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charitable trust

Arizona Gives Day Raises Amost $1.4 million

The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Arizona Grantmakers Forum, along with presenting sponsor FirstBank, announced that the 2014 Arizona Gives Day, a 24-hour online initiative encouraging Arizona residents to recognize and financially support the efforts of various nonprofits, raised $1,392,292 (up from $1,019,650 last year) for the nearly 1,000 registered organizations statewide, a 36% increase. In total, 13,856 unique donors took the time to make 18,080 total donations in support of this statewide initiative.

“Our state rallied again this year and demonstrated what tremendous power individual donors can have for our state’s nonprofit community,” said Patrick McWhortor, president and CEO of the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits. “Whether they had a favorite cause or not, Arizonans rose up and explored the many missions of our participating nonprofits and helped show our state’s generosity to the world.”

Thanks to a financial commitment FirstBank and other incentive-prize sponsors, Arizona Gives Day encouraged competitions throughout the course of the day that allowed nonprofits, who reached certain milestones – to receive additional funding. Those winning these incentive contests will be gifted prizes from $1,000 to $18,000 in additional funds, which will be verified within the next 60 days.

Arizona Gives Day received additional financial and in-kind support from a variety of organizations throughout the state including:

Arizona Community Foundation
Arizona Republic/AZCentral/12News
AZ Family
BHHS Legacy Foundation
Clear Channel Media Entertainment
Community Foundation for Southern Arizona
CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company
Cox Communications
Eight – KAET PBS
FirstBank
Flinn Foundation
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation
HAPI
Hickey Family Foundation
HMA Public Relations
Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust
St. Luke’s Health Initiatives
The Thunderbirds
Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

According to Marissa Theisen, president and CEO of the Arizona Grantmakers Forum, “Gives Day initiatives across the country continue to see success and provide much-needed financial support to countless nonprofit organizations. Arizonans have much to be proud of in our second year.”

bioscience

Bioscience Roadmap gets an extension through 2025

The strategic plan that has guided Arizona’s fast-growing bioscience sector for nearly 12 years is gearing up for a new decade.

“Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap: 2014-2025” will be unveiled starting April 8 at events in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff, the state’s three metropolitan areas that feature growing bioscience hubs. The plan includes updated strategies that can strengthen and diversify Arizona’s economy while providing Arizonans access to the latest health care innovations.

“The updated Bioscience Roadmap builds on the successes of its first decade and adds contemporary strategies to take Arizona’s bioscience base to the next level,” said Jack Jewett, President & CEO of the Flinn Foundation, which commissioned the update and the original Bioscience Roadmap in 2002. “Arizona is now known as a top emerging bioscience state, but we have far to go to reach our full potential.”

The updated Roadmap will continue to focus on developing Arizona’s biomedical research infrastructure but will emphasize turning this research into new therapies, products, diagnostics, jobs, firms, and other benefits to Arizona. Commercialization, entrepreneurship, creating a critical mass of bioscience firms, and the development of talent are prime themes.

The Roadmap’s overarching vision is for Arizona—a young but rapidly growing state in the biosciences—to become a global competitor and national leader in select areas of the biosciences by 2025.

Over the first decade, Arizona built major research facilities at its universities, formed new private research institutes, attracted top talent, created high-tech business incubators, and greatly expanded statewide STEM (science, technology, education, math) education programs. The number of Arizona bioscience industry jobs grew by 45 percent, nearly four times greater than the nation.

“Arizona has many bioscience strengths and opportunities, but a substantial increase in private and public investment will be needed over the next decade to realize the Roadmap’s goals,” said Walter Plosila, senior advisor to the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, the Columbus, Ohio-based nonprofit research and development organization that authored the original Roadmap and its update.

Plosila noted that Arizona’s greatest needs are access to risk capital by startup and emerging bioscience firms, building a stronger bioscience entrepreneurship culture, and an expansion of the research infrastructure combined with commercialization at the state’s universities.

