CHAMPAIGN – Pharmaceutical and nutritional products company Abbott Laboratories is expected to move into the University of Illinois Research Park this July.
University officials and staff with research park developer Fox/Atkins have been working for years to attract Abbott to the park.
"This is exactly the kind of thing we wanted to see in the research park: a major company looks to locate in the research park because they are wanting to form partnerships with the university," said Avijit Ghosh, vice president of technology and economic development at the University of Illinois.
Abbott's research center is expected to employ one full-time Abbott employee and 10 undergraduate and graduate students, said Tracey Noe, spokeswoman with Abbott Nutrition.
"The team will work on a wide range of scientific research projects, focusing largely on human nutrition and pharmaceutical manufacturing quality," Noe said. That will entail developing educational materials about nutritional ingredients like prebiotics, which are ingredients that aid in the healthy development of the immune system, Noe said. Other work to be done is evaluating potential new ingredients for nutritional products in partnership with staff and faculty at the university, Noe said.
Abbott has long had a relationship with the university by sponsoring research projects with faculty, and many alumni are employed at its headquarters in Lake County, north of Chicago. Abbott employs about 1,000 UI graduates. Worldwide, the company has more than 72,000 employees, including about 13,000 in Illinois, Noe said.
"We do have partnerships with a number of universities around the world but certainly the University of Illinois is a priority for us," Noe said. "Abbott is committed to building a pipeline of future leaders."
The company will lease about 2,000 square feet of space on the second floor of the iCyt building, 2100 S. Oak St., C. The main tenant of the building, built in 2005 by the developer, is biosciences company iCyt.
"We are very excited to having Abbott because of their work in the life sciences," said Laura Frerichs, vice president marketing and business development for Fox Development Corp.
The color scheme of Abbott's space will be orange and blue, and the aim is for a "hip" and "innovative" look to the suite, Frerichs said.
Construction on the space is expected to be finished in early June, and the developer is shooting for occupancy early in July.