Economic Development Council of Collier County
BioConnect Update
Over 15,000 biotechnology professionals from 40 countries convened at the San Diego convention center to join in Bio 2001. The event organized by Bio, Biotechnology Industry Organization, gives attendees forums to develop partnerships, networking and new opportunities for growth in the biotechnology industry.

Bio 2001's theme this year is "Partnering for Life," and celebrates the bonds that make biotechnology work...and keep working for patients, physicians, investors, and many, many others.

There are over 750 exhibitors showcasing products and technologies, 17 meeting tracks that highlight partnerships between biotechnology and the environment, industry, policy, food and agriculture, and health care. There are more than 800 speakers, with 170 different symposia, which will work to help attendees create better partnership and more effective ventures.


The Council of Biotechnology Centers hosted a forum on Sunday, which focused on fostering entrepreneurship, as well as best practices in developing biotechnology centers in the areas of education, business incubation and scientific core services.


Nancy Sullivan, Assistant Director of New Business Initiatives for the Illinois Technology Enterprise Corporation (ITECH), part of Northwestern University, provided the first presentation. Nancy wrote the strategic plan for Biotechnology in Chicago and currently works with new business startups in the biotech industry.

The ITEC initiative is a joint venture between the state of Illinois and Northwestern University to provide assistance, including startup business strategies, business plan writing, technology assessment, connection to SBIR/STTR programs and links to venture capital.

The initiatives provide direct assistance to technologies and ideas coming from Northwestern University, but also are available to individuals and companies outside the university.


Another program discussed was through the University of California, San Diego campus, which has established USCDConnect, a regional economic development organization. The Springboard Program, which is geared toward entrepreneurs, brings a panel together to meet with entrepreneurs and assist them in developing their idea, writing a business plan, finding venture capital and bringing their product to market. The office currently holds 2 to 3 Springboard Panel meetings every week.


Internationally, Germany and UK lead the European countries for biotech development. According to Dr. Martin Hinoul of K.M. Leuven Research & Development in Belgium, the European biotechnology is a $9 billion industry, with revenues continuing to grow, and net losses continuing to decrease.

In 1995, Germany began development of the biotechnology industry, especially in the Munich area. Prior to 1996, there were 36 biotechnology companies in Munich. Today, there are 107. According to Dr. Hinoul, the reason biotech companies are growing in Germany include Germany's excellent research base, new patents and patent application, and access to good venture capital resources.

Germany is fostering entrepreneurship by providing technology transfer resources at the academic institutions, pro-business support from political leaders, as well as taking ethical issues seriously. The most important aspect of the German model, is the ability to connect academia and industry to foster new business development.


The Biotechnology Outreach Education Center is located in the Molecular Biology Building on the Iowa State University campus in Ames. The building is 2,300 square feet and consists of two state-of the-art laboratories with 40 lab preparation rooms.

The center provides biotechnology training for educators, students, public and industry. One of their most successful programs provides free supplies to high schools and community colleges to do experiments in the classroom. The center also teaches teachers how to do various experiments in the classroom. Since 1988, the center has trained 955 teachers.

They have had 900 K-12 groups, held 152 teacher workshops and made 144 industry presentations. The core purpose of the program is to bring a better understanding of biotechnology to these groups and nurture additional support for the industry, as well as career opportunities.

The most successful aspects of the program include: Free Supplies Program, teacher workshops, industry training, hands-on activities such as, "Is there DNA is my food? "In developing this program, the advice given was to make sure the layout of the center is done properly, provide classrooms, as well as enough staffing to work with all of the groups.

For more information on Bio 2001, you may e-mail Tammie McElroy at or go to the Bio 2001 web site at

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