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Steven T. Carter, Iowa State University Research Park, (515) 296-7275
Kevin Brown, News Service, (515) 294-8986


AMES, Iowa -- A new study by an Iowa State University researcher suggests that the ISU Research Park's substantial and diverse economic activity bolsters Iowa's economy.

The park has tracked growth by employment and new business starts for more than 10 years. However, it has never studied the overall economic impact sparked by the park.

Research park administrators commissioned the Iowa State department of economics to complete such an analysis. David Swenson, an Iowa State staff researcher and a private consultant who has performed similar studies for the Iowa Events Center and Science Center of Iowa, did the work.

The study, which focused on current tenants, shows that the park links directly to almost $88 million in total industrial output. Industrial output is a measure of goods and services produced by firms at the park. Businesses that provide goods and services to park customers and employees generate an additional $46.3 million in economic activity.

Wages paid by park companies exceeds $36 million annually. An additional $16.9 million in wages are generated by businesses providing goods and services to park firms. Park tenants employ more than 900 Iowans. Another 639 central Iowa jobs are generated by businesses providing goods and support services to the firms. The average salary of a park employee is more than $40,000. Research Park tenants generate an estimated $3.7 million in state taxes, primarily through income and sales tax.

This study does not include affiliate companies that utilize services at the park but are not physically located there. It also does not include companies that have left the park and relocated in Iowa. Affiliates and companies who have moved employ another 440 people

The study measures current economic value created by research park companies and centers. Many of those companies are young in their evolution, said Steve Carter, director of the ISU Research Park. It will take several years and substantial investment for the companies to contribute their full potential to the Iowa economy, he said.

A good example is NewLink Genetics. The firm looks to become a vertically integrated pharmaceutical company. Dr. Charles Link, M.D., founded the company in 1999. The firm now employees approximately 30 scientists and professional staff focused on developing advanced cancer diagnostics and treatments. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Iowa and in the United States. The company currently occupies about 7000-square-feet of predominately laboratory space.

During its early development, NewLink primarily focused on research and development but is now moving its first two cancer vaccines into clinical trials for patients with lung or breast cancer. This major step in the development of the company is expected to trigger an aggressive five-year plan that projects the company growing to 300 employees and an estimated payroll in excess of $10 million annually. The projected expansion is estimated to require $11 million in facilities and equipment cost.

"New Link Genetics is an exciting example of the caliber of the companies developing at the research park and demonstrates the potential for future growth of the Iowa technology economy," Carter said.

"Our success to date and in the future will be driven by the companies now located at the park and those created in the future," said Steve Carter, director of the ISU Research Park. "This success has been a result of the partnership among the park, Iowa State University, the State of Iowa and the community of Ames. The ability of the park and its companies to realize their full potential is dependent upon the continued support of this partnership."

The ISU Research Park is a not-for-profit corporation designed to act as an incubator and service center for entrepreneurs and firms. The park is also host to public research and service institutions that are affiliated with Iowa State. The park currently is home to 43 private and public firms engaging in research, product development and testing of goods, technologies, and services.

The ISU Research Park and its affiliated centers, the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and the Small Business Development Center, are a part of Iowa State's economic development system. The ISU system includes organizations and incubation services throughout campus that assist in developing technologies and intellectual property, launching new businesses and providing support and services to existing businesses and industry.


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Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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