Sioux Falls -- South Dakota Biotech kicks off its 10-year anniversary celebration this week with the first of several Breakthrough BIO tours it will host across the state.
On Sept. 15, the tour comes to Brookings, where it will highlight a wide range of biotech success stories.
The day starts with a leadership luncheon that includes an overview of biotechnology’s economic impact in Brookings, presentations on SDSU’s national leadership in biotechnology and its catalytic effect on biotech development, and an overview of opportunities available at the SDSU Research Park.
“This is about bringing a broader awareness to communities about where biotechnology, innovation, research and development are making a difference in the state. In Brookings, biotechnology is making a huge, huge difference,” said Kevin Kephart, vice president for research and economic development at SDSU and vice chair of the SD Biotech board of directors.
“It’s a good reason to kick off our tours in Brookings, because of the engine we have going on up here.”
In the afternoon, participants can choose from lab and industry tours that interest them, from startups to research in animal disease and seed technology.
“We’ve been talking about an I-29 corridor in terms of economic development for the last 30 years, and it’s starting to emerge and come to a point where we see it happening if we look at biotech-based economic development,” Kephart said.
In the last five years, South Dakota has grown its bioscience jobs by 11 percent. Employment in the sector is projected to increase 10.8 percent through 2020.
The state is home to about 420 bioscience companies, a number that has increased 29 percent since 2010 – significantly outpacing the national growth of 10 percent.
SD Biotech is the state affiliate of BIO, the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations.
“It’s amazing to look back on our decade as an association in South Dakota and realize how far biotechnology has come in our state,” SD Biotech executive director Joni Johnson said.
The association has reached out to community and business leaders as well as local and state elected officials to create a broad audience for each Breakthrough Bio tour. Future cities will be announced in the coming weeks.
“I think our Breakthrough BIO tours will help connect community and business leaders with some of the terrific innovation occurring in their own backyards,” Johnson said. “And hopefully encourage even more collaboration that will lead to continued success for all of us.”
The media is invited to attend all or part of the first Breakthrough BIO tour. It starts at noon on Sept. 15 at McCrory Gardens.
For more information, contact Joni Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org