A Washington, D.C.-based international biotech group used UIC Thursday as the venue to name Illinois Governor Pat Quinn as its 2011 “Governor of the Year.”

Biotechnology Industry Organization, or BIO, cited Quinn for his “leadership and support of the biosciences industry” and “numerous initiatives” important to early-stage biotechnology firms, including Illinois’s 2010 Angel Investment Tax Credit Program for qualified new business ventures in the state.

The announcement came at a press conference held in the lobby of UIC’s Incubator Laboratory Facility, part of the Chicago Technology Park located west of the medical campus.

Engineering Dean Peter Nelson opened the event by lauding Quinn as a “longtime friend” and “frequent visitor” to UIC, and he welcomed representatives of BIO and Illinois-based biotechnology firms, many of which got their start at the west-side ILF.

“There’s more brain power in this room than just about anywhere in Illinois right now,” Quinn quipped, flanked by more than a dozen UIC, BIO and government officials, corporate executives and others from successful Illinois biotechnology startups.

Quinn commended companies for locating and expanding in Illinois, but also highlighted the importance of institutions like the University of Illinois to provide the educational support that industry needs.

“We need smart people who know how to deal with the intellectual challenges of this industry,” the Illinois governor said. “I believe in education and investing in education.”

Quinn formally receives his award June 29 at the keynote luncheon of BIO’s annual international convention, being held this year in Washington.

BIO bills its annual gathering as “the largest technology event in the world.” Chicago played host to the convention in 2006 and 2010, and will do so again in 2013 and 2016. BIO estimates the revenue-generating value of each convention to the local host’s economy at around $30 million.

BIO represents more than 1,100 companies, academic institutions and related organizations in more than 30 nations.

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Story by Paul Francuch, UIC News



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