VAStateBy Jelena Ivanjac | January 30, 2024 - The end of 2023 marked the completion of Virginia’s first statewide life sciences initiative, Virginia Bio-Connect, which started in April 2021. This comprehensive industry cluster strengthening project, supported by Virginia Growth and Opportunity Foundation funding and led by the Virginia Biotechnology Association, engaged thousands of life sciences professionals and hundreds of organizations and companies within the sector with the overarching goal of fostering a more connected life sciences ecosystem, providing support for early-stage companies, and driving workforce development throughout the state.

Faced with the rapid advancements in the industry driven by AI, data analytics, and automation, the five Virginia BioHubs joined forces to leverage each region’s strengths, including keeping talent in the Commonwealth and accelerating commercialization. Collaboration was the keyword for all project goals to come to fruition and strengthen Virginia’s position in the life sciences field both nationally and internationally.

The five regional BioHubs – Charlottesville, Coastal Virginia, Northern Virginia, Greater Richmond, and Roanoke/Blacksburg/Lynchburg used Virginia Bio-Connect as a platform to begin or reinforce that collaboration. “Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and the opportunity to connect and exchange experiences is something that everybody really appreciated,” said Amy Adams, the Director of the Institute for Biotechnology Innovation with George Mason University and one of the co-directors representing the Northern Virginia BioHub. “I now have a greater awareness of what’s going on in other regions and what resources are available that we in NOVA may be lacking. And as a team, we shared successes, challenges, and opportunities and came and worked together, which made us stronger as a state.”

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