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MADISON, Wis.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–BioForward, the member-driven association that serves as the voice of Wisconsin’s biohealth industry, held its annual Wisconsin Biohealth Summit on October 9th at the Overture Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

The 2018 Biohealth Summit had over 450 attendees and featured two keynote sessions, four panel discussions, an industry-specific career fair, an interactive experiment and interactive audience polling to provide feedback to panelists. BioForward also released their 2018 Wisconsin Biohealth Industry Economic Impact Report.

Leaders from the newly announced Forward BIO Initiative took the stage, just two years after committing to build Wisconsin’s biomanufacturing center of excellence at the 2016 Wisconsin Biohealth Summit. The Forward BIO Initiative partners outlined the three components of the initiative, Forward BIO Institute, Forward BIOLABS, and BioForward, who will work together to support technological innovation, workforce development, and industry collaborations to effectively translate discoveries into commercial products and groundbreaking therapies in the emerging area of biomanufacturing. Dianomi Therapeutics also joined the panel to discuss industry partnership with the initiative and how this type of collaboration benefits their business growth and investment opportunities.

The 2018 Wisconsin Biohealth Industry Economic Impact Report was also published the day of the event, with attendees getting the first look at the newest economic impact data for the industry. Findings included 4,320 biohealth businesses contributing $48 billion in economic output and 107,616 direct jobs in Wisconsin with median wages of $89,026.

Dr. Chris Mason, Associate Professor of Weill Cornell Medicine and Director of WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction, began the day with a morning keynote on how genomics is transforming the future of medicine, forensics, and space travel. In collaboration with Dr. Mason and Illumina, BioForward invited attendees to join the global MetaSUB microbiome experimentthemselves, swabbing over 300 smart phones to be used for microbiome data.

During a lunch ceremony, Dr. Allen W. Cowley of Medical College of Wisconsin and Kevin Conroy of Exact Sciences were recognized for their achievements and contributions to Wisconsin’s biohealth industry. The Summit also featured panel discussions covering topics including gene editing, the industry’s economic impact, the discovery of new markets, and the importance of advancing women into leadership roles within the biohealth industry.

“The annual Wisconsin Biohealth Summit has historically celebrated our industry, but this year’s event truly highlighted the exceptional work being done and the immense impact our industry has on the state,” said Lisa Johnson, CEO of BioForward. “We must continue to celebrate our industry’s successes and redefine Wisconsin’s image as a leader in the biohealth industry.”

BioForward’s future initiatives include launching the recently announced biomanufacturing center of excellence, a talent attraction campaign, and ensuring continued growth and success for Wisconsin’s biohealth industry.

To learn more about BioForward’s annual Wisconsin Biohealth Summit, visit the Summit website here.