BioForward Wisconsin, the collective voice of Wisconsin’s robust and comprehensive biohealth cluster representing more than 220 member organizations, reflected the resilience of the Wisconsin biohealth industry through its annual Wisconsin Biohealth Summit, held virtually for three days in September and October.
The 2020 Wisconsin Biohealth Summit was reimagined and bigger than ever. Rather than a single-day, in-person event, the virtual event featured three shortened days of presentations on a live platform. To make the event inclusive of the full region and designed for all levels of member and nonmember company employees, the schedule embraced was spread out to allow for flexibility during the day and to maximize attendance. Additionally, BioForward invested in impactful keynote speakers and entertained attendees with the award-winning improv group Second City.
Nearly 800 people joined over the three weeks from throughout Wisconsin, as well as from Illinois, North Dakota, North Carolina, California, and New Jersey. Noting the significance of this virtual event, the Biohealth Summit also drew attendees from China, India, England, and France.
The annual Wisconsin Biohealth Summit is one of the largest biohealth events in the Midwest. This year’s focus was on how the world is changing but how the biohealth industry goals to improve and save lives remain the same. Speakers explored different themes that all tie back to how the challenges we face right now are launching new ideas, partnerships and innovations in the Wisconsin biohealth industry.
The first day of the event focused on the challenges of COVID-19 and how the Wisconsin biohealth industry is adapting through collaborations and the public health response. BioForward was honored to have the Tommy G. Thompson Center for Public Leadership sponsor a panel about COVID-19 collaborations between Wisconsin’s research institutions, especially the University of Wisconsin—Madison Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and School of Medicine and Public Health. Another panel focused on Wisconsin’s response to the pandemic. The major highlight of the day was a keynote from Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota.
Other themes of the event encompassed success through leadership in strategy and diversity, as well as the reimagining of biohealth through leading-edge medicines. Renowned leadership and talent speaker Darcy Luoma motivated attendees through her story and leadership model. Many local companies and organizations including GE Healthcare, Gilson, Grainger Engineering Design Innovation Lab, Eurofins, Versiti, Medical College of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Concordia University, Maydm, Urban League, Forward BIO Institute, Forward Biolabs, PSC Biotech, WEDC, Alithias, VasoGnosis, AIQ Solutions, Stem Pharm, Simply Solutions, Zilis, Promega, Morgridge Institute, Illumina, Biocut Systems, Aurora Health Care, GSK and the Usona Institute were also featured.
BioForward is proud of the Wisconsin biohealth industry and excited to celebrate its accomplishments. Member companies and industry partners have shown an incredible amount of resilience, community spirit, and a focus on employee safety as these essential businesses provide key products and services to test for and combat the coronavirus.
"The Wisconsin biohealth industry is still going strong. Our community has shown that collaboration is the way to innovation—and innovation will eclipse this coronavirus crisis and others," said Lisa Johnson, CEO of BioForward Wisconsin. "We must continue to celebrate our industry’s successes and redefine Wisconsin’s image as a leader in the biohealth industry."
Wisconsin Biohealth Summit sponsors were: Abbvie, Aldevron, Advocate Aurora, BIO, Catalent, Cellular Dynamics International, Covance, Exact Sciences, Findorff, Fisher Scientific, GE Healthcare, Hausmann-Johnson, Ideal Builders, Illumina, Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Isthmus Project, Kraemer Brothers, Mallinckrodt, PhRMA, PPD, Promega, PSC Biotech, School of Medicine and Public Health at UW-Madison, TeraMedica, Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership, University Research Park, Vogel Brothers Building Co., Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and Yahara Software.
To learn more about BioForward’s annual Wisconsin Biohealth Summit, visit the Summit website here.
BioForward Wisconsin is the collective voice of Wisconsin’s robust and comprehensive biohealth cluster, which represents more than 220 member organizations across an integrated network of health solution leaders, including research institutions, biotech and biopharma, digital health and medical device and diagnostics. It is an action-oriented association that focuses on initiatives to strengthen the state’s talent pipeline; collaborations to develop supply chain partnerships; educational and networking events to enhance professional development; and legislative advocacy to highlight the economic and social impact of the biohealth industry on the state, nation, and world. Learn more about BioForward Wisconsin at www.bioforward.org.
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Rissa Guffey/BioForward Wisconsin
Rebecca Epperson/Karli Smith