As we wrap up 2021, we look forward to another year of standing behind our members and their work. As COVID continues to impact our daily lives, it highlights how our life sciences community not only saves lives but also strengthens our economy. This past year its estimated that COVID vaccines saved more than 1 million lives, prevented 10 million hospitalizations and generated economic savings of $438 billion. And research shows that weekly availability of at home testing (like Abbott BinaxNOW) would avert 2.8 million infections, 15,700 deaths, and save $5.9 billion in healthcare costs and $14 billion in workdays lost. While these numbers are just focused on COVID, this is the promise and hope that our industry provides ALL PATIENTS.
At the same time, our community in Illinois has had a significant increase in bioscience venture capital funding in the past year (256%), and nearly one million square feet of Class A lab space either delivered or under construction.
Our community is poised for explosive growth in Illinois. Check out what we have been up to this past year to support our community:
- Supported the startup ecosystem by passing legislation creating a SBIR Matching Program in Illinois
- Promoted Health Equity by supporting Biomarker Testing Legislation, making Illinois the first state to pass comprehensive biomarker legislation requiring all healthcare plans to cover the costs of biomarker testing.
- Ensured rare Disease patients and their families have a voice in Springfield by extending the Rare Disease Advisory Commission.
- Opposed legislation that would have increased patients out of pocket costs at the pharmacy counter, protected patients from non-medical formulary switching, and protected our medical device industry from harmful legislation requiring warranties.
- Joined Governor Pritzker and DCEO Director Garcia to announce the Governor’s $15.4 Million capital grant program to boost wet lab development
In D.C. we participated and hosted roundtables and discussions:
- Protecting our industries intellectual property rights
- Opposing legislation that would impose price setting and penalty system for our industry
- Welcomed 528 campers from 13 different states to explore topics in solubility, chromatography, biometrics, centripetal and centrifugal forces, biomimetics, robotics and gravity at our annual STEMfamily Camp.
- Addressed the educational gap created by the COVID Pandemic by developing and delivering more than 6,000 iBIO STEMKits providing Chicagoland students with hands-on STEM Learning activities and connections to STEM careers (96% of parents surveyed reported that STEMKits had a positive impact on their child’s view of STEM careers).
- In partnership with Goshen Education, we successfully hosted 10, 5-day in-person camps for 1,220 students, primarily children of active military personnel, across the United States.
- In April we partnered with IllinoisVentures and public-private partners in the Life Sciences Ecosystem to host a week-long Life Sciences Showcase highlighting 12 startup companies and 7 new ecosystem developments. We had more than 400 attendees join us during the virtual showcase.
- Our Daily NewsBrief continues to grow and provide daily community and industry news to more than 2,000 industry professionals. Our newsletter has a read rate of over 40% beating industry averages.
In 2021 iBIO leveraged the COVID Response Fund to support communities in Illinois.
- Partnered with the West Side Community Stake Holders to provide masks to support underserved communities and the homeless population on the west and southwest side of Chciago.
- Partnered with the Little Village Chamber of Commerce to provide masks to support the business community in Little Village.
- Supported the return to in-school education by providing mask donations to CPS schools and other school districts in the metro-Chicago region.
- Developed multi-lingual communications resource toolkit to combat vaccine hesitancy and partnered with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to distribute the resources and information to the hispanic business community. And deployed the toolkit to Hispanic communities throughout the US.
- Partnered with Horizon Therapeutics, Lundbeck, Takeda and the Lake County Partners to fund a vaccine clinic to support the underserved community in Zion Illinois. This clinic provided 3,000 vaccines to the community.
All of this would not have been possible without the support of our members. In 2022 we look forward to working with our members on new initiatives to build a more resilient and inclusive life sciences community in Illinois.
Happy Holidays and Have a Happy New Year.