man looking at molecular structure model

Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Breaking New Ground

Arizona’s bioscience roadmap has helped guide the state into the future.

A political breakthrough, not a scientific one, may be the biggest spark for the Valley’s burgeoning bioscience industry.

“The bioscience industry is critical to our economic future,” says Greg Stanton, who took over as the new mayor of Phoenix in January. “While other industries have lost jobs during the recession, bioscience created them. I am proud to have been a leader in supporting bioscience industries. … As mayor, I will continue that leadership — building a diverse, robust economy with quality high-wage jobs for our future.”

In his inaugural remarks, Stanton said that his first priority as mayor is forming a new collaboration with Arizona State University, Mayo Clinic Hospital and others in the private sector to develop a major bioscience hub in northeast Phoenix.

The Desert Ridge Bioscience Technology Collaborative will be built around the 210-acre Mayo campus. The area Stanton hopes to develop into a bioscience hub is the area between 56th and 64th streets, Loop 101 and the Central Arizona Project canal. The mayor hopes to draw higher education institutions, research and development facilities, and technology-based businesses. “In over a decade of public service, Greg Stanton has always fought to support the bioscience industry,” says Robert S. Green, longtime Arizona bioscience advocate and past president of the Arizona BioIndustry Association. “His consistent leadership has been, and will continue to be, vitally important to the future economic growth of our state.”

The Desert Ridge Bioscience Technology Collaborative will be the second centralized bioscience hub for Phoenix. The city already has a bioscience high school, the University of Arizona’s Phoenix medical school, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), which has spurred economic growth downtown. Stanton hopes to recreate the same success in northeast Phoenix, creating a second bioscience employment center for the city.

Stanton’s goals of bringing more high-wage jobs to Phoenix while building the city’s bioscience industry go hand in hand. Bioscience workers in Arizona earn an annual salary of $57,360, on average, compared with $42,090 for all private-sector employees, according to the Flinn Foundation. And average annual bioscience wages in Arizona have increased 47 percent since 2002.

The Desert Ridge Bioscience announcement also comes as the state enters the the final year of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, a 10-year-plan to make the state’s bioscience sector globally competitive. Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap was launched in 2002 by a comprehensive study by Battelle, the U.S. leader in positioning regions to excel in technology and the sciences. Commissioned by the Flinn Foundation, the study concluded that Arizona possessed many of the essential elements needed to become a global leader in niche areas in the biosciences, but must strengthen its biomedical-research base and build a critical mass of bioscience firms and jobs.

The roadmap, led by a 75-member steering committee of statewide bioscience leaders, specifically aims to build research infrastructure, build a critical mass of bioscience firms, enhance the business environment for bioscience firms, and prepare a workforce of educated citizens.

Arizona Bioscience Timeline

The following is a timeline of significant events that happened in the bioscience industry in Arizona since 2001.

2001

• Flinn Foundation commits to 10 years of major funding (a minimum of $50 million) to advance Arizona’s bioscience sector.

2002

• Gov. Dee Hull appoints a task force to raise funds to attract the International Genomics Consortium (IGC) and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

• Dr. Jeffrey Trent announces IGC’s move to Arizona and establishment of TGen, spurred by a $90 million package assembled from collaborating public and private sources.

• Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, commissioned by the Flinn Foundation and drafted by Battelle, outlines recommendations for Arizona to become a national biosciences leader.

2003

• Gov. Janet Napolitano creates the Governor’s Council on Innovation and Technology to advance technology-related growth and economic development.

• TGen breaks ground on its downtown-Phoenix headquarters.

• The state Legislature approves $440 million for research-facility construction.

• Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee, piloted by former Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza, holds its inaugural meeting.

2004

• Gov. Janet Napolitano, UA President Peter Likins, ASU President Michael Crow, and Regent Gary Stuart sign memorandum of understanding to create the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, to include the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix in partnership with ASU.

• Maricopa County voters approve a bond issue that includes $100 million to expand bioscience and healthcare training for Maricopa County Colleges.

• Biodesign Institute’s first building, a $73 million, 170,000-square-foot facility, is dedicated.

2005

• TGen headquarters opens at the downtown Phoenix Biomedical Campus.

• Mayo Clinic opens a heart-transplantation program on its Scottsdale campus, becoming Maricopa County’s first hospital approved for performing heart transplants.

2006

• Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust commits $50 million to advance personalized medicine in Maricopa County.

• Arizona launches the Biozona brand to promote the state’s bioscience industry.

2007

• Cancer Treatment Centers of America selects Goodyear as the site for a 210,000-square-foot cancer hospital, the for-profi t company’s first hospital west of the Rocky Mountains.

• Classes begin for 24 students in the inaugural class of the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix in partnership with ASU.

• Bioscience High School opens. The specialty high school focuses on science education, in collaboration with downtown-Phoenix academic and scientifi c communities.

2008

• ASU’s SkySong opens in Scottsdale; mixed-use development houses ASU commercialization and tech-transfer programs plus local and international companies.

• Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl named “Legislator of the Year” for 2007-2008 by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the nation’s largest biotech trade group.

• Gov. Janet Napolitano announces formation of the Arizona STEM Education Center to strengthen science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.

2009

• TGen announces strategic alliance with Van Andel Research Institute of Grand Rapids, Mich. Jeffrey Trent assumes leadership of both institutions.

• Covance Inc. opens $175 million drug-development laboratory in Chandler. Facility may ultimately provide 2,000 high-wage jobs.

• A study of Arizona’s bioscience sector by Battelle finds that bio accounted for $12.5 billion in revenues in 2007 and more than 87,400 jobs.

• Chandler approves $5.7 million to establish bioscience- and high-tech-focused Innovations Technology Incubator.

2010

• VisionGate Inc., a Seattle medical-imaging company focused on early detection of cancer, announces that it is relocating its headquarters to the downtown Phoenix Biomedical Campus.

• Gov. Jan Brewer announces the creation of the Arizona Commerce Authority, a public-private partnership designed to attract firms in key growth areas, including the biosciences.

• The International Genomics Consortium secures $59 million in federal contracts to continue its role as the biospecimen core resource for the Cancer Genome Atlas Project.

2011

• Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon announces that Phoenix will be the headquarters for the nonprofit Institute for Advanced Health, founded by billionaire biotech entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong.

• Phoenix Children’s Hospital opens its new 11-story, $588 million facility, accommodating

additional patients and new opportunity for recruitment of subspecialist researcher-physicians.

• An economic-impact report finds that for every $1 invested in Science Foundation Arizona by the state of Arizona, SFAz has returned $3.15 in investments from the private sector, venture capital, federal grants, and other sources.

• Chandler’s Innovations Technology Incubator, open a year, reached full capacity. Tenants include startup firms in the fields of biotechnology, bioinformatics, software design, nanotechnology, and medical devices.

2012

• Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton says that his first priority as mayor is forming a new collaboration with Arizona State University, Mayo Clinic Hospital and others in the private sector to develop the Desert Ridge Bioscience Technology Collaborative in northeast Phoenix.

Arizona Business Magazine March/April 2012