MADISON, Wis.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–BioForward, Inc., the voice for biohealth in Wisconsin, unveiled a united effort to make Wisconsin a world leader in biomanufacturing during its lunch panel at the BioForward Summit in Madison. Moving out of the shadow of bioscience hubs in Boston on California, Wisconsin boasts a powerful biomanufacturing and medtech footprint – with almost $27 Billion in economic output.
Featured on the panel were leaders from Aldevron, the Regenerative Medicine Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, FUJIFILM – Cellular Dynamics International, and Phillips-Medisize. The speakers emphasized that while Wisconsin is home to all facets of biohealth – from basic research to life-saving treatment – it has been a leader for over 20 years in regenerative medicine and biomanufacturing. As traditional manufacturing wanes, the leaders argues, Wisconsin must build the next generation of manufacturing-biomanufacturing-by amplifying its core healthcare, medtech and IT resources.
“Wisconsin is focused on building one united story around biohealth, and by extension one integrated health solutions hub that blends our strengths in manufacturing, bioscience, medtech, diagnostics and digital health,” said Lisa Johnson, CEO of BioForward. “This is a major transformation. Our state is in a unique position to leverage world-class research and biohealth innovation as the healthcare industry moves toward personalized medicine and outcome-based approaches.”
Following the panel, the second annual BioForward awards for scientific and business achievement were given to Dr. James Thomson and Ralph Kauten– two giants in healthcare innovation in Wisconsin that have greatly impacted the world.
Dr. Thomson serves as Director of Regenerative Biology, at the Morgridge Institute for Research. In 2007, his lab reported (contemporaneously with Dr. Shinya Yamanaka) the first isolation of human induced pluripotent (iPS) stem cells. iPS cells have the basic properties of human ES cells but are derived from somatic cells rather than human embryos. Dr. Thomson, also founded Cellular Dynamics, a Madison, WI based company acquired by FUJIFILM in March 2015.
Ralph Kauten’s involvement in biotechnology started in 1979 at Promega Corporation followed by playing vital roles in PanVera Corporation, Mirus Bio Corporation, Quintessence Biosciences, Inc. and he currently serves as the CEO of Lucigen Corporation.
BioForward’s annual Summit featured panel discussions around the convergence of once segregated industries in healthcare, the Cancer Moonshot 2020 initiative and what state companies are doing to fight cancer, as well as Wisconsin-based businesses showcasing how they are at the forefront of personalized medicine and the challenges and opportunities they face in the state of Wisconsin. BioForward plans to actively grow their membership to ensure the prosperity of the biohealth industry continues across Wisconsin.
BioForward was founded in 1987, as the Wisconsin Biotechnology Association, a partnership among leaders in Wisconsin’s emerging biotechnology industry. The association joined forces in 2002 with the medical device manufacturers, and became the Wisconsin Biotechnology and Medical Device Association. The organization was rebranded in 2009 as BioForward. Over the past decade our membership has grown to include key industry sectors across a broad cross-section of biohealth specialties including health IT, drug development, medical devices, and research instrumentation and reagents. Our focus starting in 2016 is advocating on behalf of Wisconsin’s industry strength in healthcare solutions and research. We have implemented a new logo and placed emphasis that BioForward represents this impactful industry for the state of Wisconsin.