The new Roadmap plan features five goals, 17 strategies, and 77 proposed actions. The actions are meant to evolve as needs change over the course of the decade. The plan was developed by Battelle following research, interviews, and focus groups with more than 150 local and national bioscience leaders, including extensive input from Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee, a body of more than 100 statewide leaders in science, business, academia, and government.

“An emphasis on the full spectrum of the biosciences—from research to hospitals to bio-agriculture—and a renewed focus on resources, collaboration, and long-term patience is needed for Arizona to continue its ascent in the biosciences,” said Martin Shultz, Senior Policy Director for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, who chairs the Roadmap Steering Committee. “The impact can be profound—the biosciences are a multibillion-dollar industry for Arizona.”

There are six industry segments that comprise the biosciences in Arizona: agricultural feedstock and chemicals; drugs, pharmaceuticals, and diagnostics; medical devices and equipment; research, testing, and medical labs; bioscience-related distribution; and hospitals. A new economic-impact analysis by Battelle estimates the total revenue generated annually by Arizona’s bioscience industry—not counting hospitals—to be $14 billion. With hospitals included, the figure exceeds $36 billion.

Based on the latest industry data (2012), Arizona currently has 106,846 bioscience jobs spread across 1,382 establishments and an annual average wage of $62,775—39 percent higher than the private-sector average. These numbers do not include academic research jobs at the state universities or private research institutes.

Hospitals account for the majority of the state’s bioscience jobs. With hospitals removed from the equation, the other segments combine for 23,545 jobs, 1,266 establishments, and average annual wages of $85,571. Growth in the non-hospital segments accelerated dramatically over the last few years.

The bioscience-related distribution subsector is a new addition to Arizona’s bioscience definition, following the lead of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the nation’s bioscience trade association. Companies in this subsector coordinate the delivery of bioscience-related products through processes such as cold storage and product monitoring, and new technologies such as automated pharmaceutical distribution systems. This change also called for several smaller industries to be dropped from Arizona’s definition.

The Roadmap also presents updated data on Arizona’s performance in generating grants from the National Institutes of Health, academic research expenditures, venture capital, and tech-transfer measures involving the state universities. These metrics plus industry measures will be tracked throughout the decade by Battelle and reported by the Flinn Foundation.

The Roadmap also includes analyses of Arizona’s bioscience sector that were critical in developing the strategies and actions, such as an assessment of Arizona’s bioscience strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges. It identified Arizona’s core competencies as cancer research, neurosciences, bioengineering, agricultural biotechnology, imaging sciences, precision medicine, diagnostics, health information technologies, and health economics.

The Flinn Foundation is a privately endowed, philanthropic grantmaking organization established in 1965 by Dr. Robert S. and Irene P. Flinn to improve the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. The Phoenix-based foundation supports the advancement of the biosciences in Arizona, as well as a merit-based college scholarship program, arts and culture, and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership. “Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap: 2014-2025” is available for download at www.flinn.org.

alzheimers

Flinn Awards $2M to Banner Alzheimer’s Institute

Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation, the philanthropic resource for Phoenix-based Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI), part of the nonprofit Banner Health, received $2 million in grant funding from the Flinn Foundation, a privately endowed, philanthropic grantmaking organization in Arizona.

Aligning with the Flinn Foundation’s mission to advance biosciences in the state, the grant is an investment in BAI’s groundbreaking Alzheimer’s prevention research. Specifically, the funds will support activities related to the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative. A global Alzheimer’s prevention research endeavor spearheaded by scientists and physicians at BAI, the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative has been described by the director of the National Institutes of Health as a “cornerstone in the national plan to address Alzheimer’s disease.”

“The Flinn Foundation is an invaluable part of the fabric of Arizona’s philanthropic community, investing in organizations and programs with a track record for advancing research, civic leadership, and arts and culture in our state,” noted Andy Kramer Petersen, president and CEO of Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation. “We are honored that they recognize the tremendous potential of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative and value the work being done at BAI.”

The $2 million grant to BAI is the latest in a decades-long philanthropic relationship between the Flinn Foundation and Banner Health. Prior funding supported an array of community outreach and pediatric health care programs, the most notable being Banner School-Based Health Centers, a program delivering primary health care services to children and adolescents throughout the greater Phoenix area who lack health insurance and access to regular care.

