St. Louis County’s Double Helix Supports Bioscience Startups,
Contact: Nancy Schnoebelen
Vice President Marketing & Communications
St. Louis, September 20, 2010 - The 1950's groundbreaking discovery of the double helix was a milestone in the history of science. Today, St. Louis County has another great breakthrough in the advancement of science: the creation of the Helix Fund and Helix Center. Together, they will support the formation and growth of early stage plant and life science companies and ultimately foster economic growth and jobs for the 21st century.
St. Louis County, through its Port Authority and Economic Council, is establishing the Helix Fund and Helix Center to address two basic needs for plant and life science entrepreneurs: funding and affordable laboratory and office space. In so doing, the County will build upon and expand the regional business development support system for advancing scientific innovation toward commercialization.
"St. Louis County is committed to promoting a robust environment for entrepreneurship in plant and life sciences through cooperation and partnership," said St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley. "The Helix Fund and Helix Center will address both the financial and physical needs that early stage ventures require to develop, and grow."
The Helix Fund will provide approximately $1.5 million in funding for emerging plant and life sciences businesses; the entrepreneurial talent and expertise needed to evaluate the commercial potential of these ventures; and a loan fund for small- to medium-sized companies expanding or relocating to the County.
Adjoining the Danforth Plant Science Center and BRDG Park, the Helix Center will fill a gap in the continuum of plant and life science business development support by offering early stage ventures affordable office and wet and dry lab space. Client companies may also benefit from the Center's proximity to the expertise and facilities at the Danforth campus. Renovation of 33,000-square-foot in the facility is scheduled for completion in early 2011.
"Successful Missouri high-tech entrepreneurs from the last century built companies like Emerson, Monsanto and Energizer that continue to serve as pillars of our State's business community still today. St. Louis County's commitment to the Helix Fund demonstrates leadership and vision to grow a new generation of Missouri entrepreneurs in the fast-growing bioscience fields that are at the forefront of agriculture, clean energy and better medicine," said Jason Hall, executive director, Missouri Technology Corporation.
About St. Louis County Economic Council
Founded in 1984, St. Louis County Economic Council serves as the County's economic development agency, driving growth and prosperity in the most economically important county in Missouri. As the only economic development agency in the state to hold the esteemed Accredited Economic Development Organization from the International Economic Development Council, it provides a broad range of services to foster economic development. Please visit www.slcec.com for additional information.