A message from Liisa Bozinovic, Oregon Bio Executive Director
It is not in the DNA of Oregon’s bioscience industry to rest on its laurels. The unmet needs of patient care and the environment are too great, the frontier of scientific discovery is too vast, and the innovative drive is too strong for our industry to be readily satisfied with any measure of progress.
Still, there is much to be proud of. As evidenced by Oregon Bio’s 2022 Economic Impact Report (see article below), our region’s bioscience industry continues to generate a remarkable trajectory of economic growth – we are now a $16 billion annual industry in Oregon (plus an additional $1.9 billion in southwest Washington). And we expect this trend to continue in the upcoming year.
This growth reflects energy on all levels: from start-ups that seek to better illuminate nerves for surgeons or deploy enzymes to recycle plastics, to mid-stage ventures that develop new blood thinners with fewer side effects, to global organizations with significant Oregon facility investments in precision medicine and synthetic DNA. Many of these firms were represented at our Biotech Summit held at OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute in November 2022. And across the board, they had inspirational stories to share.
At the Oregon Bioscience Association, our priority will always be to advocate for the advancement of our industry. Consistent outreach to elected officials and economic development partners in Oregon and Southwest Washington continues to support our mainstay mission. Given full-length legislative sessions and a new Oregon governor, 2023 promises to be a highly active year along these lines.
At the same time, Oregon Bio endeavors to facilitate efforts that support and energize Oregon’s bioscience community; initiatives that in the long run also support the health of our industry. Much of this effort is driven through the work of our committees*.
For instance, the Oregon Bio Women (OBW) committee “seeks to support and uplift women professionals in the biotech and life sciences sector.” During regular committee meetings, members from a wide range of bioscience industry sectors exchange experiences and ideas. Extraordinary events, like OBW CONNECT this past July with keynote speaker Emily Leproust, CEO & Co-founder of Twist, brought OBW’s mission to a wider community. And recently, the new OBW Mentorship program was launched to support the career aspirations of women in bioscience.
Along those lines, nineteen organizations joined us in the Oregon Pavilion at the BIO International Convention for a week in San Diego this past June. With the help of the State, among them were several bioscience startups. And many startups also joined us at the MedTech conference in Boston this past October. Planning is already underway for 2023. We are expanding the Oregon Pavilion at BIO (in Boston) and increasing our footprint at MedTech (in Anaheim).
In terms of growing challenges, perhaps no issue is more urgent or overarching than the need to support a reliable talent pipeline for our industry. Oregon Bio will continue our focus on workforce development in 2023. The robust growth of our industry, and the creation of new, well-paying bioscience jobs, create a window to expand the emerging opportunities in our sector to broader, more diverse communities within our state.
As the recipient of Future Ready Oregon funding, Oregon Bio will facilitate a better connection between leading industry players and communities that are currently underrepresented in bioscience employment. By working with our partners in economic and workforce development and Oregon’s educational institutions, and developing new partnerships with community-based organizations, we see the potential for significant win-win solutions within the talent recruitment and retention challenge. These efforts will augment our existing workforce development member benefits – from our Career Catalyst job board to our BioPro workforce training offerings.
We are enthusiastic about the upcoming year, as our industry continues its relentless pursuit of discovery and delivers breakthroughs in patient care and solutions for the environment.
*Oregon Bio committees include Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Facilities, and Programming (for Events). Please contact us if you are interested in participating in an Oregon Bio committee in the upcoming year.