Alabama’s BioTech Leaders to Meet This Week to Bridge Research and Industry


The state’s biotechnology and life science trade association, BioAlabama, will host Alabama’s top leaders to identify and discuss opportunities to transition research to industry during its annual meeting on Wednesday. The annual meeting is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Westin Birmingham.

Themed “Building Alabama Biotech: Emerging Business, Talent and Innovation,” the BioAlabama meeting will educate attendees and foster partnerships on the state’s most exciting opportunities for research collaborations and commercialization, and this year, presentation of the inaugural “Element Award” will honor a member of the state’s biotechnology community who has made exceptional contributions to the biotech and life science industries in Alabama, BioAlabama said in a release.

“Growing and strengthening the life sciences industry in Alabama provides major benefits in economic development and discovery based research,” said Carter Wells, Chairman of the Board for BioAlabama. “Alabama has a great deal to be proud of in the biosciences, and we are excited to showcase our state’s cutting-edge research, development and commercialization in Birmingham this May.”

Gov. Robert Bentley is scheduled to provide remarks on the recent statewide successes in the industry and share a commitment to continued recruitment and development of biotech research and manufacturing companies in the state.

The keynote speaker will be Daniel White, President and CEO of Clearside Biomedical, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company in Alpharetta, Ga. It is developing first-in-class drug therapies to treat chronic, blinding eye diseases.

An Anniston native and one of the first molecular biology graduates of Auburn University, White has formed three successful biotechnology start-ups and generated over $152 million in funding. Having played an integral role in the negotiation of over 30 acquisitions and divestitures, he will bring back to Alabama lessons-learned from his experience in successfully transitioning game-changing research and innovation into successful businesses, BioAlabama said.

An Emerging Businesses panel will focus on ways early-stage companies can identify, navigate, and secure funding sources, external partners, and business deals such as mergers & acquisitions. The Emerging Innovation panel will feature the exciting emerging research, technologies and innovation with promise or proof of making big impacts in the biotechnology industry.

Marshall Schreeder, CEO of Conversant BIO in Huntsville and Dr. Michael Chambers, Assistant Vice President for Research Innovation at the University of South Alabama (USA) and Chairman of the Board of Swift Biotechnology in Mobile will moderate the panels.

“With more partners and opportunities emerging every day, advances in the life sciences industry provide hope that we will, with early diagnosis, save more lives,” Dr. Chambers said. “Having a forum that fosters discussion and collaboration bolsters the important work that biotech companies and universities are doing throughout the state.”

The Alabama Life Sciences industry continues to flourish and be recognized globally for meaningful contributions to human and environmental health and to agriculture.

The latest Alabama Life Sciences Reports indicate the life sciences industry in Alabama has experienced strong annual growth of 7.9, ranking Alabama fourth in the country for growth in biotechnology research and development, BioAlabama said.

This emerging economic engine can be seen in the more than 660 life science entities and their more than 13,000 employees in our state.

BioAlabama is a statewide non-profit organization representing Alabama’s bio-related industries, research scientists, clinicians, and business professionals who are working together to foster, develop and support the life sciences in Alabama. BioAlabama is the Alabama state affiliate of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the preeminent national association of biotechnology companies.