State’s Bioscience Sector Has New Leadership

Sonia Robinson

For the first time in its history, Alabama’s lead bioscience organization — BIO Alabama — has hired an executive director to bolster and promote the industry locally and afar.

Sonia Robinson brings a background in healthcare marketing and public relations, coupled with startup experience, to her new post.

“As an Alabama native, I am so proud of our rich history in agriculture, automobiles, tech, rockets and aviation,” says Robinson. “Bioscience joined the state narrative years ago, but it is time to share that news of those successes and impact more broadly.”

State officials say that biosciences contribute $7.3 billion to the Alabama economy.

“The entire life sciences ecosystem is active in Alabama from research to institutional tech transfer; from startups and corporate innovation to global manufacturing,” says Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield. “With this milestone, BIO Alabama is positioned to foster continued growth and development within the bioscience industry.”

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Peggy Sammon, chair of the BIO Alabama board, noted that “Alabama is home to cutting edge research and innovation; we want to be recognized as such and to help our bioscience industry grow.” Sammon is CEO of GeneCapture Inc. — based at Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology — which is developing a rapid test for pathogens, able to screen for 200 pathogens in less than an hour at a cost of less than $20.

BIO Alabama members include bioscience organizations, universities, research facilities and service partners. It is the state partner of Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

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