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Purdue, Elanco Animal Health launch One Health Innovation District

Purdue joins Elanco in a shared vision of a research park dedicated to solving pressing issues impacting animal, plant, human and environmental health.

Purdue President Mung Chiang, alongside Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (right) and Elanco CEO Jeffrey Simmons (center), discusses the new One Health Innovation District during the announcement at the Indiana Convention Center.
Purdue President Mung Chiang, alongside Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (right) and Elanco CEO Jeffrey Simmons (center), discusses the new One Health Innovation District during the announcement at the Indiana Convention Center.
John Underwood | Purdue University

Purdue University will partner with Elanco Animal Health Inc. and become part of Indiana’s new One Health Innovation District.

The announcement was made May 23 at Indiana’s 2024 Global Economic Summit after Purdue President Mung Chiang and Elanco president and CEO Jeff Simmons signed a shared memorandum of understanding with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. to establish a globally recognized research innovation district dedicated to optimizing the health of people, animals, plants and the planet.

Shared-used facility in Indianapolis

Purdue and Elanco have committed to develop a new shared-use facility on three acres in the One Health Innovation District near the future Elanco global headquarters on the western edge of the White River in Indianapolis. The facility is designed to deliver and scale up innovation where industry and academia can collaborate including office, wet lab and incubator space. This is in addition to the nearly complete 220,000-square-foot corporate headquarters of Elanco Animal Health, with an expected opening date in the second quarter of 2025. Elanco also announced its commitment to purchase an additional 12 acres to the north of its existing footprint for future expansion and the development of the Epicenter for Animal Health.

“Totality of Purdue to the totality of Indianapolis — that’s our pledge as the Indianapolis part of Purdue’s main campus officially launches on July 1,” Chiang said. “In the coming years, all programs at Purdue will find homes throughout our state’s capital city. Today’s announcement carries a special excitement for the partnership and the location.

"Purdue is excited to partner with Elanco and other collaborators to build out the ecosystem of One Health Innovation District, starting from the building announced and expanding to an entire district. Human health, animal health, plant health will be jointly advanced by the nation’s leading companies and our state’s top-ranked university," Chiang added.

Expanding Purdue's research near other animal health leaders

The facility will help extend Purdue’s substantial research arm into the heart of Indianapolis, coinciding with the launch of the university’s urban extension, Purdue University in Indianapolis, on July 1. Research interests will include understanding of the microbiome, antimicrobial resistance, computational biology, comparative genomics and livestock sustainability, among others.

Indianapolis is home to the biotech companies that are said to be on the cutting edge of the revolution in animal health (Elanco), human health (Eli Lilly and Company) and plant health (Corteva Agriscience). The One Health Innovation District will be less than one mile from Lilly’s world headquarters, creating a unique and direct link between the two entities. 

“The One Health Innovation District will propel the state’s vision for our regional technology hub aimed at accelerating collaborative innovation in our life sciences,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said. “The partnership marks a rare and noteworthy move wherein a global health company, a university and a government come together with a shared vision. The district will create an ecosystem that is focused on talent, applied research and innovation that can be sustained for generations to come.”

One Health recognized by WHO, CDC

Developing the One Health Innovation District surrounding the new Elanco global headquarters presents a unique opportunity to enable a coordinated partnership among public, private, government, university and community that will attract and retain top talent and drive growth and development for downtown Indianapolis. One Health is recognized by scientific institutions including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as being a preferred approach where the interconnection among human, animal and plant science can help solve complex global health problems.

“For life-changing innovations to move from idea to reality, they must grow in the right environment,” Simmons said. “The many partners in the Indianapolis One Health Innovation District will set Indianapolis apart as an area where innovators will find a vast ecosystem of support — including one of the world’s leading universities, funding, lab space, collaboration with many other innovators and companies — and most significantly, shared technical development and pilot plant facilities to manufacture and scale innovations.

"We believe connecting innovators with access to world-class, state-of-the-art resources will help bring solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues facing people, animals and the environment," continued Simmons. "This is a key milestone in bringing to life our goal of creating an animal health epicenter to reach the world’s animals from our new global headquarters in the heart of Indianapolis.”

The unique partnership is designed to increase the ability to prevent, predict, detect and respond to health threats. One Health integrated approaches are widely recognized as the new frontier in biosciences. Purdue and Elanco, in collaboration with Applied Research Institute, AgriNovus, BiomEdit and others, are planning a One Health Summit for fall to showcase the ecosystem of capabilities and draw the first era of innovators to the One Health District.

This new announcement is yet another step forward to bring to fruition Gov. Holcomb’s goal of developing a regional technology hub in Indiana. Following the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, through the newly constituted Applied Research Institute (ARI), Indiana stood up Heartland BioWorks and was designated as one of 31 Tech Hubs in October of last year by the Economic Development Administration (EDA).

Purdue University was part of a consortium of Indiana stakeholders successful in securing that Regional Technology and Innovation Hub (Tech Hub) designation, which recognizes regions poised to ensure the U.S. is globally competitive in areas that are key to national security. The One Health Innovation District is part of that consortium, and any implementation funding from the EDA would support and greatly accelerate the district’s capability to translate innovative ideas into real-world products and job opportunities.

With awards expected this summer, Heartland BioWorks now awaits word on whether it will be chosen for the next phase of funding that will invest another $50 million to $75 million in five to 10 designated hubs around the country. This Regional Tech Hub Program was authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act, of which U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., was a cosponsor.

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