Office of the Governor, UW Madison: Governor Doyle Outlines Wisconsin’s Strategy to Remain at the Forefront of Biotechnology, Health Sciences, and Stem Cell Research

Ethnie Groves, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2156

Terry Devitt, UW-Madison, 608-262-8282

Statewide Efforts Include Nearly $750 Million of Public, Private Investment
and New Wisconsin Institute for Discovery on UW-Madison Campus

Governor Jim Doyle today outlined Wisconsin’s strategy to
maintain its leadership in the fields of biotechnology, health sciences, and
stem cell research. The Governor said that nearly three quarters of a
billion dollars would be spent in the state over the next several years, and
he outlined a series of investments, including a new Wisconsin Institute for
Discovery on the UW-Madison campus.

“Wisconsin leads the world in groundbreaking biomedical
research, but we need to continue to move forward,” Governor Doyle said.
“The state, in partnership with the University and our other private
partners, has an aggressive and comprehensive strategy to ensure that we
remain at the forefront not only of scientific discoveries, but of creating
thousands of new high-tech jobs.”

The Governor noted that Wisconsin is already well ahead of
California, which recently approved a plan to borrow $3 billion for stem
cell research, and that California is now trying to play “catch-up” and
build from scratch what Wisconsin has been developing for years. In fact,
over the past 15 years, Wisconsin has invested nearly $1 billion in high
technology facilities.

“Wisconsin can’t match California dollar for dollar, but
California can’t match what Wisconsin already has – including the best
scientists in the world and first class research institutions,” Governor
Doyle said. “This is not a competition where someone wins and someone
loses. What California does will not diminish Wisconsin’s role; if
anything, there will be a synergy between our two states.”

Wisconsin’s strategy for maintaining its leadership includes
the following:

* A new $375 million research institute – called the Wisconsin
Institute for Discovery – on the UW-Madison campus;

* The removal of bureaucratic hurdles for faculty members who want to
become entrepreneurs;

* Providing venture capital through the Department of Commerce to
start-up businesses through legislation the Governor signed earlier this

* A new $134 million HealthStar Interdisciplinary Research Complex
near the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics dedicated to
innovation and rapid transfer of medical science discoveries into clinical

* A new $132 million research facility at the Medical College of
Wisconsin and Children’s Hospital that will focus on infectious disease
control, cardiovascular illnesses, and bioengineering;

* $1.5 million annually to support a new Alzheimer’s research

* Investments of $105 million over the next five years in research,
education, and public health efforts at the University of Wisconsin Medical
School and the Medical College of Wisconsin to make progress in areas such
as regenerative medicine, stem cell research, molecular medicine,
neuroscience, and cancer research.

The Governor made the announcement at the
Genetics/Biotechnology Center on the UW-Madison campus, where he was joined
by University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor John Wiley, UW-Madison
biologist Dr. James Thomson, and scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs, and
biotech stakeholders.

“This investment will give the University the resources it
needs to make new discoveries, ones that treat disease, save lives, and
establish Wisconsin as the leader in innovation,” said Dr. Thomson, who was
the first person to isolate and culture human stem cells six years ago.

Wisconsin Institute for Discovery: New Research Institute on
UW-Madison Campus

The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery will include
specialists in biochemistry, nanotechnology, computer engineering, and
bioinformatics. Because it will be a public-private Institute, researchers
will have the independence they need to convert their discoveries into
commercial ventures that will create jobs. It will be built and financed
over 10 years, with support from state and private funds totaling $375
million. The first phase of the project will use approximately $50 million
that has already been enumerated for BioStar IV.

This new Institute will be surrounded by the engineering
campus and the biotechnology, biochemistry, and computer science buildings –
the ideal location to bring together engineers, biologists, chemists,
mathematicians, and medical scientists to produce new discoveries. WiCell,
a foundation that is using private and federal funding to pursue
groundbreaking stem cell research, will be a part of the Institute.

“This kind of collaboration promises to produce discoveries
unimaginable today because they will truly be the next generation of
scientific knowledge,” Governor Doyle said, adding that the Institute will
also allow for any University of Wisconsin System scientist and researcher
to utilize pre-incubator space.

“This Institute will generate research that will be patented
and licensed at WARF or WiSys, which, in turn, will generate royalties that
can be reinvested in research,” the Governor said. “It will also spawn
high-tech companies that will create economic development far exceeding the
cost of investment. And because the Institute will be a public-private
partnership, it will make sure those discoveries are moved quickly into the
marketplace, where the benefits can be shared with Wisconsin citizens and
the rest of the world.”

Research at the Institute can potentially benefit families
throughout Wisconsin and across the nation as it brings advances like the
prevention of neurodegenerative and other diseases to the world, said
Chancellor Wiley.

“UW-Madison is the epicenter of biotechnology and life
sciences research in Wisconsin, the Midwest, and the nation,” Chancellor
Wiley said. “The roots of biotech began right here in Wisconsin, and the
University and the state have a shared responsibility to see research
through from laboratory, to market, to patients and their families. Such a
substantial investment by the state in not only biotechnology, but also
information technology and nanotechnology, will ensure that Wisconsin
remains at the forefront of what we now consider biotech.”

Although he could not be present at today’s announcement, UW
System President Kevin Reilly expressed his strong support for the new
state-university initiative.

“In the true spirit of the Wisconsin Idea, this initiative
will serve as a dynamic learning laboratory, presenting an ideal opportunity
for collaborative research among other UW-Madison schools and other UW
System campuses, and will serve as a tool to extend clinical trials research
to the boundaries of the state,” Reilly said. “This considerable state
investment in facilities and programs will also allow the University to
leverage its outside funding to support researchers and scientists who make
discoveries possible.”

