• WisBusiness

Thursday, June 14, 2012

 10:42 PM 

Column: Wisconsin biosciences -- changing the world

By Lisa Johnson

One of Wisconsin's hidden secrets is the strength of its biosciences industry. During the week of June 19-22, representatives from Wisconsin bioscience companies, research entities and industry representatives will be telling the world how Wisconsin is "changing the world" at the BIO 2012 International Convention in Boston.

Wisconsin is changing the world through its strength of Wisconsin's biosciences research, development and commercialization in the areas of personalized and regenerative medicine application, cancer detection and treatment, pharmaceutical manufacturing, human identification, agricultural genetics and energy technology.

During this convention, it's the goal of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to showcase the resources Wisconsin has in research and collaboration to advance technologies and products. We're going all out to tell the world the power of biosciences Wisconsin has to offer.

Not only is Wisconsin's bioscience industry a world leader in significant breakthroughs, but it is providing new opportunities for business and job growth in state.

Wisconsin was recently ranked as the nation's 14th largest biotech cluster in the country, taking into consideration the combination of academic research and development expenditures, employment in bioscience-related occupations and bioscience venture capital investments in Wisconsin.

Bioscience is a $6.8 billion sector in Wisconsin, with more than 640 companies and 24,000 workers directly employed in medical devices, healthcare, industrial and environmental biotechnology, agriculture and energy. Wisconsin's biosciences are looking to double the number of high-value jobs over the next several years.

Wisconsin research institutions, like UW-Madison, conduct more than $1.23 billion per year in academic research and development. Wisconsin has strong research centers including Wisconsin Institute of Discovery, Marshfield Clinic, and Medical College of Wisconsin, just to name a few.

Here are the life-changing advancements coming through some of Wisconsin bioscience companies that will be present at BIO: Super Vitamin D in Eau Claire is working on ways for people with difficulty absorbing vitamin D3; Exact Sciences in Madison has developed non-invasive colorectal cancer screening and Quintessence Biosciences of Madison is developing drug technology that targets the RNA of cancer cells.

The Wisconsin Medical Entrepreneurship Foundation is bringing together Marshfield Clinic, Aurora Health Care, Baycare Health Care and WiSys Technology Foundation to jointly develop healthcare solutions and accelerate medical innovations. The Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin, which includes Concordia University, Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee, is working to accelerate the translation of research discoveries into new and improved medical treatments.

Those and hundreds other Wisconsin companies and research entities are not only finding solutions and innovations for the health, energy, environmental and agriculture world, they are providing economic growth opportunities for Wisconsin.

With such a strong network supported by industry organizations like Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, BioFoward and Wisconsin Technology Council, we're able to keep our innovations in the state. And we're able to keep our best and brightest in Wisconsin to grow our economy, while changing the world.

-- Johnson is vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Wisconsin's lead economic development entity. Lisa was one of the founders of Novagen-EMD Biosciences, Madison, and Chief Business Officer for Semba Biosciences, Inc. in Madison.

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