The establishment of a new biomedical research park in northeast Louisiana is closer to becoming a reality.
On Sept.13, the US Economic Development Administration awarded a $1.8 million American Rescue Plan grant to the Biomedical Research and Innovation Park (BRIP). The grant provides the final funding necessary for the development of the $30 million facility.
BRIP was established in 2019 as a not-for-profit independent corporation operating with a board of directors and working in collaboration with the University of Louisiana at Monroe. BRIP will own and operate the park and facilities, and will work closely with ULM and its various colleges.
BRIP’s mission is to support the growth of the biotechnical industry in north Louisiana by developing a physical hub for Biomedical start-ups and existing health sciences companies. To be built adjacent to ULM’s College of Pharmacy, the new state-of-the-art research center will serve as a catalyst for cross collaboration between researchers working in different disciplines. It will strengthen the link between ULM research and entrepreneurs who want to collaborate beyond traditional university limitations and will foster joint creation of intellectual property.
BRIP plans to construct a 60,000-square-foot, mixed-use laboratory and office building. The EDA $1.8 million grant, along with funding provided by Louisiana Economic Development, Ouachita Economic Development Corporation, the State of Louisiana and a $1.5 million ARPA grant from the Ouachita Parish Police Jury, will provide the necessary funding for site development, engineering and the road and infrastructure for the research park. The state of Louisiana has committed $19.5 million in capital outlay to pay for the building.
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Within five years of completion, BRIP is expected to create 175 new jobs in northeast Louisiana. It will also provide student internships and faculty collaborations. The building will provide access to a vast array of resources including entrepreneurship training, specialized equipment, wet labs, conference and meeting rooms.
“The majority of drug production for the United States occurs outside the country,” noted ULM President Ron Berry. “A research park can be an important driver to foster significant innovation and economic growth in the region and the support infrastructure for US pharmaceutical manufacturing. A primary focus will be to enhance research through collaboration with industry partners that can lead to improvements in health care while creating economic opportunities for the region,” he added.
“All our work would not have been possible without the support and collaboration of the University of Louisiana at Monroe, our entire congressional delegation, the northeast Louisiana legislative delegation, Governor John Bel Edwards, Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson, the US Economic Development Administration , Mayor Friday Ellis, the Ouachita Economic Development Corporation and the Ouachita Parish Police Jury”, said Joe Holyfield, Chairman for BRIP.
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BRIP is committed to diversifying the economy of northeast Louisiana and creating good paying jobs in the biomedical and health science industries.
“The park will play a key role in the city’s future,” said Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis. “Diversifying our workforce in ways like this, that’s built around research, that’s built around our health sciences at our universities just makes it more attractive to locate here and provides more opportunity to retain our talent.”
While the park is under development, ULM will provide a temporary office suite for the Biomedical Research and Innovation Park at the ULM Incubator.