South Dakota Biotech, the state affiliate of the Biotech Industry Organization, has honored three key leaders in advancing the state’s biotech industry with its fifth annual awards for excellence.
Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has been named the 2018 recipient of South Dakota Biotech’s LIVE award, recognizing Leadership, Innovation, Vision and Excellence.
With more than $1.6 billion in lifetime charitable donations, Sanford’s focus on health care research has led to significant advancement for the bioscience industry in South Dakota.
Since his $400 million donation to Sanford Health in 2007, Sanford Research has become a world-class institution, attracting more than 200 scientists from around the globe.
Its work bridges bench, translational and clinical research including cancer biology and immunotherapies, pediatrics and rare diseases, diabetes, cellular therapies and stem cell biology, enabling technology, environmental influences on health and disease, genetics and genomics, and population health.
Subsequent donations to the Edith Sanford Breast Center and Sanford Imagenetics are revolutionizing cancer care and personalized medicine in ways that are positioning South Dakota at the forefront of the future of medicine.
Sanford’s recent $10 million donation to SAB Biotherapeutics further supports the life-changing work being done to transform the treatment and prevention of diseases, from cancer and inflammation to autoimmune and influenza.
“The bioscience landscape in South Dakota has been permanently shaped by Mr. Sanford’s generosity,” said Joni Johnson, executive director of South Dakota Biotech. “It’s a privilege to recognize how his contributions have taken our state to a place of global prominence in this industry.”
South Dakota Sen. Deb Soholt and Rep. Les Heinemann were honored with South Dakota Biotech’s Distinguished Collaborator Awards for their help in advancing biosimilar legislation during the 2018 legislative session.
The bill made South Dakota the nation’s 37th state to establishing consistent standards for when a biosimilar product can replace an original biologic product.
“The legislation paves the way for interchangeable biologics, which we know create significant benefits for patients, and it sent a strong message to our industry that biotech innovation is welcome here, supported here and encouraged here,” Johnson said. “We’re grateful to Sen. Soholt and Rep. Heinemann for their leadership around this issue.”
The awards were presented Oct. 4 at Breakthrough, South Dakota Biotech’s annual industry summit.