Removing Bureaucratic Hurdles to Faculty Start-Ups

The initiative also includes legislation to change state law
to allow UW faculty and staff to more easily engage in commercial activities
that utilize university research. Current state law makes it difficult for
researchers and scientists to take the discoveries they make in their labs
and turn those discoveries into start-up businesses.

“By removing these bureaucratic hurdles, we will ensure that
UW faculty members who want to become entrepreneurs can engage in both
research and start-up businesses more easily,” Governor Doyle said.

Spin-off technology created at the University helps
Wisconsin’s economy. For example, UW-Madison-related companies alone
generate over $1 billion in gross revenues, employing 6,700 Wisconsin
residents, with an average wage of more than $65,000 per year.

Making Venture Capital Available to New Biotechnology and
Health Science Businesses

Earlier this year, Governor Doyle signed legislation to fuel
the process of turning ideas into jobs by leveraging over $250 million of
venture capital to help start-up companies grow. Today, the Governor is
directing the Department of Commerce to make those resources available to
companies that emerge from these new research efforts, including those at
the Institute for Discovery. The Governor is asking Commerce to qualify
these emerging companies for angel tax credits and seed-stage venture
capital tax credits. He is also directing Commerce to use the variety of
new grant and loan programs created under the venture capital bill to help
these companies succeed.

New HealthStar Interdisciplinary Research Complex Near UW
Hospital and Clinics

Governor Doyle will ask the State Building Commission, which
he chairs, to approve a new $134 million HealthStar Interdisciplinary
Research Complex near the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics that
will be dedicated to innovation and rapid transfer of medical science
discoveries into clinical applications. The Building Commission is
scheduled to meet later today.

Research will involve advanced and evolving physical and
molecular technologies to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of
life-threatening diseases, with an emphasis on health issues of an aging
population. The project’s location will facilitate translational medicine –
rapid transfer of basic science discoveries into clinical applications.

New Research Facility of the Medical College of Wisconsin
and Children’s Hospital

The Medical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Hospital are
about to break ground on a new $132 million research facility that will
focus on infectious disease control, cardiovascular illnesses, and
bioengineering. The state will contribute $25 million to support the
facility. The Governor will ask the Building Commission to give final
approval to the project later today.

The Wisconsin Initiative for Alzheimer’s Research

This new $1.5 million annual initiative will fund key
research on Alzheimer’s Disease, which affects more than 5 million
Americans, including 110,000 Wisconsin residents. Over the next 25 years,
scientists estimate the number of affected Wisconsin residents is expected
to grow by 58 percent.

The key components of the initiative include:

* Research into the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)

* This initiative will build on prevention research already taking
place by the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute through the Wisconsin Registry
for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP), which supports genetic, epidemiologic,
and clinical studies to delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. More
than 600 adult children of persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 42
Wisconsin counties are enrolled in WRAP, and help support research that
could lead to the prevention of the disease.

* This new initiative will help expand the research to all 72
Wisconsin counties, and further research efforts into new technologies that
will allow for early detection of Alzheimer’s.

* Research to develop and evaluate new treatments

* The initiative will be vital to supporting the work of UW-Madison
School of Pharmacy Professor Jeff Johnson, who has discovered a protein that
halts the progression of Alzheimer’s in mice, and is researching how to
apply this discovery to humans.

* “Timing is everything, and right now we have an opportunity to
identify a new concept in the field that other people and drug companies
will pick up on,” Professor Johnson said. “Moreover, my colleagues and I
are working with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation to file a U.S.
patent application on specific protein sequences that confer this protective
effect. The economic impact for the university, and the state, could be

* Research to identify the neuropathological basis for Alzheimer’s
The initiative will help establish a brain and
tissue bank that is essential for the UW and other researchers in the state,
such as the Marshfield Medical Research Foundation, to conduct novel
research studies, especially those related to identifying new causes for

UW’s Dr. Sanjay Asthana – the head of the Geriatric
Section who is working to develop the University’s Alzheimer’s research
program – said the initiative will help stimulate substantial research
funding from both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and non-federal

“Support of this magnitude does not go unnoticed,”
Dr. Asthana said. “It could help the UW to draw some of the best AD talent
from across the country and, perhaps, to make a case for becoming a national
NIH center on Alzheimer’s.”

$105 Million Investment in Research, Education, and Public Health

The Governor highlighted another key resource available to
Wisconsin – about $105 million as a result of the public sale of Blue Cross
Blue Shield of Wisconsin, funds that will be used by the University and the
Medical College of Wisconsin to support public health, medical education,
and research, including stem cell research. The University expects to spend
about $75 million, and the Medical College expects to spend about $30
million over the next five years.

“Wisconsin has always pushed the frontiers of science and
discovery, especially in agriculture and life sciences,” Governor Doyle
said. “From Professor Babcock’s test for fat in milk to James Thomson’s
stem cell breakthrough, Wisconsin has served the world through
groundbreaking research. Now, we can have a profound effect on the quality
of life in the 21st century, and I ask the people of Wisconsin, the
Legislature, and the business community to join us in making this vision of
hope yet another first for Wisconsin.”

Today’s announcement is part of a series of initiatives the
Governor will outline in the coming weeks as he enters the next phase of his
“Grow Wisconsin” plan. On Monday, the Governor announced that he will
propose, as part of his next budget, a $1.3 million state investment to help
improve the competitive position of Wisconsin’s manufacturers.