"With AIT Bioscience, there are no surprises."
So says the company description of this Indianapolis-based contract research organization (CRO), whose founders sought to solve quality and efficiency issues often encountered by other CROs serving the quantitative bioanalysis and drug development support needs of biotech and pharma clients. The result? Unique Electronic Lab Notebook systems that not only eliminate paper from the workplace but detect and resolve potential deviations and errors in real time, rather than via after-the-fact audits.
Judging from the company's growth, it's found no surprises in its business operating environment either, only pleasant discoveries.
Two years ago the company appointed Terri Pascarelli as CEO and member of its board of directors. Her background includes executive leadership roles as president and COO of a venture-backed, Indiana-based pharmaceutical company and for a privately held medical laboratory. She has also held leadership roles in strategy, sales and marketing, managed markets, R&D and commercial operations at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Roche Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca, and has served on the global Healthcare Businesswomen's Association's board since the organization's founding.
The company continued to expand in 2016 with new equipment and a second shift. In a recent exchange with Site Selection contributor Ellen Berman, Pascarelli was asked what makes central Indiana the right place for her growing firm.
"There are several important aspects that make central Indiana a unique location that supports business startups in the life sciences," Pascarelli wrote in an email. "The first is a talented workforce. There is such a strength of excellent Indiana universities in proximity to central Indiana. Purdue, Rose-Hulman, Indiana University, Butler University, Ball State, Hanover, Marion, Franklin College, DePauw University — so many referral sources of qualified talent in the sciences, business and technology.
"The economical cost of living and the cost of doing business in central Indiana is a second aspect that is so important," she continued. "It’s important in terms of the direct costs to the business and because the quality and cost of living in this part of the Midwest make it a terrific environment for employees — from the young and single to mid- and late-career employees, many of whom are raising a family while they work.
"While there are a number aspects of economic development that we could talk about, what comes to mind right away are public-private partnership and life science organizations that link our small firms, large multinational corporations, academic institutions and a world-class set of hospital and health-care delivery systems to life science funding, research and advocacy," Pascarelli said. "With long-term committed organizations such as BioCrossroads and the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and now the Indiana BioSciences Research Institute (IBRI), along with the Indiana Health Industry Forum, this locale supports companies that are innovating in every aspect of biotechnology, contract services, diagnostics & devices, agricultural oriented biotech, education and infrastructure.
"There aren’t many, if any, of the so-called ‘biotech hotspots’ that rank as high as Indiana does across this breadth of life science sectors," Pascarelli concluded. "There is a lot of creative planning across these groups that make the near-future prospects for life science companies even stronger."