The first-ever Breakthrough Symposium sponsored by Aldevron brought together more than 200 individuals and organizations that lead the biotechnology community in gene and cell therapy, gene editing and more at the Hilton Garden Inn, in Fargo, North Dakota.
And there to greet them on the 5th of November from 4 – 6 pm at the Hilton Garden Inn, were Mr. Bruce Gjovig, Chairman of Bioscience Board; Vice Chairman Dr. Kenneth Hellevang; Secretary Nancy Johnson; Board Member Benjamin Forred, Board Member Kristi Jean and Board Member John Ballantyne along with Executive Director Richard Glynn to introduce them to the advantages of expanding or establishing new Bio-businesses in North Dakota.
The Association furnished hors d'oeuvre and beverages to the registered attendees and guests beginning at 4 pm due in a large part to the sponsorship donations of Sanford Health; the NDSU Office of the VP of Research and Creativity; the UND Office of Research and Economic Development; and the Department of Commerce of the State of North Dakota. Each attendee was greeted by the officers and members of the Board present. It was explained to them what the Association stood for and a discussion ensued about the many opportunities available at the two research universities and through out the State. At 4:30 pm the Association presented a short program emceed by Chairman Gjovig.
Chairman Gjovig welcomed the participants to the Symposium and described the entrepreneurial environment in North Dakota. He conveyed the message of how that environment contributed not only to the success of Aldevron but to the other 520 entrepreneurial ventures that have raised over $130 million in entrepreneur capital, and created more than 5,000 jobs across North Dakota. Then he “passed the baton” to Aldevron CEO Michael Chambers, who also welcomed and thanked the attendees for being there.
Michael then proceeded to describe the upcoming Symposium as well as his entrepreneurial experience in North Dakota. Basically he explained how John Ballantyne and he started in a small lab in Sudro Hall on the campus of North Dakota State University and now had just completed a 70,000 square foot facility for the manufacturing of DNA plasmid’s and other Bio Products. He invited the attendees to tour their new facilities. With that he concluded his remarks and Mr. Gjovig called upon Mr. Ben Forred of Sanford Research to speak on the Sanford experience in North Dakota.
Benjamin Forred is the Project Manager of Translational Research for Sanford Research a part of Sanford Health. Ben’s role is in building and strengthening business relationships between the research scientists and physicians at Sanford Health and external groups in industry and academia. Additionally, he helps facilitate new research relationships between non-profit advocacy organizations, researchers, pharma, and Sanford’s rare disease registry team. He is looking forward to strengthening relationships with the faculty and graduate students of the two research universities as well as other “bio businesses” in North Dakota. Upon conclusion of Benjamin’s address, Chairman Gjovig introduced Dr. Jane Schuh, Vice President of Research and Creative Activities at North Dakota State University.
Dr. Schuh spoke about the facilities and services available at North Dakota State University for research and development. She also spoke off faculty projects on going at the University as well as welcoming any new research projects or collaborations that might come about. According to Dr. Schuh, NDSU is interested in collaborating with any company that has an interest in conducting research in areas of interest to the University. All they have to do is contact her and she would be more than happy to visit with them about their proposed project and see if there are any synergies with any University project or faculty or graduate student project.
Following Dr. Schuh’s presentation, Chairman Gjovig introduced Dr. Eric Murphy, Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Murphy is not only a faculty member of UND but he is also the CEO and CSO of Krampade, a company engaged in producing a formulation containing a form of potassium that is quickly absorbed when it is consumed in order to prevent the onset of chronic cramping and when cramps do occur, quickly resolves acute cramping. Dr. Murphy has moved his company from Lincoln, Nebraska, to Grand Forks, ND. He spoke on the facilities available in North Dakota, and the incentives that he has received. It was his opinion that North Dakota had the best business climate available. With that, The Presentation concluded and the “Welcome Reception” went into full swing.
Manning the Associations “booth” were Secretary Nancy Johnson and Chairman Bruce Gjovig. Located on the table were brochures from the State of North Dakota, the Bank of North Dakota, NDSU, UND and Sanford Health. Each attendee that visited the booth, received a “transparent” logo’d bag, containing a writing pad, a pen with BIOND logo, and brochures of their choosing. In return they furnished a card with their name, company name, address, telephone number, e-mail address and website.
All in all it was a highly successful night! The Association made many new contacts that have an interest in expanding or establishing facilities in North Dakota. In addition, one of the most successful entrepreneurial companies in North Dakota was recognized and given the credit they deserved. In fact it was so successful; a request was made that if another Symposium was initiated, that once again the Bioscience Association of North Dakota sponsors the “Welcome Reception!"
BioND is diligently working for the development of bio companies in North Dakota.