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BioUtah was created in November 2012 when three organizations merged to create an organization dedicated to supporting Utah’s life science industry and promoting it nationally and internationally. In just over a year, it’s gathered more than 85 member companies working in the medical device, biopharma, natural products and healthcare industries.
We spoke briefly with BioUtah COO Peter Knaeur to learn more about the organization.
What accomplishments are you most proud of from BioUtah’s first year?
BioUtah not only continued the programming, the events and the outreach [of the other organizations], but we’ve actually taken it up a step and improved the offerings. For example, we have a monthly compliance clinic, which used to come from the UTC. We’ve carried that on but put in better programming. We’ve created new events called the Master Series, which are quarterly events geared toward the C-level folks at companies, and those have large attendance as well. We have our annual summit, which we’ve grown. In the days I was head of IBA attendance at annual conferences was in the 100 to 150 range, and now we’ve gotten that up to 300.
We’ve done some legislative outreach and lobbying efforts for the industry locally in state-level politics. We’ve also formed consortiums with life science industries in other states to do national outreach, such as lobbying for relief from the medical device tax. Also, we’ve formed associations with state entities, one being the BioInnovations Gateway, which is an incubator at the Granite Technical Institute for small startup companies.
What would you like the future of BioUtah to hold?
The medical device industry in the state does quite well, but there are other fields that need some help, particularly pharmaceutical and biopharma development. One of our initiatives is to find ways to foster the companies that are here but to bring in a large east or west coast company to have a facility or even headquarters here. We feel that would do tremendous service to the pharmaceutical and biopharma industry. And then of course our education, compliance, outreach and teaching programs. We’ll continue to improve upon and add to the ones we have and provide a general assistance to any sized company in life sciences that operates in the Utah area.