Arizona’s drive to become a national player in the emerging biosciences sector has received a boost with the formation of a partnership of statewide business and science leaders.
The coalition was developed throughout 2005 to help implement Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, the state’s long-term plan to become nationally competitive in the biosciences. The group is “virtual” in nature—not a formal entity but an agreement by key organizations and sectors to work together toward a common goal.
“Arizona has made remarkable progress over the Roadmap’s first three years in building the state’s research infrastructure,” said Martin Shultz, Vice President for Government Affairs for Pinnacle West Capital Corp., who also chairs the Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee. “To fully realize the Roadmap’s vision, we must pull in all vital resources—and our best resource is our people.
“The strategy of the virtual coalition is solid—to become more powerful through the collective strength of many organizations, each taking on individual tasks that they’re well positioned to tackle,” Shultz said.
The coalition is comprised of organizations from three categories:
- Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee: A body of 60-plus statewide leaders in science, business, and policy that oversees the implementation of the Roadmap. The committee and Roadmap project are facilitated by Battelle and the Flinn Foundation.
- Bioscience trade associations: Membership groups that provide services to firms working in the biosciences—the Arizona BioIndustry Association, the state chapter of the national Biotechnology Industry Organization; and the Bioindustry Organization of Southern Arizona in Tucson.
- Business leadership groups: Regional groups of business leaders—Greater Phoenix Leadership, Southern Arizona Leadership Council, and Flagstaff 40.
The need for such an effort was cited in “Platform for Progress: Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap,” a 2002 report released by Battelle that offered strategies and actions for Arizona to achieve prominence in the biosciences in 10 years. The report detailed a comprehensive plan that would lead to a stronger, more diversified economy and access to cutting-edge healthcare therapies for Arizonans.
“The virtual coalition pools a remarkable array of talents and resources to form a powerhouse effort to bring Arizona to national leadership in the biosciences,” said R. Thomas Browning, President and CEO of Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL). “The organizations involved in the virtual coalition are highly capable, have an outstanding track record in collaborating across institutions and sectors, and know how to get things done. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with them.”
Jon McGarity, President and CEO of the Arizona BioIndustry Association, said the timing of the virtual coalition’s formation is ideal. “Other states and regions are taking notice of the remarkable progress Arizona is making,” he said. “We’re getting an increasing number of serious inquiries from groups outside of Arizona. The virtual coalition will help Arizona to be prepared for major opportunities as they arise.”
Organizations participating in the virtual coalition will work to implement proposed Roadmap actions, educate key audiences and the general public on the importance of the biosciences, identify research funding sources, and similar tasks.