A $750,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. will support the establishment of a new biomanufacturing center.
The center is part of the Forward BIO initiative, which is a collaborative effort to help entrepreneurs and researchers access the resources needed to turn discoveries into commercial products, a news release says. The initiative aims to advance the state’s position as a national leader in the biomanufacturing industry.
The Forward BIO Initiative has three main components:
- The Forward BIO Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which will support research in the biomanufacturing field, translate technology into the private sector and establish public-private partnerships between UW inventors and researchers and industry leaders. It will also serve as a startup feeder by providing a workforce skilled in the field and relevant business concepts, according to the release. The institute plans to establish a new master’s degree program at UW-Madison in biomanufacturing innovation.
- Forward BIOLABS, a nonprofit, shared laboratory facility that will provide lab and office space to free up capital for startup companies. The 8,700-square-foot facility will be located in Madison’s University Research Park, the release says. The lab will be able to accommodate up to 20 scientists.
- BioForward Wisconsin, an organization that will facilitate partnerships among government, academia and private industries. It will also market the economic impact of local biomanufacturing companies and the state’s biohealth industry. In addition, BioForward will connect industry partners to the other components of the initiative.
The collaboration will guide projects from pre-incorporation within the Forward BIO Institute to startup launches by Forward BIOLABS, the release says.
“BioForward is excited to be a partner in this strategic, united initiative to advance Wisconsin as a center of excellence for biomanufacturing,” Lisa Johnson, the chief executive officer of BioForward, said in the release. “Through the Forward BIO Initiative, we will demonstrate how collaboration among public and private entities can advance workforce development, new company formations and industry partnerships.”
WEDC’s investment in the initiative is part of the organization’s strategy to advance job opportunities in high-growth business areas, the release says.
“The partners have created a unique model that builds upon the respective strengths of each organization, focusing on a biohealth sector with significant opportunities for innovation, commercialization and growth,” Vincent Rice, vice president of sector strategy development for WEDC, said in the release.