The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced the Wisconsin Biohealth Tech Hub effort, led by Madison-based BioForward Wisconsin, is one of 31 such initiatives selected for Regional Technology Hub designation by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
Wisconsin is getting $350,000 in planning funds, and has the opportunity to apply for up to $70 million in implementation funding, according to the federal agency.
During a White House announcement, President Joe Biden touted Wisconsin’s tech hub. He said it will bring together research labs, medical device manufacturers and engineers to create therapies tailored to a patient’s genetic code and medical history.
“I believe it’s going to save a lot of lives in the long run,” Biden said.
Gov. Tony Evers today said Wisconsin’s inclusion is “a testament to the strength” of the biohealth and personalized medicine industry.
“As this sector continues to grow, it will mean more high-paying jobs and economic growth for our state, as well as innovations that will transform the future of medical care for people in Wisconsin and around the world,” he said in a statement.
And Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes called it a “huge win” for creating a more inclusive economy.
“When it comes to bringing together the best in research and development, cutting-edge manufacturing, highly skilled and educated workers, and a commitment to relentless improvement, no state is better prepared to lead the way,” she said.
The Tech Hubs program was established through the federal CHIPS and Science Act. Designees include groups focused on advanced manufacturing, autonomous systems, biotechnology and more. Wisconsin’s effort is focused on personalized medicine, which incorporates the fields of genetics, AI, advanced imaging and data analysis to match medical treatment to specific patients.
BioForward Wisconsin CEO Lisa Johnson notes Wisconsin is already a leader in biohealth technology and precision manufacturing. The state biohealth sector last year had a $32 billion economic impact, employing more than 129,000 people, according to BioForward.
“We have the capabilities in place and this designation will launch new endeavors that will benefit all of humankind,” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still said “it’s exciting, yet not entirely surprising” that the state was selected, pointing to its “excellence in science and tech.”
“It’s only a start for Wisconsin, however, as the state moves ahead on multiple fronts to capture the full potential of its expertise in science and technology,” he said in an email. “The biohealth Tech Hub will connect the Madison and Milwaukee regions around a project that improves human health in ways that may only be envisioned today, but which will be executed tomorrow because of the state’s ability to bring ideas from the lab bench to caretakers and patients.”
And U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin in a statement today praised the state’s research institutions, talent pipeline and manufacturing industry, arguing Wisconsin is “well positioned to drive innovation” in personalized medicine and biohealth fields.
“I am proud to have helped create and support the Tech Hub program and know that bringing one to Wisconsin will create more opportunities for our businesses and workers,” the Madison Dem said.
Consortium members include: BioForward Wisconsin, WEDC, UW System Administration, UW-Madison, GE HealthCare, Rockwell Automation, Exact Sciences, Employ Milwaukee, Accuray, Plexus, WRTP Big Step, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Madison Area Technical College, MadREP and Milwaukee7.
See the U.S. DOC announcement:
See Evers’ release:
See more on the Wisconsin Biohealth Tech Hub: