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Gov. Quinn announces $4M state investment in health care technology incubator

Updated: February 6, 2014 9:58AM



Gov. Pat Quinn planned to announce details of a new health care technology incubator Thursday that will follow the successful blueprint of 1871, the River North tech hub.

The new endeavor, called MATTER, will be located next to 1871 on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart. And billionaire investor J.B. Pritzker, a main backer of 1871, also is backing the new project.

Quinn’s office noted in a news release that 1871 has produced more than 200 startups resulting in the creation of more than 1,000 jobs since its launch in 2012.

The goal of the new nonprofit BioHub will be to provide workspace where ideas can become fully formed companies with a little help from some friends — mainly investors and other innovators.

“Its collaborative workspace will allow interaction among entrepreneurs, academics and investors in order to create and grow new companies in health care information technology, medical devices, medical diagnostics and biopharmaceuticals,” according to the release.

The state is providing a $2.5 million grant and a $1.5 million loan to help the new operation secure a lease in the Mart.

“The goal is to get other companies in the same field to invest in the project,” said David Roeder, a spokesman for the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

“The plan is to have this up and going within a few months,” Roeder said.

Business leaders including Jeff Aronin and Tim Walbert, co-chairs of the MATTER governing board, are seeking funds from corporate sources, according to the news release.

“Over the past year, hundreds of entrepreneurs, university and industry leaders have volunteered their time to help us build the plan for MATTER,” Aronin, chairman and CEO of Paragon Pharmaceuticals, said in the news release.

Email: mdudek@suntimes.com

Twitter: @mitchdudek



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