Plans to build biomedical research park in Monroe

Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 10:39 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Plans are underway to open a Biomedical Research and Innovation Park in the city. It would partner with ULM to draw medical, research, technology and other companies.

The location of the Biomedical Research and Innovation Park could go near ULM’s College of Pharmacy. That’s because it’s also designed to help local students. It means new jobs and a lot of growth.

Dr. Ray Armstrong envisioned this project over ten years ago and is finally seeing it get underway.

He says it’ll bring a lot of growth to the entire region.

‘What we will do is look at developing programs, especially now with medicine and pharmacy, to develop research programs that are being solicited for this now,” Armstrong said. “We have a good probability that we’ll be able to bring some of these research programs here. It’ll bring jobs. It will bring buildings. It’ll bring economic development to this area.”

The biomedical research park will work with ULM and help its college of pharmacy and the VCOM medical school on the ULM campus.

“It is a park that we are looking at developing particularly in the biomedical fields of pharmacy and things that VCOM might be interested in,” President and CEO of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce Sue Nicholson said. “It really is to find a way to connect our graduates coming out of ULM who may also be entrepreneurial with a place that they can open their business and have researched on at the pharmacy. A lot of symbiotic relationships.”

Nicholson says the bylaws and organization structure are set. The lease is being hammered out between ULM and the research park, along with a list of prospects that would lease space in the buildings.

“We’re first looking at a biomedical research relative to pharmacy to develop improvement of the pharmacy school. Add more space for them. Build another building for pharmacy manufacturing. This has the potential of adding 35 to 40 jobs in just that. There is the potential on the site that we have there of adding as many as six to eight buildings in that area,” Armstrong said.

The project includes a number of agencies including the cities and chambers of commerce in Monroe and West Monroe. It’ll be funded with local, state and federal money.

To help consult, they’ve enlisted the executive director of LSU’s innovation park.

“The endgame is that we create new businesses here that provide employment to talented students that are graduating from ULM and perhaps VCOM as well,” Nicholson said.

Officials say their planning guide is about three years.

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