Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,
Governor McAuliffe and his Administration are making it widely known they are focusing on growing the economy, and they understand that the bioscience industry is a critical part.
Several weeks ago the Governor attended the BIO International Convention in San Diego, accompanied by Secretary of Commerce Maurice Jones, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, and Virginia Economic Development Partnership CEO Martin Briley and VEDP staff. Because Governor McAuliffe was the first governor in the nation to commit to attend, VEDP staff, the convention organizers at BIO and Virginia Bio were able to build the delegation an outstanding itinerary.
Governor McAuliffe started off his full two day visit by hosting a breakfast for C level leaders of Virginia companies and research institutions to learn more about the industry, gather ideas for improved public policies, and hear tips on selling the advantages of Virginia for bioscience the world-wide BIO audience.
The remainder of his day included making remarks at two other large gatherings – the Council of State Biotechnology Associations and the Chairman’s BIO’s Leaders Reception. He also appeared with the governors of Massachusetts and South Dakota on a panel at the unveiling of the biannual Battelle Report on bioscience commercialization in the states.
The Battelle Report found continued steady growth of the bioscience industry in Virginia over the last five years, outperforming the national average in the rate of growth of establishments and employment. Nevertheless in most measures Virginia has yet to crack the top 20 states. That day Governor McAuliffe took those facts as a challenge to find and implement the right policies to make that happen.
The Governor walked the exhibition floor, focusing time at the Virginia Pavilion to meet the companies and organizations in attendance under the leadership of Virginia Economic Development Partnership, including:
- Greater Richmond Partnership
- Prince William County
- Loudoun County
- I-81 Corridor (3 Regions: Shenandoah Valley Partnership, Roanoke Regional Partnership, New River Valley Economic Development Alliance)
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute – Janelia Farm Research Campus
- George Mason University
- U.Va. Innovation (Includes Central Virginia Partnership region)
U.Va. Innovation once again co-sponsored the Translational Research Forum, exploring how academia and the private and public sectors can best pursue the partnerships necessary to bring innovative products from the university research lab to the market.
The message that Virginia is a great place for bio was sent out loud and clear.
Tuesday evening concluded with a Virginia reception for attendees and out-of-state companies who are partners or prospects. It was a terrific event on a rooftop patio at the PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres and capped off by the Forbes announcement that once again Virginia captured the number one state for business ranking. Check out the photos on our Facebook page
The Governor completed his second day with an appearance at the plenary luncheon before an audience of 5,000 to introduce the speaker, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
For Secretary Haymore this was a first time attending the BIO convention and a fresh perspective on the growing role and impact of biotechnology on the agricultural bio and industrial bio sectors. The Secretary made valuable contacts with the BIO organization, and Virginia Bio will work with him to move this important industry ahead.
Governor McAuliffe has asked his cabinet, under the leadership of Secretary Jones, to prepare a strategy and steps for sparking the growth of the bioscience industry in the Commonwealth. Virginia Bio has been asked to help in this effort, providing information and contacts to industry leaders for ideas.
The Governor appears to be "all in” in support of bioscience industry. The Governor’s commitment to the BIO convention followed his successful keynote remarks to the PhRMA annual meeting in Washington in May. Those remarks can be seen in their entirety on our website
Virginia Bio will do whatever we can, directly and through our membership, to help the Governor succeed, and to build on the steady progress the state has made over the last several administrations and General Assemblies.