University Research Park poised for massive expansion

URP Interim Director Greg Hyer

URP Interim Director Greg Hyer

Bringing together 126 of the nation’s top biotechnological companies into one collective forum, the University of Wisconsin’s University Research Park achieves the perfect blend of cutting-edge research and entrepreneurial vision. Companies collaborate and compete to solve problems in bioscience while producing the tools necessary to do the job. Today we spotlight this exciting research environment in anticipation of the University Research Park 2, a massive expansion of the already impressive URP.

Praised as one of the “top business incubators changing the world” by Forbes Magazine, University Research Park is a hotspot for biotechnological innovation. The park’s MG&E Innovation Center is targeted to growing companies with the goal of supporting the freshest ideas and approaches. University Research Park interim director Greg Hyer (left) speaks of the advantages of the center to budding businesses: “We offer sophisticated space, with the infrastructure they need to do their work and flexible contracts so they can grow or reduce in size, as they need. It’s not a rigid system; the park is as entrepreneurial as they are.” This open support of startup companies helps keep the flow of ideas moving through the park.

Of course, University Research Park is also home to established companies like Aldevron LLC, Mirus Bio LLC, and Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI). Many of these companies maintain mutually beneficial relationships with the nearby University of Wisconsin, Madison. For instance, Bill Murphy (right), professor of biomedical engineering at UW-Madison, enjoys his lab’s partnership with CDI because it allows him access to large amounts of differentiated cardiomyocytes and induced pluripotent stem cells. “We know that these cells are highly pure…there’s less of a need in our hands to essentially run these cells through a full differentiation process.” He discusses the advantages of such cells in his field in greater detail in this video. Having such cells readily available greatly reduces the time and money that his lab needs to spend getting started, so they can jump right into the research.

The growing success and popularity of University Research Park makes an expansion seem natural, even inevitable. But it involves rather more than a renovation or a new building: University Research Park 2 will be a brand new site with the same functionality and scale of the first URP. The design goal of the new park is to achieve a neighborhood atmosphere, where researchers and employees can commute by foot or bicycle. With this in mind, the plans for URP 2 involve commercial and residential buildings in addition to the new research and development facilities. Hyer foresees about 8000 employees making use of the second park, which is over double the working population of the first park.

Story originally published by Biotechnology Calendar, Inc.