May 7, 2003
Cook Biotech expands in Purdue Research Park, adds high-tech jobs
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Groundbreaking ceremonies today (Wednesday, 5/7) marked a new phase in the growth of Cook Biotech Inc., the Purdue Research Park and the biotechnology business base in the state of Indiana.
Construction of Cook Biotech's new 55,000-square-foot manufacturing, research and development facility will mean more high-tech jobs added to its base of 70 employees. The new building is scheduled for completion in mid-2004. The Purdue Research Park, already the largest of its kind in Indiana, includes 104 companies in 38 buildings on 591 acres.
Cook Biotech is one of only a few companies to successfully bring to market products in the emerging field of tissue engineering. The company has received 10 Food and Drug Administration clearances for medical products, with many of these products currently being used to help patients undergoing wound care, burn management, hernia repair, urological procedures and general surgery.
"Our expansion is in direct response to the market demand for this tremendously useful discovery and the support of Purdue, the Purdue Research Park and the city of West Lafayette," said Mark Bleyer, president of Cook Biotech. "Our sales growth is pushing us to add manufacturing capacity. The new building will meet the needs for more clean-room manufacturing space as well as added specialty laboratories in support of our ongoing commitment to research and development."
Cook Biotech, a COOK company, manufactures tissue-engineered medical products from a specific portion of a porcine (swine) small intestine. This special tissue is harvested and developed into strong, sterile, pliable sheets that provide a rich environment for cell attachment and growth. These sheets serve as biocompatible scaffolds to make medical products for surgical repair of hernias, wounds, burns and other soft-tissue injuries.
The material works as a scaffolding for surrounding cells that facilitate the repair of damaged tissues. The scaffolding is remodeled as it assimilated into the surrounding tissues.
Biotechnology is one of the signature life sciences industries in Indiana's strategic plan for economic development.
"The expansion is the outgrowth of a firm commitment to the field of biomedical engineering by Cook, Purdue researchers, the research park and the city of West Lafayette," said Joseph Hornett, senior vice president and treasurer of the Purdue Research Foundation. "Our goal is to attract a critical mass of life sciences industries to create synergy and attract highly skilled practitioners, researchers and investors to West Lafayette.
"The park also is home to several other biotech companies and is the future site for a $7 million industrial pharmacy center that will manufacture drug products for clinical trials. We expect to break ground for that this summer."
Cook Biotech's expansion also sets in motion a state program to encourage high-tech development in certified technology parks.
The Purdue Research Park this month is expected to become Indiana's first certified technology park, a designation that is the state's newest economic development tool for promoting high-technology industries. Because of the designation, certain income, sales and property taxes generated because of new high-tech jobs that are created by Cook and others in the park will be collected by the West Lafayette Redevelopment Commission. The commission then will reinvest that money into the Purdue Research Park for improvements, operation and maintenance of facilities, payment of interest and principal on bonds and other business-generating activities.
Cook's expansion and the high-tech jobs it produces will be the first to generate that revenue stream for the community.
West Lafayette Mayor Sonya Margerum, whose office supported the Purdue Research Park's certification, says its growth is the product of foresight and partnership.
"The city of West Lafayette and its Redevelopment Commission have invested a great deal of time, energy and enthusiasm into the development of this park and have been as supportive as possible," Margerum said. "The teamwork is really paying off.
"The park is a strategic asset not only to this entire area, but also to the state of Indiana. Our partnership has included the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and the Central Indiana Life Sciences Initiative. Josh Andrew, West Lafayette's director of development and his staff, as well as Mike Brooks, president of Greater Lafayette Progress Inc., also have been hard at work behind the scenes helping us attract business to the area and keep them here."
Cook Biotech is actively developing extracellular matrix (ECM) technology and biological scaffolds for numerous medical purposes. Medical products utilizing Cook's licensed and patented ECM technology are currently marketed worldwide for use in wound management and surgical repair of soft tissues. Together with a network of medical practitioners, Cook Biotech is identifying the medical needs most compatible with ECM technology and developing products to meet these needs. With international headquarters in Bloomington, Ind., privately held COOK® is a leading designer, manufacturer and global distributor of minimally invasive medical device technology for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
Established in 1961, Purdue Research Park is two miles north of Purdue's West Lafayette campus and also is home to the largest university-affiliated, state-of-the-art business incubator facility in the nation. The companies in the park employ more than 2,200 people.
Sources: Madia Milks, marketing communications coordinator, Cook Biotech, (765) 497-3355, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph Hornett, (765) 496-8645, email@example.com
Sonya Margerum, (765) 775-5100
A publication-quality photograph is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/cook.groundbreak.jpeg.
A publication-quality photograph is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/cook.doc.jpeg.