New Life in Life Sciences


When more than a thousand people, including nearly 100 foreign delegates from such distant places as Sweden, China and Japan, descended on Seattle in March for the 11th annual Life Science Innovation Northwest conference, they created an important milestone for the region’s biotech sector.

“This shows the growing interest in our biomedical industry,” says Chris Rivera, president of the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association, who notes that attendance at the conference was up 50 percent from 2010.

The life sciences industry in Washington is already the fifth-highest provider of employment in the state, responsible for 22,000 direct jobs and 55,000 indirect jobs in 2009, according to the Washington Research Council. Rivera says the industry contributes $10.5 billion to the state economy. Exports reached $1.2 billion last year.

Strong research institutions such as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington are keys to this success. So are a rising entrepreneurial spirit and a continuing record of achievement: Seattle Genetics raised $178 million in February, while Dendreon’s new cancer treatment is seen as being among the nation’s most exciting new developments.

Nevertheless, Rivera says the biggest obstacle to growth is access to capital. Biotech venture capital investments nationally have declined by more than 10 percent a year between 2007 and 2010, according to Bloomberg. Some help could be on the way in the form of Wings, a nonprofit angel group focusing on investments in biomedical devices. WBBA also offers pro bono assistance for startups in the life sciences industry; Rivera says it nurtured 50 startups last year that are now viable entities.

Seattle Business Magazine to Honor 18 Outstanding Leaders in Health Care

Seattle Business Magazine to Honor 18 Outstanding Leaders in Health Care

Honorees to be celebrated on March 2.

Seattle Business magazine has announced finalists for its 2017 Leaders in Health Care Awards. Chosen by a panel of judges, the finalists are individuals and institutions leading the effort to improve Washington's health care sector. This year's finalists are:

1.    Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason
2.    Al Fisk, MD, The Everett Clinic
3.    Genoa
4.    Group Health Cooperative
5.    Cynthia Hecker, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center
6.    Bryce Helgerson, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center
7.    Norm Hubbard, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
8.    Peter Myles McGough, MD, UW Medicine
9.    Navos
10.  Pacific Medical Centers
11.  Oliver W. Press, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
12.  Paul Ramsey, MD, UW Medicine
13.  SCI Solutions
14.  Seattle Genetics
15.  Preston Simmons, FACHE, Providence Health & Services, Everett
16.  Jeffrey J. Tomlin, MD, EvergreenHealth
17.  Virginia Mason Medical Center
18.  Wellpepper

Gold and silver award winners will be honored at the Leaders in Health Care Awards gala on March 2 at Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle. Winners will be recognized in a variety of categories, including Outstanding Medical Center Executive, Achievement in Community Outreach and Innovation in Health Care Delivery. For more information, contact Michael Romoser at West Monroe Partners is presenting sponsor for the 2017 Leaders in Health Care Awards program.