To learn more about BAI, the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative, and corresponding local and global research efforts, visit www.BannerAlz.org. For more information about giving opportunities, please call Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation at (602) 747-4483 (GIVE).

pharmaceuticals

Arizona bioscience job growth outpaces nation

Arizona’s bioscience sector added jobs at nearly four times the national rate over the past decade and experienced double-digit job growth during the economic recovery, a new report shows.

Since Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap was launched in 2002, Arizona’s bioscience jobs have increased by 45 percent to 99,018 in 2011. Nationally, the growth rate during this time was 12 percent. While hospitals dominate Arizona’s bioscience jobs, the state’s non-hospital subsectors grew 14 percent in 2011 alone.  During the economic recovery years of 2009-11, the state’s bioscience jobs increased 11 percent while there was no gain across the state’s private sector.

The new performance analysis of Arizona’s bioscience sector, commissioned by the Flinn Foundation, also found that the number of bioscience establishments in Arizona continues to grow faster than the national average and bioscience wages in the state are outpacing those in other private-sector industries.

The 10th-annual study, released Feb. 5 by the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, did reveal funding challenges for the state.  In 2012, Arizona fell to its lowest venture capital investment level since 2009 and suffered a drop in National Institutes of Health funding while the top-10 funded states advanced.

“Arizona’s bioscience sector continues to significantly outperform the nation in terms of job and establishment growth and has made impressive gains in building a more concentrated industry base,” said Walter Plosila, senior advisor to the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice.  “However, more attention must be paid to academic research performance and venture capital investment to continue the trend in years to come.”

Plosila added that progress has been made over the past decade on all 19 actions recommended by Battelle in 2002, including substantial progress on nine.

The Roadmap was launched in 2002 as a long-range plan to make the state’s bioscience sector globally competitive. The Roadmap was commissioned by the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation, which committed to 10 years of major funding of Arizona biosciences and formed a network of committees involving statewide experts to implement its recommendations.

There was also a major increase in bioscience establishments, rising 31 percent since 2002 to 892 firms, which is above the national growth rate of 23 percent.

Bioscience jobs in Arizona pay an average salary of $56,328, or 28 percent higher than the $44,098 for all private-sector industries. Since 2002, bioscience salaries have increased 44 percent.

“After 10 years, Arizona has carved a niche in the highly lucrative and competitive biosciences field,” said Martin Shultz, chair of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee. “We’re one of the nation’s top emerging bioscience states, and our growth in high-wage jobs continued during both good economic times and bad.”

In terms of research dollars, NIH funding in 2012 was $174 million, or 19 percent greater, than the 2002 figure. This is a decrease from $184 million in 2011. While NIH funding, the gold standard for biomedical research funding, did increase slightly faster than the national average of 18 percent over the past decade, Arizona is no longer meeting its goal of obtaining funding at a growth rate higher than the top-10 funded states. In addition, its share of the funding pool remains nearly the same as it was in 2002.

The latest data also shows:
•    The largest non-hospital bioscience subsector continues to be research, testing and medical laboratories. This group now boasts about 8,900 workers across 466 establishments, roughly a 60 percent increase in both employees and firms since 2002. The other subsectors are drugs, pharmaceuticals and diagnostics; hospitals; medical devices and equipment; and agricultural feedstock and chemicals.
•    Venture capital investment was $22 million in 2012, which is the lowest figure since 2009. This was a drop of 68 percent from 2011, compared with a national decline of 49 percent.
•    Bioscience-related academic research and development expenditures at Arizona’s universities reached a record $452 million in 2011, a 55 percent increase since 2002. Arizona’s growth had outpaced the nation until 2009, but now trails the overall U.S. growth rate of 74 percent.
•    Arizona universities spun out seven bioscience companies in 2012. University discoveries have now led to 67 new bioscience startups since 2002 as well as 180 bioscience patents.

There were a number of major developments in 2012 that showed the collaborative nature of Arizona biosciences, including the completion of major projects, the approval of future pursuits, and an emphasis on education.

