Setting Our Sites on Companies that are Right for Memphis

One of the key success factors in establishing a meaningful brand is focus. Nothing dilutes a brand faster than trying to reach beyond a core competency or stretch outside a believable sphere.

For those building the bioscience industry in Memphis, that basic tenant of brand building has been followed well. Memphis’ strengths have been identified and strategic plans put into place to attract appropriate opportunities that fit well with our existing bioscience industries.

But, in order to grow the bioscience industry in Memphis even more, we need to dream big and be more aggressive in pursuing potential business. The Musculoskeletal New Ventures Conference, an annual gathering of musculoskeletal and orthopedic researchers, corporations, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, is a perfect illustration of Memphis striving for and achieving what it deserves. We have now established the definitive conference for this industry, which has the potential to lead to even bigger and better business opportunities. As I participated in the conference last month, while proud of what we have created, I couldn’t help but notice some “could have beens” for Memphis.

One company that stood out for me at the conference was TiGenix. TiGenix is a Belgium-based biomedical company focused on regenerative medicine. Its primary research is in finding a solution for damaged and osteoarthritic joints through the combination of innovative cellular therapies and locally delivered therapeutics.

Osteoarthritis is a big problem with an aging population. And, it is a disease whose treatment certainly fits well with the Memphis bioscience brand. That is, we are a world capital for medical devices and treatments related to joints – knees, hips, shoulders etc. Already, some of our giant medical device companies in town are focused on treating people impacted by osteoarthritis.

In March of this year, this private biomedical company established its North American headquarters in New York. It could have easily fit here. Some may say there isn’t any comparison between New York City and Memphis. I would agree. When it comes to issues related to orthopedics and musculoskeletal research and development there is no comparison – we come out ahead. We also win when weighing the cost of living and cost of doing business against cities such as New York.

There are a lot of similar TiGenix opportunities out there. As a community, we must keep our eyes and ears open. If we are aware and aggressive, we will win our fair share – as long as we stick to our brand and core competencies. In fact, the TiGenix story isn’t over yet. It is too late to win the headquarters, but not too late to win their distribution and manufacturing. Our Memphis Chamber is hard at work on that right now.


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