University of Pittsburgh:
Creating a First-Rate Life Sciences Cluster
In the last 20 years, the University of Pittsburgh has strengthened its position in life sciences research, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding, alongside The Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania. In recent years, University of Pittsburgh has focused its vision on building a life sciences corridor, including research in advanced immunotherapy, biomanufacturing, personalized medicine, and, more recently, vision restoration—to compete with similar clusters in San Francisco, Cambridge, and Philadelphia. Among the challenges to be overcome, however, are obstacles in transferring intellectual property to entrepreneurs, providing wet lab space to growth companies, and partnering with commercial entities to move research from the laboratory to clinical settings.
A Foundation grant of $250,000 will enable the University to conduct a comprehensive study to assess the feasibility of developing a life sciences corridor connection to Hazelwood Green that highlights immunotherapy research and biomanufacturing as a way to attract corporate partners, as well as explores how it can use its existing innovation platforms—including LifeX and the Innovation Institute—to incubate University start-ups. The study, which will be completed in time to align with the Foundation’s strategic planning in 2020, also will identify the physical space needs for such a cluster, including wet labs, incubation, and co-working, and how the Hazelwood Green site might provide these resources.