Peoria NEXT is an organization of The Heartland Partnership that aims to facilitate Discovery, Innovation and Commercialization of new technologies through collaboration and creativity for economic development. The organization turned 10 years old on September 11, 2011 and has grown tremendously since its inception. Peoria NEXT named it's interim CEO, Grant Brewen, in November 2011 and looks forward to conitnued growth in the technology commercialization arena.
Contact information: For questions regarding Peoria NEXT please contact The Heartland Partnership at 309-495-5900. For media requests please call 309-495-5905 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For information regarding the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center please call 309-495-7238 or email email@example.com.
Our Mission: Through collaboration and creativity, Peoria NEXT will facilitate Discovery, Innovation and Commercialization of new technologies for economic development.
Our Vision: By 2015 our regional economy will be more diversified and be a desired location for new technology-based businesses.
History: In 2001, a group of community leaders commissioned a Batelle Research Study that indicated over a billion dollars annually in the Peoria Region was being spent on applied research. A small, life-science research collaboration was created focusing mostly on the Central Illinois biotechnology environment called the Peoria Regional Biocollaborative. As this effort blossomed, so did the community’s desire for more collaboration in other areas. There was a need to expand the focus to include research and innovation in areas beyond the biosciences. To symbolize the newly broadened goal, the Peoria Regional Biocollaborative took on the new name of Peoria NEXT in August 2002. In the past 8 years, the company has gone from a small organization to an economic development force in the Central Illinois Region.
In February 2012, Peoria NEXT announced a realignment process to better position the company to attract technology commercialization opportunities. As Peoria NEXT enters its second decade of operation, the company is focusing its resources and energy on four main areas of concentration. These four areas have a commercial future and play to the strengths of this region in terms of skills and abilities. The company will closely monitor developments in each of these fields, looking for viable applications within each. Click here to learn more about the new organizational focus.
November 10, 2011 Dr. Grant Brewen was introduced as the new CEO of Peoria NEXT. Brewen has been head of the Biotechnology Research and Development Corporation (BRDC), housed at the USDA’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research Lab in Peoria since 1988. He will continue that position as well as his new role at the helm of Peoria NEXT. He was responsible for guiding BRDC, a start-up research and development consortium, through its first years of operation, and has managed the corporation since. Prior the BRDC, he worked for nine years at Allied Chemical Corporation (now Honeywell International) as Director of Biosciences in the Corporate Research and Development unit in Morristown, New Jersey. Dr. Brewen also worked at the Biology Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee from June, 1963 until February, 1979. During his tenure at Oak Ridge he spent a one year sabbatical in Canberra, Australia in 1967 and a six month sabbatical as Visiting Professor, University of California, Berkeley in 1977. Dr. Brewen was educated at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; B.A. 1961 (honors), Ph.D. 1963, in biology with a major in cell biology.
Board Make-Up: The PeoriaNEXT Board of Directors has up to 20 members including the anchor members that consist of The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, Caterpillar, Inc., The Methodist Medical Center of Illinois, OSF St. Francis Medical Center, Bradley University, Illinois Central College, National City Bank of Michigan/Illinois, Biotechnology Research and Development Corporation and Ameren-Cilco. Ex-Officio members include: School District 150, USDA – Federal Agricultural Laboratories. Up to 5 members may consist of individual entrepreneurs or capital representatives.
Public policy Role: Peoria NEXT is engaged in all activities related to entrepreneurism, innovation, discovery and commercialization of new technology based businesses and on occasion will endorse or take a position on a relevant issue that affects the climate of this industry. We will also partner with other grassroots groups for the betterment of the community.
Facility: Peoria NEXT opened an Innovation Center in 2007 to serve as a business incubator to increase economic growth, diversity, and opportunities in the Peoria area. This $14 million, publicly and privately funded state-of-the-art facility is the only one of its kind in Central Illinois. It is located at 801 Main Street in Peoria and has over a dozen tenant companies and nearly 60 employees. The not-for-profit organization is striving to become the preferred location in the Midwest for research, innovation, development, and commercialization in the areas of engineering, medicine, bio-engineering, and agriculture. Since its opening. the incubator has graduated three companies, including high-tech medical device developer Endotronix and flow control manufacturer Lumec, which won the Illinois DCEO's statewide “Innovate Illinois” entrepreneurial and innovation competition in 2010.
In partnership with Ameren, Bradley University, Caterpillar Inc., local hospitals, and the U.S. Agriculture Lab, the NEXT Center rents space and provides business consulting to researchers and entrepreneurs on the cutting edge of new discoveries. A Caterpillar research center on the third floor is also heavily involved in discovering new commercially viable products. The Peoria NEXT Innovation Center is managed by Bradley University and houses the Bradley Technology Commercialization Center (BTCC). The Peoria NEXT Innovation Center and the BTCC help new technology companies by assisting with venture funding, enhancing entrepreneurial skills, and aiding with business strategies. The BTCC and Peoria NEXT also works with the Heartland Partnership, the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois, and other groups to promote Peoria as a prime location for businesses seeking to relocate.
