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Governor Quinn Announces MATTER, a New Healthcare Technology Startup Hub

Press Release - Thursday, February 06, 2014

CHICAGO - Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by J.B. Pritzker and key civic and business leaders to announce MATTER - a new startup center for next-generation healthcare technology companies. A priority in the Governor’s 2014 State of the State address, the not-for-profit BioHub will drive entrepreneurship in the rapidly expanding medical and biotechnology fields. Supported by a $4 million state investment, MATTER is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.

“We are committed to taking our medical technology industry to the next level,” Governor Quinn said. “MATTER will serve as a central location to empower entrepreneurs and spur economic growth, while advancing Illinois’ role as a national leader in life sciences and health innovation.”

As a not-for-profit organization, MATTER will be located in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. Its collaborative workspace will allow interaction among entrepreneurs, academics and investors in order to create and grow new companies in healthcare information technology, medical devices, medical diagnostics and biopharmaceuticals. 1871, the digital startup hub what will be MATTER's neighbor in the Merchandise Mart, has followed that same recipe for success, resulting in more than 200 start-ups and creating more than 1,000 jobs since its launch in 2012.

“1871 changed the game for digital startups and has become an international model for encouraging entrepreneurial growth,” World Business Chicago President and CEO Jeff Malehorn, who represented Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the announcement, said. “Just as the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago and World Business Chicago together helped launch 1871, we’re collaborating to do the same thing for the medical technology sector, which has enormous growth potential to continue to fuel our economy.”

The state’s funding package, administered through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), consists of a $2.5 million state investment and a loan of $1.5 million that will provide seed funding support for the project. Business leaders including Jeff Aronin and Tim Walbert, who are co-chairs of the MATTER governing board, are raising additional funds from corporate sources.

“Over the past year, hundreds of entrepreneurs, university and industry leaders have volunteered their time to help us build the plan for MATTER,” said Paragon Pharmaceuticals Chairman and CEO Jeff Aronin, who is also chair of WBC’s ChicagoNEXT Bioscience Committee, which has been a key partner with the state in creating MATTER. “On behalf of the entire community, we are grateful for the support of Governor Quinn and DCEO, and for the continuing commitment to this effort of Mayor Emanuel and World Business Chicago.”

“MATTER will enable a community of life-science entrepreneurs to come together and realize their dream of starting a company,” Horizon Pharma Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Tim Walbert, who is also a member of the Illinois Innovation Council, said. “MATTER will also be an economic boon to our city and state, leveraging the innovation from our world-leading teaching hospitals and Horizon is proud to support it.”

Together the Quinn Administration and the Illinois Innovation Council, which was created by the Governor in 2011, have led significant progress in fostering the growth of the state’s technology sector. The Governor previously invested $2.3 million to help launch 1871, now one of the nation’s leading centers for early-stage digital technology companies. The state also invested $1.7 million to build the HTI, a new healthcare R&D facility located in the Illinois Medical District.

Illinois has the third-largest healthcare community in the U.S., and Chicago boasts the nation’s largest concentration of doctors. The state is home to leading national healthcare organizations, global biopharmaceutical, medical device, health IT, distribution and health insurance companies, leading research institutions and teaching hospitals, and a dynamic startup community. The life science industry in Illinois has a $98 billion economic footprint. For entrepreneurs building med-tech businesses, the Chicago area has one of the world’s highest concentrations of potential resources, but until now the community has not had a central focal point.

“When I moved to Chicago from Silicon Valley, I struggled to find and plug into the large and diverse med-tech community here,” said Andrew Cittadine, founder and CEO of Diagnostic Photonics. “MATTER will allow me and other entrepreneurs easy access to the people and resources we need to build our companies.”

For more information on MATTER, visit

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