Sep 9, 2013, 7:55am EDT Updated: Sep 9, 2013, 9:35am EDT Is Florida becoming a national biosciences hotspot?
One week before life science companies from around the state gather in Tampa for BioFlorida's annual conference, the conference chair is describing Florida as "an evolving epicenter" for the industry.The state's investment climate and its workforce are making Florida more competitive in attracting bioscience businesses, said Debbie Sutherland, conference chair and CEO of the USF Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation.Florida historically has not scored at the top of most lists for its bioscience business. The Milken Institute ranked Florida No. 38 among the 50 states on its science and technology index for 2012, released in April. Central and South Florida came in as No. 18 among 21 regions in the United States on a Jones Lang LaSalle Life Sciences Cluster report released in January, although JLL said central and south Florida region has the second-fastest growing market for life sciences in the country.BioFlorida aims to build on that momentum during its Sept. 16-17 conference at the Tampa Marriott Waterside.There's an expanded focus on medical devices and bio-agriculture, in addition to biosciences and pharmaceuticals. Past conferences have had programs looking at business, investing and science; this year's will include programs looking at bioindustry trends, an initiative from Nancy Bryan, who was named president and CEO of BioFlorida in May."We have the Moffitt Cancer Center. We have CAMLS. We have the personalized medical program at the university. It gives us an opportunity to talk about things like personalized medicine and how do you aggregate that for the betterment of the community," Sutherland said