The Peoria NEXT Innovation Center offers wet and dry labs as well as meeting space for both technical conferences and entrepreneurial networking meetings.
With a primary mission to help startup companies grow, the center also strives to bring new diversity to Peoria’s business landscape. There are currently 12 companies based at the NEXT Center, including companies related to the health care, energy, and agricultural industries. One company at the NEXT Center, Intellihot, is manufacturing water heaters that create an endless flow of hot water while offering greatly reduced space requirements, energy costs, and carbon emissions than standard heaters. Intellihot was chosen in 2010 to be featured on an upcoming reality television show that highlights the best startup businesses outside of Slicon Valley.
Bradley University Technology Commercialization Center (BTCC) operates and manages the Innovation Center. BTCC, in collaboration with Peoria NEXT, provides resources for tenants including intellectual property consulting, mentoring, marketing, business plan development and networking. In addition, the Innovation Center provides a physical locale with wet and dry labs, as well as meeting and office space where these businesses can set up shop. It’s a technology incubator filled with resources to nurture and grow ideas that will benefit the entire region.
Numerous representatives from other cities, states, and countries have toured the facility to learn more about the organization and how it works to foster the development of new businesses.
Peoria NEXT Innovation Center is located at 801 W. Main Street Peoria, IL 61606.
Peoria NEXT Innovation Center Tenants
Companies at 801 West Main Street
With the very real threat of food-borne pathogens, one Peoria NEXT company is developing a device that will allow users to detect such threats without the use of laboratory screening. Ag-Defense Systems is working on a hand held technology that will allow users the ability to monitor food items on site and receive real-time results. The portable BioSage device can be used to detect viruses, fungus, bacteria and parasites within minutes while employing GPS tracking abilities. The food industry is a $1.25 trillion market in the United States and there over 75 million illnesses each year as a result of food contamination. As the threat of food supply contamination grows, Ag-Defense Systems and its BioSage technology will be ready to monitor and alert us in real-time. www.agdefensesystems.com
zuChem is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of novel manufacturing methods for the production of glycochemicals. While the greatest long term need for such glycochemical compounds is by the pharmaceutical industry, the company is also exploiting the significant commercial opportunities for these compounds in the food ingredients and specialty chemical markets. zuChem's mission is to be the premier supplier of unique glycochemicals (sugar-like molecules) to the pharmaceutical and food ingredients industries, using proprietary technology to produce glycochemicals that are either extremely difficult or too expensive to manufacture via traditional synthetic methods. www.zuchem.com
EcoThermics Corporation has developed a compact, high pressure compressor, a critical component for the emerging CO2 heat pump market. Heat pumps provide heat with much lower energy consumption than direct electric or fuel-based heaters, and heat pumps are especially efficient when simultaneous cooling (normally, a wasted by-product) is utilized. CO2 refrigerant properties enable heat pumps to be effective in extended temperature ranges for space heating and commercial heating applications. CO2 is not environmentally or chemically hazardous. Production prototypes, manufactured by an EcoThermics manufacturing partner, will be available later this year for OEM evaluation and testing. EcoThermics was founded in 2007 and is located in Peoria, Illinois.
Headquartered in Fremont, CA, IEM is the largest independent full-line manufacturer of electrical distribution and power quality equipment in the United States. For over half a century, IEM has delivered customer-specific solutions to meet the ever changing power requirements of growth industries in North America. At IEM, tradition and technology still drive innovation. An experienced engineering staff and one of the most flexible design and manufacturing systems in the industry set IEM apart from standard product manufacturers. www.iemfg.com
Knotty Outdoors is a company created to give women a modern alternative to hunting apparel and accessories. The industry has been stuck in somewhat of a modernization rut lately. There is an extreme lack of quality product options. Current hunting apparel is tailored towards men, which makes it bulky and unattractive. The market needs functional and fashionable women’s gear. Knotty Outdoors has recognized huge opportunity by making better fitting, high quality, casual and hunting apparel. www.knotty-outdoors.com
Arvens Technology, Inc. (ATI)
Arvens Technology, Inc. (ATI) is developing Pennycress from the field to the fuel pump as a sustainable, non-food crop for bio fuel production while providing economic, social and environmental benefits. One thing that distinguishes pennycress from other energy crops is its ability to sprout in the fall, over winter and then resume growing in the spring to set seeds in time for farmers to plant soybeans in the same year after harvesting pennycress. This ability to double-crop pennycress and soybeans is attractive to growers who can earn additional income from fields that would otherwise be left bare over the winter. www.arvenstech.com www.growpennycress.com
ESSEN Scientific LLC (ESL)
ESSEN Scientific LLC (ESL) is a pharmaceutical research and development service company which specializes in custom synthesis and contract research and development services. ESL is established to grow into a major provider of well-sought-after pharmaceutical intermediates/building blocks based in the midwest. ESL has developed more than 8,000 high quality pharmaceutical intermediates, novel chemical and pharmaceutical building blocks, and other fine chemicals for research and industrial application in contemporary drug discovery and development. Besides catalog products, ESL has the infrastructure to provide any specific requirements on custom synthesis and process optimization services. www.essenscientific.com
Lumec Control Products
Lumec Control Products, Inc is dedicated to creating next generation process control technologies. The flagship product is the dynamic Orifice Valve. This valve design is based on nearly ten years of research, development and prototype testing. While not only providing unparalleled fluid flow control, the valve is also able to provide accurate flow measurement and remote maintenance diagnostics. www.lumecllc.com
Peoria Robotics began as a voluntary collaboration of engineers, scientists, medical practitioners and medical education experts. The focus of the group is strictly applied research and development. Members of the Peoria Robotics group are all faculty or staff at Bradley University and the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. The Peoria Robotics group mission is to develop medical simulators to enhance medical education.
