The Halifax Industrial Development Authority (IDA) has a seat at the table for Governor McAuliffe's Bioscience Initiative. "We are honored and excited to have representation on this panel," says Matt Leonard, IDA Executive Director. "We have been proactively marketing Halifax, Virginia as well positioned for Bioscience, and Dr. Doug Corrigan's selection as one of only about 40 panel members reinforces our efforts."

Governor Terry McAuliffe's Bioscience Initiative seeks to develop a robust economic development strategy that focuses on strengthening and growing the bioscience sector within the Commonwealth. Governor McAuliffe's initiative will be a collaborative, multi-year effort involving several secretariats, state agencies, higher education institutions, private sector research enterprises and businesses across Virginia.

Dr. Douglas Corrigan, Executive Director of the IDA's Southern Virginia Product Advancement Center (SVPAC), attended a kick-off meeting in December, which included a public and private sector roundtable discussion at the State Capital. University representatives, bio industry leaders, and renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor, Dr. Robert S. Langer, were present at this initial meeting.

"Discussions focused on plans to strengthen Virginia's infrastructure, talent, and capital resources for commercializing technologies that originate within Virginia based universities," reports Dr. Corrigan. Dr. Corrigan will serve on a number of panels that are tasked by the Governor with developing a strategic plan that includes raising the profile of the Virginia bioscience industry, enhancing incentives for bioscience businesses, leveraging existing assets into new opportunities, assuring an outstanding bioscience workforce, and promoting commercialization of university research.

"One of the critical growth areas of bioscience and biomedicine is in the handling and parsing of large genomic data streams, a field known as bioinformatics. Due to the substantial investments by the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) in the high-speed broadband fiber network throughout Southern Virginia, our attractiveness to the location of large data centers, and our proximity to world-class medical research institutions, Southern Virginia is well positioned to be a regional hub for the growing bio-data requirements of the medical research and treatment community," says Dr. Corrigan.

MBC has its operational headquarters in the IDA's Southern Virginia Technology Park on Route 58 just west of South Boston, Virginia. "Data transfer is critical to many of our existing and prospect businesses," says Leonard. "We've been able to attract call centers like Faneuil, VEC and DMV because of it. And, the IDA's most recent R&D prospect AMS needs robust data for their business plan. MBC makes all of that possible."

Like the autonomous vehicle sector, one of SVPAC's strategic initiatives is to attract, incubate, and grow start-up companies in the bioscience sector. Currently, SVPAC is working with a number of companies in bioinformatics and drug-discovery sectors to move them through their research phase into full-scale commercialization.

"We anticipate that our efforts in working with the Governor on crafting and implementing a state-wide plan for growing the bioscience sector in Virginia will bode well for the bioscience related companies and projects Halifax is currently developing," says Dr. Corrigan.