The University of Arizona opened its new Health Sciences Education Building on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus that enabled the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix to increase enrollment and for Northern Arizona University to begin Phoenix-based physician assistant and physical therapy programs. In addition, final approval was granted by the Arizona Board of Regents for the UA Cancer Center-Phoenix to be built on the same campus in partnership with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

A number of incubators and accelerators opened or expanded with more in the planning stages. BioInspire, an incubator for medical-device startups, opened in Peoria; GateWay Community College in Phoenix opened the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation; the Arizona Center for Innovation at the UA Science and Technology Park in Tucson opened upgraded facilities and launched new programming; Flagstaff received funding for a planned accelerator; and the statewide Arizona Furnace accelerator began awarding seed money and access to incubation space.

Among other major developments, the inaugural Arizona SciTech Festival attracted 200,000 participants from across the state during February and March 2012, making it one of the largest in the nation; Banner Alzheimer’s Institute launched a $100 million trial to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease; a new skin-cancer drug first tested by Translational Genomics Research Institute and Scottsdale Healthcare received expedited approval from the Food and Drug Administration; Arizona State University began leading the first national algae biofuel testbed; Mayo Clinic announced plans for a new cancer center on its north Phoenix campus; and Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert announced a $63 million expansion.

On Dec. 4, 2012, the Flinn Foundation and bioscience leaders from across Arizona came together at the Arizona Biltmore to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the launching of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap. The Foundation announced it has committed to continue funding Arizona biosciences and coordinating the Roadmap as it enters its next chapter.

“We recognize this is a long-term pursuit,” said Jack Jewett, president and CEO of the Flinn Foundation. “We will continue to strive to improve the lives of Arizonans today and tomorrow through new medical discoveries, access to clinical trials and the recruitment of top researchers, while also attracting high-wage jobs that will strengthen Arizona’s economy.”

The Flinn Foundation is a Phoenix-based, private, nonprofit philanthropic endowment. It was established by Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Flinn in 1965 with the mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. The nonprofit philanthropy supports the advancement of Arizona’s bioscience sector, the Flinn Scholars program, arts and culture, and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership.

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

flinn scholars

22 Top Arizona Students Become Flinn Scholars

Flinn Scholars have been selected — twenty-two of Arizona’s most talented high-school seniors have been awarded the 2012 Flinn Scholarship, a comprehensive educational package at an Arizona public university that includes tuition, room and board, international study-related travel, and additional benefits.

Each award, provided through a partnership between the Flinn Foundation and the universities, has a total value of more than $100,000.

More than 550 high-school seniors from throughout Arizona applied to be a member of the 27th annual class of Flinn Scholars.  The Class of 2012 is only the second to have more than 20 students.

“The depth of academic credentials and service to school and community among the year’s finalists were truly outstanding,” said Jack B. Jewett, President and CEO of the Flinn Foundation.  “The Selection Committee recommended going beyond our traditional class of 20 to provide these exemplary students the opportunity to spend their undergraduate years at Arizona’s universities.”

The new class includes the first Flinn Scholars chosen from Campo Verde High School in Gilbert, Hamilton Preparatory Academy in Chandler, Millennium High School in Goodyear, and Notre Dame Preparatory High School in Scottsdale, as well as the first-ever homeschooled Flinn Scholar.  The 22 Scholars represent 18 high schools in 13 cities and towns across Arizona: Chandler, Flagstaff, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Oro Valley, Phoenix, Prescott, Scottsdale, Tempe, Tucson, and Yuma.  Three schools had two Scholars chosen—Hamilton High in Chandler, Mountain Pointe High in Phoenix, and University High in Tucson.

As a group, the new Scholars averaged 1470 out of 1600 on the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and 32 out of 36 on the American College Test (ACT). Fourteen students were at least semifinalists in the National Merit competition—a benchmark honor of the top high-school students nationally.

