Dear Members and Friends of Virginia Bio,
Hold on for a quick flashback over 2016, and a flash-forward to the new year!
2016 - Big steps and sound improvements, thanks to so many of you.
Historic levels of support of state public policy, building on the Virginia Bioscience Economy Blueprint. A new large expenditures R&D tax credit, increased funding and increased caps for the separate; refundable R&D Tax Credit; protecting the Angel Investor Tax Credit from attack; increased funding and expansion of authority for Virginia Bioscience Health Research Corporation (the “Catalyst”), a new fund and authority, Virginia Research Investment Fund, to spur economic development in research intensive fields with our universities; a new GoVirginia Fund and Authority, encouraging regions to focus on strength and collaborate in economic development; and a billion dollar bond package for capital improvements, including bioscience and bioengineering research facilities.
Federal public policy breakthroughs – surely, we are small fish in a big national pond, but as we all saw in Finding Nemo if all the small fish swim in the same direction hard enough, together we can cause big change. So, after years that we “kept on swimming” with partners across the US, this year we saw the enactment of a two-year freeze on the innovation-destroying Medical Device Revenue Tax, and just in the last week, passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, providing significant new funding for several major programs and staff support at NIH and implementing regulatory processes improvements at the FDA.
New networking events taking us to new heights. Adding to our regular cycle of networking dinners and “biotech and beer” around the state. The new Insights quarterly series bringing national leaders in bioscience commercialization to the i.Lab in Charlottesville to meet CEOs from Central Virginia companies, UVA leaders, and then network with the entire Charlottesville community. A first ever Women Building Bio: the XX Factor conference at Inova Center for Personalized Health, with the support of Darden and George Mason, bringing together 250 leaders in a unique and terrific program focused on building up people, firms and the community. Thanks to our sponsors of these innovative events for taking a chance with us. We are delighted with their success.
More money saved in more ways for more members through the national BioPurchasing program. New vendor additions, uniforms and cleanroom garments through UniFirst/UniClean, bulk gases from Airgas, microscopes from Nikon and coming in January gene sequencing equipment from Illumina. The number one supplier VWR now offers great discounts and rebates saving members even more than before. And office supplies savings went up with better pricing on thousands of items from Office Depot. Learn more about member savings programs, click here.
New, nimble ways of providing timely practical information for bioscience company success. We debuted a new series of webinars, grouped to focus on specific topics yet cover a field broadly, and delivered to your desk over the lunch hour at no cost. Our six-part series on Intellectual Property was put on splendidly by many of our attorney members, and inspired and coordinated by Aaron Parker at Finnegan, followed by a series on state and federal tax credits. We also beefed up equipment to provide livestreaming and archiving of our monthly Virginia Bioscience Commercialization Luncheon Programs from Richmond.
Our efforts to help spur capital formation took a big step forward with our free-standing Virginia Reception at the Velvet Room of the Clift Hotel in San Francisco on the eve of JPMorgan Healthcare Conference week. That great event compliments our program of making available near Union Square a semi-private meeting room to Virginia Bio members to reserve for special meetings that week.
A bigger and better BioHealth Capital Region forum at Medimmune, with partners from DC and Maryland, drawing over 600 to familiarize and move ahead on strengthening the region. Virginia companies, universities and public officials were fully integrated into this year’s event.
Great new additions to Virginia Bio’s statewide Board of Directors to replace the spots of members who termed off or moved with a change in employment. Thanks to these women and men, past and present, who volunteer their time to grow the industry for the good of all our members, the Commonwealth and the patients and people we all labor to serve.
2017 – New opportunities to serve
Successful implementation and coordination of state public policies in support of R&D and commercialization is the focus this year. Easier said than done, but we won’t give up. We have been provided a historic opportunity, now let’s make the most of it for the industry and for the Commonwealth! We’ll be working with program administrators and members and staff of the General Assembly and Cabinet to make the most of these programs.
Mark your calendars! Every two years we have our statewide conference: THRiVE 2017 is schedule for April 6 at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront. We are putting together a terrific program so save the date! Then in the fall (mark it, too!) a repeat and expansion of Women Building BIO: the XX Factor at Inova Center for Personalized Health on September 20.
Continued networking at a second season of the Insights series in Charlottesville, another great year of the monthly Virginia Bioscience Commercialization Luncheons at the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park in Richmond livestreamed, and a significantly expanded professionals Webinar series throughout the year.
Expanded activity in support of capital formation statewide. We’re repeating and making even better the Virginia Reception in San Francisco on January 8 in San Francisco. Join leaders from the new private funds at Inova, Sentara and UVA, and Governor McAuliffe, with leaders of Virginia bioscience companies and investors at this elegant spot on the eve of JP Morgan Health Care Conference week. We’ve also improved the complimentary meeting space available to members for private investor meetings during the conference. Then, join us again at home in Virginia Beach at THRiVE 2017 where we plan to bring these new funding sources and others across and outside Virginia together to introduce their teams and meet Virginia companies and translational researchers. Later, in May, we’re helping to host the first appearance in the region of the Cavendish Global Forum on bioscience Impact Investing for family funds and offices in Washington DC.
We’ll continue or work through our Foundation to support and encourage STEM activities in our schools, and facilitating student internships in industry.
There are lots of ways to help, and there’s lots of help needed. If what’s ahead excites you and you want to be a part of working together for it, let us know.
Best wishes for a wonder-filled and blessed holiday season for you and your families, and a productive and happy New Year.