In 2015, BioForward launched the tradition of recognizing, on an annual basis, scientific and business achievements in the biohealth and life science industry. As we look to the future, we reflect back on the successes that have brought Wisconsin to be among the leaders in biomedical research and development. Our recipients in 2017, captured Wisconsin’s broad impact on global human health, and additionally, their scientific and business contributions have had a significant impact on Wisconsin’s economy.
Dr. B. Lynn Allen-Hoffmann
Ph.D. from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Dr. Allen-Hoffmann was a Damon-Runyon Walter-Winchell Postdoctoral Fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School where she studied human keratinocyte growth and differentiation.
She is a tenured, full Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Surgery at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. She is internationally recognized for her innovative research and clinical development of human skin replacements including the world’s first genetically-enhanced human skin replacements. The NIKS cells, discovered in her UW laboratory, are a consistent source of genetically uniform, non-tumorigenic, pathogen free human keratinocytes amenable to genetic manipulation.
As a result of the discovery in her laboratory, Dr. Allen-Hoffmann founded Stratatech Corporation to deliver cell-based therapies to patients with complex skin loss. She has received numerous state and national awards and is the first woman at the UW to start a biotechnology company. Dr. Allen-Hoffmann has contributed to numerous peer-reviewed publications and patents. Stratatech received a 2016 Tibbitts Award which was accepted by Dr. Allen-Hoffmann at a White House ceremony. Stratatech Corporation was acquired by Mallinckrodt Specialty Pharmaceuticals on August 31, 2016.
With a vision of creating a more efficient, effective and easy to use health experience by more closely connecting drug and device companies with the patients they serve, Cynthia has transformed Dohmen from regional pharmaceutical wholesaler to nationally recognized BPO (business process outsourcer) and software provider for the life science industry. Since stepping into the role of CEO in 2009, Cynthia has grown the company to over 1000 employees, working from over one million square feet of space located in seven states. Dohmen has achieved a year over year growth rate of 57% and today processes billions of dollars in transactions as the trusted partner to hundreds of drug and device companies ranging in size from start up to fortune 500.
In 2008, Cynthia also founded the Dohmen Company Foundation as a way to make tangible Dohmen’s legacy of caring commitment. Each year a percentage of Dohmen’s profits fund the Foundation and its mission to connect people in need with lifesaving healthcare products and services. Since inception, the Foundation has contributed more than $10 million dollars to this objective, positively affecting over 123 million lives.
Dr. James Thomson
Dr. James Thomson has conducted pioneering work on the isolation and culture of human pluripotent stem cells -- undifferentiated cells that can proliferate without limit and have the ability to become any of the differentiated cells of the body.
Dr. Thomson directed the group that reported the first isolation of embryonic stem cell lines from a nonhuman primate in 1995, work that led his group to the first successful isolation of human embryonic stem cell lines in 1998. In 2007, Dr. Thomson’s lab reported (concurrently with Dr. Shinya Yamanaka) the first isolation of human induced pluripotent stem cells -- cells that have the basic properties of human embryonic stem cells but are derived from somatic cells rather than human embryos. The derivation of human embryonic stem cells and the later derivation of human induced pluripotent stem cells were both deemed “Breakthroughs of the Year” by Science magazine.
Dr. Thomson is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has received many awards and honors recognizing his work. In addition to his scientific contributions, Dr. Thomson has also contributed to the growth of the local biotechnology industry through his founding of Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI) in 2004. CDI has played an innovative role in industrializing the process of manufacturing human cells in large quantities as tools in drug discovery, toxicity testing, regenerative medicine applications, and stem cell banking.
Ralph Kauten serves as Chairman and CEO of Lucigen Corporation. He also serves on the Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards for companies in the biotechnology, healthcare, banking and manufacturing industries.
Mr. Kauten has been instrumental in incorporating commercial thinking and direction in collaboration with scientific teams. He has helped shape the purpose, vision, values, and strategy for a number of Wisconsin biotechnology companies.
His involvement in biotechnology started in 1979 at Promega Corporation, followed by involvement with PanVera Corporation, Mirus Bio Corporation, Quintessence Biosciences, Inc. and Lucigen Corporation.
Mr. Kauten holds an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BBA from the University of Iowa.
Hector is former chairman of the University’s Biochemistry Department. He is well known for his discovery of the vitamin D-basedendocrine system and the development of 8 pharmaceuticals used worldwide. He was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1979. Hector has trained almost 160 graduate students and has more than 700 patents to his name. In addition, DeLuca is president and CEO of Deltanoid Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company founded on technology he developed, and has been responsible for the development of Bone Care, Int. (acquired by Genzyme) and Tetrionics (now Sigma Aldrich Fine Chemicals acquired by Merck).
Bill Linton founded Promega in 1978 and has served continuously as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. A life science research company, Promega has grown from one employee to a global corporation, employing over 1,300 people worldwide. Today, Promega serves customers in over 100 countries, with direct sales and manufacturing branches in 16 countries. Initially supporting university researchers, Promega now serves scientists in basic research, drug discovery, forensics and clinical diagnostics. The company continues to be privately held with revenues of $380 million.