Cabinet for Economic Development
Gov. Beshear to Recruit Biotech Companies at BIO 2009 Convention

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, May 19, 2009  
Contact Information:  Mandy Lambert, (502) 564-7670  


FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 19, 2009)—Gov. Steve Beshear will travel Tuesday for a three-day economic development trip to the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) international convention, which is being held this year in Atlanta, Ga.  

The trip will mark the second visit by Gov. Beshear to BIO and the ninth consecutive year that Kentucky has exhibited at the convention, which draws over 20,000 attendees and 1,800 exhibitors from more than 60 nations.  

Joining the Governor will be Economic Development Cabinet Interim Secretary Larry Hayes, Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters and the Economic Development Cabinet’s Department of Commercialization and Innovation Commissioner Deborah Clayton.  

During his trip, the Governor will host meetings with U.S. and foreign bioscience and healthcare businesses that are interested in moving to Kentucky or are considering new investments in, or partnerships with, the state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2001 to 2005, Kentucky’s bioscience and human health sectors grew by 7,976 jobs (from 85,568 to 93,544).  

“Turning our economy around depends in many ways on growing our community of knowledge-based businesses and increasing research and development at our high-tech companies and universities,” said Gov. Beshear. “The annual BIO convention is one of the world’s largest gatherings of scientists, executives and officials working in the high-tech field, and our presence affords an excellent opportunity to promote our state to this national and global audience.” 

On Tuesday, prior to departing for the BIO convention, the Governor visited the Amgen Distribution Center in Louisville to tour the facility and meet with employees. Amgen recently completed a $38 million expansion of the pharmaceuticals distribution center, which opened in 1992 and now stands at 123,000 sq. ft. of space.  

The facility ships medicines created and produced by Amgen to hospitals and other healthcare providers around the country. Amgen forecasts about $15 billion in revenues this year, and about 85 percent of the products it ships in the United States pass through the Louisville center. 

“Some of the world’s leading bioscience and healthcare companies have their headquarters and other facilities in Kentucky,” said Secretary Hayes. “It’s fitting that the Governor’s trip to the BIO convention kicks off with a stop at Amgen, which has pioneered many successful biotech products and launched some of the industry’s first blockbuster medicines. Several of the Kentucky firms and organizations exhibiting in our state pavilion at BIO this year are developing equally exciting technologies that may one day be used to treat cancer and other diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.” 

While at BIO, the Governor plans to talk with some of the Kentucky biotech companies who are attending the conference. Several of these small, high-tech businesses are among the more than 40 that have received funding from the Cabinet for Economic Development’s SBIR-STTR program.  

The Kentucky Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Matching Funds Program was implemented to encourage the Commonwealth’s small businesses to explore their technological potential and maximize profit from commercialization. The program, the most comprehensive in the nation, matches both Phase 1 and Phase 2 federal awards received by Kentucky high-tech small businesses or those willing to relocate to Kentucky. Since 2006, 65 grants to 42 companies for $14,151,827 in matching dollars have been awarded. These awards leveraged $21,971,581 in federal SBIR-STTR grants.  

For more information regarding the state’s high-tech business recruitment efforts, please visit www.ThinkKentucky.com.