Colorado State University Opens Innovative Biosciences Incubator, Research and Manufacturing Building

Colorado State University today unveiled an innovative building designed to bring businesses and disease experts and other biomedical scientists together to optimize collective creativity and research around product development.

The 72,000-square-foot, $53 million Research Innovation Center is a hybrid of business office space, university researcher offices and state-of-the-art bioscience laboratories, conceptualized to build university partnerships with CSU startup businesses and existing businesses. The facility will house efforts to develop, perfect, analyze and market vaccines, tests and treatments for a variety of diseases including those that infect and kill millions of people and animals around the world each year, such as West Nile virus, drug-resistant tuberculosis, yellow fever, dengue fever, hantavirus, plague and tularemia.

“The Research Innovation Center is a centerpiece of our commitment to promote collaboration between the public and private sectors, providing a hub for faculty partnerships with business in the development of new technologies and innovations that will benefit our society,” said Tony Frank, president of Colorado State University.

The building also was constructed to LEED gold standards, including green features recently recognized by Xcel Energy. Those features include a hot-water preheating system at the boiler that uses boiler exhaust to heat water for the building. The building’s efficient design also reduces natural gas use.

Additional energy-conserving highlights include building design with numerous energy and resource efficiency enhancements such as use of natural day-lighting and high-efficiency fixtures for electric, gas and water usage, energy efficient features in glass and insulation systems, a 57-kilowatt photovoltaic array and water saving measures to minimize sterilizer water cooling needs through a closed system cooling tower and system.

One floor of the building will serve as a biosciences business incubator, fostering startup companies that will help translate university research into new products that address unmet medical needs or improve the quality of life.

“Colorado State University’s status as a pioneer in disease research is greatly enhanced by our ability to make scientific discoveries meaningful to people and animals who suffer from diseases,” said Bill Farland, vice president for Research at CSU. “This building will provide a hub for the brightest minds working to prevent, treat and cure diseases to come together and develop solutions that can be quickly translated into the marketplace to save lives.”

“This is a perfect setting for the innovative spark to be nurtured into a business and follows a growing national trend that several universities have chosen to adopt,” said Joe Guiles, chief operating officer of MicroRx, the non-profit business arm of CSU’s infectious disease Supercluster. “A support system for businesses was created a little more than two years ago with CSU Ventures. It is a non-profit affiliate of CSU that guides the business enterprises of infectious disease, cancer and clean energy.”

The Research Innovation Center is an addition to the existing Infectious Disease Research Center which also houses the 38,000-square-foot Rocky Mountain Regional Biocontainment Laboratory, which was completed in October 2007 and began research in the spring of 2008. That building was constructed with a $30 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease. The Foothills Campus also houses a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratory.

Colorado State University draws world-class faculty who research solutions for diseases and mentor many students who also are involved in biosciences research projects. For example, about half of the undergraduate students in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology conduct research in laboratories as part of earning their degrees.

Superclusters are an alliance of academic researchers, economists and business experts that collaborate toward solving problems within a certain area of expertise. The Superclusters focus on research areas where the university has international prominence by developing a unique multidisciplinary structure to enable groundbreaking research and quick development of life-saving products by mimicking business practices.

The Research Innovation Center construction was funded through university-issued bonds.