BIO Alabama: Connecting the bioscience ecosystem key for future growth

BIO Alabama: Connecting the bioscience ecosystem key for future growth
Dr. Karim Budhwani of CerFlux Inc. gave a talk on innovation and new knowledge using a superhero mural to make points. (contributed)

The 2020 BIO Alabama Conference wrapped up its final day with panels and keynote speakers including biotech innovation, incubators and accelerators, and remarks from the 18th U.S. Surgeon General. In total, the conference delivered over 70 presenters in over 30 sessions.

BIO Alabama Board Chairman Blair King, HudsonAlpha‘s Amy Sturdivant and BIO Alabama Executive Director Sonia Robinson provide a recap of key takeaways from Day Four panels and speakers:

  • Day Four began with bioscience founders, all Auburn University graduates as well as a professor on campus, speaking to the big, bold ideas coming out of the startup community and how they can progress. The panel discussed how young founders in the state are interested in partnering with incubators and accelerators, which will continue to help position us as a leader in the startup world. Panelist shared that they returned to Alabama after initially moving to other states after graduation – and are now focused on using their experience to build Alabama’s ecosystem.
  • Thought leaders behind Alabama’s thriving incubator and accelerator programs – Bronze Valley Accelerator, Innovation Depot, HudsonAlpha, University of Alabama, and city of Auburn – led a panel outlining the importance of mentor programs, startup funds and ensuring the right resources are available. With more programs popping up, the leaders shared how they are collaborating more now than ever before to build an ecosystem statewide of support. This idea-sharing and strategizing will continue to put Alabama in a great spot for innovation success.
  • Alabama university technology transfer offices are key drivers of biotech startups, helping identify university-generated innovations, obtaining intellectual property and licensing them to private enterprise. The day’s third panel included representatives from University of Alabama, Auburn University and University of South Alabama. They shared their process and how they want to engage with entrepreneurs, are supportive of researchers and innovation, and have licensing opportunities available. The panelists identified two gaps in the tech transfer process: lack of entrepreneurial and management talent to move from commercial application to company, and lack of early stage proof of concept funds, such as SBIR/STTR matches or supplements discussed throughout the conference.
  • Dr. Karim Budhwani, right, was among the participants on day four of the BIO Alabama virtual annual conference. (contributed)

    Karim Budhwani, CEO of advanced personalization medicine technology company CerFlux Inc., gave an insightful talk on innovation and new knowledge, the basis of innovation. He shared the time to invest in new knowledge is always now. Dr. Budwani encouraged attendees to engage creatively and constructively to harness our collective power for the success and commercialization of startups.

  • The 18th Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin gave the final keynote of the conference. She provided an inspirational message that hit on several key themes of the past few days, including diversity and equity, taking control of personal health, startups, COVID-19 and health disparity.
  • To continue this conversation and engage with the bioscience community, visit We provide opportunities to get involved through internships, volunteerism, membership and more.

BIO Alabama is the leading advocate for Alabama’s bioeconomy, representing the state on a national and international stage to promote the intellectual and innovative capital that makes Alabama a premier place to invest, start and grow in bioscience.

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