HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A new addition to the HudonAlpha campus is now open in Huntsville.
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the Paul Propst Center was held on Wednesday morning.
The new 105,000 square foot facility will house components of HudsonAlpha’s education and research programs. HudsonAlpha leaders say the new building will also be used to foster collaboration between growing biotech companies.
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to developing and applying scientific advances to health, agriculture, learning and commercialization.
“The vision of the institute’s founders is to see discoveries and advancements quickly occur with research and business working together. Today, we celebrate not just the continuation but a strengthening of the culture of collaboration and innovation created 10 years ago,” said Carter Wells, vice president for economic development at HudsonAlpha.
Governor Kay Ivey, Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle, State Senator Arthur Orr and U.S. Representative Mo Brooks were all in attendance for the event.
“I strongly believe that what you’re doing here is making the world a better place,” Governor Ivey said in her address to the HudsonAlpha staff.
The two-story building is named in honor of the late Paul Propst – the father of Huntsville philanthropist and businessman William “Bill” Self Propst. It was made possible by the state of Alabama and community support, including the Propst family. Rooms, labs and structures inside the center are named in honor of local foundations and donors of the HudsonAlpha ‘Building for the Future’ campaign.
Several companies have expanded into the Propst Center from their previous spaces in HudsonAlpha’s flagship building, some doubling their previous footprint. The HudsonAlpha associate companies that will be the initial tenants of the Propst Center are Folio Conversant, Microarrays, Alimetrix and iRepertoire.
“We came to HudsonAlpha with just a few people and an idea,” said Marshall Schreeder, Jr., co-founder and CEO of Conversant Bio, now Folio Conversant. “And now we’ve grown to ten times the number of employees and merged with another company. Being on the HudsonAlpha campus not only puts us at the center of innovation and collaboration, but we also have room to grow.”
Extra details in the new building’s design – glass walls, common sidewalks, a grand staircase – create a “team science” environment and contribute to the culture of collaboration.
It includes state-of-the-art laboratories built to National Institutes of Health (NIH) standards for biosafety, with more than 47,000 square feet available for expanding biotech companies; and turnkey office and lab space for biotech companies interested in joining HudsonAlpha’s campus. Several companies have expanded into the Propst Center from their previous spaces in HudsonAlpha’s flagship building, some doubling their previous footprint.
In addition, the Paul Propst Center has three education labs where the HudsonAlpha Educational Outreach team will provide hands-on laboratory experiences for students and inspire the next generation of scientists.
HudsonAlpha’s education programs have reached more than five million learners in just ten years and have a proven track record of workforce development success.
Governor Ivey says the new space will allow the renowned institute for biotechnology to further their mission.
“It’ll be a place where new medical treatment will be learned, a place that will help solve the world’s hunger problems and a place where students will find their passion in the STEM fields. And of course, Alabama is the state for innovation. It’s where innovation happens,” she told the crowd during the ribbon cutting event.
She also toured the new building on Wednesday.
Hudson Alpha is celebrating a “decade of discovery”- their 10th year on their campus.
“We went from two faculty members ten years ago when we were first starting to now 15 faculty. We had five associate biotech companies and we have 35 now and more coming. That’s really exciting,” said Rick Myers, President & Science Director at HudsonAlpha.
Faculty members have published more than 550 papers.
“We’ve made advancements and discoveries in ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, breast and ovarian cancer, colon cancer and kidney cancer and many others,” Myers stated.
“Ten years encompasses an amazing amount of what we’ve done, starting with breaking ground on the first building and now we’re opening the fourth. This is a beautiful sister building to the building across the street with its own personality,” added Jim Hudson, HudsonAlpha Co-Founder.