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How the Life Sciences Industry Makes Us Future-Ready

In a Q&A with Fitzsimons Innovation Community, Elyse Blazevich, Colorado BioScience Association President & CEO, offers her perspective on the biggest areas of growth for life sciences, the top trends she’s monitoring, and how the Association advocates for a supportive business climate in our state.

By: Fitzsimons Innovation Community and Colorado BioScience Association

Q: Why did you choose to join the Colorado BioScience Association as the new President & CEO? What experiences make you ready to lead the organization?

A: It’s an honor to lead Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA). We create co-opportunity for Colorado’s life sciences community. That’s our commitment to build a collaborative life sciences ecosystem and advocate for a supportive business climate. I am passionate about the vibrancy of our life sciences ecosystem and about CBSA’s important work to champion the growth and health of life sciences in Colorado because I saw how it contributed to the success of the company I co-founded. My readiness for this role comes from my experience growing a medical device company from concept to commercialization and my deep personal and professional ties to Colorado.

Q: How did you see life sciences seize opportunities amid the myriad of challenges during the pandemic?

A: We are all deeply grateful to the healthcare workers on the front lines of this pandemic. They represent the best of humanity, delivering life-saving care under incredibly challenging circumstances. The pandemic also introduced our hidden heroes, the scientists working in labs around the clock to develop tests, treatments, vaccines, and vaccine delivery systems.

The pandemic demonstrated the critical impact of life sciences on our collective health, well-being, and economic stability. We saw an explosion of innovation from Colorado’s life sciences community, with companies pivoting to tackle everything from preventing the spread of COVID-19 to helping those with long COVID live better lives. More than 40 Colorado companies and organizations are contributing to the global response. Additionally, Colorado’s academic and research institutions are starting new projects centered on COVID-19 every week. Their discoveries will help us understand the long-term impact of this virus and prepare us for future pandemics.

Q: What do you see as the biggest areas of growth for life sciences?

A: Growth comes when the people behind incredible breakthroughs get the right kind of support. That’s what makes the Fitzsimons Innovation Community an anchor of Colorado’s life sciences ecosystem. When researchers can take a break from lab work and head across the street to share ideas with clinicians or talk to patients about their needs–that kind of collaboration contributes to a bright future for health and care.

Working together, we can accelerate this incredible period of momentum for life sciences in Colorado. It will require a sustained focus on securing new sources of capital, supporting our academic and research institutions, growing our life sciences workforce, and creating a supportive business environment. It’s also critical to keep Colorado top of mind for everyone from solo entrepreneurs to established companies as the ideal place to start, build, or relocate a business.

Q: What are some of the top life sciences trends you’re monitoring?

A: The breadth of innovation in Colorado gives us a preview of the speed, precision, and personalization we can expect from healthcare in the coming years. Everything from rapid, pointof-care testing, to targeted cancer treatments, to cell and gene therapies to treat disease, to AI-enabled tools to assess and predict health. It’s an exciting time.

Q: In your new role, how will you champion a collaborative life sciences ecosystem and advocate for a supportive business climate?

A: It’s a collaborative effort! CBSA focuses on Capital + Growth, supporting access to capital at all stages of commercialization. With Education + Networking, we foster a statewide culture of collaboration with our programs and events. Through Policy + Advocacy, we cultivate a supportive, innovation-friendly business climate for life sciences. Our Workforce Cultivation efforts grow an educated, experienced workforce and connect jobseekers to companies.

Most importantly, we champion life sciences by leading the ecosystem and telling your success stories. Hearing from you makes this work possible. Please reach out to share your successes and challenges with our team.