On March 21, 2011, I was granted the opportunity by AZBio’s Board of Directors to become our association’s president and ceo. What’s happened since then is a testament to what can happen when we come together as a community. —- Joan Koerber-Walker
2011 was a key year for AZBio and for our industry. The economy was beginning to turn but we were far from being out from under our financial woes as an organization, as an industry, as a state, and as country. AZBio’s Board of Directors had key decisions to make on how our organization could best add value to our bioscience community. It was a time of change and challenge. It also was a time for us to embrace the unique possibilities that our organization and industry could create.
“On March 21, 2011, I was granted the opportunity by AZBio’s Board of Directors to become our association’s president and ceo. What’s happened since then is a testament to what can happen when we come together as a community.”
— Joan Koerber-Walker, President and CEO, Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio)
AZBio’s Board of Director’s met in April of 2011 and set out a new strategic plan that focused on AZBio’s Mission:
As the unified voice of the bioscience industry in Arizona, AZBio strives to make Arizona a place where bioscience organizations can grow and succeed. It accomplishes this by creating a forum for the bioscience community to join together, educating policy makers and the public, influencing public policy, and advancing the economic interests of individual organizations as well as the sector as a whole.
- Discovery – Without a steady stream of discoveries, there is no pipeline to grow from. AZBio is committed to working with our elected leaders to ensure that our research institutions (both public and private) have the resources they need to achieve the aggressive performance goals they have set for themselves.
- Development – Arizona life science companies need greater access to both private-equity and non dilutive sources of growth capital. AZBio will work to make this happen as we go forward.
- August 2014 – AZBio will host 6 program managers from NSF and NIH at SBIR – Ask the Experts which will be held in Tucson at Ventana on August 20th and at the Flinn Foundation on August 21st. The goal of this program is to connect our Arizona innovators to the experts that can provide guidance on how to build success via the SBIR funding path.
- September 2014 – AZBio will host the 1st Annual White Hat Life Science Investor Conference here in Arizona. In 2012, Bioscience Leader of the Year Harry George of Solstice Capital shared with us how dire this situation is and how far our innovators must travel in search of capital. In partnership with leaders from across our Rocky Moutain/Southwest region, we are addressing this great challenge. White Hat is just the beginning.
- Public Policy & Economic Development – Arizona’s Legislature has provided the Arizona Commerce Authority with a suite of competitiveness programs to support local innovators and attract new ones to our community. But we can and must do more to make Arizona globally competitive. AZBio will continue to advocate with our elected leaders to develop both expanded support for Research & Development and a new matching grant program for companies who win and complete SBIR programs.
- Delivery – Since we began to be measured in 2002, Arizona has risen in the rankings from the lowest tier (Tier V) to a respectable Tier III ranking. Moving up the ranks requires a focus on delivery of products and services that drive both scale and job creation. AZBio will work with our innovative companies, healthcare delivery systems, patient advocacy groups, and educational institutions to insure that Arizona has the educational infrastructure to deliver a trained workforce, an economic environment that fosters growth and provides for the delivery and access to Arizona life science innovations that benefit the people of Arizona.
This may seem like a tall order, but at AZBio we embrace possibilities and working together with our Members, our supporters, our national partners, and our elected leaders we have already made great progress. Now is the time to renew our commitment to building across the 3D’s and to working together to make Arizona a top tier bioscience state. It’s more than just a possibility.