The first Peoria Robotics project is to design, build and test a system for recording and subsequently simulating medical procedures that utilize palpation. Creating one part of a system that can record the sight, sound and feel experienced by an expert performing a medical examination will enable the creation of a database of diverse normal and abnormal results for each particular type of examination or condition. The second part of the system provides the means for a student to physically interact with a parametric model of a recorded experience and to see and feel a realistic simulation of what the expert was feeling when the real examination was performed. The complete system is a training tool that enables students to experience many diverse procedures wherein each type of procedure may also have a wide range of normal and abnormal anatomies. Specifically, the proposed project will develop a simulator for palpation of internal hemorrhage. This work is funded by a grant to Bradley University from the United States Army Medical Research and Materials Command.
The bulky and intrusive wires that have been a mainstay of cardiovascular care might soon be no more. Endotronix has begun development on minimally invasive wireless monitoring devices that can transmit from within a patient’s body. These devices which use a combination of radiofrequency identification (RFID) and microelectromechanical (MEMS) technology will monitor a patient’s cardiovascular health from within their heart and blood vessels. The system allows for real-time monitoring of patient health not only in the medical care facility but also at home, reducing treatment costs associated with prolonged hospital stays. There is the potential for this technology to benefit over 60 million people in the United States who have risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease. www.Endotronix.net
Intellihot has developed a state-of-the-art demand tankless water heater that uses conventional materials and advanced electronics. This green water heater extracts nearly 98% of energy, provides unlimited hot water and occupies very little space. Current tank water heaters in US homes run continuously and provide a limited amount of hot water. They are large, utilize less than 60% of gas energy burned and last only 7 years. Intellihot’s ultra low installation cost and 20-year life will revolutionize the water heater market and establish Intellihot as the market leader. www.intellihot.com
The first company to reside in the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center is on the verge of selling its product to hospitals across the nation. InformMed, which has designed a handheld dosage “calculator”, launched a pilot program at local hospital OSF St. Francis and began marketing nationally towards the end of 2008. Peoria native, Kathy Francis, RN, developed the technology to address the problem of incorrect medication dosage at the point of care. The device called the pac2 is part of a hospital-wide system InformMed has developed. www.InformMed.com
For questions directly regarding the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center contact:
Peoria NEXT Member Organizations
For more than 75 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been building the world's infrastructure and, in partnership with its worldwide dealer network, is driving positive and sustainable change on every continent. Caterpillar is a technology leader and the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines.
NCAUR is the largest of four USDA-ARS federal utilization centers and a world-class bioscience research facility.
UICOM-P educates a new breed of physicians, and cultivates innovative associations with hospitals, other healthcare providers, and consumers.
Bradley University is an independent, privately endowed, coeducational institution. With an enrollment of approximately 6,000 students, Bradley offers a full range of undergraduate, graduate, and community outreach programs.
Illinois Central College is a public community college with a mission of serving the educational and training needs of its community while also serving as a cultural resource. With 12,000 students each semester, ICC serves a 10-county area and strives to provide quality education and training that is affordable and accessible to everyone.
Methodist Medical Center and OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, in conjunction with the College of Medicine, comprise the DOWNSTATE ILLINOIS MEDICAL CENTER. The 8,200 hospital employees and 850 physicians on staff provide nationally recognized expertise in addictions, cancer care, cardiology, neurology, organ transplantation, pediatrics, radiology, surgery and trauma care.
PNC Bank is a highly diversified and growing financial services organization spanning the retail, business and corporate markets. PNC invests in the communities it serves with the belief that a business cannot succeed if its communities are not well positioned for future growth and success. PNC devotes resources and human capital to seed ideas, fosters development initiatives and supports nonprofit organizations. PNC works to ensure the long term vitality of each of the communities in which it operates.
Peoria Public Schools, District 150, is a K-12 school district, including pre-school and adult education programs with an enrollment of over 15, 000 students. A comprehensive curriculum offers an International Baccalaureate Diploma, a Preparatory School for the Fine Arts, Advanced Placement courses, a gifted program, and award-winning career academies.
The Heartland Partnership is a public-private partnership for regional business growth and prosperity. The Partnership's subsidiaries include the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois (EDC) and the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce (PACC).
BRDC is a for-profit corporation designed to select and fund research projects.