27 May TAKING WISCONSIN’S BIOTECH MESSAGE TO THE WORLD
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation is in the top six nationally in licensing fees received and in total royalty payments. In 2001, UW-Madison ranked 11th out of 143 U.S. universities in royalties and other license income collected on university discoveries. Recent measures rank Wisconsin in the top 10 for both employment growth and number of companies nationally. Wisconsin is clearly building a unique and healthy environment for biotechnology firms with over 200 companies in the life sciences sector. Finally, Wisconsin offers a great alternative nationally to the large biotech centers across the U.S. with a lower cost of living and superior quality of life. Clearly, there is a great opportunity to move forward and build upon Wisconsin’s success in the life sciences by informing those outside our state and country about Wisconsin’s biotech strengths.
On June 22-25, 2003 in Washington DC, Wisconsin will undertake exactly that “get out the word” effort through an extensive marketing program at BIO 2003 – the largest gathering of biotechnology leaders in the world. BIO 2003 will bring together over 20,000 biotech professionals, venture capitalists, university researchers, academics and business developers from over 50 countries. The attendees are converging on the nation’s capital to seek financing, joint ventures, customers, partnerships and ideas to further develop the biotechnology industry. Wisconsin’s objective at the BIO 2003 conference is to proudly let the biotech world know that our state has a strong and emerging biotechnology sector and all the expertise, research and resources to support it. Half of the $80,000 marketing initiative will be funded by Forward Wisconsin, the state’s public-private business marketing organization that is organizing the effort, with the balance coming primarily from private sector groups that are partnering to sponsor the program.
With more visibility for Wisconsin’s resources in the biotechnology field at BIO 2003, the objective is to have additional capital, businesses and professionals come to the state in the life sciences and create an even larger sector with more opportunities and economic benefit. Over 50 Wisconsin business people, medical doctors, scientists, economic development professionals, university representatives and government officials are expected to attend from across the state to promote Wisconsin to the biotech world.
For three days, Wisconsin will have a 14-space pavilion exhibit area that includes booths from the UW-Madison, The Marshfield Clinic, The Medical College of Wisconsin, Forward Wisconsin, TechStar, the Wisconsin Technology Council, Gala Design, EraGen Biosciences and Scientific Protein Laboratories. At the past three BIO conferences, many Wisconsin organizations have made critical contacts and have generated more business and employment from their presence there. The exhibit area will be only part of Wisconsin’s marketing effort, as the state will host a large hospitality reception for all BIO 2003 attendees. At the reception, brief presentations will take place throughout the evening detailing the great quality of life in Wisconsin and our commitment to excellence. In addition, one-on-one visits with biotech and pharma firms in the DC area will be scheduled, international events with Wisconsin’s sister states of Chiba, Japan and Hessen, Germany are being developed, and a regulatory breakfast is being organized for Wisconsin firms to meet with federal regulators.
To say the competition for becoming the next biotechnology center is fierce would probably be an understatement. Nearly every state and country is pursuing biotechnology, as well as the businesses, venture capital, life science talent, research dollars and high-wage jobs that come along with it. BIO 2003 clearly illustrates the nature of this competition with 40 states and countries organizing exhibit pavilions and just as many hosting hospitality receptions. Yet, while many countries and other states are pursuing biotechnology, very few have the competitive advantages that we have here in Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s tradition of supporting research, our growing base of life science firms, excellent educational system, wonderful quality of life and the best talent anywhere in the world, bodes well for our state not only successfully competing for, but excelling in making biotechnology a cornerstone of the state’s future economy. For more information, or to be a part of Wisconsin’s marketing program at BIO 2003, e-mail Forward Wisconsin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Reigstad is the Bioscience Sector Marketing Specialist for Forward Wisconsin, the state’s public-private business marketing group.