the state association representing the Illinois medtech industry, is fiercely committed to championing this vital sector. We’re actively working to modernize outdated economic tools like angel tax credits and SBIR matching programs to better serve startups.

Our dedication is further demonstrated through our annual pitch competition, where we directly invest in promising startups by offering $50,000 with the potential for a state match. This program fosters a highly competitive environment,attracting a multitude of innovative medtech companies.

Additionally, our Medtech Leadership Council provides a bridge for startup C-suite executives, connecting them with established global companies in the industry. Finally, iBIO negotiates pre-approved services for members, resulting in cost savings of 40-70%. This program is so valuable that even industry giants like Abbott and Baxter utilize it.

Challenges and Opportunities

While local micro-funds are a positive step, access to capital remains a key challenge. To address this, a larger fund dedicated to leading significant venture rounds is needed.

Furthermore, improvements to state economic tools are crucial. Making R&D Tax Credits transferable would empower young startups to sell these valuable credits to established companies who can utilize them immediately.

Another critical area is “graduation space.” We’ve built incredible facilities like mHUB and Portal, but transitioning out of these spaces can be expensive for startups. iBIO is actively working on securing grants to help graduating companies find affordable options.

Freedom to Operate: Ensuring Innovation Flourishes

Finally, policies that allow companies to operate freely are essential. This includes ensuring data privacy regulations don’t hinder access to critical information for research and development. Additionally, sustainability efforts shouldn’t restrict the use of essential medical materials.

The Future is Bright for Illinois Medtech

The Illinois medtech landscape is demonstrably on the rise, fueled by a flourishing startup scene. iBIO is here to serve as a steadfast supporter through advocacy, investment, and the provision of essential resources. By working together, we can propel Illinois to the forefront of medtech innovation in the Midwest!