June 6, 2018
Bioscience Notebook

Region's companies, state officials pitch CT at global bioscience convention

Photo | Contributed
Photo | Contributed
Wolfgang Baiker, president and CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim USA, talks with Stanley Choy and Dawn Hocevar of BioCT at the 2018 BIO International Convention.

Six area companies joined state bioscience boosters in Boston this week hoping to keep Connecticut and the New Haven region on the global radar screen as a life science hub.

Connecticut invested in a 20-by-40-foot pavilion to showcase the state at the 2018 BIO International Convention, billed as the largest worldwide gathering for the life science industry, said Dawn Hocevar, president and CEO of BioCT, the state's membership organization for bioscience companies.

More than 17,000 people registered for the four-day convention put on by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, which represents more than 1,100 companies and biotech-related organizations and institutions worldwide. Last year's convention was held in San Diego.

"If you are or want to be any type of a life science hub, you need to be at this convention," Hocevar said. "Connecticut participated in the last two conventions, however, this is the largest footprint we've ever had."

More than 20 pharmaceutical companies, research labs, universities, municipal governments and other organizations are represented at the Connecticut pavilion, said Hocevar.

Participants from the New Haven region are: Sema4 Genomics, Thetis Pharmaceuticals and Aeromics (Branford); Genotech Matrix and Alva Health (New Haven); Pattern Genomics (Madison); as well as Southern Connecticut State University, the City of New Haven and the Town of Branford.

Other participants include pharma giants Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and Connecticut Innovations, the state's quasi-public venture capital arm.

Hocevar said state officials are meeting with companies in the U.S. and Asia that are interested in establishing a presence in the state.

In addition to highlighting the state's talent pool, research facilities and funding resources, Hocevar said the delegation is pitching the state as a more affordable alternative to bioscience powerhouse cities like Boston and San Francisco.

Connecticut currently employs more than 35,000 workers at 2,000 bioscience companies, according to state officials; many are clustered in the New Haven region. Branford alone has as many as 35 bioscience firms, Hocevar said.

"We're really in a great position to compete," Hocevar said.

Funding from the DECD and Connecticut Innovations paid for the pavilion, which cost roughly $50,000, said Hocevar. Fees from participating companies sponsored its design. The event started Monday and ends tomorrow.

Natalie Missakian can be reached at news@newhavenbiz.com

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