BIVI opens new R&D facility at Iowa State University
for Tri-State Livestock News
Ames, Iowa is the home of the new Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. (BIVI) research and development facility. The 52,000 square foot, $22 million building is located at the Iowa State University (ISU) Research Park and offers exciting opportunities for animal science and veterinary students, graduate students and professors to participate in emerging research in BIVI’s five areas of focus including swine, cattle, equine, canine and feline.
“At a college and university level, we are very enthusiastic about BIVI’s investment here in Ames,” said Rodger Main, ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab professor and director. “It’s tremendous for Midwest animal agriculture, for ISU, and for our local community. BIVI has been a strong partner of the college for many years, and we are very enthused about the research in the area of food animal and companion animals that will come out of this facility.”
Main said there are already professors and graduate students who are actively involved in advanced research with support of BIVI.
“This facility creates new opportunities for research with the university,” said Main. “We do 80,000 diagnostic case admissions each year and submit samples for a wide array of diagnostic work. We use the flow of case work as a source of research questions. Having access to the lab and offering case material to BIVI allows us some unique synergies and with their investment in our town, it offers us a chance to work together.”
The research center boasts 30,000 sq. ft. of labs and mechanical services on the first floor and 22,000 sq. ft. of office space on the second floor, which includes meeting rooms, dining areas, and a large conference room. Per the scientists request for natural lighting, 624 glass panels were used in the building. At the center, scientists will use 23,000 liters of liquid nitrogen each year, and the facility houses 1,023 bottles in the labs.
Mike Roof, BIVI executive director of biologics research and development and head of the research center said, “The research and development efforts of this BIVI team directly correlate with the success we already have had in the marketplace with several groundbreaking vaccines and medicines, such as our swine vaccine, Ingelvac CircoFLEX®. The Ames
site plays a key role among all the global Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health (BIAH) research sites focused on delivering innovative products to the animal health industry around the world.”
The facility officially opened in April with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Ames Chamber of Commerce, and BIVI quickly hit the ground running with its ongoing animal health research.
“Because of the large percentage of our customers involved in food-animal production found in the Midwest, we feel it is important to be in the center of the animal-health knowledge and training available in Ames,” said Roof. “BIVI began its presence 25 years ago on the ISU Research Park campus to capitalize on the available partnerships with leading animal health institutions such as the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine, the National Animal Disease Center/Center for Veterinary Biologics, the Veterinary Biologics Inspection Services and the National Veterinary Sciences Laboratories. We recognize the significant competencies these institutions afford us and employ many graduates, graduate students and student interns.”
According to BIVI, 48 percent of the Ames BIVI team are native Iowans; 40 percent of the BIVI team members in Ames are graduates of ISU; and 75 percent of the BIVI team in Ames attended a university in the state of Iowa. What’s more, 65 percent of the Ames BIVI team own animals, so they are passionate about their research in animal health.
“BIVI sponsors several fellowships and a professorship at ISU’s College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM),” said Main. “These are funds used to support graduate students conducting research and pursuing advanced degrees.” Additionally, BIVI works collaboratively with faculty members at the ISU CVM in the sponsorship on a myriad of research projects. ISU’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory also works to provide the diagnostic testing and histopathology evaluation needs for any number of BIVI associated research projects.
The new facility can accommodate more than 100 scientists conducting research at any given time, and the current BIVI team in Ames has contributed to over 250 peer-reviewed publications related to animal health.
“Preventative medicine is one of the cornerstones of our business strategy; therefore, we invest heavily in vaccine research, development and production,” said Roof. “Through innovative products and programs, we provide our customers around the world with the tools to make preventative animal health care part of their overall health management strategy. The research and development work conducted in Ames benefits producers and veterinarians involved in livestock production and companion animal medicine around the world.”
Roof said the building is designed to flow from the most clean areas to the most contaminated areas, with designated labs for molecular areas, clean cells, virus and microbiology and special pocket labs. The space allows for unique collaborations, cohesive work flow, an open work space allowing scientists to interact, and plenty of square footage for many projects to be going on at one time.
“As an organization, we are committed to finding solutions to the most pressing animal health challenges of our customers,” said Roof. “We continually look to deliver innovation through technology, talent and processes.”
“BIVI’s 25 years of support to ISU and the Ames community will only be strengthened through this new facility,” added Main. “ISU’s veterinarians, researchers, professors and students are excited to be a part of the work in animal health that will come out of this research center.”
For more information on the facility, check out http://www.bi-vetmedica.com.