A Need Fulfilled

Chemistry laboratory space to translate new disease understandings into innovative medicines is limited in Central Indiana. If the biomedical community is to continue to grow and flourish, then this need must be fulfilled. Enter the IBRI’s new Chemistry Lab. Build-out of the open-floor-plan lab will begin April 2022 with completion scheduled for the end of the year.

The new lab will feature 13 filtered fume hoods, each complete with a rotary evaporator that removes volatile solvents and isolates components of reaction mixtures by evaporation. The 4,600-square-foot lab also will have 34 lab benches, five refrigerators and a work area with six seats.

Innovation lab that allows chemistry

We talked with Derek Small, founder and managing director at Luson Bioventures, about his perspective on why this lab is needed, what it brings to the life sciences ecosystem and his vision for the lab.

IBRI: Why does Central Indiana need this Chemistry Lab?
Derek Small: Central Indiana needs this lab if it wants to keep innovators here. I’ve been helping to start biotech companies for more than 20 years, but unfortunately, none of them are headquartered here because we didn’t have this kind of resource. As an example, the potential this creates for the IUSM-Purdue TREAT-AD (Target Enablement to Accelerate Therapy Development for Alzheimer’s Disease) Drug Discovery Center could be life altering.

IBRI: What will this lab bring to the life sciences ecosystem?
Derek Small: This lab brings more than just equipment and space. It brings the freedom to be truly innovative; it will be a place where chemists can experiment on their own terms. It brings support, pharma-level rigor and modeling expertise to help new companies grow. It also brings capital. When entrepreneurs who establish companies here generate investment interest, that attracts more investors and leads to sustained funding.

IBRI: What is your vision for this lab in the next five years?
Derek Small: I see innovators starting their early-stage companies in the lab and staying here. I envision the IBRI and those entrepreneurs using the lab recruiting the world’s brightest scientific talent to Indianapolis. And I anticipate collaborative research opportunities that otherwise would not have been possible happening here.

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