Christine Cohen

State Senator

Christine Cohen

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Listening, Advocating & Getting Results

January 31, 2019

Bioscience Caucus, Industry Partners Announce Strategic Plan, Cohen Named Co-Chair

Yesterday, January 30, the co-Chairs of the Legislature’s bipartisan Bioscience Caucus met with their main industry counterpart, BioCT, to discuss the strategic plan developed since the last legislative session and announce specific goals for the current session. State Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) announced a leadership role with the Bioscience Caucus.

“I am thrilled to be joining the leadership team of the Bioscience Caucus as co-chair,” said Sen. Cohen. “This is a fast-growing segment worldwide and Connecticut has seen a tremendous amount of expansion in the bioscience arena. These life-saving innovations are stimulating job growth and breakthrough technologies. I look forward to fostering ideas and legislation that will allow this business community to prosper and ultimately allow Connecticut to thrive.”

Sen. Cohen will serve alongside; State Senator Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield), State Representative Stephen Harding (R-Brookfield), and Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport). BioCT President & CEO Dawn Hocevar and Dr. Mark Adams, Director of Microbial Genomic Services at Jackson Labs, joined them at the press conference.

The Bioscience caucus is a group of legislators committed to working with industry partners to create smart policies that encourage growth in one of Connecticut’s strongest business sectors. With some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical, medical device, healthcare, insurance and genomics companies, and several prestigious Colleges and Universities, Connecticut is poised to be a leader in one of the most forward-thinking industries. The Bioscience Caucus is dedicated to ensuring Connecticut takes hold of that opportunity to foster continued innovation and economic growth in the state.

The Strategic plan includes five key areas that would make Connecticut the ideal partner for new businesses in the bioscience sector. These include (1) Marketing and Branding, (2) Business Development & Recruitment, (3) Attracting Investment Capital, (4) Infrastructure Improvements, and (5) Workforce Development. Details for each of these key areas can be found in the attached Executive Summary of the CT Bioscience Strategic Plan.

“Bioscience is a critical element to the growth of our economy and for creating important new businesses and well-paying jobs. I am proud to be supporting businesses that enhance the quality of our health and lifestyle. At its core, that is what we are trying to do here in the bipartisan Bioscience Caucus,” said Senator Hwang. “When I look at our State, I see incredible potential in this sector and all we need to do is take hold of this opportunity to create policies that encourage and foster growth in this industry.”

“I look forward to working with my colleagues on this committee to champion important initiatives at the state level to assist bioscience companies, like Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation, right in my local community,” said Rep. Harding. “Investing in bioscience is investing not only in our economy, but in the health and protection of our constituents, environment and animals.”

“The bioscience industry is on the cusp of changing the world of healthcare and Connecticut is poised to play a significant role in advancing life-saving innovation.” said Rep. Steinberg. “The Bioscience Caucus is committed to fostering the environment for sustained growth of this sector. We can improve the health of our citizens while we create good-paying jobs and lift our economy. I look forward to continuing our dialogue with Academia and Industry on how best to further this agenda.”

“I believe that in order for Connecticut to continue on the road to economic recovery that Biotech and Bioscience need to be part of the solution,” said Rep. Petit, a returning member of the Bioscience Caucus. Connecticut is extremely blessed to not only have magnificent research universities and companies, but a highly trained pool of workers who are ready to compete for those careers. As a state, we need to support development in this area for economic growth in addition to the scientific advances that can be made as a result and we should start by changing or eliminating some of the corporate and business taxes that put us at a disadvantage to border states we are competing against.”

BioCT is the bioscience industry voice for the state of Connecticut, and is dedicated to growing the vibrant bioscience ecosystem in Connecticut by supporting innovation, collaboration, networking, education, talent engagement and advocacy. They bring together companies, institutions, entrepreneurs, investors, government, service providers, and others, to create a thriving community to improve patients’ lives and public health.

“Key stakeholders from government, academia and industry are collaborating to build upon the bioscience strategic plan to ensure the growth and success of this industry in Connecticut,” said Hocevar. “This growth will increase jobs, recruitment, talent, infrastructure, venture and resources to ultimately improve the health of our residents and save lives. I’d like to thank the leaders of this caucus for their advocacy, along with the many other public officials and stakeholders who recognize the importance of fostering growth in this sector in Connecticut,”

“At The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), our team is making key breakthroughs in the areas of cancer, the human microbiome, systems genetics, and genome-based medicine,” said Mark Adams, Ph.D., professor and director, microbial genomic services at JAX. “We’re very proud of our scientific collaborations with academic, business, and life science organizations in Connecticut and beyond, many of which have produced multidisciplinary research grants, bringing significant federal investment to the state, and also tremendous hope to people around the world who are affected by diseases like breast and ovarian cancer, heart disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, to name a few. With the support of the Bioscience Caucus and many others, we look forward to our continuing to make important discoveries in Connecticut that impact human health on a local and global scale.”

Paul Pescatello, Executive Director at CBIA Bioscience Growth Council, remarked, “Rarely have the interests of the business community generally and the biopharma sector been so aligned. We look forward to working with the General Assembly Bioscience Caucus to build a more stable long-term fiscal outlook for Connecticut, create transportation infrastructure and enhance incentives to encourage more bioscience research and development in this state.”

About Sen. Cohen: Sen. Cohen was first elected in 2018 to represent the 12th Senate District which consists of Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison and North Branford. Christine is a small business owner; the proud owner of Cohen’s Bagel Company.