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Coffee and Quiche with Indiana’s Life Sciences Industry Leaders at IBJ’s Life Sciences Power Breakfast

Life Sciences Power BreakfastQuestions to the panelists Friday morning at Indianapolis Business Journal’s Life Sciences Power Breakfast all revolved around a central theme: how to overcome challenges faced by the life sciences community in Indiana. The panelists, P. Ron Ellis from Endocyte, David L. Johnson from BioCrossroads, Wade Lange from Lange Advisors, Ping Poulsen fom Safis Solutions, William Weldon from Elanco, and Alisa Wright from BioConvergence, all provided their insights to a room filled with 300 interested life science community members. Notable takeaways from this event include:

1) Community Exchange is Important
Whether it’s in the form of mentorship as Lange suggested, or developed in a great education system as Ellis suggested, or at events such as the Life Sciences Power Breakfast as Wright suggested, the sharing of ideas and talent is extremely important and beneficial for the life sciences community. Wright discussed the benefits from Eli Lilly’s early retirement plan years ago that lead to highly experienced people being mentors for younger persons, which “set up an incredible dynamic that was very useful to contract service providers getting started in this state.” Scenarios, like with Eli Lilly, allow for a “mashup of talent,” as Johnson said, and an opportunity to “share ideas with people you may not have met,” as Wright explained.

2) Venture Capital Investments Needed Sooner
“We need more funding early on,” said Johnson, because it’s taking longer and longer to get venture capital to startup companies. Johnson went on to say that more support is needed from the state, as well as from locally based venture capital firms in Indiana to support these early investments. Ping weighed in also, adding, “So many companies that, because of lack of capital, they fail. It’s (capital) so critically important.” Ultimately, if funding begins earlier, more startups have the potential to grow and thrive, allowing an attraction for more business and talent, thus developing the life sciences community and Indiana overall.

3) Find New Ways to get Talent
Another key to successful business is talent. Ping began the discussion by stating that we all need to begin by developing relationships with the college graduates here in our state. Her next point focused on the importance of bringing in top talent from wherever necessary. Ellis mentioned a way to accomplish this, saying, “Working from home [helps] increase employee wellbeing.” In this day and age, many jobs can be performed remotely through the use of technology. Additionally, Johnson mentioned that we need to work on bringing in the right talent because “we don’t always have all the niches of talent we need.” Whether talent is brought in physically or through the use of technology, this will make our businesses and community stronger.

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Amber Riley

Amber Riley

Marketing Specialist at BioConvergence LLC
Amber is the Marketing Specialist at BioConvergence. Before joining the life sciences industry, Amber’s previous experience includes a brand management role for a consumer packaged goods company. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.