26 Oct Bioscience beats beer
Madison, Wis.—Growing at an annual clip of 16 percent the past two years, Wisconsin’s bioscience sector is making inroads into a state’s historically known for beer, brats, and milk, says Gale Davy, author of a report, “Bioscience Wisconsin,” released today at the State Capitol in Madison.
“Can you think of any other industry that’s growing that fast?” she asked. Davy is the executive director of the Wisconsin Association for Biomedical Research & Education, a non-profit group sponsored by a consortium of heavy hitters in the Wisconsin research community. They include the Universities of Wisconsin-Madison and Milwaukee, the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Marshfield Clinic, the Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center, Edstrom Industries, and several others.
Viewed by sales, investments and grants, the bioscience industries ($6.9 billion) are bigger than the state’s beer businesses ($6.8 billion), the report said. The industries are separated into 14 segments, including agricultural biotech, biopharmaceuticals, energy bioscience, and forestry/paper biotech.
Example companies include EraGen Biosciences (biomedical reagents and biopharmaceuticals), of Madison; PhysioGenix (lab animal supplier) of Milwaukee; and eMetagen (biopharmaceuticals) of Madison.
However, the list does not include revenue from over 500 companies that count on bioscience for part of their products or services, the report said. Companies not counted include healthcare delivery and services and ag companies selling seeds or other modified organisms.
The numbers are:
• Bioscience: 338 companies; 22,372 employees; $6.3 billion in revenue
• Manufacturing: 193 companies; 17,728 employees; $5.6 billion in revenue
• Service: 105 companies; 3,130 employees; $490 million in revenue
Bioscience faces challenges, however, the report concludes. The association recommends that state government should resist the urge to regulate science at the state level, increase bioscience investment by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, and create tax credits for R&D expenditures.
Davy hopes that public support catches up to the rate of scientific advancement.
“Sciences moves this fast”—Davy opens her arms wide—”and the public moves this fast”—closing her arms again. “We want the public to catch up to bioscience.”