Jul 21, 2022

New Elanco HQ cements Indiana as national epicenter for animal health, agbioscience

When Governor Eric J. Holcomb, Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers and Elanco CEO Jeff Simmons gathered April 12th to break ground on Elanco’s new global headquarters, they were celebrating much more than the beginning of a construction project.

Elanco’s future headquarters on the western edge of downtown Indianapolis will be a testament to the state’s efforts to make Indiana the world’s premier destination for innovation in animal health.




“Today we broke ground on a building, but more importantly, on building an exciting future—one filled with opportunities for innovators, talent and communities in Indiana—and one where  leading-edge discoveries will be made in the years ahead, said Gov. Holcomb.

The planned 220,000-square-foot, six-story office structure and connected innovation and collaboration buildings will occupy 40 acres of the former General Motors Stamping Plant on the western edge of the White River, creating a green campus that expands White River State Park. The glass-faced building will add to the skyline of Indianapolis, pushing the heart of downtown west and connecting the Valley neighborhood with Monument Circle via pedestrian bridge.

The headquarters campus is a key component of Elanco’s $300 million investment in the state and will become a destination for the company’s 10,000 global employees and others across the country and around the world who want to collaborate on animal health innovation.

Elanco’s partners and collaborators will have access on the campus to what the company describes as “venture studio development ‘makerspace.’” According to Elanco, the campus will  be the heart of a scientific discovery network and research clearinghouse in animal health innovation.

“Broad access to the world’s animals coupled with a laser focus on creating pathways for innovation is what we believe sets Elanco apart as a sought-after partner,” said Simmons. “We’re building something significant that will make animals, the city and our world better, and we’re designing our new headquarters with those partnerships in mind.”

The campus is being developed in collaboration with AgriNovus, an initiative led by the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership to fuel the growth of Indiana’s agbioscience economy, and Indianapolis-based venture studio High Alpha. 

In February, High Alpha and Elanco announced that they had partnered to provide seed funding for the creation and launch of Athian, a company formed to certify, aggregate and monetize environmental footprint reductions within the food system.

And in April, Elanco announced the creation of BiomEdit, an animal health microbiome innovation company, in partnership with Boston-based Gingko Bioworks. BiomEdit will discover  and develop new engineered medicines for animal health based on the microbial communities  in animals and the surrounding environment.

The Elanco investment and the emergence of startups like Athian and BiomEdit are examples of the state’s 5E economic development roadmap in action. The 5E roadmap, introduced late last  year by Sec. Chambers, is a 5-point strategy that focuses on Indiana’s  Environment and quality of life improvements, its climate of Entrepreneurship, innovations in  preparation for the Energy Transition, the external Engagement necessary to tell Indiana’s  story and investments in next-generation industries to build Indiana’s Economy of the Future.

“Life Sciences, medical devices and now agbioscience continue to be sectors of great momentum and growth for Indiana’s economy. The sector is a natural fit for Indiana,” said  Chambers, noting the state’s leadership in a variety of sectors, from agtech to advanced  manufacturing to university research. “Epicenter is the perfect word for Indiana’s role in animal  health innovation,” he said, “it also aptly describes how Indiana is at the nexus of many global  industries.”

In agbioscience, Elanco is only part of the story. A few months before the Elanco groundbreaking, another agricultural giant chose Indiana for its global headquarters.

Corteva Inc., which spun off from Dow DuPont in 2019, made the announcement in February  that it was shifting its HQ from Wilmington, Delaware to Indianapolis, which had been one of  Dow’s global business centers. The maker of agricultural seeds, insecticides and herbicides has more than  20,000 employees, about 1,500 of which are at its Zionsville Road campus 15 miles  north of downtown Indy.

The Zionsville Road campus features 14 buildings, 42 greenhouses and dozens of labs where workers devise new products to help farmers increase yield and control insects, fungus and  unwanted vegetation.

Corteva’s focus on plant science is the perfect complement to Elanco’s animal-science focus  and the state’s other assets in the ag sector.

Indiana’s expertise in plant science, animal health and ag tech makes the state’s agbioscience economy unusually broad, said AgriNovus President and CEO Mitch Frazier. It adds up to a $52.3 billion sector of the state’s economy, a number that Frazier thinks the state is well-positioned to grow to more than $56 billion by 2024.

“We are well-positioned with the assets, the people and the know-how to turn ideas into action,” Frazier said. “We can take novel approaches to solving the world’s agricultural challenges.”

AgriNovus is turning those words into action beginning in June when it launches HungerTech, a program that will challenge companies, entrepreneurs and students to use technology to improve food access for those who live in food deserts.

AgriNovus created the HungerTech challenge in consultation with a variety of parties affected by food access issues, including health systems, retailers, wholesalers and individuals who receive SNAP benefits. 

The winning HungerTech solution will be chosen in July, followed by implementation in partnership with the state’s Family and Social Services Administration.

This article was featured in the July 2022 edition of the IEDC’s newsletter. Subscribe today.