Birmingham Biotechnology Hub

Tech Hubs Official Designee Badge

Lead Agency: Southern Research Institute

State Served: Alabama

Applicant-Defined Region: Birmingham–Hoover MSA with statewide partnerships

Core Technology Area: equitable AI-driven biotechnology

Contact: Sanjay Singh ([email protected])

Media Contact: Brit Blalock ([email protected])

The Birmingham Biotechnology Hub, led by Southern Research Institute, aims to become a global leader in drug, vaccine, and diagnostics development by applying artificial intelligence (AI)-driven biotechnology to increasing diverse representation in clinical genomic data and clinical trials. This Tech Hub will leverage the region’s existing assets—including the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s world-leading data bank from patients of racially diverse populations—to increase representation in clinical genomic data and clinical trials and accelerate drug discovery and development. By applying the power of artificial intelligence and more globally representative patient data, the Birmingham Biotechnology Hub seeks to shorten the drug development pipeline and deliver affordable drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics that treat a diverse global patient population.

The Birmingham Biotechnology Hub seeks to leverage the United States’ unique demographic diversity to increase the efficacy of biotechnological products for a wider share of the global population.

This consortium’s proposal includes plans t0:

  • Securely and privately share genomes and other forms of clinical data from historically disadvantaged Alabamians to broaden access to personalized medicine and ensure that clinical trials can use nationally representative genetic information;
  • Create a new life sciences incubation center, conduct venture capital partnerships, and establish programs to support entrepreneurial activity;
  • Accelerate the development of new precision medicines, drug repurposing, and predictive safety testing technologies;
  • Develop industry-aligned bioscience curricula to respond to regional employer demand to place community-college students into good biotech jobs;
  • Develop online courses and industry-recognized microcredentials for four-year college students and graduates to increase understanding of the biotech careers and support retention of placed workers; and
  • Leverage the newly-created Birmingham Bio Innovation Corporation (BRIC) to implement best practices in the activation of Alabama’s first Innovation District and ensure safety and security protocols for confidence in biobanking data.

To ensure that the impacts of the Tech Hub projects benefit the entire region, the consortium is committed to addressing health inequities in biomedical research through community health ambassadors.

This summary is based on information submitted by the applicants. If selected for funding, the final EDA-approved scope of work may differ.

Designee Narrative (PDF)

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