Advocate Aurora Research Institute, part of Advocate Aurora Health, is providing support to Forward BIOLABS, a premiere midwestern life science incubator, by offering its significant laboratory and clinical research capabilities to Forward BIOLABS’s network of early stage, biohealth startup companies.

Madison, Wisconsin-based Forward BIOLABS is a coworking life science laboratory that provides its startups with lab equipment and staff to manage safety, training and other essential lab operations, all of which boost support by helping entrepreneurs amplify initial investments made into their companies.

“By sponsoring Forward BIOLABS, the Research Institute hopes to help innovative biotech startups leverage Advocate Aurora’s immense research resources and scientific expertise to create new technologies and interventions that will ultimately help our patients live well,” said Monika de Arruda Indig, PhD, MBA, director of biorepository and laboratory services for the Research Institute.

“If the current pandemic has taught us anything, it is that support between research organizations and industry is more important than ever for accelerating research discoveries and development of life-saving drugs and devices,” said Amit Acharya, PhD, chief research officer and system vice president for Advocate Aurora Research Institute. “Forward BIOLABS has created a unique, valuable and symbiotic environment for biohealth startups and academic research labs to collaborate. With the right mix of collaborative research support, Advocate Aurora’s research capabilities can enable entrepreneurial scientists within biohealth startups to thrive while keeping their overhead cost down. The Research Institute is excited to join Forward BIOLABS’ influential list of industry sponsors in assisting its growing community of startups by accelerating their important work.”

Forward BIOLABS currently has 18 biotech startups that use its space, with an additional 10 having successfully graduated to their own spaces. The startups range in field from gene, cell and small molecule therapies to diagnostics, medical devices and more.

“As one of the top 12 not-for-profit health systems in the country and the largest health care provider in Wisconsin, Advocate Aurora Health and its research enterprise have an array of offerings that compliment Forward BIOLABS and will be an asset to our biohealth startups,” said Jessica Martin Eckerly, Forward BIOLABS’ CEO and co-founder. “It’s not only the supported laboratories and nurturing environment that accelerate startups at Forward BIOLABS, but it’s also the engagement and support of our sponsors that play a significant role in catalyzing startup growth. We are excited to welcome Advocate Aurora as our newest sponsor.”

Research Institute capabilities include:

  • Biorepository and Specimen Resources Core, providing high-quality biospecimens to academic and industry researchers while maintaining Advocate Aurora’s high ethical standards;
  • Laboratory services, such as cell culturing and cryogenic storage, fluorescence and time-lapsed microscopy, biomarker analysis and custom assay development, involving multiple platforms; and
  • Vivarium and animal services, including xenograft study support; MRI, X-ray and luminescence animal imaging; and pharmacokinetic testing.

Forward BIOLABS is an important feeder for the local biohealth industry, launching emerging growth companies into Wisconsin’s nationally recognized hub for biomanufacturing and expanding technology-based companies. Wisconsin’s collaborative and innovative spirit is achieving major economic and medical impacts, according to the 2020 Wisconsin Biohealth: Industry Landscape and Economic Impact Report. The total state economic impact of the biohealth industry is $28.8 billion and organizations employ more than 46,000 individuals.

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