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Rosalind Franklin University Biomedical Incubator Gains Support from AbbVie

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science announced today that its new Helix 51 incubator has garnered corporate support from AbbVie.

The first bioscience incubator in Lake County, Helix 51, which opened in May 2019, and RFU’s new Innovation and Research Park, which opened in March, represent an investment in affordable, state-of-the-art wet lab space critical for the expansion of the bioscience industry in Illinois.

“We are pleased that AbbVie, one of Chicagoland’s life science leaders and also one of its largest global companies, is stepping up to support the regional entrepreneurial activities energized by our new Helix 51 incubator,” said Dr. Ronald Kaplan, RFU’s executive vice president for research. “AbbVie’s support in the regional bio ecosystem is pivotal given its global role and impact on this industry and local community.”

“AbbVie is committed to growing the life science ecosystem both globally and in the greater Chicago area,” said Henry Gosebruch, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, AbbVie. “Supporting regional entrepreneurship through the Helix 51 incubator and Innovation and Research Park is one of the many ways that AbbVie fosters next-generation innovative science that can have a global impact.” 

The Innovation and Research Park is a 100,000-square-foot building designed to promote collaboration among academic and industry scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs with the goal of accelerating the development of RFU’s nationally recognized research into prevention and treatment of disease.

The Helix 51 incubator — named in recognition of the iconic Photo 51 captured by the university’s namesake, which sparked the discovery and description of the structure of DNA — provides a supportive environment, including meeting, office and wet lab space for companies working to develop diagnostics and treatments for disease and innovations in healthcare delivery. Plans call for the expansion of the incubator into the Innovation and Research Park to house 15 or more early-stage, lab-based bioscience companies. 

Lake County is home to 33,000 bioscience jobs and 122 companies, according to Lake County Partners, a non-profit economic development group. Helix 51 provides a soft landing zone for international bioscience companies looking to establish a foothold in the United States and particularly the Illinois market. Development of the incubator is supported in part by $2.5 million in funding under the federal New Market Tax Credit program aimed at fueling investments that help create jobs and job-training opportunities in low-income communities.

Helix 51 and the Innovation and Research Park are also attracting investment and industry collaborations through an array of financial incentives under the Waukegan- North Chicago Enterprise Zone, a state program aimed at stimulating economic growth and community revitalization.

Posted July 23, 2020
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