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Yesterday Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News released their annual Top 10 U.S. Biopharma ClustersTop 10 U.S. Biopharma Clusters report. While the ranking showed growth in the Chicago region (we moved up one spot, from 10th to 9th), the report missed a lot of what is happening in our community.

First and foremost, iBIO applauded the 5 year extension of the R&D Tax Credit Governor Pritzker signed on August 2nd R&D Tax Credit Governor Pritzker signed on August 2nd. The extension of the credit is an important step to our ultimate goal of a permanent extension.

There was no mention of the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) and the state’s $500 million commitment to growing public-private research partnerships. It was announced on August 30th that DPI earned state approval for the next 5 years August 30th that DPI earned state approval for the next 5 years.

While the report does mention the growth in lab space development, citing Sterling Bay and Northwestern University. The report missed a number of other developments in the community:

  • Rosalind Franklin University’s Science and Innovation Research Park in North Chicago 100,000 sqf of newly constructed lab space, opening this fall.
  • 146,000 sqf of space currently being renovated at the Illinois Science + Technology Park in Skokie
  • University of Chicago’s Polsky Center expansion is expected to add an additional 280,000 sqf of office and lab space in Hyde Park by 2022.
  • Burnham Lakefront Mega Development Project
  • Under investment, there was no mention of Deerfield Management’s $65 million partnership with Northwestern and their $65 million partnership with UIC to foster the development of new therapeutics.

And finally, this report just focuses on the pharmaceutical and biopharma industry. One of our community’s biggest strengths is that we are diverse and have major initiatives and companies in the medtech, health IT, and food & nutrition industries.

There are a number of “life sciences metropolitan ranking” reports released every year. It is a great marketing piece, and I am sure it drives a lot of traffic. And on a positive note, it does create a conversation around what we need to do to improve our community (read iBIO’s State of the Industry and Economic Blueprint). But take it for what it is, entertainment, and not an economic indicator of the community’s health.

What did I miss in my list? Let me know.

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