• WisBusiness

Sunday, April 09, 2006

 2:15 PM 

BIO 2006 Taking Shape at Chicago's McCormick Place

BIO 2006 kicked off in the Windy City today and the floor of one of the main halls at McCormick Place Convention Center is a sea of booths from scores of countries, states and individual companies touting their prowess.

By Monday, the construction debris will be gone and as many as 20,000 biotech types will be swarming the floor for the four-day conference.

The Wisconsin Pavilion, which is part of a more than $270,000 effort by the Badger State to tell its story and attract biotech companies, is nearly complete.

The state is spending roughly $60,000 in taxpayer dollars, according to Jan Alf of Forward Wisconsin.

In part because the huge convention will probably never be closer than Chicago, state officials managed to leveraged nearly three times that much from private companies and foundations.

UW-Madison alone has shelled out roughly $100,000 for its share of the 1,600-square-foot Wisconsin pavilion.

According to Charlie Hoslet, nearly all of that money came from private sources, including the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, University Research Park and other groups, including the real estate companty First Weber.

"This is a 10-fold increase over what the university spent last year for BIO 2005 in Philadelphia," Hoslet said. "I think our booth is eye-catching and will attract people to stop by and learn about our resources and expertise.

"We are here because we want to get on more comapnies' radar screens for everything from attracting investment to getting companies to set up shop in Wisconsin to licensing technology to getting our talented graduates jobs."



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