Innovation Quarter creates new leadership role to develop Winston-Salem’s life science industry

originally found in Winston-Salem Business Journal

By Lillian Johnson

Innovation Quarter is creating a new leadership role to work with Greater Winston-Salem, Inc. to develop the city’s life sciences industry as it looks to become a global hub of regenerative medicine and a leader in biotechnology and clinical trials.

Isaac Perry has been named the head of biotech and life sciences ecosystem development at Innovation Quarter. He will also serve on the leadership team of Greater Winston-Salem as the organizations collaborate to bring new companies and opportunities in the life sciences industry to Forsyth County.

Perry will promote Winston-Salem as a top city for access to knowledge and resources in biotechnology and life sciences, especially in regenerative medicine and clinical trials innovation.

IQ looks to grow its thriving biotech community

Innovation Quarter, a ‘knowledge community’ designed by Wexford Science + Technology, has helped revitalize downtown Winston-Salem, drawing some $900 million in investment across 2 million square feet of space. Home to a thriving biotech and entrepreneurship community that includes Wake Forest University’s School of Medicine as a core tenant, IQ is gearing up for its second phase of development, which will include an eye institute.

“The biotech and life sciences sector is one of the leading industry sectors identified for strategic growth and investment for Winston-Salem,” said Mark Owens, president and CEO of Greater Winston-Salem. “We have seen unprecedented interest from life sciences companies in recent years, since the evolution of Innovation Quarter downtown. Interest from health care, biotech and life sciences companies has increased more than 600% since 2018. There is incredible potential for future development, and I am excited to work with Isaac and the team at Innovation Quarter to generate further success.”

The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) and the RegenMed Development Organization (ReMDO) have made IQ the home of the RegenMed Hub, an ecosystem focused on developing the field’s workforce. The RegenMed Hub has attracted well-known companies such as Axiom SpacePHC Group and MIMEDX.

WFIRM’s latest initiative, announced last week, is to work the PHC Group to create the Clinical Trials Catalyst program that will help researchers and companies bring regenerative medicine therapies and technologies to patients. WFIRM and PHC Group will partner with Javara, a fast-growing company in IQ that helps bring clinical trials to patients.

The growth of both sectors has aligned with the strategic growth of IQ and Winston-Salem.

“The growth of Innovation Quarter to date has depended upon the collaboration of countless individuals and many organizations to achieving success together, including Atrium Health, Wake Forest University, WFIRM, Wexford Science + Technology, Greater Winston-Salem, Inc. and more,” said Terry Hales, vice president of academic administration and operations and vice dean for the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

“In this new role, Isaac will serve as a bridge between collaborators, external partners and life sciences companies and concentrate all of those efforts into attracting tenants, partners and growing our innovation ecosystem,” Hales added.

Background in life sciences innovation

A Winston-Salem native, Perry most recently served as the director of strategy and innovation for Miracles in Sight, one of the world’s largest eye banks and one of the largest nonprofits in the Triad.

“Winston-Salem’s biotech ecosystem is truly unique from anywhere else in the world and is as accessible to small and startup companies as it is to larger ones,” Perry said. “Having all of these companies and researchers together in one space helps fast-track growth and also bring solutions to market more quickly that will impact the future of health care for years to come.

“I am very excited to play a part in growing the ecosystem.”

Perry holds a Black Belt Certification in Innovation Engineering from the Innovation Engineering Institute. He received a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Graduate Certification in Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill and an MBA from Wake Forest.