Helen Stimson on growing Delaware’s bioscience industry


Helen Stimson’s charge as president of the Delaware BioScience Association is impressive: Be a catalyst for developing a strong bioscience community in Delaware and ultimately keep the innovation here, too.

“Bringing community together to share a network is really important, especially when you look at the bioscience industry, which has had a tough time attracting new companies to the state,” said Stimson, a former vice president at Agilent Technologies before taking over the role of president earlier this year.

With 7,500 bioscience jobs in Delaware that pay an average annual salary of $120,000, Stimson said it’s in Delaware’s best interest to grow the industry.

But with such diversity – bioscience includes everything from pharmaceuticals to health care and food safety – there’s a range of opportunities and challenges unique to each.

“My role is to help keep the innovation in Delaware and make sure those new companies are getting the support they need,” said Stimson, who connects them to funding sources, makes key introductions and develops a number of high-quality networking events.

It also includes targeted outreach. A May event on the changing face of cancer drug development will feature experts from Agilent and a leading scientist from Incyte leading the discussion.

“You don’t get this quality very often so I’m reaching out to everyone doing cancer research and inviting them personally to come so they have opportunity to be there.”

Training programs, workforce development and advocacy work round out Stimson’s efforts. Earlier this month, she went to Dover to promote an Angel Investor Tax Credit that would create funding sources for small bioscience companies.

And a trip to Washington was aimed at keeping the needs of the bioscience industry front and center as the new administration warns of funding cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to Stimson.

“Eighty percent new pharma products start in biotech startups,” she said. While Stimson’s “to do” list means meeting the needs of the industry while growing its visibility, she praised the ongoing strides Delaware has made in its growing number of laboratories and incubator spaces, and the engagement of the business community

While Stimson’s “to do” list means meeting the needs of the industry while growing its visibility, she praised the ongoing strides Delaware has made in its growing number of laboratories and incubator spaces, and the engagement of the business community at large.

“We have experienced business people who are doing their upmost,” she said. “Coming out of the industry and having the primary focus be global, I’m amazed at how many people are proud and excited about the possibilities that exist here.”

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