“These students have impeccable academic records, though that alone is not sufficient to become a Flinn Scholar,” said Matt Ellsworth, Flinn Scholars Program director and a 1993 Flinn Scholar.  “Equally important is what the student has done outside the classroom—in school clubs, within the community, and through their own pursuits.  We’re looking for well-rounded individuals who will make a mark on Arizona and the world.”

Becoming a Flinn Scholar involves an application and interview process that is substantially more competitive than the admission process for the most selective liberal-arts colleges and research universities. The newest Scholars participated in two interviews in addition to completing a thorough application.  In March, 41 finalists were interviewed by a Selection Committee comprised of distinguished Arizona leaders.

The students will be formally introduced at a banquet on May 13 in Phoenix, where they and 23 Flinn Scholars graduating from Arizona’s universities will be honored before some 150 family members, university officials, and community leaders.  Each new Flinn Scholar also will recognize an educator of their choice who has influenced their education in an important way.

Delivering the keynote address at the event will be Lisan Peng, a 1989 Flinn Scholar and 1993 Rhodes Scholar.  Dr. Peng, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, studied at Oxford University and earned an M.D. and Ph.D. from the UCLA School of Medicine following her graduation from the University of Arizona.

To retain the scholarship, Scholars must maintain a cumulative 3.2 grade-point average and participate in campus or community activities.

The Flinn Scholars Program, begun in 1986, is operated by the Flinn Foundation Scholarship Program LLC and supported by the Flinn Foundation, a private, nonprofit, grantmaking organization based in Phoenix. The Foundation was established in 1965 by the late Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Flinn with the mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona. In addition to the Scholars Program, the Foundation supports the advancement of Arizona’s bioscience sector, the arts, and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership.

Bioscience in Arizona - AZ Business Magazine November 2008

Arizona Is Staking A Claim In Bioscience Territory

There’s no doubt Arizona’s public and private sectors have worked hard this decade to turn the state into a high-profile player in bioscience. And there’s no question these efforts have paid off with a number of successes. But no chart, report or press release drives these points home as effectively as an experience enjoyed by some Arizonans attending the BIO 2008 International Convention held in San Diego last June.

The annual event, staged by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, attracted more than 20,000 industry leaders from 70 countries and 48 states. A sizeable contingent stationed at the Arizona pavilion included, among others, representatives from the Arizona BioIndustry Association, the Department of Commerce, all three major universities, several Arizona cities, private firms, the Flinn Foundation, the Mayo Clinic, Science Foundation Arizona and TGen Drug Development Services, an affiliate of the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

Brad Halvorsen, the Phoenix-based Flinn Foundation’s assistant vice president for communications, is one of the people who noticed a difference this year.

He’s been to the last four BIO conventions and remembers the first time around when people were asking “Arizona does bio?” This year, however, visitors to the Arizona pavilion were inquiring about such specific topics as who at TGen works with proteomics.

This, according to Halvorsen, demonstrates a growing awareness that “Arizona’s not only a bioscience player, but an increasingly substantial one as far as what we’ve been able to do, not only here in-state, but on the national and international level.”

Of course, none of this would be possible without a coordinated effort — one in which the Flinn Foundation plays a major role.

Saundra Johnson, Flinn’s executive vice president, came onboard in 2000, just as the privately endowed foundation was going through an 18-month strategic planning process that culminated in a multimillion-dollar, 10-year commitment to advancing the biosciences in Arizona.

“That was based on a great deal of background work that staff and consultants had done about the tremendous potential at our research institutions,” Johnson says. “And we really believed that … bioscience and life sciences would be a wonderful opportunity for Arizona to build on those core competencies and really leapfrog into a more knowledge-based economy.”

The Flinn Foundation became one of the first and most significant contributors to a statewide effort to help geneticist Jeffrey Trent launch TGen, a nonprofit research institute focused on early disease diagnostics and treatments, and to lure the International Genomics Consortium here. The IGC is a research foundation working to fight cancer and other complex diseases by, in part, “expanding upon the discoveries of the Human Genome Project.” Both organizations have been sharing a Downtown Phoenix building since December 2004.

