Kosciusko County has pledged up to $1 million in funding over six years, the City of Fort Wayne pledged $450,000 over the same period, and Allen County has pledged $150,000 over the six years. AcceLinx is a new initiative aimed at providing the resources needed to accelerate the likelihood of success of selected innovative enterprises by leveraging the unique assets of the northern Indiana orthopedic medical device industry cluster.
This $1.6 million in new commitments brings the total raised to $3.3 million, including prior pledges made by the City of Warsaw ($500,000) and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation ($1.2 million), both over six years. OrthoWorx projects that $4.8 million will be required to operate AcceLinx over the first six years.
Discussions are currently underway with other regional economic and private stakeholders toward the remaining funding needed for the six-year operational budget. OrthoWorx has also submitted a proposal to the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s i6 Regional Innovation Strategies Grant program for $500,000.
“Our region has an excellent track record of innovation,” said Ron Truex, president of the Kosciusko County Commissioners. “We see in AcceLinx an opportunity to invest in further strengthening our environment for innovation and new company formation. We believe this initiative will keep talented individuals here to develop their concepts and businesses, and will utilize the many suppliers and service providers already in place. We see it as a potential win-win for the county—more jobs through supporting and attracting start-ups and the opportunity to strengthen the overall economy.”
“Although the core of the orthopedic industry is located in Warsaw, the City of Fort Wayne and our entire region benefit in many ways from the orthopedic industry cluster,” said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. “In Fort Wayne, we have a number of associated medical device and supplier companies, graduates of our universities go on to excellent careers in orthopedics, many industry employees live in our city, and the industry depends on resources such as our airport. The connections among Kosciusko County, the orthopedic cluster and Allen County and Fort Wayne have never been more evident.”
“It is a privilege to partner with Kosciusko County and the City of Fort Wayne in this endeavor which will help grow our area’s economic base,” said Therese Brown, Allen County Commissioner. “This investment in our region is a sign of continued confidence for our business community. OrthoWorx and AcceLinx will benefit from northeast Indiana’s innovative climate and our talented community that will make up their employee base.”
“We are extremely grateful to Kosciusko County, Allen County, and the City of Fort Wayne for their vision and leadership,” said Sheryl Conley, OrthoWorx president and CEO. These entities will receive increased tax receipts from the Zimmer Biomet merger and we appreciate their willingness to reinvest in the industry that is so critical to the region’s economy.
“With inspiration from the community and the late Dr. Dane Miller, the AcceLinx initiative will help to capitalize on the unprecedented concentration of intellectual capital and device industry experience in northern Indiana,” she said.
The organization will be headquartered in Warsaw. Although legally separate from OrthoWorx, AcceLinx will initially be housed within the OrthoWorx offices with a physical location expected to be established within the next year. Future announcements will be made regarding how AcceLinx will engage with entrepreneurs who want to learn more.
The orthopedic medical device industry cluster in Indiana began in 1895 with the founding of what is today DePuy Synthes Joint Reconstruction. Other firms, including Zimmer and Biomet (then separate companies; now merged), were also launched in Warsaw, which has led to an unprecedented concentration of medical device firms and direct employment of approximately 7,000 in Kosciusko County alone. Device firms and their suppliers are largely concentrated on a corridor extending from Warsaw to Allen County. OrthoWorx industry members DePuy Synthes and Zimmer Biomet are two of the largest such firms in the world. Other members include Medtronic, the world’s largest spinal implant company (whose roots stem from an early Warsaw orthopedic manufacturer), Paragon Medical, a leading Tier One supplier, and OrthoPediatrics, a company devoted to developing orthopedic treatments for children.