21 Oct Wisconsin biotech association does a little matchmaking
Madison, Wis. – A 2006 visit to Madison by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer continues to compel the Wisconsin Biotechnology and Medical Device Association to try and connect the state’s biotechnology and medical device companies with some of the world’s largest drug makers.
Potential partnerships will have more time to develop on Wednesday, October 22, as the WMBA holds its annual conference at the Country Springs Hotel and Conference Center in Waukesha.
While the conference will have sessions on virtual product development and foreign patent filings, the bulk of the programming will concentrate of building alliances and partnerships. The conference plans nine visioning sessions on partnership strategies where large biotech, health, and pharmaceutical companies will present their partnership criteria and set up follow-up meetings with qualified companies.
A large contingent of the state’s $8 billion bioscience industry is expected to attend, as are representatives of Eli Lilly, Roche, Medtronic, and Johnson & Johnson. “Matchmaking will follow after the conference,” said Jim Leonhart, executive director of the WBMA, which worked with the state Department of Commerce to bring Pfizer here.
The economic value of such relationships is illustrated by the 2007 acquisition of Madison’s NimbleGen by Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical company. Roche purchased NimbleGen, which had been working toward an initial public offering, for $272.5 million, and later acquired the Madison-based Mirus Bio Corp. for $125 million.
In addition to building relationships with global players, the conference will delve into politics and public policy when U.S. Senator Russ Feingold and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan appear. They will deliver luncheon keynote addresses on the elections’ possible impact on the biotech industry, and Gov. Jim Doyle will speak at an evening reception.
The WMBA also will recognize the “rising stars” of the state’s biotech and medical device industry. Winners have been selected based on extraordinary entrepreneurship and business leadership, product innovation, and technological achievement. They are:
- Dave Rozema, senior scientist, Roche Mirus. Rozema was the leader of the Mirus chemistry team that developed the small interfering RNA, or siRNA, which targets the delivery of siRNAs to tissues in the body.
- Laura Douglas, president and chief executive, Next Generation Clinical Research. She founded contract-research company in 1999 to provide clinical trial management services to small and mid-sized biotechnology companies.
- Monika de Arruda Indig, director of clinical and contract research for the Blood Center of Wisconsin. Dr. de Arruda Indig designed this new business segment within the Blood Center and is responsible for all aspects of clinical and contract research, including testing services and custom assay development.
- Marilyn Olson-Munoz, Ph.D., associate vice president of Third Wave Technologies, a member of the Hologic family of companies. Dr. Olson-Munoz led the development of Third Wave’s cervical cancer screening test, which is becoming a leading way to screen for the human papillomvirus virus, which has been linked to cervical cancer.
- Tom Foti, director of custom services, EMD Chemicals, Inc. Foti, who joined the company 16 years ago, developed a successful training program for EMD/Merck business development professionals.