UT-Baptist Research Park

The Memphis Challenge: Beat Us on Integrated Assets and Logistics

September 22, 2010
The Memphis Challenge: Beat Us on Integrated Assets and Logistics

The only thing missing from most biomedical clusters, ideally, is a way to get time-sensitive medical materials where they need to be “stat” — really stat, in the case of imminent surgery in trauma cases, for example.

 

by Mark Arend
Site Selection Magazine
July 2010

Memphis companies can get them there within hours, which is a huge logistics advantage afforded by Federal Express’ massive air freight hub on the north end of Memphis International Airport. Brandon Wellford, chief financial officer and director of real estate, Memphis Bioworks Foundation already is home to a mature biomed cluster — think St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and its various research units, orthopedic medical device manufacturers Smith & Nephew and Medtronics (among others), and oncology and infectious disease centers, to name a few players. Now the UT-Baptist Research Park is under construction on land donated to the Memphis Bioworks Foundation from Baptist Memorial Health Care adjacent to UT’s medical complex. The park will provide 1.2 million sq. ft. (111,480 sq. m.) of laboratory, research, education and business development space on a 10-acre (4-hectare) campus in the Memphis Medical Center in the central business district. Highlights include a new College of Pharmacy that will consolidate pharmaceutical lab work now done in multiple locations.

“We’re building on an existing cluster here in biosciences rather than create something that did not exist,” says Brandon Wellford, chief financial officer and director of real estate at the Memphis Bioworks Foundation. “That’s what sets us apart from a number of communities. I would challenge any community to beat us in the integrated assets we have in place.” Another differentiator, says Wellford, is the organic growth of the Memphis biomed cluster. “We have so many assets here already, we’re trying to make the ideas and companies we already have better.”

The UT-Baptist Research Park is estimated to produce a $2-billion economic impact, solidifying biomedical as one of the two main economic engines for Memphis — logistics being the other. “Biomedical will be a large part of our economy going forward,” says Wellford, which has been the case for some time. Since 2003, one out of four jobs created in the Memphis area has been in the biomedical sector. Even non-professional jobs created, such as some in the orthopedic field, can pay annual salaries of $40,000.

The biomedical cluster in Memphis would thrive without the FedEx hub, says Wellford, as do those in Boston, San Diego and elsewhere. But the hub is a unique asset that only adds luster: “We had a great medical center before FedEx came along, but we’re very happy to have them here.”

Brandon Wellford, chief financial officer and director of real estate, Memphis Bioworks Foundation

Watch the Research Park Video