• WisBusiness

Thursday, April 29, 2010

 12:12 PM 

WisBusiness: Wisconsin presence rebounds at BIO 2010 in Chicago

By Brian E. Clark

Wisconsin will increase its presence at this year’s international biotechnology convention – BIO 2010 – by nearly 70 percent over 2009.

Last year, when the gathering was held in Atlanta, only 31 Badger State companies and organizations made the trek to Georgia.

This year the location for the conference is Chicago and the number has jumped to 51, said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which is coordinating the state’s effort for the first time.

“Part of it was the down economy last year, but the biotech industry appears to be bouncing back in a number of sectors,” said Still.

He said he anticipates that at least 125 Wisconsinites will attend the confab, which runs from Monday through Thursday at the Windy City’s McCormick Place Convention Center.

The state’s pavilion space has been downsized from 1,600 to 600 square feet, but Still said Wisconsin officials will be working closely with Minnesota, which is in a neighboring booth, other Midwestern states and the Canadian province of Manitoba.

Louise Bentley of Momentum West said her organization is going to Chicago for its first BIO convention to gain awareness and be seen.

“Our ultimate goal is to attract bio-related industries to our part of Wisconsin,” she said. “If we can make some connections that lead to getting companies to locate here, that would be great.”

Still said Gov. Jim Doyle also will attend BIO on Tuesday to meet with key people and hold a news conference.

“One of the things that we – and the governor – will stress is how our investor tax credit law is the best in the nation and that the new Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and the private Morgridge Institute for Research on the UW-Madison campus are unlike anything in the Midwest,” he said.

“Only the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT and the Clark Center at Stanford are like what we are developing in Madison,” he said. “We think we have something unique for the Heartland with the public research side at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and a focus on commercializing at Morgridge.”

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