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New BioMed SA plan eyes expanded company and talent recruitment
December 18, 2018

BioMed SA President Ann Stevens says a new bioscience industry action plan could lead open the door to more business and talent recruitment and retention.

By W. Scott Bailey, Senior Reporter, San Antonio Business Journal

BioMed SA, the nonprofit organization tasked with promoting and growing San Antonio’s health care and bioscience sector, is rolling out a new industry action plan, which has the backing of the city of San Antonio, the Texas Research and Technology Foundation and the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation — was developed in partnership with Frost & Sullivan. It identifies more than 80 actionable recommendations that support the attraction, creation, retention and expansion of local bioscience companies.

BioMed SA President Ann Stevens believes the recommendations will also help local leaders recruit and retain additional talent, while providing more fertile ground for area entrepreneurs and startups. 

“This industry action plan presents a well-thought-out opportunity to move the health care and bioscience sector forward in a highly focused fashion,” Stevens told me. “Our first step is to work with community and industry stakeholders here in our ecosystem to take ownership of various initiatives and move these recommendations from theory to action.

Among the recommendations are the development of an employment support program to enhance the recruitment of life sciences talent, as well as the creation of a disciplinary panel that can explore new opportunities in regenerative medicine, including cell therapy, wound care, cancer, diabetes, immunology and neurology. 

The new action plan also includes recommendations focused on identifying greater access to new capital, as well as heightened educational outreach to better inform potential investors of the opportunities available in San Antonio.

The plan targets five disease areas where San Antonio has particular assets and strengths: Diabetes, infectious diseases, cancer, neurological disorders and trauma/wound healing/regenerative medicine. It also recognizes the significant potential for growth in military medicine in these and other disease areas.

Stevens said implementing the plan will require an community-wide commitment.

“Collaboration will be the essential element, and BioMed SA’s role as a force enabler will help facilitate this collaboration,” Stevens said.

The new plan is the byproduct of interviews with more than 120 local, regional and national industry leaders, disease experts and economic development professionals. It builds on previous work by local leaders who participated in BioMed SA’s Asset Initiative in 2011 through 2013, as well as on recommendations made by the San Antonio Medical Foundation in 2015.

 “We’ve spent more than a year gathering insights and informed perspectives on opportunities that could grow what is already one of San Antonio’s leading economic sectors by building on the strengths that make it unique and leveraging the community’s intellectual capital to become a resource to the world,” said Frost & Sullivan Vice President Charlie Whelan, who added that the goal now is to better harness San Antonio’s “collective potential” and to execute on “specific tactical recommendations.”

Stakeholders expect that the action plan will reveal more low-hanging fruit ripe for picking. Stevens points, for example, to suggestion of engaging a life sciences grant writer who could provide no- or low-cost assistance to local companies applying for support funding from entities such as the National Institutes of Health and Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

“There are a number of readily achievable recommendations that could be undertaken quickly and efficiently,” she said.

Implementation of the action plan could directly affect BioMed SA’s role moving forward.

I expect that BioMed SA’s focus will sharpen in alignment with the plan’s areas of focus,” Stevens said.

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