SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame’s Innovation Park is set to gain another tenant in early 2012 — pharmaceutical systems company Triskell.
Innovation Park opened in October 2009 and currently has eight tenants.
Jean LeFloch, Triskell’s founder, said he chose to move the company’s headquarters from Sarasota, Fla., to South Bend in order to take advantage of the research and commercialization opportunities that Innovation Park offers.
“I’m moving to the Michiana region essentially because I felt it was a very welcoming and very good environment for what I’m trying to do,” he said. “Innovation Park fit the bill.”
LeFloch, a 1975 Notre Dame graduate, founded Triskell in 2010.
“An important part of the research that I need is being developed at Notre Dame and also at Purdue,” he said. “It’s a very professional, supportive environment, and I was not able to find that in the other sites I was considering.”
While the company will not directly create new jobs, LeFloch said Triskell will rely on other local businesses.
“The model that I’m using will require me to subcontract locally,” he said. “Everything that I need will be outsourced (in the local area) and a lot of the equipment we produce will be exported throughout Indiana.”
Kirk Reinbold, managing director of the Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics (AD&T) Initiative at Notre Dame, said LeFloch has decades of experience in developing pharmaceutical production equipment and that his decision to relocate to South Bend was a wise one.
“In this region, there is a tremendous amount of interest in economic development,” Reinbold said. “Indiana really gets a lot of high marks for new investments in the life sciences, and Jean doesn’t really have that support mechanism in Florida.”
The equipment Triskell is producing will change the way pharmaceutical companies make the drugs that they manufacture, Reinbold said.
“Pharmaceutical companies make tens of millions of pills,” he said. “They make one batch, test it and then they’ll make another big batch, but that’s not the way to do it.”
Reinbold said pharmaceutical companies should be monitoring the drugs as they are being made, instead of after they are made.
“(They should) always evaluate the process in real time, so that in the end you are absolutely guaranteed of a good product,” he said. “Especially because some pharmaceutical drugs are extremely expensive.”
The equipment that Triskell is producing could be used by universities, research labs and some biotech and pharmaceutical companies, Reinbold said.
There is also a big potential for export of the equipment, Reinbold said.
“The big emerging economies of India, Brazil and China don’t really have the infrastructure to do this type of work,” he said. “It (the work Triskell does) will really allow these countries to advance.”
Reinbold said he believes Triskell has great future potential.
“Jean is exploring new frontiers,” he said.
Staff writer Emily Schrank: firstname.lastname@example.org