New biotech nonprofit board president sees opportunities to further support entrepreneurs

BioRise is a 501(c)(3) organized by the leaders of South Dakota Biotech, the state’s affiliate of the international BIO organization.

The board of BioRise includes:
President: Dr. Mel Ustad, principal investigator of South Dakota EPSCoR.
Vice president: Dr. Mark Stowers, biotech executive of The Global Bluefish Co.
Secretary: Dr. Kara McCormick, Sanford Research.
Treasurer: Dr. Christoph Bausch, executive vice president and chief operating officer, SAB Biotherapeutics.

We sat down with Ustad to learn more about the possibilities for this new organization.

How would you describe the opportunity that BioRise has to secure additional funding for biotech-related interests? Do you feel like there’s a solid universe of potential funding? 

With the CHIPS Act and other initiatives, there is a focus on applied research and commercialization of innovations in the United States. BioRise plans to continue to pursue opportunities to support those efforts by submitting proposals as well as collaborating with other organizations pursuing the funding opportunities.

What are some of the immediate industry needs you think grant funding could help address?

The entrepreneurs in South Dakota’s biotech sector need additional support. This involves grant support such as the Small Business Administration FAST grant as well as development of the support network needed for biotech companies to successfully commercialize innovations.

What are your thoughts on the success of the FAST program? How are you seeing that help grow the bioscience economy? 

The FAST Launch program has significantly raised the quality of business plans competing in South Dakota’s Giant Vision business plan competition, submitting Small Business Innovation Research, SBIR, proposals and soliciting private sector funding for their business. Much of this activity is in the bioscience sector. We need to keep in mind that commercialization of many bioscience innovations takes time due to regulatory requirements.

BioRise recently announced a grant that will focus on food security. What would you like to see achieved with that funding?

The food security award is focused on utilizing recent innovations to help rural communities not only produce fresh food to address food deserts but also creating job opportunities and selling high-value produce to other markets. This is consistent with biotech industry goals of helping to feed and heal the world. It is also consistent with SD Bio and BioRise’s commitment to support all areas of South Dakota.

BioRise recently launched a website for sharing information about its new developments and related news and events. Click here to get connected.
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