Vanderbilt hosts Life Science Showcase to propel ecosystem’s growth in Middle Tennessee

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Nashville is among the nation’s top 10 fastest-growing hubs for biotech job opportunities, with the region seeing more than $430 million invested in the life sciences industry since 2020. Vanderbilt University plays a key role in the sector, and on July 19, the industry collaborations division of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research & Innovation hosted the inaugural Vanderbilt University Life Science Showcase.

Attendees at the inaugural Vanderbilt University Life Science Showcase (Sandy DeWald)

The showcase brought together key players in the region’s life sciences innovation ecosystem and focused on Nashville’s continued development as a hub for research, discovery and commercialization in the U.S.

“Partnerships across universities, industry, nonprofits and government entities are the key to growing Nashville’s life sciences innovation ecosystem,” said Padma Raghavan, Vanderbilt University vice provost for research and innovation, who spoke at the event.

Leaders in greater Nashville’s life sciences industry attended the showcase, as did representatives of economic development, commercialization and venture organizations. The event’s opening speakers included Chris Rowe, executive director for industry collaborations in the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization, John Kuriyan, dean of the School of Medicine Basic Sciences, and Raghavan. The three leaders talked about where the life sciences ecosystem in Nashville has been and where it is poised to go.

“Every one of our partners here today plays an important role in that process,” Raghavan said. “Together we can discover, develop and take to market new products that can improve health outcomes around the world.”

The event highlighted successful innovations that originated at Vanderbilt and included discussions on Vanderbilt’s research and innovation across small molecules, vaccines, antibodies, medical devices in development and more.

Vanderbilt-affiliated presenters included:

The showcase also featured presentations from August Bioservices, Concert Genetics and Cumberland Pharmaceuticals, plus a panel discussion on the state of the life sciences sector in Tennessee. Topics ranged from the roles and contributions of organizations like LaunchTN, Life Sciences TN and the Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery in Nashville’s life sciences sector to regional investment in the life sciences and the opportunities the sector can seize as it matures.

Chris Rowe (Submitted photo)

“Vanderbilt and VUMC have a unique position to create and invest in new science and technologies. Business and nonprofit leaders are motivated to expand education opportunities, create quality jobs and attract new investment,” Rowe said. “We look forward to hosting more events like this to keep the momentum going.”