31 Dec, 2007By: Jim Doyle
Moving Beyond Discovery to Become a Bio Business Hub
The State of Wisconsin has a long and successful tradition of supporting the research, development and commercialization of ideas – and our state will continue that tradition into the future. However, Wisconsin has now moved well into the next stage and has become one of the leading locations for the life sciences in the world.
Wisconsin offers comprehensive resources for biotechnology and medical device businesses seeking to expand in the state, investors looking for a return on their investment and people seeking fulfilling employment in the life sciences area. Wisconsin is now an established and exciting location for life sciences with the presence of global biotechnology firms to supplement our smaller, growing ventures.
Wisconsin’s life sciences success story includes a critical mass of more than 300 companies in industrial and environmental biotechnology, bioinformatics, medical devices, healthcare, and value-added agriculture. No wonder Fierce Biotech, a leading life science industry bulletin, named Wisconsin one of the five places in the world best-positioned to be a hotbed of biotech innovation. No wonder the National Institutes of Health chose Wisconsin as the location for the one and only National Stem Cell Bank.
A Strong Network of Partners and Supporters
The Wisconsin Biotechnology and Medical Device Association, founded over 20 years ago, is a statewide coalition of business, science, education and government leaders dedicated to promoting the growth of the life science industry in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Technology Council is a science and technology advisor to the governor and legislature, as well as a catalyst for technology development in the state. The University of Wisconsin Biotechnology Center, located on the UW-Madison campus, provides research, education and information services to the life sciences community.
The Wisconsin Angel Network is a public-private initiative created with bipartisan support from Governor Jim Doyle and the Legislature. The Network provides services and support to angel networks and early-stage investors, including deal flow, administration, education and networking events. The Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network provides integrated statewide support to entrepreneurs in all industries and developmental stages. It features 50 access points across the state and offers entrepreneurial assistance.
A Continued Commitment to Research, Education and Technology Transfer
Wisconsin has its own “triangle” and it includes the three “M’s”: Madison, Milwaukee and Marshfield.
Madison. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the most prolific research universities in the world, placing third among American public universities for research expenditures. It’s one of the few campuses in the U.S. that has all five biology-related schools or colleges: medicine, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, agriculture, and letters & science. UW-Madison has over 800 biosciences faculty across these units and 10,000 ongoing research projects.
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and its affiliate WiSys, has licensed more than 3,000 technologies from campus discoveries across the University of Wisconsin System in its 80 plus years of existence. The WiCell Research Institute, another WARF venture and the caretaker of the National Stem Cell Bank, supports embryonic stem cell research. The University Research Park is home to dozens of life science firms and includes The MGE Innovation Center, a thriving biotech incubator. Many start-up companies utilizing UW-Madison and WARF-licensed technologies locate in the Park.
Milwaukee. Wisconsin’s largest metro area also contributes greatly to our state’s life science research capabilities. The Medical College of Wisconsin ranks in the top third of all U.S. medical schools in life science research funding and houses one of the largest bioinformatics research centers in the country. The Blood Research Institute, a division of the Blood Center of Wisconsin, is the third largest biomedical research institution in the state. Marquette University has influential research programs in biomedical engineering and bioinformatics, while UW-Milwaukee features premier programs in the health sciences and nursing. The Milwaukee County Research Park is home to many start-up firms spun out of southeast Wisconsin research institutions.
Marshfield. Marshfield is located in central Wisconsin. Marshfield Clinic and the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, the Clinic’s research arm, is one of the largest private group medical practices in the U.S. The Clinic is involved in key research projects including a personalized medicine research effort that is the largest population-based genetic research project in the nation.
Statewide. Traveling throughout the state, the University and Technical College Systems and the state’s private colleges are excellent sources for doctoral students in the biological and computer sciences as well as for laboratory technicians and alumni wanting to return to Wisconsin. UW-River Falls and UW-Platteville also have a strong legacy of agricultural biotech research.
Wisconsin has the resources to meet the needs of life science professionals, whether they are starting a company or a career. The Wisconsin Department of Commerce has early stage investment tax credits, technology assistance grants, technology bridge grants, technology matching grants and technology venture fund loans available to encourage entrepreneurial growth.
An Investment Plan for Future Life Science Growth
Wisconsin is investing in the future of the life sciences and here are just a few examples of the exciting projects underway.
The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery in Madison will include specialists in biochemistry, nanotechnology, computer engineering, and bioinformatics. It will be built and financed over 10 years, with support from state and private funds totaling $375 million.
A $134 million Health Star Interdisciplinary Research Complex is being built near the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison. It will be dedicated to innovation and rapid transfer of medical science discoveries into clinical applications.
A planned $9 million Institute for Influenza Viral Research includes the development of 20,000 square feet of new research space for flu research, including specialized lab facilities, in existing space at University Research Park in Madison.
The Medical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee have broken ground on a $132 million research facility that will focus on infectious disease control, cardiovascular illnesses and bioengineering.
A Top-Flight Quality of Life
While Wisconsin is home to world-renowned bioscientists, academic and research institutions, teaching hospitals and breakthrough life science companies, Wisconsin is also a great place to live. Natural beauty and outdoor recreation abound in our great state and it doesn’t take hours of drive time before you can unwind. You can be sailing, fishing or boating on one of our 14,000 lakes, swinging a club on any of Wisconsin’s 425 golf courses, sitting in a theater or sporting event, or simply picnicking, biking, hiking, camping or rock climbing within minutes of leaving the office.
Family living or single life is affordable, safe, and as relaxing or as action-packed as you want it to be. Wisconsin’s secondary and post-secondary education is among the tops in the country, housing costs are very reasonable compared to the coasts and large metro areas, and crime rates are among the lowest in the nation.
Interested in Wisconsin?
Interested in Wisconsin for a business, investment or research opportunity? Forward Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Department of Commerce can help.
Forward Wisconsin’s job is to market Wisconsin’s business advantages outside the state to inform industry and business leaders about the positive benefits of living, playing, and doing business in Wisconsin. Forward Wisconsin works directly with business executives, real estate brokers, site selection consultants and other individuals that are interested in bringing business and investment to Wisconsin. The life sciences are a key target industry for Forward Wisconsin and we aggressively promote Wisconsin as an excellent option for life science firms and professionals.
Forward Wisconsin’s success depends in large part upon our close working relationship with the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. The Wisconsin Department of Commerce wants to help our state’s innovative companies grow and thrive. Commerce has access to numerous financial and technical assistance programs that encourage and stimulate the start up, modernization and expansion of high tech businesses in Wisconsin. The Department provides a variety of services to firms in the science and technology fields, helping them locate resources, capital, and research partners. Forward Wisconsin and Commerce also work with technology associations, research universities, tech transfer organizations and other business and financial networks.
For more information on the exciting developments in Wisconsin’s biotech sector, visit ForwardWI.com or Commerce.WI.gov.