$750,000 grant aims to make Wisconsin a ‘center of excellence’ for biomanufacturing

$750,000 grant aims to make Wisconsin a ‘center of excellence’ for biomanufacturing

The University of Wisconsin received a $750,000 grant Friday to establish a biomanufacturing initiative, which officials say will encourage growth in the Wisconsin industry.

The grant, which was provided by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, will establish the Forward BIO Initiative, which is designed to spark research and commercial applications in biomanufacturing.

According to university officials, the initiative comprises of the Forward BIO Institute, which will train students on UW-Madison campus; Forward BIOLABS, a nonprofit shared laboratory at University Research Park; and BioForward Wisconsin, which will help foster relationships between academia, government and industry.

The institute will also establish a new master’s degree program at the university, officials said.

The biomedical industry as a whole has seen growth in the state, with one study showing $27 billion in economic output in 2013, officials said.

Biomanufacturing is a subset of the biomedical industry focused on manufacturing approaches to creating innovative health care products such as medical devices, cell therapy and engineered tissues.

Officials said they hope that this initiative will streamline the process of getting innovations from the first phases of research to the market and that Madison is the perfect place to establish “the Midwestern center for biomanufacturing.”

According to Chancellor Rebecca Blank, this initiative capitalizes on UW’s strengths in “working at the crossroads where multiple disciplines connect.”