RIVER NORTH — Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans last spring for an "incubator" space that would bring biotechnology startups to Chicago. On Monday, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said that the 40,000 square foot shared workspace will "very likely" be house downtown.
Likening the proposed biotech hub to the tech startup incubator 1871 in River North, Reilly said that, like 1871, the biotechnology collaboration center would "spur collaboration and innovation in Chicago by "matching startups with large pharmacy companies and funders."
"This helps explain the dramatic rise of the true startup community in River North, housed among the many brick and timber loft buildings in this neighborhood," Reilly said of 1871's opening, highlighting that "graduating" companies that outgrow the shared workspace "typically want to stay close to 1871."
Announcing the planned incubator last spring, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he had a "vision to strengthen Chicago's place as the hub of the bioscience industry" through partnerships with companies and venture capitalist firms.
"The bioscience industry is not located on the East Coast or the West Coast, but here, in the city of Chicago," said Emanuel said in a statement last April.
Reilly highlighted the value of bringing the biotech hub to his community at the City Club of Chicago luncheon Monday at Maggiano's in River North, where he was the featured speaker.
"When these companies graduate, that's good news for downtown Chicago," Reilly said, calling the project "another very exciting initiative to spur collaboration and innovation in Chicago."
Reilly said a formal "location announcement" is expected to be made soon.
The project includes a partnership between the City of Chicago and Chicago Innovation Mentors, including collaborations with the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and Argonne Labs, Reilly said.