Discoveries Meet Momentum: A Year in Review
Fitzsimons Innovation Community releases its Second Annual Innovation Report focused on the momentum our Community members build on our campus to take their discoveries and projects from idea to market.
We talked last month about the state of Colorado as a draw for life sciences organizations because of its favorable business environment, highly educated population, and access to leading research and academic facilities. But these companies are taking some of Colorado’s intangibles into consideration, too, because the top life sciences talent often comes here for the thriving scientific environment and then stays for the lifestyle. Sometimes it’s even the other way around.
Fitzsimons Innovation Community companies choose Colorado as a home for many reasons, and the sunshine and skiing are further down on the list than you might think. With a business-friendly climate, world-class research and academic facilities, and economic stability, Colorado has become a hub where healthcare and bioscience innovators prosper. In addition, a passionate, inclusive, highly educated scientific population, business-friendly tax laws, and relatively lower costs of doing business mean our Community members have even more factors helping them succeed. Life sciences organizations are moving here for the multitude of industry benefits and staying because, well, Colorado is kind of amazing.
The past several years culminated into one of the most secure and vigorous periods for capital investment access, and Colorado life sciences companies were able to take full advantage. The Colorado life sciences industry has consistently raised more than a billion investment dollars annually for the past six years, topping $2 billion in 2021. (CBSA) From state grants to larger venture investments, the Colorado healthcare innovation ecosystem has been well-funded and poised for breakthroughs, and Fitzsimons Innovation Community is proud to be the home of many members of that ecosystem.
Ideas become cures when academia and industry connect. When you talk to Terry Fry, M.D., about why the Gates Institute is one of the best locations in the country to work in cellular and gene therapy, he has a lot of insight. As the executive director of the Gates Institute, a pediatric oncologist, and a pioneer in the development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapies, Dr. Fry has an intimate understanding of what it takes to get a drug from initial research phases to commercial manufacturing. And often what it takes is the right facilities with the right partners working together at each stage of development.
The life sciences ecosystem in Colorado has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade, and the momentum will continue to build. The region is on a trajectory to crack the top five innovation hubs in the country with competitive advantages that favor life sciences. To get there, we must continue to collaborate to attract national and international biotech companies to Colorado for the long-term.
As the main gateway to a large research and clinical infrastructure, CU Innovations pairs industry partners with clinicians to create next-generation products that can ultimately reach patient care. Thanks to hospital partners at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the UCHealth system, CU Innovations has established a living clinical laboratory for testing and validating the best healthcare technologies.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 put a spotlight on the life sciences industry, yet in reality the sector was already quietly becoming a powerhouse, with Metro Denver emerging as a major player.
In a Q&A with Fitzsimons Innovation Community, Elyse Blazevich, Colorado BioScience Association President & CEO, offers her perspective on the biggest areas of growth for life sciences, the top trends she’s monitoring, and how the Association advocates for a supportive business climate in our state.