Touting Minnesota’s two CTSA recent grants from NIH ($51 M at the U. of Mn. $64 M at Mayo Clinic) and state efforts in diabetes prevention, Sen. Al Franken zoomed in and out of the kickoff breakfast for Minnesota at BIO2011 this morning. His presence was significant, lending emphasis to biosciences in the state.
“There is no reason why Minnesota’s bioscience industry cannot be every bit as great as our medical device industry,” he told state leaders. “I want to do everything I can to help you make that happen.”
Mayo's chair of government relations, Dr. Patty Simmons, also spoke briefly, as she did last evening at the kickoff reception held by Minnesota, Manitoba and Wisconsin. She represented Minnesota and was swamped with attendees wanting to collaborate with researchers in the state.
I’m now in the Minnesota pavilion on the exhibit floor of BIO in Washington, where about two dozen innovators and economic leaders from across the state are engaging the upwards of 15-thousand attendees at this international event.
A “diabetes” theme pervades the pavilion this year, promoting the Decade of Discovery, the initiative by Mayo and the University to prevent and ultimately conquer diabetes. The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics (which launched the “Decade”) is also here, meeting with potential collaborators. I’ll be blogging from BIO over the next couple days about what I see and hear in bioscience. The Minnesota pavilion is between Germany, France and Texas…so I’m hoping for interesting conversations.