HudsonAlpha expands biotech campus


May 10, 2021 (Huntsville, Ala.) – Today, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey joined state and regional officials, members of the business and non-profit community, and leadership from HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology to celebrate a groundbreaking for an expansion of the biotech campus. 

The expansion will consist of two facilities: the global headquarters for Discovery Life Sciences, and new state-of-the-art laboratory and greenhouse space for HudsonAlpha’s Center for Plant Science and Sustainable Agriculture. 

During her remarks, Governor Ivey stated, “Alabama has a new accolade: global headquarters to a renowned and respected biosciences company. This will undoubtedly strengthen Alabama’s biosciences recruitment efforts and increase the economic impact to the city, state and region.

Discovery Life Sciences (DLS) chose HudsonAlpha’s biotech campus in Huntsville for their global headquarters. DLS is an international market leader in biospecimen analysis, procurement, and distribution for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and diagnostics industries. This global headquarters will consist of 90,000 square feet and house DLS’s research and development, laboratory and business operations. 

“Discovery Life Sciences, formerly Conversant Bio, began with two entrepreneurs and is now a force in the biospecimen market, employing over 400 people around the world. We look forward to DLS growing its presence on HudsonAlpha’s campus,” said Jim Hudson, co-founder and chairman of the HudsonAlpha board.

With this expansion, the HudsonAlpha Center for Plant Science and Sustainable Agriculture will add 13,000 square feet of lab and greenhouse space and will be able to propagate and grow research plants here to improve existing crops and develop new uses for plants. HudsonAlpha’s partnerships with Auburn University and Alabama A&M University will be strengthened while productivity will be enhanced. Specifically, the teams will advance genomics enabled breeding pipelines for new varieties of crops, will continue to maximize fuel production from plant biomass, reduce fertilizer use, and reduce or eliminate fungicides to increase grower yields.

“HudsonAlpha is one of the world’s largest genomics institutes in plant science and we collaborate with research groups everywhere to discover and then apply the discoveries to crop improvement. We also will work closely with HudsonAlpha’s Educational Outreach team to attract the next generation of plant science students. These students need to be trained and inspired to go further to make an even greater impact in improving agriculture,” said Jeremy Schmutz, who with Jane Grimwood, PhD, co-directs HudsonAlpha’s Genome Sequencing Center.

The biotech campus is home to more than 1,000 employees, including those from HudsonAlpha’s research labs and the more than 45 resident life science associate companies that call the Institute home. 

“This is a significant milestone not only for HudsonAlpha, but the entire state as well,” said Carter Wells, vice president for economic development. “Through this expansion, HudsonAlpha further solidifies its leadership position and expertise in plant genomics. Additionally, Discovery Life Sciences’ choice of Huntsville, Alabama for their global headquarters highlights the quality of our bioscience workforce and business environment. We are grateful to Governor Ivey and the state of Alabama for their partnership and support, as well as the continued advocacy and assistance from the City of Huntsville and Madison County.”

The groundbreaking ceremony took place inside the Paul Propst Center on the HudsonAlpha biotech campus. A socially-distanced and masked crowd of 50 joined more than 100 virtual attendees. Speakers at the celebration included: 

-Alabama Governor Kay Ivey 

-Representative Mac McCutcheon, Speaker, Alabama House of Representatives

-Senator Arthur Orr, Alabama State Senate

-Mayor Tommy Battle, City of Huntsville

-Chairman Dale Strong, Madison County Commission

-Marshall Schreeder, Jr., Discovery Life Sciences, Executive Vice President

-Jim Hudson, HudsonAlpha Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board

-Rick Myers, PhD, HudsonAlpha President, Science Director, M.A. Loya Chair in Genomics 

-Neil Lamb, PhD, HudsonAlpha Vice President for Educational Outreach 

-Jeremy Schumtz, HudsonAlpha Faculty Investigator, Co-director of HudsonAlpha Genome Sequencing Center

Attendees were required to wear a mask and socially distance in compliance with the Institute’s COVID-19 safety guidelines. 

About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to developing and applying scientific advances to health, agriculture, learning, and commercialization. Opened in 2008, HudsonAlpha’s vision is to leverage the synergy between discovery, education, medicine, and economic development in genomic sciences to improve the human condition around the globe. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. The state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education and fosters more than 45 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit hudsonalpha.org.