BIOforward names industry leader as new CEO

BioForward-logo_webBIOforward, Inc., the member driven, Wisconsin affiliate of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), and Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) today announced Lisa Johnson as its new CEO. She will succeed Laura Bray who has chosen to step down effective May 1st. Johnson will assume the role of CEO on May 4.

“The Board has worked to ensure a seamless transition in leadership to serve current and future members.”

“Lisa’s extensive experience and passion for improving Wisconsin’s life science economy position her well to have an immediate impact. She brings a deep understanding of Wisconsin’s life science industry, and a strong track record building the industry at its base in Madison, as well as expanding it throughout the state,” said Joe Hammer, Board Chair. “The Board has worked to ensure a seamless transition in leadership to serve current and future members.”

Johnson has served since 2011 as Vice President Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Under Johnson’s leadership the WEDC jumpstarted several innovative programs such as the Capital Catalyst Seed Fund Program, Seed Accelerator Program and the SBIR Matching Grant Program—SBIR Advance. Johnson has also bridged state government and the UW university system to implement commercialization programs including Ideadvance Seed Fund, and a seed fund with the Wisconsin Innovation Initiative (Wi2) in association with the UW-Madison School of Public Health.

“I am excited and ready to continue BIOforward’s mission of connecting, educating, and advocating for Wisconsin’s life science economy,” said Johnson. “A key to our success will be promoting our broad base of industry and university assets and collaborating across our other leading sectors, such as Healthcare IT and Water. We must demonstrate the power and value of our assets to provide opportunities to our companies and bring investments into the state.”

Prior to joining WEDC, Johnson spent 22 years in the biotech industry where she held executive business development and operational roles with Novagen, Inc, a successful life science tools company started in Madison and later acquired by Merck KGaA/EMD. During her ten years with Merck she traveled extensively developing global partnerships for EMD-Novagen.

In 2003, she became General Manager of Calbiochem/Novagen (EMD Biosciences), an $80 million corporation with 15,000 products, and in 2004 was named the VP of Business Development and Operations for EMD Biosciences, Inc., the North American Life Sciences division for Merck KGaA. The Business and Corporate Development division managed over 300 technology transfer licensing and OEM partnership agreements. In 2009, Johnson joined Semba Biosciences, a preparative chromatography instrumentation company, as Chief Business Officer. Lisa serves on several boards and participates in a number of state-wide entrepreneurship and innovation related committees and events.

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