AZBio History

1997: Under the leadership of Bob Case and Michael Berens, Ph.D., the Arizona Bioindustry Cluster was born.

2002: The Arizona Biosciences Roadmap, developed by the Flinn Foundation in conjunction with the Battelle Memorial Institute, commences its implementation. Both the public and private sectors start to focus on developing the biosciences in Arizona.

2003:  A $500M strategic investment by the State of Arizona into university infrastructure begins an era of industry growth.

November 2003: In recognition of the commitment to build a viable biosciences industry in Arizona, the Arizona Bioindustry Cluster was reincorporated and changed its name to the Arizona BioIndustry Association (ABA). The Board of Directors included bioscience company executives, university leaders, individuals from state and local agencies and suppliers who work together to help facilitate growth through member benefits, education programs and events, business networking, public policy and entrepreneurial endeavors.

July 2005: The Board of Directors secured a three-year grant from the Flinn Foundation to support its statewide educational outreach efforts. Jon McGarity, who had been serving as Chair of the ABA, was named as the first President and CEO of the Arizona BioIndustry Association. The association hosted the first annual Arizona BioIndustry Awards dinner.

May 2007: Jon McGarity left the ABA post to accept the CEO position at Insys Therapeutics, Inc. Through the active involvement and efforts of the Board of Directors, the ABA was able to continue most of its ongoing programs and activities.

October 2007: The Arizona BioIndustry Association hired C. Robert Eaton, former head of MdBio, as President and CEO to lead the organization through its next phase of growth.

February 2008: Rebranded AZBio, the Arizona BioIndustry Association finalized the details of a significant reorganization. A new Board of Directors took the helm of a unified statewide trade association serving Arizona’s growing bioindustry. The Board includes individuals representing AZBio member organizations in Southern Arizona, the Greater Phoenix area and Northern Arizona.

2008: Flinn Foundation extends its grant to AZBio in support of continued growth and outreach.

October 2009: Robert Green steps in as interim President and CEO to help AZBio continue to grow and fulfill its mission.

December 2010: Flinn Foundation grant concludes.

February 2011:  Battelle releases the Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap: Performance Assessment 2002-10

March 2011:  AZBio hires Joan Koerber-Walker as President and CEO to lead the organization and represent the Members as the organization and Arizona’s Bioindustry prepare for rapid growth.

October 2011: gets a major redesign becoming the statewide portal for Arizona’s Bioscience industry news and events.  The AZBio IN THE LOOP newsletter delivers information to thousands across the state on a weekly basis.  The first  AZBio Student Discovery Zone is launched as  component of the AZBio Awards.

February 2012:  Arizona turns 100 and the Bioscience Road Map Turns 10.  Arizona’s Bioscience Industry has grown jobs at 4 times the national average and the number of firms by 27%  in a decade.

March 2012:  Stepping up its role as Arizona’s Bioscience Industry Advocate. AZBio leads a cross industry coalition to amend Arizona’s Open Records  Law and make the state a more industry friendly environment for sponsored research at the State of Arizona’s universities and research institutions.   HB2272 goes from concept to  signture into law in just 45 days.

June 2012:  AZBio launches the AZBio Expo Online (now AZBio.TV) at the BIO International Convention to showcase the breadth of innovation and technology coming from Arizona’s Bioscience Sectors.

November 2013:  The Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio)  celebrates 10 Years of supporting the growth of Arizona’s Bioindustry.

April 2014:  The Flinn Foundation announces that Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, which was released in 2002 and has been  updated in 2014 to guide the growth and development of the state’s bioscience sector through 2025.

September 2014:  AZBio hosts the first White Hat Life Science Investor Conference bringing together venture capitalists and angel investors with innovative life science companies from across the Rocky Mountain Southwest at the Phoenix Convention Center.

November 2014:  AZBio collaborates with  the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation (OTEF), an Arizona 501c3 corporation to create D3Bio which operates as a division under OTEF.  The mission of D3Bio is to support life science innovation and life science innovators along the pathway from discovery to development to delivery with a focus on the entrepreneurial ecosystem, research, and talent creation.

2015:  AZBio members reach out to the Governor and the Legislature in support of a new $1 Billion investment in university research infrastrucure.   The $500 Milion strategic investment by the State of Arizona into university infrastructure in 2003 is a reported to have resulted in a 7:1 return on investment or $3.5B.

May 2016:  Governor Doug Ducey signs House Bill 2310 to allow patients access to safe and effective therapies when the first interchangeable biologics are approved by the FDA.  A coalition of physicians across Arizona and the country, patient groups, and both innovator biologic and biosimilar manufacturing companies supported HB 2310 which includes communication on all biologic medicines dispensed in order to maintain a consistent and complete medical record and will provide patients with more opportunities to address their unmet medical needs, particularly severely ill patients who rely on cutting-edge medical treatments.

September 2016:  AZBio hosts the inaugural Arizona Bioscience Week to raise awareness about Arizona’s Bioscience Industry locally and nationally.  Investors and Innovators come together at the second White Hat Life Science Investor Conference. 

May 2017:  Governor Doug Ducey signed Arizona’s $9.8 billion 2018-2019 Budget which provides bonding authority for $1 billion for investments in University Research Infrastructure.    This investment continues a collaboration between the State of Arizona, Industry Leaders, Philanthropists, and Arizona’s Universities that is driving Arizona towards its goal of becoming a top-tier bioscience state.

October 2017:  AZBio hosts Arizona Bioscience Week.  Over 5,000 people from Arizona and around the country come together to learn about life saving and life changing innovation. AZBio honors Governor Doug Ducey as Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year in recognition of the state’s new $1 billion commitment to university research infrastructure. 

January 2018:  AZBio Kicks off 2018 with the announcement if a $200 Million capital campaign to build an endowment within the Healthcare Impact Foundation to support investment in early stage life science companies in Arizona on a sustainable ongoing basis.  AZBio is working on in partnership with OTEF, the Stetson Family Office, and the Healthcare Impact Foundation on the initiative.

April 2018:  The Flinn Foundation reports that Arizona’s Bioscience Industry has grown jobs by 58% in the period from 2002-2016. 

June 2018: The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) includes Arizona in its list of top job creators for the period.  AZBio estimates that the Annual Economic Impact of Arizona’s biotech and medtech industry in 2016 was $23.16 Billion Dollars based on Arizona’s share of the industry’s $2 Trillion impact nationally. 

October 2018: The Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio)  celebrates 15 Years of supporting the growth of Arizona’s Bioindustry  at The AZBio Awards during Arizona Bioscience Week (AZBW).  The third White Hat Life Science Investor Conference is held at the Phoenix Convention Center.