Maybe more important, the Flinn Foundation commissioned a Cleveland organization, the Battelle Memorial Institute’s Technology Partnership Practice, to conduct a 2002 study that resulted in Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap. It’s a constantly evolving 10-year blueprint for helping Arizona achieve bioscience success.

Flinn found willing collaborators at all levels of government and in higher education.

“They have been wonderful partners and have embraced the Roadmap,” Johnson says. “Without strong public-private partnerships, you can’t succeed in the kind of work the foundation’s trying to do in terms of actually moving an economy in a direction very quickly.”

Sandra Watson, the Department of Commerce’s work force and business development director, sees several areas where the state has made major contributions to the effort, ranging from increased funding for university research and facilities to tax credits for those making early stage investments for qualified small businesses — especially in the biosciences.

In fact, the department has established the Arizona Innovation Accelerator Program, which combines a variety of grants, tax breaks and tools to help businesses evaluate, develop and commercialize technologies.

“What you’ll find in Arizona is that we are a very collaborative state,” Watson says. “We, along with our partners, have identified key targeted areas and are very focused on developing strategic initiatives around those areas.”

Despite current economic conditions, she is not aware of any plans to cut back current programs. Increased higher-education funding has helped propel the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, the BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University’s Strategic Alliance for Bioscience Research and Education.

The key is that state universities not only help educate a future bioscience work force, they have an active role in the business community. One of BIO5’s main objectives, for example, is to help take research from the labs to the marketplace, and it accomplishes this through material transfer, facility-use agreements and collaborative efforts to create new companies.

“What I hope is that the community knows that if they need something — research expertise, facilities, whatever — that they can start by contacting me or someone in BIO5, and we can help them find what they need to help their business,” says Nina Ossanna, BIO5’s director of business development and vice chair for AZBio, the statewide trade association.

To understand the growing strength of Arizona’s bioscience industry, one needs to understand its diversity. That starts with a short course on terminology. Too many people throw around the term “biotechnology” when they really mean bioscience or life science.

Biotech, according to the Flinn Foundation Web site, www.arizonabiobasics.com, is a subset of bioscience. It is technology based on biology, especially when applied to agriculture, medicine and food science. Many associate it most closely with research and development.

Bioscience, as defined by Battelle, is segmented into five distinct areas: agricultural feedstock and chemicals; medical devices and equipment; drugs and pharmaceuticals; hospitals; and research, testing and medical laboratories.

While some areas around the country are especially strong in biotech, Arizona seems to cover both the gamut and a lot of ground. The so-called Arizona Bio-Corridor stretches from Tucson to Flagstaff. But it would be remiss to leave out areas such as Yuma, where there’s a lot of agricultural work going on.

There’s also a great deal of synergy taking place in different regions. Consider Tucson, where the optics industry is nationally recognized. Local optics expertise is now resulting in microscopic-imaging instruments.

Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, offers another benefit of bioscience.

“While we work and develop the bioscience sector, we actually make our health-care delivery system better,” Broome says. “And from our standpoint, we actually see it as something that basically creates a kind of economic wellness. So it’s not just about high-level employment.”

Broome points to the example of a diagnostics company that specializes in evaluating therapies for certain brain cancers. Beyond the economic benefit the company brings to the region, it helps physicians and hospitals make better treatment decisions for patients.

While an ample availability of venture capital remains a concern, there are a lot of positives to celebrate.

Three industry developments made their way into a 2008 report Battelle prepared for BIO.

One was the acquisition of Southern Arizona’s Ventana Medical Systems Inc. for more than $3 billion by Roche, the Swiss health care company. Another is the decision by Covance Inc., a respected drug development servicescompany, to build a major research facility in Chandler. And a third is medical-products manufacturer W.L. Gore & Associates Inc.’s decision to expand itsFlagstaff operation and make a move into the Greater Phoenix area.

“It’s really an exciting time to be around and look at the life-sciences industry,” says BIO5’s Ossanna.

For more information about Arizona’s bioscience presence, visit the following links:

azcommerce.com
flinn.org
tgen.org

biodesign.asu.edu
bio5.arizona.edu
arizonabiobasics.com
gpec.org
azbio.org

Arizona Business Magazine November 2008