Company to Watch: Nemours Children’s Health System

Any hospital that treats patients from all 50 states and 44 different countries in a single calendar year had better have plenty of office space. It needs room for its research operations to spread out too. For years, that has been something of a problem for Nemours Children’s Health System, even though the nationally renowned care center has risen to 11th nationally in pediatric R&D funding.

It isn’t a worry any longer.

Nemours will be taking up 85,000 square feet of laboratory and support staff space in the DuPont Experimental Station, a multibuilding facility near the hospital. It’s a dramatic step forward that will improve the biomedical research climate for Nemours and move it into an environment with other companies dedicated to discovering breakthroughs in a variety of scientific and technological fields.

“This is a big opportunity for Nemours and the state and community,” says Nemours President Paul Kempinski. “We have a chance to become the health care provider that is a catalyst in creating an incubation center and an innovation center. We will be able to work with DuPont, as well as the other companies [at the Station].”

Nemours will relocate about 68 scientists, research fellows, clinical investigators and support staff to Building 400, where it will occupy two full floors. Its centers for pediatric cancer, orthopedic, lung and neuroscience research, regenerative medicine, biomedical engineering, histotechnology and applied clinical genomics will be housed there. Nemours will also bring its “animal lab” to the Station, to continue its research on other species.

Nemours moves in just as DuPont has made a $200 million investment commitment to the facility. That will benefit the hospital’s R&D efforts but also serve to attract even more companies looking for a vibrant environment in which to do their work. Kempinski likens the Experimental Station model to that of Silicon Valley, where big minds have convened to create their own magic but also to develop an environment in which science and technology move forward due to the tremendous critical mass assembled.

“What industries are realizing is that one plus one equals three,” Kempinski says. “That’s what happens when organizations and industries come together with the goal of thinking ahead of the curve, instead of thinking just about their own businesses.”

It’s a big move for Nemours and one it believes will have a direct benefit on the thousands of patients it treats every year.

“We have found that our care has to be supported and improved by robust research,” Kempinski says.

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