CHICAGO, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Illinois Global Partnership (IGP), the public-private partnership responsible for building the State of Illinois as a dynamic center for global business, today will promote Illinois' biotech centers of excellence to international delegates of BIO 2006 by conducting tours of sites including Argonne National Laboratory and Illinois Science + Technology Park. Illinois ranks among the top states with the largest employment in the agriculture and pharmaceutical segments of the biotech industry, according to a report released on Monday, "Growing the Nation's Bioscience Sector: State Bioscience Initiatives 2006" by research firm Battelle Technology Partnership Practice. In addition, Illinois is one of only four states that have committed funds to support stem cell research along with California, Connecticut and New Jersey. The report highlights success factors for a biotech center including available physical space, incentives for investment, venture capital, identifying and promoting signature research strengths and technology commercialization. Chicago was featured as an emerging biotech center in a panel discussion at BIO 2006 by biotechnology expert David Gulley, assistant vice president for technology and economic development, University of Illinois. Gulley commented on the state of biotech in the region. "Chicago and Illinois are hubs of a large, diversified Midwestern biotechnology region," said Gulley. "The diversity of the industry encompasses agriculture, industrial and environmental, medical device, and pharmaceutical applications. Our world-class universities and private sector research provide the technology and talent to move innovations into these industries." In 2005, Illinois was ranked the top state for biotechnology growth by Business Facilities magazine. Illinois boasts: -- A scientific research and development investment of $14 billion annually; -- Five bioscience incubators, including one of the nation's first and largest, Chicago Technology Park; -- The nation's largest Federal Agriculture Laboratory, and; -- A deep talent pool: more than more than 44,000 biotech jobs in Illinois and more than 1.2 million people support the growth of life science companies. Illinois is a leader in commodities, livestock, processors, equipment and bio-fuel development. The state is also the home to leading research facilities and numerous corporate headquarters for companies that are leaders in agri-business. According to a biotech industry report delivered by Burrill & Company at BIO 2006, the emergence of ag-bio will continue to drive growth, particularly, animal genomics and biotech crops such as soybeans and corn which could provide opportunities for Illinois. "During BIO 2006, the IGP is launching a unique campaign to encourage international business development for Illinois," said Richard Paullin, chief operating officer of the IGP. "The IGP-sponsored tours of the state's bio-tech centers of excellence will provide the conference's international delegates with an in-depth understanding of Illinois' capabilities in the important biotech field. These tours are a part of the value-added services that the IGP offers to advance international business with Illinois companies and institutions." Delegates from seven nations are scheduled to join the IGP in this initiative to promote international business development. The IGP will facilitate tours to Illinois Biotechnology "Centers of Excellence" on Thursday, April 13 and Friday, April 14. Delegates from France, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Hungary, South Africa, and Malaysia will have the opportunity to visit the facilities and learn from experts in the field of biotechnology. Bus tours will visit the following facilities: -- Argonne National Laboratory: Argonne National Laboratory is one of the nation's largest federally funded R&D laboratories. Tour highlights will include the advance photon source and the structural biology center. -- Illinois Medical District: The Illinois Medical District is one of the world's largest urban medical districts with 560 acres and 20,000 employees. It includes the Chicago Technology Park, one of the nation's first bioscience research parks. A bus tour of the District and a walking tour of the Chicago Technology Park have been arranged. -- Illinois Science + Technology Park: The campus allows research, development, education and commercial activities to occur in close proximity, thus allowing for innovative partnerships. Tours are offered to the laboratory and conference facilities, the pilot manufacturing plant for injectibles and orals, and the vivarium. -- Northwestern University: The International Institute for Nanotechnology was established as an umbrella organization for the $300 million nanotechnology research efforts at Northwestern University. Their role is to support nanotechnology research, house state-of-the-art nanomaterials characterization facilities, and focus individual and group efforts to address and solve key problems in nanotechnology. Tours will include an overview and visits to the labs with demonstrations. -- Northwestern Memorial Hospital: Northwestern Memorial is an international model for the delivery of quality and compassionate healthcare. The tour will highlight the hospital's background and redevelopment plan, and may include a visit to a patient room and automated labs. -- University of Chicago: More than 70 Nobel Prize winners have been associated with the University of Chicago, six of whom are currently on the faculty. In medicine, Chicago has been the home for numerous "firsts" including organ transplant, identification of insulin producing beta cells, successful chemotherapy and the link between hormones and cancer, synthesis of proinsulin, the isolation of erythropoietin and the technology behind interpretive radiography. -- University of Illinois at Chicago: A center of excellence in imaging, the tour will highlight information on functional imaging on the 3Tesla and a tour of the 9.4Tesla control room. In addition to the tours, the IGP hosted a pre-show welcome reception for more than 100 international BIO 2006 conferees on Saturday, April 8 at the University Club who heard from representatives of leading biotech corporations, academic and research facilities. Representatives from Abbott Laboratories, Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois Institute of Technology, Illinois Medical District, Illinois Science + Technology Park, Northwestern University, University of Chicago and University of Illinois discussed research expertise and facility expansion projects to accommodate growth. About The Illinois Global Partnership The Illinois Global Partnership focuses private and public resources to build collaborative international partnerships. It is a people-to-people organization working with international, federal, state, and local groups to boost international trade and raise Illinois' profile as a global center of commerce. Established in August 2005, the IGP is a not-for-profit organization with headquarters in Chicago and offices in Springfield, Ill., Hong Kong and Mexico City. For more information, please visit http://www.illinoisglobal.org .
SOURCE Illinois Global Partnership