Wisconsin: A National Hub for Biomanufacturing

Biomanufacturing is the use of advanced manufacturing to produce the next generation of healthcare products, such as cell therapies, engineered tissues, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, as well as drug discovery and testing platforms.

Biomanufacturing is emerging as a substantial industry in the United States. National biomanufacturing initiatives are being supported by multiple federal agencies, including NIST, DoD, DARPA, NSF, and NIH. In addition, private companies have increasingly focused on developing biomanufacturing approaches in order to generate products in the large and rapidly expanding regenerative medicine market.

Why here?

The state of Wisconsin is home to 75 companies in the biomanufacturing space, and 17% of Wisconsin jobs are in manufacturing. Thus, Wisconsin is a powerful national hub for biomanufacturing.

The University of Wisconsin (UW) is an internationally recognized leader in biomanufacturing research, including cell therapy, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Notably, Dr. Jamie Thomson's ongoing stem cell research that led to his group pioneering the isolation and culture of human pluripotent stem cells in 2007. The program's success is due in part to UW’s prominence in each of the critical areas needed to develop biomanufacturing technologies – engineering, life sciences, medicine, veterinary, and technology transfer. Madison’s inordinately large life science industry relative to its size, and proximity to medical device and pharma hubs (Minneapolis, Chicago, Warsaw IN), also make it an ideal Midwest epicenter for biomanufacturing innovation.

Forward Bio Initiative Launched: Focused on Advanced Technology Innovations in Biomanufacturing

Forward Bio Institute

A public enterprise that catalyzes innovation in biomanufacturing research, entrepreneurship, and workforce development, and acts as a “catapult” that pushes disruptive technologies into the private sector.

Forward BIOLabs

A fully equipped, maintained, and supported shared life science lab, which lowers the barrier for the launch and success of innovative start-up companies, while increasing their capital efficiency


A private non-profit organization, dedicated to supporting Forward BIO through facilitating partnerships between government, academia and private industry, as well as marketing the economic and business impact of Wisconsin’s biohealth industry

Wisconsin Biomanufacturing in the News

UW-Madison team developing ‘tissue chip’ to screen neurological toxins

UW–Madison and Morgridge team is among 11 universities receiving support to continue the promising work as part of the Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program. These stem cell-based models could replace current animal testing for fast and accurate toxicity screens, he says, potentially dramatically reducing the number of animals used in research.

Full article available here

Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics investing $21M for new Madison stem cell facility

The firm, which was acquired by Japan-based Fujifilm in 2015, said it expects the facility to begin operating by March 2020. It plans to use the space to develop its own line of therapeutics, including regenerative medicines, and also for contract stem cell development and manufacturing projects.

The 31,500-square-foot facility will be located within walking distance of the company’s headquarters, which are at University Research Park on Madison’s west side.

Full article available here

Madison's Catalent Biologics Manufactures Personalized Cancer Vaccine for Moderna Therapeutics

Moderna’s software produced a list of 20 protein targets specific to the patient’s cancer. Then its scientists assembled DNA building blocks to create the recipe for her treatment. Those DNA templates were sent to Catalent Biologics in Madison, Wisconsin, where they were transcribed into mRNA and packed as a string of instructions into a little glass vial.

Full article available here