President Biden praises Wisconsin Regional Tech Hub, while making White House announcement
President Joe Biden is highlighting a public-private Wisconsin consortium as he announced that the state is one of 31 new Regional Tech Hubs.
The bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act passed last year set up the potential of taxpayer investments in the hubs to help them become globally competitive in what the White House calls "the technologies of the future."
During a White House ceremony, the President said the hubs are doing transformational work.
"For example, a tech hub in Wisconsin is going to bring together research labs, medical device manufacturers and engineers . They're going to build technology that supports personalized medicine— by test, treatment and therapy specifically tailored to a patient's genetic code and medical records. And I believe it's going to save a lot of lives in the long run," Biden said.
The lead agency for the state hub is known as BioForward Wisconsin, which has partners in the Madison and Milwaukee area.
From the Baldwin press release the Consortium members include: Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the University of Wisconsin System Administration, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, GE HealthCare, Rockwell Automation, Exact Sciences Corporation, BioForward Wisconsin, Employ Milwaukee, Accuray, Plexus, WRTP Big Step, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Madison Area Technical College, the Madison Regional Economic Partnership (MadREP), and Milwaukee7.
BioForward CEO Lisa Johnson spoke, virtually, during the second part of the White House announcement. She used the term theranostics, which links diagnosis with therapy. Drugs or other techniques are combined to simultaneously, or nearly-so, diagnose and treat medical conditions like cancer.
"So, our major strength is this rapidly expanding field of theranostics, where genomics, therapeutics, medical imaging and AI come together, for an individualized approach to health care. And underneath our bio-health companies, the complementary feature of our tech hub, is Wisconsin's leadership in precision manufacturers and also automation companies," Johnson said.
Johnson says the local manufacturers supply components to bio-health companies in Wisconsin and elsewhere.
This was only phase one of the Regional Tech Hubs competition, and Wisconsin for now, will get just a few hundred thousand dollars for strategic development. Then the 31 U.S. hubs will compete for the big prizes — five to ten grants of up to $75 million each.
The New York Times quotes the Brookings Institution, saying the tech hubs are a "grand experiment in industrial policy," attempting to spread tech growth beyond a few places like Silicon Valley.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) lobbied heavily for the Wisconsin Regional Tech Hub. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) voted against the CHIPS and Science Act.