On the morning of June 14, the Piedmont Triad Advisory Committee for Biotechnology, a partnership between Piedmont Triad citizens and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center (NCBC), met at UNCG. Highlights of the meeting included a speech by Norris Tolson, NCBC President and CEO. Tolson discussed current budget issues facing the NCBC as well as the center’s projected path over the next several years.
UNCG Vice Chancellor Terri Shelton delivered the Host Welcome, informing the committee on UNCG’s history and research activities and detailing the support offered by the Office of Research and Economic Development. NCBC Piedmont Triad Office Executive Director Nancy Johnston and Advisory Committee member Michael Kelly also spoke, with Kelly, the COO and CFO of Piedmont Pharmaceuticals, LLC, presenting an overview of his company and its present product line.
State leaders established the NCBC more than 25 years ago to secure meaningful employment statewide in the face of traditional tobacco, textile, and furniture market erosion. The NCBC sought to provide long-term economic and societal benefits to North Carolina by supporting biotechnology research, business, education, and strategic policy. The center is the oldest ‘new-tech’ organization of its kind in the world.
Today, thanks in part to the center, North Carolina is among the top three states in bioscience employment. Our state has one of the fastest-growing biotech bases among the major biotech states, is the nation’s leading hub for contract research and testing companies, and is the world leader in vaccine research and manufacturing.
The Piedmont Triad Office, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, was the first regional office formed within the NCBC. The NCBC has invested more than $14.9 million in grants and loans in the Piedmont (2002 – 2011). The Piedmont, in turn, has produced 86 biotechnology-related patents since 2009.
Made up of 24 executive-level thought leaders from industry, the public sector, and academia, the NCBC Piedmont Triad Advisory Committee has strong ties with UNCG. Jerry McGuire, UNCG Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Development, serves as the current Vice Chair, and James G. Ryan, Founding Dean of the NC A&T and UNCG Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, also sits on the committee. Former UNCG Associate Provost for Research and Public/Private Sector Partnerships Rosemary Wander chaired the Advisory Committee previously.
A few candids from the beginning of the meeting: