• Join your peers at SSTI's 2024 Annual Conference!

    Join us December 10-12 in Arizona to connect with and learn from your peers working around the country to strengthen their regional innovation economies. Visit ssticonference.org for more information and to register today.

  • Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.  Learn more about membership...

  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

Biotech in the Future for Baton Rouge?

December 19, 2003

To promote biotech in Baton Rouge, a new study sponsored by Capital Region Competitive Strategy (CapStrategy) recommends constructing an "idea pipeline" to better commercialize the intellectual property and research generated in the region's universities, hospitals and research institutes. CapStrategy, a nonprofit, cluster-based economic development initiative, operates under the Chamber of Greater Baton Rouge and represents nine parishes in the region.

CapStrategy's two-month study discusses the region's existing assets and potential commercialization opportunities, while reviewing the gaps to be closed for Baton Rouge to emerge as a leading region for biotech. Four stages to cluster economic development – mobilize, analyze, catalyze and realize – ultimately shape the region's ability to build on its strengths, the study observes. Among those strengths are several applied research centers that could enable rapid commercialization in such areas as agricultural science, food processing technology and nutrition.

The study notes the region's biomedical-related industry is still at a fledgling stage, however. To overcome this stage, it suggests Baton Rouge undertake "a significant, sustained public- and private-sector focus, investment in additional infrastructure, technical and management expertise, and fostering a collaborative environment among the many assets in the region such as research institutions, hospitals and treatment centers, the business community, and in particular the universities."

CapStrategy, the authors state, should work toward creating a Center for Nutritional Science and Technology to attract outside investment and spur job growth. A consortium aided by development teams could oversee the center. Meanwhile, the center would capitalize on commercialization opportunities in emerging technologies such as transgenics, regenerative medicine, nanotechnology and bio-information technology.

Gaps remaining for Baton Rouge and the capital region also must be filled, the authors contend. The study recommends facilitating a detailed inventory of intellectual property among the region's research institutions, including CAM-D, the Louisiana State University (LSU) AgCenter, LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and Southern University. Similarly, to encourage investment in biomedical infrastructure and services, the region should develop a branding campaign, support an expanded biomaterials industry, and create a centralized database of out-of-state management and scientific talent with Louisiana backgrounds.

CapStrategy's study is available at: http://www.capstrategy.com/