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Insights from BioFlorida – Partnerships are Key

Earlier this month, Clarkston Consulting participated in BioFlorida’s 15th Annual Conference, the premier event for Florida’s bioscience community. This year’s meeting brought together over 500 professionals from across Florida, the Southeast and the nation to discuss major trends and issues, including topics related to product development, scientific research, business development, financing and public policy. Governor Jeb Bush, Florida’s 43rd governor, kicked off the conference with a post-breakfast keynote session; During his tenure, Governor Bush made the advancement and growth of the Florida’s bioscience industry one of his legislative and executive priorities.

“Florida’s bioscience industry has made significant strides in its global reputation as a leader for the innovation and growth of life sciences,” said Governor Bush. “Florida is continuing to build on the investment made in 2003, and has solidified its position among top states in the nation for biotechnology discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

According to the 2012 Battelle/Bio State Industry Development Report, from 2001 to 2010, industry business establishments grew by close to 33 percent and job growth increased almost 19 percent in Florida – while the nation experienced a business establishment increase of less than 13 percent and industry job growth of only 6.4 percent.

What Led to Such a Successful Increase?

Governor Bush pointed to collaborative partnerships as a key driver for this success. Partnerships with both Big Pharma and the academic community have proven quite fruitful for Florida’s biotech companies. It will be critical for both the pharmaceutical and biotech industry to increasingly tap into the academic community to utilize the knowledge, innovation and even the facilities offered by colleges and universities.

The biotech industry will also have to increase their collaboration with Big Pharma. Hit by the patent cliff and new FDA regulations extending drug trials, pharmaceutical companies will have to get more creative in how to funnel new drugs to market. In fact, during one session at the conference, several representatives from companies such as Merck, Novartis and Novo Nordisk discussed alternative approaches to their own R&D process – describing the process of “scouting” new drugs at biotech companies.